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Old 01-20-2006, 01:28 AM   #1
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Is it Because of Carbon?

I forgot to leave a small detail regarding my ongoing battle with Nitrates. To recap, I have a 55G FOWLR with two Whisper 60 HOB powerfilter, a Prizm skimmer, and an Aquaclear 4000 PH with in-tank filter attachment. I also have 70 lbs of LR and I use Aragalive for substrate (with a thin layer of crushed coral under all the sand).

I've been battling my Nitrates for a year now. It's been playing around the numbers between 20 and 40 ppms. I've done major cleanups and pwc to no avail. My filtered water hits 0 ppms in nitrates.

The little detail I forgot to mention (without any intent whatsoever) was that I've been running carbon in my Whisper filter for A YEAR NOW; changing the bags with fresh one (and refilling with new carbon) once every other week.

Would that be keeping my Nitrates Up? Also, would that have starved the tank of some trace elements that came from the instant Ocean salt?

thank you for your feedback and I apologize for the lack of that certain detail.

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Old 01-20-2006, 02:01 AM   #2
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bad carbon sources can do that I understand. I have no idea how bad it can be.

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Old 01-20-2006, 07:23 AM   #3
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From what I've read, the carbon used in the whisper bag (it comes in the packet you put into the bag) is an okay GAC. All carbons will eventually leak phosphates back into the system when they "full". From my understanding, you would get nitrates only if you are not changing out the filter bag frequently, which you have been doing. The filter bag tends to be a nitrate factory because it only stores detritus and such, it does not remove it, until you do. Even though you have been good about changing your bags out, my suggestion would be to put the bag with the carbon in your HOB one week a month and see what happens. And yes, your carbon will remove some trace elements from your water, but with PWC it really doesn't become a problem. If you are consistently low in Calcium or Iodine, etc. you can always use additives. My only other suggestion would be to add more live rock. The industry standard seems to be 1 to 2 pounds per gallon. HTH
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Old 01-20-2006, 07:36 AM   #4
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It sounds like you are doing the right things so it's kind of hard to guess why your nitrates are that high. Here's a couple of things:

1) What is your bioload, what kind of fish do you have? How often and how much are you feeding them?
2) How "thin" is that layer of crushed coral? Crushed coral is a netorious detritus trap and I suppose detritus could work it's way into that layer after a time. How deep is your sand bed?
3) You said that you're running two HOB filters and 1 has carbon. What is in the other one? If you have filter media in it, how often are you changing it?
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Old 01-20-2006, 12:29 PM   #5
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From your previous post on 1/15/06 I see a Blue Tang, Picasso Trigger, Marron clown, 2 yellow tails, ?puffer? & I don’t see the Flame Angel.

Do you still have all these fish or have you scaled back some? I imagine with such a large bio-load you would have no3 problems no matter how many pwc you did. The tank is 1+ years old so no3 should have been banished a long time ago, especially with that much lr. Do you vacuum the sand with each pwc? Personally I don’t think you have enough flow in your tank for the lr to do it’s job properly. I’d get rid of the Aquaclear 4000 and replace with two Maxi-Jet 1200, Penguin 1140, or Seio Super Pumps
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Old 01-20-2006, 10:15 PM   #6
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I used to have 3 yellow tail damsels back in the days but that was early last year. I also don't have the puffer and the cow fish anymore. I donated it. I only have a 2 inch Blue Hippo, a Picasso, and a maroon. Sooner or later, I will donate the blue hippo and the picasso as well for store credit towards corals.

so right now, I only have 3 fish in the 55G: maroon clown, blue hippo tang, and picasso.

My sand bet is about 2 1/2 inches deep. The bottom layer of crushed coral is about 1/4 inch deep.

Both HOBs have carbon. I've been running the type of filter for more than a year now; changing the biobags once every other week.

I just bought a calcium tester right now and my calcium is hitting less than 20ppm, on a side note.

I only feed flakes once a day. Then I feed frozen brime every other day to every 3 days.

I also change the filtering material in the powerhead attachment once a week.

You know what, I could've spent all those monthly maintenance money that I spent on hobs into a fuge or sump instead.....however, I also went cheap on the stand so I don't really have any space for fuge or sump at all (I used a very studry Ikea coffee table).

You try to save money, you end up paying for more....

But yea, back to the Nitrates....what to do, I wonder.

Thanks for all of your input.

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