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Old 08-28-2010, 02:31 AM   #1
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Please help nitrates have sky rocketed!!

Hello. ok my levels were not perfect to begin with but my nitrates were at 5 and nitrites and ammonia levels were both at zero. Those three things are what I am usually concerned about. I do 10-15 percent water changes every 4-5 days. I add purple up every 4 days between water changes and coralline algae is now on every rock and some on back glass but now full blown like I wanted it to be. With water changes kept up and minimal feeding I had a small amount of red slime which would still not go away and I could never get the nitrates to zero. Over a year my turbo snails and blue/red crabs died except for one of each so I bought 3 large turbo snails yesterday and threw them in. Today I made the switch to real saltwater because people were telling me it's better and easier than mixing. ( was using instant ocean mix with ro water). I made a 20 percent water change and hours later I tested my nitrates. The scale goes from yellow to red, yellow being zero and red being death, and mine read RED. I couldn't believe my eyes, tested again and the same thing. Tested left over water and still red. Am I missing something? Was I supposed to do something to the real saltwater? Did they sell me bad water? Checked salinity to see if they sold me tap but it was 8.23 please help

Ammonia 0 no change
Nitrite 0 no change
Calcium 460
Dkh was 9 and iis now 8
Phosphates 0 no change
Ph was 8.2 now 8.4
Salinity was 8.25 now 8.23
Nitrates was 5 and is now 160?
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Old 08-28-2010, 09:15 AM   #2
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Real SW is not needed. I have 0 nitrates and use a saltwater mix. What I would do is make a batch of SW and let it set for 24 hrs and before doing a PWC do some water test results on that water to make sure you are not adding the nitrates. Also water needs to be RO/DI as RO water is not nitrate free. Secondly stop using the purple up. Not needed as PWC`s will accomplish all your calcium needs. It might also be your nitrate problem. Thirdly cut back on feedings. You need to feed every other day.
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Old 08-28-2010, 07:39 PM   #3
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after more research, sal mix seems a lot better for different reasons. my question still is why are the nitrates so high in the real SW i purchased. did i buy a bad batch? I get the SW for 45cents p/gallon.
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Old 08-29-2010, 12:43 AM   #4
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Do you still have some of the natural seawater that you can test for nitrates? If so, then that should answer the question as to where the nitrates came from. If the seawater (before it goes into your tank) tests zero for nitrates, then your problem is elsewhere.

Unless you got some really really bad water, I find it hard to think that's your issue. Seeing that you only did a 20% water change, if it was the water that made it go from 5 to 160, that seawater had to have nitrates up around 800 ppm to make that kind of jump.

I like RO/DI and salt mix because I know exactly what I'm getting every time. You're at the mercy of Mother Nature when you use seawater collected from near a shoreline.
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Old 08-29-2010, 09:08 AM   #5
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"Tested left over water and still red." Are you referring to the water you were sold by the LFS? Is this being sold as "Catalina water"? I have seen this in a shop in San Bernardino before, didn't trust it. And the price they were asking was not reasonable.
As suggested, RO/DI is your best bet, it is a good investment to get your own system and mix your own.

"Checked salinity to see if they sold me tap but it was 8.23 please help" This reading sounds like PH not Salinty.
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Old 08-29-2010, 10:21 AM   #6
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I agree, it's looks like a ph reading, Are you testing with the correct solutions?
Take the remaining water back to the store and show them the bad water.
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Old 08-29-2010, 08:51 PM   #7
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must have mistyped the readings. The leftover "natural" water from the LFS was tested and the nitrates were off the charts. The PH was not checked only salinity but i had mistyped as i wrote 8.23 when i meant 1.23. they did in fact sell me bad water. I am taking it back to the LFS on monday. I went to Age of Aquariums in Long Beach, CA and they were so helpful. The guy told me that water from catalina Island can be very polluted for many reasons and he has now learned that the company who collects the water lies and does not collect the water where they should be. they have not been going to the backside of the island as they say and have been collecting it from the frontside to cut fuel costs. the water from the front side is where the tourism is and very polluted. he advised like you guys to use salt mix. I did a 50% water change with salt mix and the nitrates have gone down. I bought Oceanic salt mix because it was on sale and actually like i better than instant ocean, its finer and dissolves better.
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Old 08-29-2010, 09:11 PM   #8
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Front or back of Catalina, it doesn't matter, sea water should not have nitrates off the chart. I never trusted the "Catalina Water" idea. Take the remainder of the water back and demand a full refund. Before you leave the house do another test and keep the tube in your pocket. If they give you a hard time about it, start showing the tube to the other customers.

I had a friend 30 years ago that collected water 100 or more feet off of San Diego beaches when we were scuba diving. He always had problems with his tank. Get an RO/DI system and save yourself $ and headaches.
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