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Old 12/07/2007, 08:20 PM   #1
nemofish2217
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Nitrates at 25 ppm, need a gameplan...

I just checked my water because things haven't been looking swell lately, and my nitrates are at 25 ppm! I have been religiously doing water changes, about 2 gallons from a 14 gallon biocube weekly.

So i need some suggestions on how to lower them. here is my plan... First, i am going to increase flow. Currently i have the stock return pump and three MJ's 400 in the display. I think i am going to replace one of the 400s with a 900. Also, i think a lot of my problems are coming due to the fact that detrius has been settling on the rocks and not being removed. i think that if i use a turkey baster and blow them off every week this will help. Finally, i am going to start running some phosban tomorrow as a precautionary measures.

How does this plan sound? are there any other suggestions you guys can give me to help?

btw, all other params are normal, ammonia and nitrite, 0, ph 8.2, alk 8dkh, calc 400 ppm.


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Old 12/07/2007, 08:24 PM   #2
nemofish2217
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i should also mention that the tank is about 8 months old, and the inhabitants are a percula, sixline, ywg, pistol shrimp, fire shrimp, and fromia starfish...


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Old 12/07/2007, 08:31 PM   #3
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You are probably continually cycling your tank.

Are you using PURE (RO/DI) water?

Replacing 20% of your water every week is WAY too much. You are not allowing the aquarium to cycle and stablize.

If you are using pure water then you shouldn't have ANY phosophate based on the amount of water you are changing so hold off on the phosban.

Let the tank finish cycling... Use a nitrate sponge if you have fish that aren't looking good. the corals will probably be fine.


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Old 12/08/2007, 01:34 AM   #4
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I believe you have a good grasp of the problem and I dont think you are changing too much water though you could be changing less,neither is going to help lower your nitrates. The nitrates show up in the water but they are actually coming from somewhere else. This would have to be from some sort of organic matter that is being allowed to decay in your tank. Its ok to overfeed as long as your are getting all the of food that doesnt get eaten removed from the water column, along with the excess waste that your inhabitants generate. There is always a lot of crap that collects under and on top of your rockwork. The more flow you have the less things will be allowed to settle,it also helps to change the aim of your powerheads a little bit now and then. The next time you do a water change stir up the crap that is laying around with a turkey baster and be there with your hose ready to suck it out. You can also take a small diameter hose and go over and around your rocks sucking gunk out. In addition if you have a sump keep it good and clear by using a hose. Its a PITA til you get used to doing it but your nitrates will fall significantly,in a very small tank I think you will see big benefits from keeping the tank really clean,not just the water. It may be wise to use a peice of filter material in your filter while you are stirring things up,you can take it out shortly after and know all the junk floating around is in the trash instead of your filter.


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Old 12/08/2007, 01:45 AM   #5
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Nitrates can come from low flow , overfeeding,uncleaned media , SB condition , water source , ect..
Water source?
Whats the SB look like and what is your substrate?
How much LR?


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Old 12/08/2007, 03:37 AM   #6
nemofish2217
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i change the filter floss about every four days...i have about 18 or so lbs of LR. sand bed is about 2" deep. I get RO water from the LFS...I'm not having too much of a problem with algea, just a little bryopsis here and there... I'm thinking my main problem is the flow and the stuff settling on the rocks....

Does anyone else think that about a 15-20% water change weekly is too much? I was thinking this was fine because of my fish load and i just figured the more the better....any thoughts?


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Old 12/08/2007, 07:45 AM   #7
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Vodka and sugar are short term solutions. Be careful though.

I do 20% weekly water changes, and it's not too much IMO.


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Old 12/08/2007, 08:41 AM   #8
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how would you dose the sugar? i kinda need a short term fix until i am able to get them down...

i am going to turkey-baste all of the rocks today... and order a MJ 900...


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Old 12/08/2007, 11:49 AM   #9
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bump!


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Old 12/08/2007, 12:26 PM   #10
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The 2" sand bed might be the source of your nitrates. This isn't deep enough to allow denitrification to occur but it will trap detritus. I would change the sand depth less than 1" in the display and stir it frequently.


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Old 12/08/2007, 01:38 PM   #11
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I had good luck by adding a HOT refugium and putting caulerpa in it. Ever since the nitrates have stayed at zero. I still have phosphate issues not sure where that is coming from.


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Old 12/08/2007, 02:28 PM   #12
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is there something i can do to help the sand issue besides removing half of it? I have a few nassarius (sp?) snails but i can add more...also, would adding a sand sifting star help or is that a bad idea because they strip your sandbed. or can i just stir the existing sand bed? (however, the pistol shrimp is doing a fine job of that...)


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Old 12/08/2007, 03:14 PM   #13
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20% is just fine. A refugium stocked w/ macroalgae will help allot. Most use cheato instead of caulerpa.


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Old 12/08/2007, 03:52 PM   #14
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ADD sand, don't take sand away. In a small tank like that it's hard to keep nitrates down especially with fish and corals. Add 4 inches of sand, do this in segments....a quarter of the tank at a time to avoid another cycle. Your adding more flow idea is great and will help a lot.....especially if you add a DSB. I KNOW this works because my SPS tank had nitrates of 10 (high enough), I added a remote DSB and within a few months my nitrates dropped to 0. I now only do a water change once a month, or less.


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Old 12/08/2007, 09:14 PM   #15
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I don't think 6" of sand wouldn't look that great in a 14g tank. Go with a remote DSB if you want to go that route for nitrate removal but use a shallow sand bed in the display


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Old 12/08/2007, 09:20 PM   #16
nemofish2217
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okay, well i think i want to leave the sand bed the way it is.... Will turkey-basting the rocks and adding more flow help my problem? would stirring the current sand bed help out too?


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Old 12/08/2007, 09:40 PM   #17
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Sure that will help, as long as the mechanical filration media used to remove the detritus from the water column is rinsed out frequently


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Old 12/09/2007, 12:19 AM   #18
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15-20% of a WC change weekly is not a problem at all. I have done a 50% water change twice a week for years and the tank thrives (water was free back then, so why not).

Your tank does not have enough anaerobic region to consume the nitrates the tank is producing. Pretty common in a tank that small, with that stock. Just do more water changes, larger if possible IMO and all will be well.

IME/IMO 25 nitrates are nothing. I have had 80ppm with no consequense, not keeping SPS of course.

HTH


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Old 12/09/2007, 05:33 AM   #19
Leopard Man
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Quote:
Originally posted by nemofish2217
how would you dose the sugar? i kinda need a short term fix until i am able to get them down...

For sugar, dose 1 teaspoon for every 100 gals.

Read here for more info:

http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/sh...hreadid=898931

For vodka, read here:

http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/sh...readid=1260492

FYI, I once had 25 nitrates on my salifert kit. Then i dosed 2.5 teaspoons of sugar with 4.5mls of vodka and the next day my nitrates were 5. I repeated the dosage, and the next day my nitrates were 1.

So it works, all corals increased polyp extension, and all fish seemed hungrier!


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Old 12/09/2007, 05:40 AM   #20
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Do you have a skimmer? maybe you need to get one if you dont.


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Old 12/09/2007, 05:42 AM   #21
Leopard Man
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If you dose vodka and sugar, you need a big skimmer for your tank.


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Old 12/09/2007, 01:09 PM   #22
nemofish2217
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i love the chaeto idea...but how would i put a light in the back chamber?

As for water changes, do you think 2.5-3 gal a week will be good or too much?


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Old 12/09/2007, 06:57 PM   #23
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have ou test your water before put it in the tank? I have nitrate poblems for months then I run some test in the bottle water I was buying and the nitrates wjere form 10-20 so I was never goint to be able to low the nitrates no mather how often do the water changes ( I do them weekly too) .

I get a RODI maxixima from kent marine and in 2 water changes the nitrates are on 2.5 and I hopw will be goin down.


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Old 12/09/2007, 07:51 PM   #24
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Be careful of using a DSB in such a small tank. Several commentators, including Shimek, have opined that a DSB in anything less that about a square meter of surface area will not work due to the lack of requisite infauna in the bed, and the corresponding "edge" effect. My experience, FWIW, bears that out as well. At your current substrate depth, chances are your sand bed is simply trapping organic detritus without sufficient biological export pathways in pace to neutralize dissolved organic accumulation.

Also consider a skimmer.


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Old 12/09/2007, 08:19 PM   #25
nemofish2217
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i don't think i am going to use a dsb. I would like to stick with my current depth if possible. I don't mind stirring it if i have to. I'm also not sure if i want to go with a protein skimmer right now....

I might have to test my RO water to see what it reads....

So....is stirring the sand a good idea??? or should i add some more nassarius and or sand sifting star?


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