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Old 03-14-2011, 12:59 PM   #1
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Nitrate Issue

Hello all,

Brand new to this wonderful hobby about 6 months. I inherited a 125 gallon established tank with a 55 gallon sump under the tank. It has dual overflows drilled on either side. Currently on one side of the sump, I have Media and Bio balls, with a sponge filter seperating the two sides, and the other having live sand with two pumps and my heater. I have been considering a Protein Skimmer, but am limited on space due to my pumps taking up the space as my sump is taller than wider.

My question is this: My water perameters have been very good until just a few days ago my Nitrate went to 50ppm, and the following day spiked to 150ppm. I have done 2 different 20 gallon water changes a couple of days apart and it is still 150ppm. I know these are fatal lvls of Nitrates, and water changes are not helping it at all. I have cut back my feeding to once a day, and feeding until my fish are done after 2 or 3 minutes.

How do I fix this problem? I know there is probably waste in the sand, and reef, as I need more Janitorial Crew. I have currently 15 Turbo Snails, and 15 Hermit Crabs.

Any help would be appreciated!

Thanks,
Nick
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Old 03-14-2011, 01:10 PM   #2
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Check your bioballs for build up. A protein skimmer would really benefit you. Do you recently turn over the sand?
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Old 03-14-2011, 01:13 PM   #3
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Actually, I have not turned the sand, or checked the Bio Balls for build up. I was told to never touch either in my sump. Will it not effect anything crucial if I do stir the sand and clean the Bio Balls?
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Old 03-14-2011, 01:16 PM   #4
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Reason I was asking if you recently turned your sand you can get a spike. And you do want to rinse bioballs every once in a while. They are nitrate factories. Most people remove them and replace with LR
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Old 03-14-2011, 01:40 PM   #5
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Ok, will do that this evening. My Nitrates being so high, should i continue doing water changes?
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Old 03-14-2011, 01:48 PM   #6
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If you have livestock I would definitely continue your water changes.
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Old 03-14-2011, 02:06 PM   #7
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Will do! Thank you for your suggestions and thoughts. I will definatly invest in a Protein Skimmer, and replace the Bio Balls with LR
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Old 03-14-2011, 04:46 PM   #8
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How many fish do you have in your tank?

Feeding once a day is pretty high imo. Fish are fine being fed every 2-3 days, some can go a week without being fed by us.

Keep in mind everytime you put food in the tank, it stays in the tank until YOU take it out. The protein skimmer helps with that, but doesnt get everything out. Also, with your CuC, the food will still be in there, just in another form (waste).

It's a good idea with every water change that you siphon out some of the detrius from the rock and sand to remove some of the left over fish poo and food. That will help prevent further spikes and helps keep phosphates in check.
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Old 03-14-2011, 10:45 PM   #9
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20g on a 150g is not a lot to get Nitrates down, think about it that would only bring the nitrates by less than 10%. I would suggest a series of 50% water changes to get them down.
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Old 03-15-2011, 08:48 AM   #10
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even if he gets the nitrates down they will spike again unless he figures out the source
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