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Old 03-07-2004, 04:15 PM   #1
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nitrate problem + confused

little history, my grandma's tank is about a year and a half old. it had always been fine but about a mnth back the nitrates shot up. im like ok, tank is dirty, watever not, but no. we started doing water changes and i bought mangrove plants and they went down from like 80 to 40, which is what they are now. ive tried everything im bought medicines and stuff to lower phosphates but nthing has worked. i asked the guy at my LFS and he said to replace the crushed coral with live sand since crushed coral is very porouse and traps nitrates. This kind of makes sense because same reason applies to why your not supposed to use trickle filters with reef tanks, since they have those bioballs that trap nitrates. so im like "ok" but then i got to thinking. when it comes to LR, isn't porous good? isnt that why fiji is so friggen expensive because its very porous? so how does this all come together? and any advice on lowering my nitrates will be greatly appreciated.
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Old 03-07-2004, 04:28 PM   #2
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year and a half old grandma hummmmmm hummmm still cant figure that one out heheh j/k

think we need more info !! size of tank how many fish equipment ect ...
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Old 03-07-2004, 04:32 PM   #3
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oh god, lol. my grandma's tank! well, because of the nitrate spike i have two fish. a marine betta and a yellow tang, decent size. i have a protien skimmer, uv sterilizer, and im currently usuing a fluval 404 for filtration. its a fish tank....uh.....yea, thats alll.
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Old 03-07-2004, 04:49 PM   #4
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ok for starters i guess lets talk about live rock and sand !! yes live rock the more porous the better !! this along with the bacteria in the rock and critters break down the ammonia ect !! the live deep sand bed break down nitrates and the worms ect eat left over food ect !! with crushed coral all your extra food ect get trapped and rots ! and yes running a wet dry "trickle" filter on a reef tank does the same but imo ya would be better with an wet dry than the fluval !! your fluval unless ran just for water movement is doing the same as a wet dry in those terms !! not sure how long ya have had the mangroves but unless they been in there for awhile with alot of leaves i dont see a seedling dropping ya nitrates that fast !! no way imo !! i have some my self and they grow so slow not gonna drop ya nitrates in half that fast !!

i guess the issue is what is diff from 6months ago to now??? is there a missing fish?? mabe in the rock dead causing these issues !! due to it being a fish only your gonna have some nitrates no matter what unless ya do alot of water changes or very very lightly stocked the tank and feed very little !! otherwise ya better off with a wet dry !! or invest on live rock and sand then the nitrates will fall if your husbandry is good
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Old 03-07-2004, 05:16 PM   #5
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im planning to upgrade to lr and ls filtration when i get some money lol. so yea, i pan to get rid of the fluval. but i still dont get. wont extra food and waste also get trapped in the lr?
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Old 03-07-2004, 07:16 PM   #6
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Crushed coral traps detritus between the grains and that breaks down to nitrate. It does not trap nitrates in it's pores. LS is also porous, but is much small grains and packs together resisting detritus settling between it's grains.

Wet/drys do not trap nitrates, they produce them, nitrate is the end product of nitrification, wet/drys do not have an anoxic are for denitrification, which is why they are nitrate factories. LR and sand, is much less efficient at nitrification than a wet/dry, but they do have anoxic areas for denitrification, because these areas are in proximity to the nitrate producing aerobic areas, they actually reduce nitrates rather than contribute to the problem.
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Old 03-08-2004, 11:26 AM   #7
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I have a 150 gal and because of the kind of fish I prefer I have always had a nitrate problem. I added a duel tube de-nitrator a few months ago and based on what I'm used to reading in my tank the unit has lowered my nitrates by 40 ppm. I have also added a Lion and a Flame angel since putting the denitrator online so my results are probably better than the 40 ppm that I show.

Denitrators take months to fully cycle so they are not a quick fix for nitrates, but IMO they are effective. In the end nothing can replace frequent water changes for effectively reducing Nitrates.
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Old 03-08-2004, 12:39 PM   #8
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I did this with my 404 fluval took out all but 2 racks in the filter filled one with LR and one has the carbon bag.I dont know how it is working yet as I am still in cycle stages, but I assume it will work good.
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Old 03-08-2004, 01:50 PM   #9
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I have a fluval 404 as well. I also sometimes have problems with my nitrates. Normally what helps get mine back down is I do the water changes as you have done but also take the fluval apart and change the carbon and in one of your buckets with the old tank water rinse off the little ceramic tubes. I also dip the sponges in the old tank water and clean them up a BIT as well. I then dump all the nasty water with all the what not floating in it put it back together and reattach. After a few days my nitrates are back where they should be. It just elimainates alot of the stuff that the bacteria needs to break down and in that process the nitrates are produced. It really seems to collect in there and I find just getting rid of alot of it seems to really help take the load off the bacteria. Just make sure you use old tank water and never let anything get dry as that will kill your bacteria and you will cycle again.

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Old 03-09-2004, 11:30 AM   #10
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Where are you getting your water for changes? Are you using tap or something else? If you can't seem to get your nitrates down go to your LFS and ask if you can have some of the water they use. i am sure they would be using some type of purified water. Bring it home in 5 gal buckets and use that for your water changes. If your nitrates go down you can consider the possibility of bad tap water. Live rock will also help. Good luck
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