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Old 06-13-2008, 04:06 AM   #1
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Nitrate problem...HELP

I cant seem to get my nitrates below like 40ppm on a good day, whats the deal? A little history: 90g, set up 7+mo, 3-4" sandbed, 110lbs or so live rock, skimmer, HOB emperor 280, ammo 0, trites 0, PH 8.4, 10g PWC w/RODI per week. Stocked with 8 small-med fish, 30 snail/crab clean-up crew, 8 corals. So whats up with my nitrates? how can get them down? The PWC's dont seem to help much. I can increase them to get it down but then how do I keep it down? I have been topping off with declorinated tap lately but not more than a gal or two a week. Also, the tank was fallow for 8-9wks due to an ick scare until two weeks ago. Before that though my nitrates were still always 20-30. Suggestions?
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Old 06-13-2008, 10:39 AM   #2
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Add another 25-80 pounds of LR, ditch the HOB filter (most likely producing some of your nitrate issue). Then get some macro alage for the sump, cut back on feedings if feeding more than 3x per week. Start doing 20% pwc's every week with RODI water.

If feeding flake food, stop. If feeding forzen food, thaw in rodi water, rinse it through a fine mesh strainer with rodi water, then feed it.

Do you have to do all of the above? I don't know, But it helped me get my tRates down from the 40 level to the 1-2.5 (barely detecable) level.
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Old 06-13-2008, 08:14 PM   #3
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Thanks Cmor, I dont have a sump at the moment so thats out. I will cut back on feedings, I tend to over feed I think. I usually mix it up with frozen/flake/mysis/cyclops in no particular order. I guess Ill lose the flake. I'll add some more rock and keep my eye on it.
Should I ditch the HOB compleatly or is there other media I could use in it to help like bio balls or macro? And I thought biowheels were a good thing??? I still have soooo much to learn! Any other ideas anyone?
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Old 06-13-2008, 11:31 PM   #4
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i have a canister filter on my tank not a sump and i have 0 nitrates. if you are over feeding cut back on that. change more water weekly and you can run de-nitrate in a mesh bag or a media reactor to remove nitrates too. my tank is 60ga with 90ga or LV so your amount of live rock sounds good. what kind of skimmer do you have? do you also have a phosphate problem?
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Old 06-14-2008, 01:02 AM   #5
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A couple questions...

What exactly are the "8 small-med fish"?

Have you tested your source water for nitrates? Just because it's RO/DI doesn't mean you should assume it's working correctly. The membranes could be buggered up or the resin could be shot.
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Old 06-14-2008, 02:44 AM   #6
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I buy my RODI from the LFS, I have to say I have never tested it. For the skimmer question, it is a seaclone, I know people say they suck but mine collects and seems to work well so I've been happy with it. Kurt, the 8 fish in there are 2 chromis(1" each) 1 firefish(2"), 1 blue damsel (2") 1 perc clown(2") 1 yellow tang(2.5"-3") 1 coral beauty angel(2.5")- some say arent reef safe but mine is yet to munch on corals, and 1 diamond goby (2.5-3"). As for corals I have a finger leather, 2 zoanthid colonies, hairy shrooms, snake, lettuce, candy cane, taro tree, button, and star polyps. I have 390w CF lighting. Everything looks healthy but Im concerned with thost 'trates. I know I need a sump but my stand isnt realy built for it. I bought it used and it has a cross beam on the bottom and some thin masonite type subfloor if you know what I mean?. I dont think I could manage putting one in at this time, no room right now. I gotta say I havent tested to phosphates... didnt think that was a huge deal, I'll buy a kit for that and test soon. I think feeding may be the issue, I was feeding flake or frozen every day and seaweed every 2-3 days for the tang. Im going to cut back to every other day on the feeding for now. I also hit the tank every 2-3 days with DT's or zooplex for the corals. Thanks for all the advise, I really appreciate it. Keep it coming.
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Old 06-14-2008, 04:22 AM   #7
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What kind of filter media do you have in your canister? How often do you clean it out? Do you have prefilter sponges on it?

To lower your NitrAtes quickly there is a way to do it. Get a 32g Trash can from walmart. Make sure it does not have any kind of anti-bacterial coatings. Fill it with RO/DI water and mix your SW up. Let it mix for 24 hours. Get SG, Temp and PH as close to your tank water as possible and do a massive water change. That is going to drop your Nitrates.

The best way to keep it down is regularly cleaning out your canister, sponges and reducing feedings. Increase the amount of your PWCs after that large one. I have a 72 with about 180g total in my sytem and I change 32g every other week with out fail. If you can get to the point where you can add a refugium with MACRO algae you will nearly eliminate your NitrAte issue.
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Old 06-14-2008, 08:26 AM   #8
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You said you are using tap for the top off. I would check that out for nitrate. Also as others have said check out your PWC water to see if you are adding any of the nitrates.
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Old 06-14-2008, 07:33 PM   #9
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the skimmer isnst very good it may look like it is working but it isnt very effective. if you had a better skimmer you would see a differece between the two. phosphate is important to test for too. clean the canister out good, and what kinda media do you have in there? like it was already said check your tap water and your ro/di water and do lager pwc.
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Old 06-15-2008, 01:22 PM   #10
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I think your nitrates are coming from more then one source. Your Tap water (not a good idea to use to begin with) and your canister. I would test your tap water and see how high the nitrates are and I would stop using it. Also I would clean the canister out.
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