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Nitrates Are Consistently 20ppm


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#1
redclay92

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My nitrates have been 20 for ages, after looking around today online and a little testing I figured it out. My newly mixed saltwater is between 10-20 on API tests, so I assume one of two things my kit is too old and not reading right, year old about, or two not RO/DI filtered water is not allowing to pull NO3- out. So my question is since my tank is being consistent can I start to really stock my tank?
I've had two damsels in it for a long time with a CUC, but I want more. It's a 40B so is it safe to add to it, and will softies be able to tolerate the 20 nitrates?
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#2
Nemo Niblets

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Get a new test kit... if your newly mixed saltwater is between 10-20, that's a problem.
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#3
thermosts

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Are you using ro/di water? the post is a little unclear.

#4
redclay92

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No I am not using RO/DI water. I will though look for a new kit, because if the test is skewed by 15 ppm higher if my fresh saltwater is ~0ppm then my tank is only at ~5ppm so I'd be clear to start stocking... but I don't know if this the way the kits work as they go bad. I'm going to go to my LFS and see if they have anything of interest.

#5
Nemo Niblets

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You need to use RO/DI.
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#6
ReefEscape

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RO/DI water is very important to start with, but also check your salt mix. I switched to Instant Ocean Reef Crystals because it is lower in PO4 and NO3 than the Red Sea salt I was using.

That being said, my water tested at 20 with an API test for several months with no major problems. I have rics, zoas, palys, favia, pipe organ, anchor coral and a monti cap all of which have had expolsive growth. In the last month, 10 months after inception, my nitrates have dropped to between 5 & 10, but I haven't added any bioload in 4 months. Talking with several people in my reef club, they told me to be more worried about phosphate than nitrate unless you have sps, then you should be at zero across the board.

ps - I know I will get flamed for this, but 20 is not a "bad" reading for nitrates - it is borderline bad, and you shouldn't let it get any higher, but 20 will not harm most reef inhabitants. Mine went from 20 to 10 with a 25% water change (my water was 0 nitrate). You could add a ball of cheato to soek up any that is in the water, but you should find and eliminate the source first.

Good Luck.

#7
redclay92

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I'm working on it, but the amount of top off I use it'd be too much to just buy from the store and I don't feel like dumping that type of money into a filter right now , my neighbors only use prime and their tank looks good so I'm go awhile or till I get job to get a RO/DI filter. Plus the possibility of moving is still lurking so I want to know I am clear of that. Thanks for the input, in your opinion which should i get first a new test kit or RO/DI filter, new they are about the same and I am limited to a jobless High school budget for now.
Edit: I have a decent thing of cheato (bout two fist) and just upped the lighting on the tank. Also the readings been doing nothing but holding still or dropping to the 10 range. And no immediate plans for keeping SPS now, but is in the future once I can clear all my water problems up.

Edited by redclay92, 03 January 2010 - 01:01 PM.


#8
Nemo Niblets

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My nitrates were 20 for a while due to bioballs and other crappy filtration in my Biocube. My corals were fine, but the problem is that if you ever have any nitrate spikes, you don't have as much leniency as if you had 0 nitrates.
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#9
Dani3d

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I am just curious but where can you find a RO unit that cost as little as a nitrate test kit??

Have you tested your tap water? maybe the nitrates are coming from there. Some people do have nitrates in their tap and the only way to be safe then is to use RO.

I'm working on it, but the amount of top off I use it'd be too much to just buy from the store and I don't feel like dumping that type of money into a filter right now , my neighbors only use prime and their tank looks good so I'm go awhile or till I get job to get a RO/DI filter. Plus the possibility of moving is still lurking so I want to know I am clear of that. Thanks for the input, in your opinion which should i get first a new test kit or RO/DI filter, new they are about the same and I am limited to a jobless High school budget for now.
Edit: I have a decent thing of cheato (bout two fist) and just upped the lighting on the tank. Also the readings been doing nothing but holding still or dropping to the 10 range. And no immediate plans for keeping SPS now, but is in the future once I can clear all my water problems up.



#10
reefer916

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Get a new test kit because API Nitrate kits suck. Mine always showed 20 ppm when I first started the hobby and I bough another API test kit. Then I started taking it to my LFS to have it tested. My nitrates were at 0. I was doing 30 gallon water changes every week for almost two months. Get rid of the API nitrate kit. The rest of their kits are ok, but I've heard a lot of people getting false nitrate readings.

#11
kamikaze_fish

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I pay $.35 per gallon from a reliable LFS for ro/di water. I'd recommend going to see what you can get ro/di water for.

#12
nemmy

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An ro/di unit should be purchased before the tank, salt, fish, corals, light, or anything else tank involved.
Unless you are going to run to the grocery store for jugs of distilled water.

I don't know how many times someone comes here to say they have algae or bad parama come back to say "I know someone who uses tap water and their tank is fine".
Tap water is a bad bad bad idea.

It's said on here 100000000 times to buy a unit or water from a trusted source. I won't drink tap water let alone make my fish and corals hang out in it.

going during daywalker hours is tough for me to do

My Nessarius are like nuke powered sand submarines.

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#13
mg4015

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i have to agree, but that seems a bit harsh. i know and have seen a tank operated by a guy who works and mainains the reef tanks at the shedd aquarium, and he uses tap water and gets along fine

there is something to be said about being a pro and doing that though. my lfs ssells ro/di water for like .75 a gal, a bit high, but i rarely use the unsalted water.

if your grocery sells 5gal distilled water, use that for now, it is way less work in the end. more than nitrates, copper from pipes and phosphates/silicates/ chlorine compounds(not chlorine though) and flouride are a bigger issue imo.
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#14
SherifBart

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imo your next steps should be

1 - get a new test kit
2- start using RO/DI, or distilled at worse
3- check your salt mix/make up water and possibly look at changing the salt to cut down po4, no3
4- if your moving dont buy anything new (inhabitant wise)

ID what is causing the issue and solve it before moving forward. once that is fixed and you move, or dont move then add more critters

#15
ldballoon4

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imo your next steps should be

1 - get a new test kit
2- start using RO/DI, or distilled at worse
3- check your salt mix/make up water and possibly look at changing the salt to cut down po4, no3
4- if your moving dont buy anything new (inhabitant wise)

ID what is causing the issue and solve it before moving forward. once that is fixed and you move, or dont move then add more critters



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