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Old 12-06-2011, 01:55 PM   #1
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Question Nitrate help, please.

Question:

What can I do to lower my nitrates?

Tank has been running for about 6 months since I purchased and relocated.

I currently have (6) fish, and am adding my (7th), and final fish tomorrow, which is why I want to address this issue as soon as possible, as I understand that I am riding the overstocked line for a 54 gallon tank.

In the time I have had this set-up, I only started testing myself about a month ago, previous to that, it was weekly tested at my LFS, and I got the "All Good" response.

I really couldn't tell you what all good was, as the only thing I was testing myself was salinity. At the time, the LFS was only checking the basics as I hadn't gotten into corals yet.

I have ALWAYS done weekly water changes every Monday ranging from 15-25% each time. In every case, I have tested my water previous to and after the pwc. My rolling issue is that my nitrates last week hit an all time low of 20ppm, which is not really low at all. This week after doing another 25% (11 gallons for a 54 gallon tank) water change, the trates are at 30-40ppm. Guess what they were before the pwc? Yup 30-40ppm.

I am using an API kit to test.

At this time I do not have a skimmer. I have 80-100lbs of LR in the DT, and another 20 lbs in the sump. Also no chaeto or other macro's down there.

Any suggestions would be welcomed.

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Old 12-06-2011, 04:25 PM   #2
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don't buy the 7th fish, for one.
how often are you feeding and how much?
how much flow is in the tank, and how does the sand bed look? how about the bottom of the sump? is that clean or full of detritus?
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Old 12-06-2011, 04:25 PM   #3
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whats your feeding schedule and what,any cuc,what test kit liquid or strips,has anything died or dissapeared,what water are you using for top offs ?
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Old 12-06-2011, 08:40 PM   #4
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Mr. X - I can see what I can do about the fish as I impulsed and purchased it last night - it is due to ship in the morning. I can most likely take him into my LFS no problem.

My feeding schedule is Ocean nutrition flakes daily. Every 3rd day I feed mysis and no flakes. I feed (7) days per week.

I currently have 1700gph in the tank provided by (2) koralia 750's plus my return pump.

The sandbed looks to be good other than some larger BB sized pebbles surfacing in the front middle of the tank. I also purchased (5) nassarius snails to help with the sand turning.

The sump was just completely removed and cleaned thouroughly about 3 weeks ago. It has very little, to nothing on the bottom under the LR.

David,

Feeding above ^

CUC = (5) nassarius snails, + (5) more on the way. 10-15 blue leg crabs, (1) scarlet crab, (2) large hermit crabs. (2) large snails, and 5-7 smaller snails that look like turban snails.

I use an API Master Test - Liquid.

Nothing dying, in fact the tank is looking fantastic, I just want it to be feeling the same way!

All top-offs are made with RO/DI water from my own unit that is less than (1) month old. Previous to my unit, I purchased RO/DI from the Supermarket down the road.
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Old 12-06-2011, 10:16 PM   #5
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I think I have heard that the flakes can produce more nitrates than other foods but dont quote me on that. Sounds like your doing everything right. Maybe try the small pellets instead of the flake for a while. Is the mysis the frozen form? If so make sure you are rinsing it.
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Old 12-06-2011, 10:25 PM   #6
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I had planned to try NLS pellets once this can ran out... Maybe I'll try. I was also thinking about trying Doug's recipe from the other forum - got it saved, but haven't attempted yet. Also, the mysis I do use I do rinse first as its pretty cloudy when I thaw it.
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Old 12-07-2011, 01:25 PM   #7
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Why did you totally clean the sump for,doing this will have killed all the beneficial bacteria in the sump,at the time you put the sump back in you may not of had enough BB for your bio load.
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Old 12-07-2011, 01:37 PM   #8
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I removed all of the live rock and placed it in a container of tank water - I then removed the sump and emptied out about 1/2" of detritus from the bottom. Replaced the live rock and added the water back in, minus 6 gallons, and then added new saltwater, as if I did a pwc through the sump.
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Old 12-07-2011, 04:09 PM   #9
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Oh ok,thats fine.I would also test your new saltwater just in case your putting trates into the tank.If you had that much detritus in your sump after 6 months then I would say your over feeding.
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Old 12-07-2011, 07:11 PM   #10
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I bought the set-up used, and I never cleaned out the sump, just transferred it. The previous owners had it set-up for about 6 years. They had a puffer, niger trigger, and a foxface - messy eaters.

I'm not sure how long they had run without cleaning it, but I am monitoring my feeding anyway as a countermeasure to the trates.

Doug - I did one better, I believe today.

My shipment of Snails, shrimp, and fish came in at 11:00a. I was able to acclimate the shipment, and while doing so I, with the power of Poseidon, coaxed out my (2) blue green chromis that are ALWAYS hiding, and removed them from the tank. While my shipment was still dripping, I shot down to the LFS and gave them the Chromis.

So, end result, I am now at (5) fish opposed to (7) or even staying at (6). I feel much better about this stocking.
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Old 12-07-2011, 08:31 PM   #11
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I also agree with flake food being partial problem. Have you tried frozen cubes? Only giving enough food at one time for fish to eat quickly. I feed everyday sometimes 2 or 3 cubes at once but may take hour to get all food in tank. I do have 9 fish plus sun coral to feed.

I have Also recently learned about "TDS creep" when using ro system and it is shut off for while then when you first start up system can have a build up of tds. I have a jump up to 25ppm or so when I first turn on system. So now I run water about 3 or 4 min into drain to get it back down to 1 or 2ppm. Then i start making water for tank The only way to monitor this is to have tds meter after the RO stages and before goes into DI. I hope that makes sense.

Also do smaller water changes more often. Maybe 10 gallons every other day for
Week or 2
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Old 12-07-2011, 08:42 PM   #12
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Never heard about TDS creep, sounds legit. I'll do the same thing. I typically feed enough for fish to eat all good in less than 3 minutes.

I'm looking into making homemade food here soon, so we'll see about that.

Thanks for all the suggestions!
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Old 12-07-2011, 08:44 PM   #13
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sounds like you are doing 10% water changes, correct? if you are reading 30-40 ppm nitrate before you do a pwc you wont see any change after because the most your nitrate could drop during that change is 4ppm leaving you still in the 30-40 ppm range.

when you do your water changes are you stirring the sand bed in your tank at all? that could be a contributing factor. Anaerobic bacteria tend to be much more finicky than the aerobic bacteria that consume NH4 and NO2, they take longer to establish good colonies and need areas that have very little oxygen, such as deep in live rock or in your sand bed.

depending on what fish you have you could be over feeding. What kind of fish do you have in your tank?
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Old 12-07-2011, 09:03 PM   #14
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tds
creep
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Old 12-07-2011, 09:12 PM   #15
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I've been religious about doing minimum of 15%, with mainly all being 20% pwc's. When I cleaned my sump I only did a 10%. Other than that it has always been more.

Currently Stock:

Pair B&W clowns
Purple Firefish
McKosker's Flasher Wrasse
Midas Blenny (Added this morning)
(2) Green Chromis (removed this morning)
Derasa Clam (if that counts)

Scarlet Cleaner shrimp
(2) emerald crabs
(2) pepperment shrimp (added this morning)

Std. CUC of snails / hermits

Also, when I do my PWC's I am very careful not to stir up the sand bed. I typically pour quite slowly over at the back near the overflow.

My 1st PWC, I dumped in the front and caused a sandstorm, so now I am more careful.
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Old 12-07-2011, 09:21 PM   #16
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The next thing I would say is test your new saltwater for NO3.

Also I noticed you purchased the tank used and they apparently had some messy eaters and detritus build up, you didn't happen to reuse the used sand did you?(without cleaning it). if you cleaned out a 1/2" of muck from the sump I can only imagine the kind of junk that is in the sand bed.

If that isnt it, I would say give it time and maybe cut your feedings back to every other day. You have only been running for 6 months, and a good colony of bacteria can take some time to establish. You could also throw some macro into your sump as a nutrient export.
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Old 12-07-2011, 09:59 PM   #17
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I haven't posted much on this forum yet' but I have been lurking for quite a while. I have had some success in bringing nitrates down a couple of times now. I think the most important thing to have is a skimmer. This is the only piece of equipment you can have that will remove stuff before it gets broken down. Especially since you already have a sump in place I would strongly suggest that you get one. I have a 55 gallon with a 20 gallon sump, a similar setup to yours. I have a reef octopus nw 110 that pulls out tons of gunk. The other benefit to a skimmer is that you can vodka dose. The combination of water changes and vodka dosing with a strong skimmer (and conservative feeding of course) has brought my nitrates down from off the charts to zero twice now. It takes quite a while (several months), but it works.
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Old 12-09-2011, 08:33 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TLTGF
Question:

What can I do to lower my nitrates?

Tank has been running for about 6 months since I purchased and relocated.

I currently have (6) fish, and am adding my (7th), and final fish tomorrow, which is why I want to address this issue as soon as possible, as I understand that I am riding the overstocked line for a 54 gallon tank.

In the time I have had this set-up, I only started testing myself about a month ago, previous to that, it was weekly tested at my LFS, and I got the "All Good" response.

I really couldn't tell you what all good was, as the only thing I was testing myself was salinity. At the time, the LFS was only checking the basics as I hadn't gotten into corals yet.

I have ALWAYS done weekly water changes every Monday ranging from 15-25% each time. In every case, I have tested my water previous to and after the pwc. My rolling issue is that my nitrates last week hit an all time low of 20ppm, which is not really low at all. This week after doing another 25% (11 gallons for a 54 gallon tank) water change, the trates are at 30-40ppm. Guess what they were before the pwc? Yup 30-40ppm.

I am using an API kit to test.

At this time I do not have a skimmer. I have 80-100lbs of LR in the DT, and another 20 lbs in the sump. Also no chaeto or other macro's down there.

Any suggestions would be welcomed.
My nitrates were 160+ I bought a nitrate reactor (marine depot has a kit for 50 bucks) it dropped my levels to 0 in 3 weeks and has been that way ever since
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Old 12-09-2011, 09:11 PM   #19
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I think u said on ur build thread that ur getting it under control. My guesses would be the sand and sump (like already mentioned), but I would almost guarantee your nitrates were higher than you thouht. API nitrates r pretty hard to read after 20ppm. If u don't see any difference after a water change it almost has to be the test. And definately make sure to shake the **** outa bottle #2.
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Old 12-09-2011, 09:31 PM   #20
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Yes. I shake until my arm hurts - I did a massive water change today, tested the trates and the tube was more yellow than orange. I should've taken a picture. Planning to test again tonight or tomorrow, so we'll see!

Thanks again for all suggestions!
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