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Old 12-08-2003, 01:54 AM   #1
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What causes constant Nitrate increase?

Hello All!

I have started a 55 gal reef tank, with 110 lbs of tampabay saltwater LR. It's been up for about 10 weeks now.

My ammonia is at .25
My nintrites are at : 0
my PH is 8.2
and the nitrates keep rising. Currently 20.
I've been maintaining them with often water changes, but am unable to get them to 0.

I can't afford a refugium yet, but have added two clumps of calupra to the mix.

I've just added a large Backpack skimmer in hopes it'll help remove some of the protein and avoid the breakdown.

I'm looking for advice and things to consider when trying to achieve a "steady" tank.

Thanks.

Nitrates are the bane of my exsistance.

kungfukoi
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Old 12-08-2003, 05:51 AM   #2
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Hi,

At one point in my life I was in the same boat. Here is my solution which works!Regular water changes, cleaning the filter cartridges, vacuuming substrates and removing detritus (organic waste) will solve most nitrate problems. Using a skimmer will remove organic waste before the nitrogen cycle breaks down into nitrate. NOTE: Some home water supplies contain nitrates. Water changes with this water will not be effective. A reverse osmosis or deioniztion unit may be necessary in these cases!


Good Luck!
Happy holiday
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Old 12-08-2003, 09:28 AM   #3
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Quote:
I can't afford a refugium yet, but have added two clumps of calupra to the mix.
Be extremely careful with putting Caulerpa in the main tank. I would strongly suggest that you not do this. Caulerpa is very invasive, and hard to eradicate once it takes hold. It can quickly take over a tank. Take a look at >>this thread<< to see what it can do in short order.
I've seen similar things happen several times with different types of Caulerpa.

HTH,
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Old 12-08-2003, 10:12 AM   #4
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What are you using for filtration in this tank?
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Old 12-08-2003, 02:50 PM   #5
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Re:

I am doing water changes with RO water... which tests 0 Nitrates.

I didn't realize calupra was such a problem plant. I'll keep an eye on it. I figure if it gets out of control I could get a Tang or other "hungry" guy to control it.

As for filtration, I have an overflow sump built into the tank itself. (it's a 75 gal acryllic tank, with only about +/- 55 gal of capacity because the sump is cut out of the tank. )
I have one sponge crate that is a recent addition to the sump, since I have removed the bio-balls. It's new, and hasn't collected enough waste to generate nitrates... (in theory)
And the BackPack Skimmer..

Other then the 110 lbs of LR in the tank, and janitor crew, I have no other filtration.

How effective, or who can recommend from experience the nitrate removing capability of a Refugium?? I'm wondering if building one would be worth it. What percentage of nitrate removal would I expect?

Thanks,
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Old 12-08-2003, 03:19 PM   #6
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What do you have on bottom of tank dsb, crushed coral??

Thanks Dewey
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Old 12-08-2003, 04:14 PM   #7
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I have a quick question, you still have ammonia in the system... how did your cycle go? If you've "skipped" the cycle and have been doing water changes ever since you set up the tank, you may still be "in" the cycle.

how long did it take to complete your cycle, and how did you go about initialy setting up your tank?
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Old 12-08-2003, 05:20 PM   #8
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RE:

I have a Live DSB that was purchased from Tampa Bay Saltwater with the LR.

The setup/cycle went like this: I was mixed the water, and had it running in the empty tank for about a week.
Then 50 lbs of LR and the Live Sand was introduced. I watched the tank cycle for about 3 weeks.. I had the expected spike in ammonia, and the expected reduction. I did do water changes to keep the levels at an acceptable level. Once I felt it had "settled down"... I introduced 50 more lbs of LR, along with the Janitors. I observed another spike in Ammonia, and again did the water changes in attempt to keep everything from going toxic.

The ammonia never has come down to 0... I'm very skeptical about my test kit, and probably should purchase a more accurate one. I'm using the one the LFS recommended.. (the one with the fish Doctor on the front!)

During the last few weeks is when I noticed the sudden spike in Nitrates...
Which have never seemed to level off. They are constantly increasing.. ..
So 50% water changes have been my solution. I'm just not sure what would cause it.

What are normal symptoms of Nitrate increase?
Organic waste?
Die off?

Thank you for your replys.

kungfukoi
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Old 12-08-2003, 05:25 PM   #9
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well, adding the second batch of LR probably started you into a second cycle. Your nitrates are going up because of the biological filtration process (ammonia-nitrite-nitrate) Are there animals in the tank?
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Old 12-10-2003, 01:56 AM   #10
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RE

I thought I had passed the cycle.

As for animals, just hermit crabs, snails, 2 bristol stars, some cucumbers, and a couple of nasty mantis shrimp, and crabs.

So How effective are refugiums at ridding nitrates?
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