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Old 06-02-2005, 05:10 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Charlotte, NC
Posts: 2
High Nitrate Levels/Drooping Corals

I apologize in advance if I provide more information than needed, however, I feel more is better than less when it comes to solving these types of problems.

My wife and I moved to North Carolina two year ago and left behind a Saltwater Fish Only, 125 Gallon Aquarium. About a year and a half ago we decided to set up our “Ultimate”: aquarium in our new house. We hired a local, well respected Reef/Saltwater Fish establishment to build us a custom (not the tank but all of the cabinetry and plumbing) 140 Gallon, reef and Saltwater Setup. The setup is as follows:

- 140 Gallon (24”x48”x 28½) Glass Aquarium
- 2 @ 250Watt Metal Halide Lights (10,000ºK)
- 2 @ 96Watt Super Actinic VHO Fluorescents
- 2 Small, Fixed power heads to circulate water within the tank
- 2 5/8” output tubes from output pump to return water
and further circulate water within the tank
- 2-3” of Aragonite Substrate Material covering the tank bottom
- Approximately 150lbs of Good Quality Live Rock
(not sure about how much)
- Reef Concepts Model 624 Aerofoamer
- Reef Concepts Model CA700 Calcium Reactor
and associated pump, monitor CO2 tank and bubble counter
- Kent RO Water system which automatically fills a 40 Gal
reservoir which Is used to auto fill evaporating water in
tank and create new Saltwater For water changes
- Unidentified Circulating pump which is moving at least
1400 Gallons of water per hour
- Custom Made Sump for the Protein Skimmer and Calcium
Reactor Approximately 60 gallon capacity which is
filled to about 30 Gallons
- Read Sea 200mg/hr Ozonizer and ORP Monitor
- Aqualogic 1/3HP Aquarium Chiller and Cooler/Heater
Controller

The system was fully functional about a year ago at which point we added about 5-10 Soft corals and several Tangs. Initially I relied on the Aquarium Maintenance Guy to Do all of the parameter monitoring (big mistake!). Gradually over the past year we Now have the fish/coral/invertebrates:

- Approximately 15 Soft Corals, Leathers, Bubbles, mushrooms, etc
- The following Fish - 3” Yellow Tank, 4” Sailfin Tang, 3” Fairy
Wrasse, 1¼” six-line wrasse, 3” engineer goby, 2 fairly
larges fire shrimp, 2½ Kole Tang, 2” Scribble Rabbit, 3” Hippo
Tang, 4” Pink Sea Cucumber.
- Until about 2 months ago when “trouble began” I also had a 3”
Clam And approximately 3 hard corals. The clam died and the
hard corals Also lost there polyps.

I have the Fluorescents turned on at 2:00PM and turned off at 10:00PM, I have the Halides turned on at 3:00PM and turned off at 9:00PM. A 20 – 25% water change Is done every three to four weeks, mostly four weeks lately. There is virtually no Coralline Algae or even dark green algae buildup (very strange). The temperature Is maintained at a steady 77º, the PH in the reactor typically between 6.7 and 6.9.



About 2 months ago, I first noticed the clam had “passed away”. Next I noticed the Hard corals had bleached which was confirmed by the maintenance guy. I next Noticed that the some of the soft corals where “drooping” and is some cases Not standing up at all. I don’t think any are gone but they are not looking anywhere As good as they did 6 months ago.



I then decided to check some of the tank parameters myself with the following results

- Nitrate level - 80ppm (yes, I said 80!)
- Specific Gravity - 1.0125
- Ph level - 8.4 – 8.5
- Nitrite Level .5ppm
- Calcium – Approximately 400
- Alkalinity – Approximately 250

I called the maintenance guy who swore he never read more than a negligible level of Nitrates. He came out and realized that his reagents were bad and confirmed the 80 ppm level. He did an immediate 50% water change and the nitrate level dropped to 45 -50ppm. The next day I took another reading and it was back up to 80 ppm.

I do believe I have been overfeeding this tank for quite a while I feed them approximately 4 cubes of frozen food a day, formula 1, formula 2, plankton and myssis shrimp!

When I reported this to the maintenance guy, he said we would have to replace the Entire aragonite substrate, I task I’m not looking forward to because of the work involved, but more importantly the effect on the biological process. I contacted someone Else who told me not to take this extreme measure. When we vacuum the substrate We can only get to the front 1/3 of the tank because everything else is under rock. Perhaps
The debris is being swept behind the live rock where is now building up.
I can try and Take a power head and blow out the stuff behind the rock but I’m afraid it will be difficult To get anything other than surface debris.

Any thoughts, ideas or suggestions as to what I should do. The fish are doing great and Some of the corals look OK but I want to head off a disaster if that is what is on the horizon

I would appreciate any recommendations or suggestions on anything else that might be Going on here. Why am I not growing any coralline (purple/lavender) algae
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Old 06-02-2005, 05:13 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Charlotte, NC
Posts: 2
High Nitrate Level/Drooping Corals

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I apologize in advance if I provide more information than needed, however, I feel more is better than less when it comes to solving these types of problems.

My wife and I moved to North Carolina two year ago and left behind a Saltwater Fish Only, 125 Gallon Aquarium. About a year and a half ago we decided to set up our “Ultimate”: aquarium in our new house. We hired a local, well respected Reef/Saltwater Fish establishment to build us a custom (not the tank but all of the cabinetry and plumbing) 140 Gallon, reef and Saltwater Setup. The setup is as follows:

- 140 Gallon (24”x48”x 28½) Glass Aquarium
- 2 @ 250Watt Metal Halide Lights (10,000ºK)
- 2 @ 96Watt Super Actinic VHO Fluorescents
- 2 Small, Fixed power heads to circulate water within the tank
- 2 5/8” output tubes from output pump to return water
and further circulate water within the tank
- 2-3” of Aragonite Substrate Material covering the tank bottom
- Approximately 150lbs of Good Quality Live Rock
(not sure about how much)
- Reef Concepts Model 624 Aerofoamer
- Reef Concepts Model CA700 Calcium Reactor
and associated pump, monitor CO2 tank and bubble counter
- Kent RO Water system which automatically fills a 40 Gal
reservoir which Is used to auto fill evaporating water in
tank and create new Saltwater For water changes
- Unidentified Circulating pump which is moving at least
1400 Gallons of water per hour
- Custom Made Sump for the Protein Skimmer and Calcium
Reactor Approximately 60 gallon capacity which is
filled to about 30 Gallons
- Read Sea 200mg/hr Ozonizer and ORP Monitor
- Aqualogic 1/3HP Aquarium Chiller and Cooler/Heater
Controller

The system was fully functional about a year ago at which point we added about 5-10 Soft corals and several Tangs. Initially I relied on the Aquarium Maintenance Guy to Do all of the parameter monitoring (big mistake!). Gradually over the past year we Now have the fish/coral/invertebrates:

- Approximately 15 Soft Corals, Leathers, Bubbles, mushrooms, etc
- The following Fish - 3” Yellow Tank, 4” Sailfin Tang, 3” Fairy
Wrasse, 1¼” six-line wrasse, 3” engineer goby, 2 fairly
larges fire shrimp, 2½ Kole Tang, 2” Scribble Rabbit, 3” Hippo
Tang, 4” Pink Sea Cucumber.
- Until about 2 months ago when “trouble began” I also had a 3”
Clam And approximately 3 hard corals. The clam died and the
hard corals Also lost there polyps.

I have the Fluorescents turned on at 2:00PM and turned off at 10:00PM, I have the Halides turned on at 3:00PM and turned off at 9:00PM. A 20 – 25% water change Is done every three to four weeks, mostly four weeks lately. There is virtually no Coralline Algae or even dark green algae buildup (very strange). The temperature Is maintained at a steady 77º, the PH in the reactor typically between 6.7 and 6.9.



About 2 months ago, I first noticed the clam had “passed away”. Next I noticed the Hard corals had bleached which was confirmed by the maintenance guy. I next Noticed that the some of the soft corals where “drooping” and is some cases Not standing up at all. I don’t think any are gone but they are not looking anywhere As good as they did 6 months ago.



I then decided to check some of the tank parameters myself with the following results

- Nitrate level - 80ppm (yes, I said 80!)
- Specific Gravity - 1.0125
- Ph level - 8.4 – 8.5
- Nitrite Level .5ppm
- Calcium – Approximately 400
- Alkalinity – Approximately 250

I called the maintenance guy who swore he never read more than a negligible level of Nitrates. He came out and realized that his reagents were bad and confirmed the 80 ppm level. He did an immediate 50% water change and the nitrate level dropped to 45 -50ppm. The next day I took another reading and it was back up to 80 ppm.

I do believe I have been overfeeding this tank for quite a while I feed them approximately 4 cubes of frozen food a day, formula 1, formula 2, plankton and myssis shrimp!

When I reported this to the maintenance guy, he said we would have to replace the Entire aragonite substrate, I task I’m not looking forward to because of the work involved, but more importantly the effect on the biological process. I contacted someone Else who told me not to take this extreme measure. When we vacuum the substrate We can only get to the front 1/3 of the tank because everything else is under rock. Perhaps
The debris is being swept behind the live rock where is now building up.
I can try and Take a power head and blow out the stuff behind the rock but I’m afraid it will be difficult To get anything other than surface debris.

Any thoughts, ideas or suggestions as to what I should do. The fish are doing great and Some of the corals look OK but I want to head off a disaster if that is what is on the horizon

I would appreciate any recommendations or suggestions on anything else that might be Going on here. Why am I not growing any coralline (purple/lavender) algae

_________________
Lewis Kirschner
14420 Nolen LAne
Charlotte, NC 28277
__________________

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Charlotte, NC 28277
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Old 06-02-2005, 05:49 PM   #3
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One thing for sure is that you need to cut back on the feedings. Fish should be fed every other day. I say this from experience. Been doing this for eight years now with good results. Over feeding causes algea problems and water quality problems.
It will not harm your fish to feed them every other day. IMO
Have a good day
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Old 06-02-2005, 05:51 PM   #4
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And by the way, You have a very nice set up. Wish I could see it.
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Old 06-02-2005, 06:24 PM   #5
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Wrong forum man, this is FW.
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Old 06-02-2005, 06:35 PM   #6
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This needs to be moved to Saltwater-sick fish or coral
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Old 06-02-2005, 06:37 PM   #7
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Well maybe if one of you had reported it, it would have been moved already.
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Old 06-02-2005, 08:18 PM   #8
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Re: High Nitrate Levels/Drooping Corals

Quote:
Originally Posted by lewis171
I then decided to check some of the tank parameters myself with the following results
The temperature Is maintained at a steady 77º....
- Nitrate level - 80ppm (yes, I said 80!)
- Specific Gravity - 1.0125
- Ph level - 8.4 – 8.5
- Nitrite Level .5ppm
- Calcium – Approximately 400
- Alkalinity – Approximately 250
These levels are 99.9 % of your trouble. The nitrates are indeed quite high but with reduced feeding as melosu58 suggest, it should get itself under control. You could likely feed ½ that amount you are now. Just be very sure you have some kind of veggie type grazing food for the tangs to eat all day. They will otherwise become quite unhealthy and typically dine of the soft corals.

Temp would be better off closer to 79° but at lowest 78°.
SG should be no less than 1.024 (35 ppt preferabley). Do not try increasing this more than 0.001/day
pH is relative to the time of day tested so if later in the day it's fine, if early in the AM it a tad high.
Nitrite should be undetectable in an established & cycled tank but feeding less should eliminate that.
Ca level is fine but your alkalinity is double what it should be. You need to get that down some. A better goal would be 125-150 ppm while maintaining the same relative Ca level.

Cheers
Steve
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Old 06-02-2005, 09:10 PM   #9
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And you are right Steve, I keep a handful of grape calerpa in my tank for my three tangs to forage on during the day. I forgot to mention that. Thanks
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Old 06-03-2005, 02:20 AM   #10
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So I finally got this to the right place. Hopefully someone here can help.
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