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Old 01-08-2005, 09:14 PM   #1
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Nitrates

I setup my tank about 4 months ago, starting off by waiting the 6 weeks etc until all was OK. I added fish, including an anenome and a clown. There were no problems at all except the pH was always just below 8 and the KH hardness was about 7. However all remained healthy and I add some other fish. They all did well until about a month ago and they started dying one by one, with the rate of dying getting quicker as the time went by. The anenome remained happy through all of this, but every single fish died. I checked all the chemistries and NH3 was 0, and nitrites were 0. pH remained a problem and finally the pet shop told me to get a buffer, which I did. This worked perfectlyand the pH corrected to 8.3 and the KH was 10. I figured my problems were over and I bought two damsels as a test. They behaved well and even the anenome appeared even happier than before. After about 4 days the damsels would not feed and swam around less and less, staying near the bottom. One was dead on the 5th day and the other died on the 6th. It had looked fine on the evening before. I took some water to the pet store and it tested off the wall for nitrates (my multi-kit did not include nitrates and no had said anything about them before). I have done water changes without much effect. The anenome remains happier than ever. Some of the things I read now say that nitrates are not a big issue for the fish bet certainly are bad for coral (I have none) and for the inverts, but my anenome hasn't heard of this. Should I get the nitrates down? How do I do this if the water exchanges do not work? Are there any other things I should be checking? Maybe diseases, but the fish had no spots, slime any any other hints of disease. Their spring just seemed to wind down and they stopped. Any help would be appreciated and I am sorry this is so long........
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Old 01-08-2005, 10:19 PM   #2
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I'm pretty much a newbie myself but I would say do some serious water changes to get the nitrates down to the 0-20 range. I would think these nitrate's being off the wall would be very harmfull to the fish. How did you cycle the tank,with lr or a shrimp in the tank, Sounds like your tank may not be fully cycled yet. You have a serious problem and I wouldnt add any more fish untill you get it figured out.
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Old 01-08-2005, 10:32 PM   #3
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If you only have the anemone to lose... and it sounds like it's pretty tough.... I would do at least a 50% water change a few times... the only way to get the nitrates down signifigantly is through LARGE water changes.... small ones will take you forever....

Nitrates are an overall picture of where your tank sits.... if they're high... it's like swimming in a giant toilet for the fish....

You probably cycled and never did a large water change to remove the initial surge of nitrates....

Just do some LARGE water changes... the bacteria is already there... you should be good after that.......
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Old 01-08-2005, 10:49 PM   #4
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Thanks -- live rock. All the numbers were right after six weeks but i had not checked the NO3. Comfort reply below may be a lot of the answer.
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Old 01-08-2005, 10:53 PM   #5
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re Nitrates

C0mf0rt is probably right -- I had not checked NO3 at any time and there may have been a huge surge and I was not aware, even though the other chemistries were OK. Are there other ways besides the exchanges -- someone told me that there were bacteria additives that would handle the nitrates as well. Also, if there is some nitrate in the water (tap) what can you do about that?
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Old 01-08-2005, 11:24 PM   #6
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As far as nitrAte goes... water changes are without a doubt your BEST option..... if you have nitrates in your tap you can usually get purified water from grocery stores pretty cheap.... that's what I do.....

I would honestly recommend taking the anemone back and asking them to maybe even hold it for a few days.... doing a 75% water change and then a 50% .... that should get your nitrates down to a half way decent level.... you can then add macro algae to help you keep it down in the future..

I went through something similar to this.. You will be doing water changes for a while... but doing large amounts like that to begin with should start you off in pretty good shape....

With the macro's and the water changes... I measured mine tonight and it's down around 5 to 2.5 ppm .... keep your feedings light from now on too.... it takes weeks for fish to starve to death.... resist overfeeding... that increases your nitrates...
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Old 01-08-2005, 11:25 PM   #7
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What test kit are you using for nitrates?
How often have you been doing water changes and what % of volume do you do at a time?
What time of day are you checking the pH? It will be lowest just before the lights go on and highest just before they go off. Test at the same time of day each time you test.
What is substrate, cc, ssb or dsb?
Are you using a wet/dry or cannister filter? They are nitrate factories.
How big is the tank? How much LR do you have?
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Old 01-08-2005, 11:33 PM   #8
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You will probabally not want to use tap water. It has high everything. I used to use it (when I first started out) and I had algea problems like there was no tommorrow. High nitrates are bad for fish, though corals are more sensitive. RO water is so awesome because it has 0 nitrates and 0 phosphates from the start.
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Old 01-09-2005, 10:05 AM   #9
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My question is where are the nitrates coming from? Tank is only 4 months old... Tell us a little about your tank, size, sand or crushed coral, how much LR, sump, wet/dry. Water changes are great but we also need to track to cause of the NO3. How much have you been feeding the fish... How many fish total did you have?
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Old 01-09-2005, 02:05 PM   #10
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If he never did that initial large water change after the cycle that's probably where they all came from.....
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