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Old 10-13-2014, 03:59 PM   #21
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It could be as simple as your new skimmer isn't doin it's job yet you said your not getting any foam and coupled with new sand could be your problem I'd keep doing water changes maybe 25% a week till it levels out


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Old 10-13-2014, 03:59 PM   #22
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Pb : I would agree with you completely except for the fact that theres no ammonia. Theres too much decomposing biological matter in the tank creating the huge nitrate spike. The bio balls have nothing to do with decreasing the nitrate levels so thay doesnt really make sense either.

My best thought at rhe nutrient source atm is the sand. Where did you get the sand from that you put in your refugium?
sorry Mebbid, but your incorrect.
If the OP is suddenly noticing elevated nitrate levels AFTER replacing the bio media in the sump, the only logical assumption to make is that days earlier there were corresponding spikes in ammonia and nitrite respectively.
Her testing zero ammonia & nitrite NOW tells us nothing about what it was last week, BUT the elevated and climbing nitrate levels do.

That is also the ONLY reason I advise against cleaning the canister at this time, it would possibly make matters worse.
Her system, if the live rocks pictured are the only bio-media in the sump, is very, very under filtered in regards to biological bacteria and the available surface area for it to colonize. The bio-balls, no matter how inefficient, provided much more surface area than the rock in there now.
True, by virtue of their design, bio-balls don't afford much in the way of de-nitrification, but their removal I guarantee is the primary source for this upheaval.
It is that decrease in available surface area in the filter sump that is/will give her issues until a better bio-media is employed and the colonies are allowed to get back up to full strength.

remove/reduce biological filtering capacity=
spikes in ammonia then nitrite=
death and disintegration of corals/inverts=
even more ammonia being produced=
increasing nitrate levels=
more stress and dying corals=
ever worsening water quality


I don't know, the cause and effect progression seems pretty clear to me.
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Old 10-13-2014, 04:20 PM   #23
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Actually I agree canister should be cleaned if her skimmer is pulling protein out it will build up in the canister causing a rise in nitrates


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Old 10-13-2014, 04:20 PM   #24
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Isn't pulling *


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Old 10-13-2014, 04:43 PM   #25
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in respect to PB, would we not see a enormous amount of ammonia and nitrite though if your theory is correct? if the majority of the biological filtration is removed, this leaves very little nitrifiing bacteria. In turn we would see the cycling process(if what you said is correct) and there would be a large amount of ammonia (well say 80ppm) thne nitrite, then nitrate. All of this would be over a few days to weeks. So by saying that you take out the biological filtration and then nitrate is the only thing that spikes to that magnitude honestly doesnt make much sense.

Either way removing the biological filteration has little affect on NITRATES. Bio filtration does not even touch nitrates. By all this waste being converted to nitrates actually shows that there is working bio filtration and that its doing its job (if the ammonia and nitrite are zero).

My advice is some water changes to knock those levels down. Clean out the canister if thats what is causing the problem. Also, look around the tank to see if anything else could be causing this escalation such as fish, lots of inverts, etc.
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Old 10-13-2014, 04:44 PM   #26
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Discounting any denitrification from various sources, an 80ppm of nitrate requires over 20ppm of ammonia as a precursor. That's an obscene amount of ammonia to kickstart a mini cycle. Counting that on top of the fact that live rock holds a ton of beneficial bacteria as well as the coping ability of beneficial bacteria to speed up metabolism and handle a sudden increase of nutrients, it doesn't sound entirely feasible.

I would point more at the addition of the sand in the sump at the moment. If the OP had taken the substrate from the display tank and moved it into the sump it would have precipitated a huge release of nutrients.
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Old 10-13-2014, 04:45 PM   #27
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Discounting any denitrification from various sources, an 80ppm of nitrate requires over 20ppm of ammonia as a precursor. That's an obscene amount of ammonia to kickstart a mini cycle. Counting that on top of the fact that live rock holds a ton of beneficial bacteria as well as the coping ability of beneficial bacteria to speed up metabolism and handle a sudden increase of nutrients, it doesn't sound entirely feasible.

I would point more at the addition of the sand in the sump at the moment. If the OP had taken the substrate from the display tank and moved it into the sump it would have precipitated a huge release of nutrients.
im laughing to myself because at almost the same time we posted something pretty similar haha!
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Old 10-13-2014, 04:52 PM   #28
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How long did you have the corals and what kind of lighting do you have? All but one if those guys is toast. That is where the nitrates are coming from. The skimmer stopped skimming because it is new and still breaking in, as it can take weeks to properly function.


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Old 10-13-2014, 05:55 PM   #29
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Exactly my thoughts


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Old 10-13-2014, 09:05 PM   #30
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Also you said you had the skimmer wide open? You need to restrict the flow somewhat to get the foam up to the correct levels. That is why the skimate is collecting in the neck and not in the cup.


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