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Old 01-02-2012, 11:07 PM   #1
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New, nitrates are off the charts! Help please!

Im new here on this site and to sw tanks. I have a Biocube 29. I bought it used and I also bought it with the live sand and live rock in it. I also took the water figuring I would have an established tank. However, when I picked it up he did not have it plugged in and I dont know for how long it sat that way. He did say he had fish in it a month or so ago. So I added another 5lb bag of CaribSea live sand to repopulate the lr and ls incase it had died off. It holds 15 gallons and I did a 5 gallon water change that I got from the lfs. I brought it home Fri and did the ls and water change Sat. I have modded the stock filter to accept poly-filter filter pad. I have changed it a few times to get rid of debris. Also on Sat I dropped 1 coctail shrimp in to get things started. It is now Mon and the water was super clear today. I did my first water test and the results are: pH-8.2, ammonia-1ppm, nitrites-.5ppm, (and now for the stunner) nitrates-160! Maybe more, but that was the last color on the chart. My salinity is a little high at 1.032. My temp is about 79. I think I know why my nitrates are so high. Probably because of a dirty tank, and Im sure the bioballs dont help. What would be the best course of action for me? Water change? If so, how much? Should I clean a portion of the bioballs? After the reading I looked at the sponge in chamber 3 and there was a ton of debris under it so I stirred it out and let it go into the tank and hopefully into the filter. If I do a water change should I clean the bottom of the chambers first and get everything stirred up so I can siphon it out with the water? Will this mess up the cycle of the new sand? Any advice on what to do would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
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Old 01-03-2012, 12:20 PM   #2
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Anyone have any info?
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Old 01-03-2012, 12:26 PM   #3
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Don't do water changes. let the tank cycle. I would not put any livestock in the tank until ammonia and nitrite are zeroed out. that's when you can do water changes to remove the nitrate. I would also get something in there to create some water movement. It looks like the surface is still
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Old 01-03-2012, 12:32 PM   #4
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I have a 500 gph powerhead on the left side pointing at the glass so it circulates around to the filter intake. Even with the nitrates so high and the unknown condition of the lr, ls should I leave it?
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Old 01-03-2012, 12:39 PM   #5
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What makes live rock live is bacteria. You introduced an ammonia source (the shrimp), so let the cycle take it's course. Doing a water change now will only weaken the bacteria colony. I would aim the power head slightly upwards so it breaks the surface a bit.
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Old 01-03-2012, 12:50 PM   #6
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I do have it pointed at the surface. It's in the very corner and about halfway down and pointed towards the front glass and up
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Old 01-03-2012, 12:54 PM   #7
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Ok. Then you are on the right track. Just sit tight now and let nature do it's thing.
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Old 01-03-2012, 10:10 PM   #8
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Yup. Dont do a pwc until ammo and trites are 0. Then do a pwc to get trates to an acceptable level then add fish.
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Old 01-03-2012, 10:34 PM   #9
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Ok thanks, I'll try that. I have some algae growing on the lr. Does it look good or is it bad?
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Old 01-03-2012, 10:59 PM   #10
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Its all party of the cycle. Brown, Green, Hard Green, Purple, Green again....you kind of just have to go with the flow.
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