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Old 04-21-2007, 12:06 PM   #1
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Need help with Nitrate problem

I have had a nitrite problem since I started my tank over a year ago.
I can never get it to zero. I use a RO system to make my own water.
I change the water often. I changed 20 gallons out yesterday, but can never get rid of it.
I also use Phosban in my filter.
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Old 04-21-2007, 12:11 PM   #2
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post your tank size. also how often do u do water changes ? we will need more info to help you.
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Old 04-21-2007, 12:33 PM   #3
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Unmanageable NO3 is generally the result of several contributing factors. the two largest are feeding too much and overstocking. Maintaining an NO3 level of ZERO is very difficult, even for the experienced hobbiest. Levels below 5ppm usually have no effect on livestock or the tank. Of course, the lower the better.
A few questions...
How old is your tank?
What type of substrate?
How much LR?
Other filtration?
Do you have a skimmer?
How big is your tank?
Current livestock list?
What and how often do you feed?
How often do you do PWC?
Is there detectable NO3 in the source water you use for top-offs and water changes?
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Old 04-21-2007, 02:41 PM   #4
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Very much good info. If you could answer the questions it would be a big help. As Brian said it is very hard to make it to zero. Most of the time mine is but sometimes it`s not. Some of the things I do to control it is

1 Feeding every other day.
2 10-15% PWC`s every week.
3 A refugium with macro in it.
4 A skimmer with LR for good biological filtration. Skimmer will take out DOC`s that end up being nitrates in the end.
5 A low bioload in the tank.

Just some things that you could try if you are not doing already. Dont forget to answer the questions.
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Old 04-21-2007, 02:57 PM   #5
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my tank is 55 gal. I have a protien skimmer and a emporer 400 for filtration.
I aslo have about 30-40 pds of live rock
crushed coral for substrate
2 blue green chromis
1 snowflake eel
1 spotted cardinal
1 lunar wrasse
2 blue devil damsels
1 choc chip starfish

I do a 20 gallon water change every 2 weeks

i feed them every night, freeze dried plankton
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Old 04-21-2007, 03:43 PM   #6
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Quote:
my tank is 55 gal. I have a protien skimmer and a emporer 400 for filtration.
Good start. I would consider removing the biowheels on the filter. This type of bio-filtration can actually cause NO3 spike. Do one and wait a cople of weeks and then remove the other one. Also, How often do you rinse or replace the mechanical media (filter pads etc.)?
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I aslo have about 30-40 pds of live rock
The addition of more LR would certainly help. For a 55gal tank a good goal is to have 80-110lbs of LR total. This will certainly help with the NO3 issue.
Quote:
crushed coral for substrate
This is likely another contributor to the problem. CC is corse and it can catch detritus. This will lead to decay and NO3 production. IMHO, LS is a much better substrate choice as it does not have this issue. However, if you vac your CC at every water change to remove the detritus you should be fine.
Quote:
2 blue green chromis
1 snowflake eel
1 spotted cardinal
1 lunar wrasse
2 blue devil damsels
1 choc chip starfish
It does not appear that you are over-stocked. However, the limited biological filtration even this amount of livestock will produce NO3.
Quote:
I do a 20 gallon water change every 2 weeks
Great. test your source water for NO3 as well.
Quote:
i feed them every night, freeze dried plankton
Food is a very comon source for NO3 introduction. For now, cut back on the amount of feeding or try feeding every other day. It is also a good idea to introduce some variety to their diet. Mix it up. try a combo of mysis or krill with some Prime reef and spirulina flake. Also, soak food in a product like Selcon or Vita-Chem so the fish receive enough amino-acids and HUFAs. By feeding higher quality foods, you can reduce the quaintity that you feed.
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Old 04-21-2007, 04:20 PM   #7
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Brian gave excellent advice. The only thing I want to reinterate is the crushed coral. It is a contributor of nitrates because it hides dertrius and other waste in it leading to high nitrates. You might want to think about changing to sand.
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Old 04-21-2007, 05:16 PM   #8
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when I change my water, I vac the crushed coral, which really takes a lot of garbage out.
I use a RO system for my water, so I tested that, and it is perfect. My tap water has got some nitrate in it, that is the reason I bought the RO system.
I rinse the filter pads every week, and change them about every 2-3 weeks.
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Old 04-21-2007, 05:43 PM   #9
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I agree that the vacuuming does help but in the meantime between the two weeks it is holding waste and turning it into nitrates. Using sand and having a sand sifting goby will eliminate the vacuuming and the two weeks between. JMO
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Old 04-21-2007, 06:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
I have had a nitrite problem since I started my tank over a year ago.
Define "problem". What is your exact reading and what test kit are you using? It may be a good idea to get another kit from a different manufacture just to verify.
Quote:
I rinse the filter pads every week, and change them about every 2-3 weeks.
That is good, just make sure you are rinsing the pads in SW so you do not destroy the beneficial bacteria that has colonized on them. At water change time, simply swish them around in the water you removed from the tank to wash away any waste. You may also want to "flip-flop" replacing them. Only replace one at a time and alternate which one you do. This will ensure some active bacteria always stays in the system.
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