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Old 08-29-2012, 06:03 PM   #1
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Help with Nitrates

Ok so I've had high Nitrates for last 6 months and can't get them to lower at all. I originally had well water and was using conditioners for the first 4-5 months. Someone said they used spring water from the store so i tried that for 2 months and still nothing. I finally broke down and bought a Ro/Di 5 stage system 3-4 weeks ago, and since i started the system I've changed 10-15% of the water and top it off when needed. Originally 6 months ago i thought i was feeding to much so i cut that down a lot. I've bought a couple cleaner packages in the last 9 months and they don't seem to help. I clean the sponge 3 times a month. I don't know what else to do to lower it. If anybody knows a secret I'd appreciate it. Thanks!
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Old 08-29-2012, 06:09 PM   #2
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Sponge in your filter? I would take that out to start but we need the details on your tank first...
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Old 08-29-2012, 06:34 PM   #3
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I meant foam filter by Aquaclear. It's suppose to help filter certain things but it turned out to be a good hiding spot for Copepods haha.

30 gallon aquarium
40-70 gallon aquaclear filtration system
( 2 total) 1 - 700 gph & 1 - 750 gph pumps
1 fluval heater
Lighting is 4x odessya 24w atintic blue
25lbs live rock
2 1/2 inch sand
1 full size clown
1 little yellow watchman goby
1 6 strip wrasse
1 spider decorator crab
Around 20 hermit crabs
Around 12-15 snails ( variety )
5 blue/purple mushrooms
1 scooter blenny that i can't get to eat
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Old 08-29-2012, 08:06 PM   #4
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Couple things...

1- how often do you do 10% water changes
2- what is your nitrate reading at

Also, I knew you were talking about the filter sponge. I took mine out completely, and don't run mechanical filtration. It seems to be a safe harbor for decaying nasty stuff. Do you run a protein skimmer?
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Old 08-29-2012, 08:29 PM   #5
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80ppm.. No protein skimmer bc i was told i didn't need one bc of such a small tank. You have a Aquaclear filter?
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Old 08-29-2012, 08:30 PM   #6
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Oh ya and i ll change 10 every 7-10 days
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Old 08-29-2012, 08:48 PM   #7
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Yea aquaclear 70... What testing kit do you use? API? And yes, ditch the sponge... I run GFO in mine, and that's it
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Old 08-29-2012, 11:04 PM   #8
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I've had issues like that as well. Make sure you clean your equipment every once in a while. I know that you have a small tank and some people don't think protein skimmers are needed but I will say this: protein skimmers reduce organic waste and thus reduce nitrates. If they work on larger tanks then they most definately would on a smaller one. They arent required to keep saltwater fish and I'm not saying it will remove all your nitrates but it definitely can't hurt. With that being said, if you did decide to go that route, make sure the skimmer can more than handle your tank. In other words buy the best one you can afford.

On your next water change, take your power head and spray your live rock to get any old food or fish waste off. Siphon the sand really well. If you have a deep bed siphon small amounts each water change until you've done the entire tank then start over. I would change 1/3 of my water if they get to high. Make sure you rinse out sponge/pads with RO/DI water each water change...I would use clean saltwater if you don't have live rock so not to kill off your good bacteria. I have live rock so I change mine completely as its not my main source of bacteria for my tank.

You can buy something to chemically absorb them which is a smart move although finding out "why" you have them would be more beneficial in the long run. Just an opinion. =)
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Old 08-29-2012, 11:13 PM   #9
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I agree with all those actions, but the OP said he has 80ppm... Fish can sustain up to 40ppm, levels above these are most likely going to be lethal, especially after 6 months. My guess is that there's something wrong with his test kit, maybe it's a bad batch, or he's using a freshwater kit.. Who knows. The nitrate tests are sometimes finicky and if you dont follow the instructions exactly, you will get skewed results. They need to bring a water sample to an LFS to get tested, bottom line.
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Old 08-30-2012, 12:06 AM   #10
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I agree with you on testing.
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