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Old 11-25-2007, 01:25 PM   #1
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Nitrate levels through the roof!

29 gal sw aquarium

I tested my water today and have some concerns. My nitrate level is very high at 100ppm. I did a pwc about 2 weeks ago 1/3 of the water. Replaced the carbon filter cartridge, cleaned sand bed, a general routine cleaning. I have a protein skimmer thats rated for 75gal. My phosphate is at about .5ppm. I don't have an algae problem but I am getting ready for corals. Why are my nitrates so high? How can I lower nitrate and avoid future problems? Calcium is good at 460 ppm and alkalinity is also good at 179 ppm or (10 dKH). ph is 7.8
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Old 11-25-2007, 01:56 PM   #2
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Frequent PWC`s will be needed and testing of your PWC and top off water are needed. 10% PWC`s every three days will help instead of every two or 3 weeks. IMO and IME.
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Old 11-25-2007, 02:16 PM   #3
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A list of what you have in the tank could help us out a lot. What types of filtration do you use? I see you have carbon are you changing that weekly? Do you have sponges in your filters? How much LR do you have?

When you are "cleaning" you really shouldn't disturb the sand bed. That will cause a lot more propblems then it will solve.

Give us a little more info about your tank.

Also doing PWCs weekly would be far better for your tank.
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Old 11-25-2007, 02:23 PM   #4
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Got a sump with some kind of macro algae in it? You need some sort of nutrient export. The sand bed is supposed to build up anerobic bacteria that break down the nitrate. If you disturb the sand, you add oxygen to it which will kill off the anerobic bacteria.
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Old 11-25-2007, 06:24 PM   #5
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No sponges.
No corals yet.
10-12lbs of live rock.
No sump.
Hang on back Emperor 280 filter with carbon filter cartridge and media cartridge.
Aquasea Remora protein skimmer rated for 25-75 gal.
One yellow tang
3 clowns
I do not do anything to improve alkalinity or calcium.
I replace the carbon filter with every pwc.

How am I supposed to keep the gravel clean if you say not to clean it? Maybe I'm using the terms gravel and sand bed interchangeably and shouldn't be. My gravel consists of small rocks and shell particles as it came like this out of the bag.
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Old 11-25-2007, 10:08 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yellow Jobber
My gravel consists of small rocks and shell particles as it came like this out of the bag.
This is where a bunch of your nitrates are coming from. Food and fish waste are getting between the crushed coral or gravel and turning into nitrates. You can vacuum it but you`ll never be able to get it all. You might want to think about changing over to sand. Much better and cleaner IMO
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Old 11-25-2007, 10:23 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by melosu58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yellow Jobber
My gravel consists of small rocks and shell particles as it came like this out of the bag.
This is where a bunch of your nitrates are coming from. Food and fish waste are getting between the crushed coral or gravel and turning into nitrates. You can vacuum it but you`ll never be able to get it all. You might want to think about changing over to sand. Much better and cleaner IMO
i agree 100% ... crushed coral is ok for certain things, but not for anything reef related,IMHO. i would switch this out for an Aragonite based DEEP sand bed. i would go with at least a 4 inch depth. if you know others in the hobby ... ask them for a couple of cups of their sand to kick start the bacteria.

i would also add about 17 more pounds of live rock. a ggo rule of thumb for rock is 1-2 lbs per gallon of saltwater.
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Old 11-25-2007, 11:04 PM   #8
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Thanks a lot everyone. I've come to realize that the store that sold me all my original equipment when I first got into this hobby about 4 years ago sold me a lot wrong stuff and gave me a lot of improper information. I have to break the old habits I guess. They said a pwc of 1/3 of the water once per month is all that is needed. Now I know better. I have recently stopped going to this lfs because all they seem to want is my money.

How can I go about switching to sand. If I understand correctly, live sand needs to cycle and will release ammonia. I unfortunately do not know anyone else in the hobby.
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Old 11-25-2007, 11:16 PM   #9
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That the classic way of the LFS 80% of them are in it for the money and/or dont know what they are doing. And thats why this site was made
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Old 11-25-2007, 11:17 PM   #10
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you will have to scoop out as much CC as you possibly can, and just pour in some RINSED Aragonite sand. you will go through the cycle again, but it will be worth it in the long run of the tanks life.
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