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Old 08-21-2004, 02:58 AM   #1
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Nitrate problem

We have had our aquarium active for about 10 months. Recently we lost two fish and discovered that our nitrates are at 50. We've been doing water changes frequently to try to lower the numbers. Someone told us that a protein skimmer would help - is that true?
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Old 08-21-2004, 03:20 AM   #2
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I had the same problem when I first started a SW aquarium, after I added my Protein Skimmer my nitrates dropped big time. I am currently running nitrates below 5 ppm with monthly water changes of 20%. My tank is very lightly stocked however, so this could be a big part of it.

I recently had to add a UV sterlizer too, I don't think I will do saltwater again without these two wonderful pieces of equipment. BTW, I got a SeaClone 100, which I only recommend if you have a sump, cause it didn't work as a hangon very well at all, but works like a champ in my sump!!!

Good luck, keep us posted, and I'm sure someone will post with a better answer than mine as well!!!
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Old 08-21-2004, 08:06 AM   #3
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A slow build of nitrate to 50 won't kill your fish for the most part as most fish will adapt very high nitrate levels. A good skimmer will help with nitrates as well as other undesireables in your water. Water changes are a good way to lower your nitrates, unless of course your replacement water is nitrate heavy.

Since your tank is about 10 months old, I'm guessing you're running a wet/dry filter and have crushed coral substrate?
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Old 08-21-2004, 10:19 AM   #4
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Yes, we have an Eiheim filter - dead corral and crushed corral - no live rock.
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Old 08-21-2004, 10:45 AM   #5
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I would suggest getting some LR. How big is your tank? 1 to 2 pounds per gal will create a nice biological filtration. Also, RO/DI water for changes and top-offs might help. It depends on the water source you are using. How often do you clean your filter? Large waste products can collect in the filter media and compound the problem. If you do not have one already, try a sponge "pre-filter" over the intake to your filter. It will take out the big chunks of stuff so it does not get into your filter. Then all you need to do is clean the sponge. good luck...Lando
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Old 08-22-2004, 10:02 AM   #6
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Yep, clean your filter real often, and you'll also need to vacuum your substrate regularly. That combined with water changes will do a lot to lower your nitrates. When you get tired of vacuuming, switch over to a sandbed with a good crew of detrivores to take care of it for you. But again, 50 isn't bad at all in a FO system.
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Old 08-22-2004, 10:41 AM   #7
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There are 3 main things that would lead to high nitrates in this case:

- Not cleaning the filter/substrate regularly
- Not doing frequent/large enough water changes
- Feeding excessively
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Old 08-23-2004, 11:12 PM   #8
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Check with your local Water Supply office. I checked mine today and their yearly analysis shows nitrates in the tap water. Not much but too much for me. Also some water companys add phosphates to their water supply. You should mix up your replacement water with the salt then check it for nitrates before you put it in your tank. This will let you know if you are adding the nitrate yourself unknowingly.
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