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Old 06-11-2013, 08:49 PM   #1
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Wondering whether or not to give up on corals

I've had a 150G FOWLR tank for about three years now. I've been able to keep fish in the tank pretty successfully, but the dream was always to have corals. I've been trying for quite a while to get my nitrates to the point where maybe I could have corals, but it hasn't been working so well.

I got a biopellet reactor and I've been doing large (>100 gal) water changes, but it doesn't seem to have had any effect on my nitrates, they're still too high for corals and it seems like the only way I can keep them there is to do these huge water changes every week, which is more maintenance than I'm willing to put in, not to mention the cost of the salt for that much SW every week or so.

I understand there's probably a serious problem with nitrates, even if I plan to only keep fish in the tank, but my fish seem to be OK with the way things are. I've been tempted recently to just get some cool non-reef-safe fish like puffers and just resign myself to the idea that my tank will never be a reef.

Maybe I can try a smaller reef tank, but the reason I got such a big SW tank was because I thought bigger tanks were easier for keeping the levels good. Is that just me not understanding things correctly? I'd like to think that I could easily maintain a small reef tank (10-20 gallons or so) but is this a good idea? Would I be better off just giving up on this dream?

Any thoughts?
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Old 06-11-2013, 08:51 PM   #2
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What kind of filtration are you running on this tank.
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Old 06-11-2013, 08:53 PM   #3
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This page is still up to date.
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Old 06-11-2013, 08:58 PM   #4
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If that info on your page is current then I believe you may be feeding too much and your nitrate problem comes from the tap water. I am a no tap in salt water kin of person, particularly a reef. Make the switch to ro-di and you will start to see some better results
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Old 06-11-2013, 09:05 PM   #5
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IMO. I would take some of that live rock out of your sump and throw in some cheato. Also you rock itself in the DT looks very dense. Cheato works wonders.
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Old 06-11-2013, 09:09 PM   #6
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IMO. I would take some of that live rock out of your sump and throw in some cheato. Also you rock itself in the DT looks very dense. Cheato works wonders.
Also I'm not sure what size those power heads are but I have 2 750 and 1 550 hydors plus the return from the sump in a 55 gallon DT. You might need more flow.
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Old 06-11-2013, 09:52 PM   #7
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This post tells exactly how much I feed the tank. I could conceivably go down to 4 days a week...

If there are nitrates in my water that could explain part of the issue. I'll do a test on my tap water to see if there are any nitrates.

I was under the impression that excess LR would not be a "nitrate factory" like bio-balls and other stuff were. Do you think there is too much LR in my system? I can certainly remove it but nobody has ever told me it was a bad thing.

I used to have a ball of chaeto in my sump. It never grew, it just died and caused a huge nitrate spike which, along with some other issues with my house being 90 degrees for a couple of weeks, killed off a bunch of my fish. I haven't been able to get a hold of any chaeto around this area for about a year anyways. I got the biopellet reactor to deal with that but appears to be ineffective.

I have two of these powerheads along with my Mag Drive 12 pump. How would a lack of flow in my system lead to higher nitrates?
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Old 06-11-2013, 10:21 PM   #8
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I think it's more about the flow around the rock, you may have pockets that hold excess waste. You can never have too much rock! I would still recommend ro-di water, I have never seen a successful reef using tap long term. Just a question, do you have algae problems too?
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Old 06-11-2013, 10:22 PM   #9
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Oh and also, you could definitely go down to small feelings every other day that would help too
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Old 06-11-2013, 10:26 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamHorton View Post
This post tells exactly how much I feed the tank. I could conceivably go down to 4 days a week...

If there are nitrates in my water that could explain part of the issue. I'll do a test on my tap water to see if there are any nitrates.

I was under the impression that excess LR would not be a "nitrate factory" like bio-balls and other stuff were. Do you think there is too much LR in my system? I can certainly remove it but nobody has ever told me it was a bad thing.

I used to have a ball of chaeto in my sump. It never grew, it just died and caused a huge nitrate spike which, along with some other issues with my house being 90 degrees for a couple of weeks, killed off a bunch of my fish. I haven't been able to get a hold of any chaeto around this area for about a year anyways. I got the biopellet reactor to deal with that but appears to be ineffective.

I have two of these powerheads along with my Mag Drive 12 pump. How would a lack of flow in my system lead to higher nitrates?
Nitrates are consumed by the anaerobic bacteria in the deep parts of live rock. The more flow that your tank has, the more nitrates are making their way to those deep pockets in the rocks.

What color temp were you using on your refugium to try to grow the chaeto? Usually people have problems trying to grow it when they are using the wrong color of bulb. A 6500k bub is a necessity.
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