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Old 01-18-2010, 10:09 PM   #1
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Water quality stabilization

We have had our tank for about 8 months and want to start getting some corals. However, I want to make sure that our water is stabilized first and I am trying to find more information. Here are our tank parameters:

55 gal - 1 clown, 1 blue hippo, 1 diamond goby, 3 peppermint shrimp, 1 hermit, plenty of hitchhikers

nitrate 40-50
nitrite 0
alkalinity 300+
pH 8.0
sg 1.0225
ammonia 0

I guess what makes me question things is the significant algea growth on the glass. Is that a sign of bad water quality? I do clean it off periodically but it seems to grow back too fast. I think I was overfeeding for a while so I have cut back from 1/2 cube of brine shrimp to 1/4 cube. I also keep seaweed available for the tang. I also think that the 6 in 1 test strips aren't the best. I'm wondering what the preferred method of testing is and are there other parameters I should be testing?
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Old 01-18-2010, 10:12 PM   #2
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wow your nitrates are super high, especially for coral. id suggest a good liquid test kit to make sure theyre proper readings first, then figure out whats causing the nitrates. chances are the algae is being fueled by such high nitrates. what kind of filtration are you using? substrate?
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Old 01-18-2010, 10:43 PM   #3
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Definately get Test Kits, strips aren't good enough. Your tank should be stable now at eight months but those Nitrates, if that reading is accurate, are way to high. Personally I don't like mine over 10ppm. About the algae, test your water for Phosphates (or go to the LFS and ask them to test it for you.) if you have high Phosphates buy someting called a Phosphate sponge. It's reusable and really good at removing all your Phosphates (it floored mine). This should decrease algae growth rates because what algae needs to grow is Phosphates, Nitrates and Light. Your Nitrates are too high (aim for below 10ppm), we don't know about your Phosphates but if the algae is growing that quick then they are probably high, and how long do you have your lights on per day?

How often is 'periodically' also? Cutting back on the food was a good idea as Phosphates come from food too. (Try rinsing the brine shrimp cube in Fresh Water also before you put it in, this removes extra 'phates).
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Old 01-18-2010, 11:32 PM   #4
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We have a Penguin Powerfilter 350. We have live sand and about 20 lbs of live rock. I will definitely go get some liquid testing kits. What makes nitrates go up?
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Old 01-19-2010, 12:07 AM   #5
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The conversion of Nitrites to Nitrates by the bacteria in your aquarium. Thats what causes Nitrates.
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Old 01-19-2010, 01:55 AM   #6
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You should consider adding more live rock and getting your nitrates to zero before moving forward. You can add additional devices or upgrade, there is a device called a de-nirater as well that can be added to the tank.
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Old 01-19-2010, 02:04 AM   #7
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High nitrates can be caused by many different things...

- infrequent water changes
- poor filter maintenance
- overfeeding
- nitrates in source water
- probably more things that I'm missing!

How often are you changing the pads in the Penguin? You should be rinsing those things at least weekly to keep the crud in them from breaking down and fouling up your tank.

How often are you doing water changes, and what is your source water? Mix up a batch of saltwater, and test it for nitrates after a day or so - just to make sure you aren't putting the nitrates in with your water changes.

API test kits are good general purpose, fairly cheap liquid test kits. They're not the best at detecting low levels of nitrate, but that's not a concern right now! Yeah... as others have pointed out, those nitrates are a problem.

Once you get some numbers using a liquid test kit, give us an update. Pretty sure we can help get those numbers squared away for you.
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Old 01-19-2010, 06:14 PM   #8
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Something to read.

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