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Old 11-22-2004, 12:25 PM   #11
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With all the rock you have, I have little doubt that it would be benefical. Just do it very, very slowly . Don't want to shock your biofilter.
Run a poll, I would bet it would be overwelming in favor of removal.
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Old 11-22-2004, 12:52 PM   #12
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Thanks again! Are my nitrates too high to consider adding a lawnmower blenny at this point?

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Old 11-22-2004, 04:05 PM   #13
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Why do some people swear by Macintosh and others by Windows....some things are just never solved. My take is this...I have a twenty gallon reef tank with about 30lbs of LR and 20lbs of LS, I run a prizm skimmer and just recently added a Fluval for flow and GAC etc and to aid in mechanical filtration. To date I've never detected nitrates in my tank.
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Old 11-22-2004, 05:06 PM   #14
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The bio-balls are such and effective medium for aerobic nitrification, that they are the best means of dealing with ammonia spikes. Unfortunately, the capacity and ability of lr, to keep up with the spike in nitrates is lacking which is why many people opt for a refugium. In the fuge, macro algae like calupra use the nitrates as fertilizer to speed growth.

As far as what level is harmful, it depends on what you keep. In a FO tank, nitrates as high as 40ppm can be tolerated. In a reef tank, nitrates should be kept below 5 and as close to zero as possible.
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Old 11-22-2004, 07:07 PM   #15
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OK, so for reef tanks where you would want the NO3 levels to be extremely low it is important to have a DSB and or a refugium. However, for a FO tank where nitrates can be quite a lot higher, one can get by with just live rock or bio balls and live rock? Is it safe to say if you maintain high NO3 levels you will probably always be fighting hair algae?

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Old 11-22-2004, 09:40 PM   #16
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You are correct. For a reef tank, the lower the nitrates the better. For FO or FOWLR you can get by with a higher level. Under 20 is acceptable but between 10 and 15 is better. I agree, remove the bioballs slowly. You may also need to address your PO4 issue. Any detectable PO4 should be delt with. It may be the cause of your excess algea growth. What is your water source for changes and top-offs? Your tank is big enough that you could throw in some more snails and crabs to help with the problem. Good luck...Lando
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Old 11-22-2004, 10:52 PM   #17
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Thank you! I use the Rowa phos product and my phosphates are down to around 0.03 ppm. I use RO water for top offs and water changes. It checks out at 0 ppm phosphate. (I had a problem over a year ago where my membrane went bad and I didn't notice until I had a major algae outbreak. ) I am definitely light on a cleanup crew. I plan to get a sally lightfoot and a lawnmower blenny in the next couple of days to help out. It sounds like I should get some more hermit crabs as well? I only have 6 blue legged ones right now. They do an amazing job in their little territories. I really want to go to a DSB, but I can't find the correct sand at Home Depot.

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Old 12-03-2004, 06:06 PM   #18
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Well I have 1) made 2 twenty percent water changes and 2 ten percent water changes, 2) purchased a lawnmower blenny and a yellow tang, 3) begun removing my bio balls (plan is 25% per week) and 4) I have removed about 50% of my cc substrate. So far it looks like things have actually gotten worse, i.e. the algae growth, but I wonder if this isn't because I have stirred things up so much. I haven't measured my nitrates, but since the algae is going strong I am sure they are still high. I will continue with the water changes and removing the substrate this weekend. My plan is to go to a DSB, as I have located a good aragonite sand source at a local hardware store.

Please advise if anyone has any better idea on how I can reduce my nitrates.

Thanks in advance.

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Old 12-03-2004, 10:21 PM   #19
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This thread is starting to sound like a crazy comedy of errors. I'm sorry, but it is funny sometimes the things we do.

Your bioball have to go and have to go now. They are a Nitrate factory. This was a debate in 1990, but it was long ago put to rest and almost the entire reef keeping world no longer uses bioballs. And you definately do not need a refugium to run your tank. Live rock alone will filter this tank great, and sand will help if you decide to go that route.

Your hair algae is coming from 2 sources. Everyone seems to agree that the Nitrate is problem #1, but we know how to stop that as we discussed. The 2nd problem was pointed out by Lando and is probably the most important... Phosphate production. You need to remove your sponge filter OR clean it EVERY day. Also use airline tubbing to vaccum out any detritus buildup which settles in your sump and under your live rock. Any place you have detritus in your tank (including on your filter pads & sponge) is a source of Phosphate production. The biological process which occurs as water flows over, thru, and around detritus produces Phosphates. And definately add more blue leg hermit crabs to eat hair algae. I would add 20 more minimum.

As to the suggestion to add an additional nitrifying bacteria bed, I couldn't disagree more. We solved these problems in the early 1990's. No reason to backwards in the hobby.
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Old 03-07-2005, 03:51 PM   #20
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I forgot all about this thead or I would have responded sooner.

To date, with a wet/dry filter and bio-balls, LR and a protein skimmer, my fish are well and my corals are showing steady growth. My nitrates are measuring between 0-5ppm between water changes. I would hardly call that a "nitrate factory".

Just because an idea is discussed and methods are tried, does not mean we are taking a "step backwards" and just because there is a concensus about an idea in the hobby right now, does not make that idea correct or absolute. There have been several practices in this hobby that were dismissed, by in large, only to be proven as sound and put back in popular practice later.

And I think it is presumptious to say that lr alone will filter his tank "great." LR alone would not allow for much needed mechanical filtration and would not allow for ocassional chemical filtration.

I'm not proclaiming to have the answer here, but I don't think it's time to stop asking the question just yet. I've also been interested lately by the number of people using zeolitic materials as well as Purigen type products in their reef tanks with LR, DSB, and refugiums. Appently removing the bio-balls didn't solve everyone's problems. That's just the quick fix solution everyone throws out to anyone using bio-balls because they hear everyone else saying the same thing.

BTW, awillemd1 , what did you end up doing and how's your tank?
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