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Old 11-19-2014, 02:28 PM   #1
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Question Nitrates out of control!!!

I've had my tank up and running now for 6 months. I did initially start the tank with treated tap water and the switched to RO water after initial cycle.

The problem is, even with water changes my nitrates have NEVER went down...

Params are Ammonia:0, Nitites :0, pH: 8.1, Calcium: 410, Nitates 160.

I talked with my LFS and had them test my water since I thought maybe my test might not be working properly and it came back with the same results.

They suggested that I run a reactor with Seachems De Nitrate which I have been doing now for more than a month, still with no results.

I do have corals growing in there that seem to be doing well and growing, but the nitrates really have me worried.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to lower them?

I have tested my RO water and the nitrates come back at 0 and TDS is at 4.
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Old 11-19-2014, 02:41 PM   #2
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Have you tested your WC water to see what it is before you add it to the tank.
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Old 11-19-2014, 02:46 PM   #3
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Yes I have tested the water before adding to my tank. I age my water in a Rubbermaid container a week prior to adding it to my tank and all levels look great.

Ammonia, Nitites and Nitrates all come in at 0. pH is always a little low so I add Seachem marine buffer to bring that up. TDS reads anywhere from 4-6.

Even with regular water changes every week I still cannot get them lowered.

I change about 10-15 gallons a week in my 75 gallon.

I even tried doing a 50% water change and still back to the high nitrate problem
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Old 11-19-2014, 02:53 PM   #4
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Well, the nitrates have to be coming from somewhere. I would be concerned about the TDS reading in the water for 1, even though it may not be nitrates. Phosphates can also cause issues, for example.
How often are you feeding? What are you feeding? Nitrates are an end result of feeding too much. In my 55 reef, I feed 2-3 times a week. And it is pretty minimal. My fish are still quite content.
You may also want to look into other methods of filtration to address your nitrates. A protein skimmer will help pull proteins out of the water column before they make their way through the nitrate cycle, for example.
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Old 11-19-2014, 03:00 PM   #5
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Well, the nitrates have to be coming from somewhere. I would be concerned about the TDS reading in the water for 1, even though it may not be nitrates. Phosphates can also cause issues, for example.
How often are you feeding? What are you feeding? Nitrates are an end result of feeding too much. In my 55 reef, I feed 2-3 times a week. And it is pretty minimal. My fish are still quite content.
You may also want to look into other methods of filtration to address your nitrates. A protein skimmer will help pull proteins out of the water column before they make their way through the nitrate cycle, for example.
I do run a protein skimmer most of the time. I have been having issues with it overflowing at night at least once a month so in the evening I do unplug it until I can figure out what is causing that issue.

I feed my tank about twice a week. I feed rinsed frozen brine or Mysis shrimp. I cut one cube into 8 pieces and feed one piece twice a week since the only fish I have in there is a lawnmower blenny and a Lubbock's wrasse. Along with my Cuc and shrimps.

I have not tested for Phosphates. That will be next on my list as soon as I get a test for it.

Would high phosphates cause high nitrate readings?>
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Old 11-19-2014, 03:28 PM   #6
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What kind of filtration are you running? Do you have a sump with liverock? Do you have a canister filter? I'm thinking you may have a build up of material somewhere. Do you have bio balls? You only have 2 fish and are hardly feeding them, waterchanges should be enough to take care of their nitrates.

I know someone who had a filter full of liverock because they were told this was a great idea. Over time these rocks trapped uneaten food and it became a holding cell for rotting food. The nitrates were high like yours until he removed all the live rock rubble which was causing the issue.

The more info you can give us teh more we can see into what your issue is.
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Old 11-19-2014, 03:43 PM   #7
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High nitrates are the results of:

- Overfeeding corals/fishs.
- Water source
- Overstocked tanks
- Lack of protein skimming
- Live rocks leeching crap
- Dying stuff in the tank like a dead fish or big shrimp.
- Bad quality sea salts
- Nitrate factory spots as mentioned in the last post


I would say buy a 2x your tank total volume rated protein skimmer and add daily RedSea NO3-PO4-X (NOPOX). Also increase the frequency and size of your water changes. Make sure to always use RODI water for topoff and WC.

Also I don't think 4-6 TDS is a problem, the worst would be 6ppm nitrates, but I don't think this the problem source.

SO:
- Buy 2x rated protein skimmer
- Dose NOPOX
- Reduce fish/coral feeding
- Inspect for dying critters.
- Sand vaccum (if there's sand)
- Reconsider your stocking if needed
- If you use a canister filter, get rid of that and use a HOB
- If you're using HOB filter, clean the pad once a week
- Use turkey baster to remove crap from LR and between LR right before a WC, there's a lot of gunk coming out usually.
- Use high quality sea salt only (I recommand RedSea Pro Coral, but this is only from my opinion, this is what I use, there's other very good brands on the market)


If you have algae problem resulting from high nitrates, reduce lighting time or power during you lower the NO3s.
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Old 11-19-2014, 03:52 PM   #8
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Has there been any agitation to your sand bed? There are a lot of trapped nutrients in your sand and they can be released when the sand gets turned over too much.
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Old 11-19-2014, 04:20 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Animal-Chin View Post
What kind of filtration are you running? Do you have a sump with liverock? Do you have a canister filter? I'm thinking you may have a build up of material somewhere. Do you have bio balls? You only have 2 fish and are hardly feeding them, waterchanges should be enough to take care of their nitrates.

I know someone who had a filter full of liverock because they were told this was a great idea. Over time these rocks trapped uneaten food and it became a holding cell for rotting food. The nitrates were high like yours until he removed all the live rock rubble which was causing the issue.

The more info you can give us teh more we can see into what your issue is.
I have a sump that water trickles through filter floss into my refugium which hold cheato along with live rock rubble.

I use a reef octopus protein skimmer that is rated for a 250gph.

I use no other filtration except for the live rock in my DT.

I do have a sandbed of about 3 1/2" which my LFS told me was the best way to go. I do NOT stir it up as I have read that it can cause some major issues so I try and leave it be.

I am to the point of pulling my hair out. I have a 55 gal reef tank that is doing great and I have never had any of these issues. I use the same water and salt. The only difference is I use an HOB instead of a sump.
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Old 11-19-2014, 04:23 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bnr911 View Post
I have a sump that water trickles through filter floss into my refugium which hold cheato along with live rock rubble.
[...]
The only difference is I use an HOB instead of a sump.
Inspect the sump :p
Clean the filter floss.
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