How does live rock detoxify nitrates?

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Aquarium Advice Regular
Jan 2, 2005
So, I know that the bacteria converts ammonia to nitrite, then to nitrate, and that live rock and protein skimming help to prevent nitrates, but my question is, how does the live rock lower nitrates? I know people with successful tanks that dont have protein skimmers so whats the deal? How does live rock work?

It's what they call anerobic bacteria.... mean NO oxygen.... the LR has areas that contain this bacteria only because the area becomes stagnant the all O2 is used that point the anerobic bacteria develop and chew up the nitrates.... this is on a pretty small scale though....
The bacteria need to break down nitrates live deep in the rock in areas that achieve almost zero water flow (causing extremely low oxygen conditions). Live rock is porous and there are area within the rock that water can barely contact to reach this bacteria. By the time it gets there, the oxygen in the water has been used up by other bacteria. As a result, the bacteria is slow acting. You can not duplicate this type of bacteria in a filter because the water flow is much to higher to allow this type of bacteria to live.
Oh yeah, I remember reading that back in the day. I've been out of the hobby for about 5 years... thanks! :)

LR mostly acts like a bio-wheel, growing the bacteria that convert ammonia to nitrite and the bacteria that convert nitrite to nitrate. In the inner recesses there is some conversion of nitrate to nitrogen. But by far the greatest conversion of nitrate to nitrogen occurs in a DSB.
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