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nitrates at 10ppm long term


here fishy fishy

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here fishy fishy

Hi everyone...I need advice!

 

For just over a month or so my nitrates have been at 10ppm. This is a new issue, and I'm not sure where its coming from. Its a 39 gallon Cadlights. I do 10 gallon water changes weekly. I make my own water. In the filter chamber I have floss, purigen, Phosguard, and chempure. Next chamber is the skimmer and heater, next is the refugium which is a direct skim. I just have chaeto in there, and in the past its grown nicely, but now its not growing at all. Not dying, but not growing. Last chamber is return pump and UV sterilizer. I've had this set-up going for over a year, upgraded from a 12 gallon that I had for a year before that.

 

When I first noticed this problem, I did a 10 gallon water change right out of the back chambers, and cleaned them out well thinking I had a nitrate factory growing back there. It was pretty dirty but that didn't solve the issue with the nitrates. I've cleaned back there again and its staying pretty clean, but my nitrates are still 10. I change my floss once or twice a week, depending on how it looks. The only thing I dose is Kalk, it goes in with the top off water.

 

I have a 1 inch sandbed, roughly 30 lbs of live rock, mixed corals, a pair of clowns, a chromis, and a flame angel. A serpent star, snails, hermits, emerald crab, pom pom crab, a tuxedo urchin, and a peppermint shrimp. These guys have all been with me since early last fall and seem healthy.

 

Really at a loss. I thought I might be overfeeding, and I cut back to every other day and smaller amounts as soon as I saw it elevated. Other parameters:

 

pH is 7.8 in the AM, 8.2-8.4 in the PM (doesn't always swing this much but it is that low this AM)

Ammonia is 0

Nitrites 0

calcium 480

phosphates .1

temp 80

 

any help??

TIA

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Make sure you rinse all of your food with fresh water, especially mysis shrimp.. That caused my nitrates to stay relatively high when I got into the hobby.

 

It could also be your test kits. I went through a couple of API test kits when I first started because they were reading 20-40ppm, but my corals and fish were fine. I did 30 gallon weekly water changes on my 95 gallon for 2 months and nothing changed even after waterchanges. Found out that the test kits were probably on the shelves a little too long.

 

You could also use a little more liverock to help with your filtration. 30lbs in a 34 gallon is less than a lb per gallon. I usually keep between 1.5-2lbs per gallon to assist in filtration..

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here fishy fishy

Thanks for your thoughts. I did get new test kits not too long ago, and I tested my freshly made water to double check it.

 

I don't rinse my food and never have. Do you rinse it in tap water? Doesn't it just end up going down the drain?

 

My live rock estimate is pretty iffy. I moved 10 lbs over from my old tank, bought 20 more, and have some larger pieces that came with coral on them. It kinda hard to guess whats in there at this point! I suppose another 5 lb chunk couldn't hurt anything though.

 

:) ty

 

Make sure you rinse all of your food with fresh water, especially mysis shrimp.. That caused my nitrates to stay relatively high when I got into the hobby.

 

It could also be your test kits. I went through a couple of API test kits when I first started because they were reading 20-40ppm, but my corals and fish were fine. I did 30 gallon weekly water changes on my 95 gallon for 2 months and nothing changed even after waterchanges. Found out that the test kits were probably on the shelves a little too long.

 

You could also use a little more liverock to help with your filtration. 30lbs in a 34 gallon is less than a lb per gallon. I usually keep between 1.5-2lbs per gallon to assist in filtration..

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Have you tested your water change water before you put it in the tank? Also, try testing your tank before and after a water change to see how much it is dropping, and then how fast it is rebuilding. How old are your chemipure, purigen and phosguard?

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here fishy fishy

I replace the phosguard weekly. The chemipure and purigen were last replaced when the high nitrates showed up and I cleaned out the rear chambers, so maybe 5 weeks ago tops. I rinse everything in that filtration chamber down every few weeks, but more often lately.

 

I tested my freshly made water (but unsalted) and its nitrates test at 0. I have a TDS meter and it reads 0, occasionally 1. I tested my tank water last night before and after the water change. Before was easily 10 ppm, after was only slightly lighter yellow, definitely not as low as 5 and nearly as dark as 10ppm. Its roughly 1/4 of the water that I am changing, yet it makes very little difference on the test. What gets me is its SO consistently the same reading....but my test kit was new in early March, API bought from either Marine Depot or Fosters & SMith, can't remember.

 

One little experiment I'm doing is this: This is a dual overflow tank, meaning one overflow into the filtration chamber and one into the refugium. When I was using the stock skimmer, I had a little plastic basket filled with floss to catch the skimmer flow into the next chamber to break up the microbubbles. It also was in a place that it caught water from the overflow. I would change out this floss when I changed the other filter floss because it did get just as dirty. I got a new skimmer maybe 6-7 weeks ago. Happily threw away the basket and floss. But when I cleaned out those back chambers the first time after the nitrates went up, the fuge was REALLY dirty, and the chaeto was covered with junk. So last week I put another basket with floss to catch that overflow into the fuge and filter it. I don't know if it will help but thought I would try. It just seems to me with these nitrates that the chaeto would be growing like mad absorbing that stuff.

 

Have you tested your water change water before you put it in the tank? Also, try testing your tank before and after a water change to see how much it is dropping, and then how fast it is rebuilding. How old are your chemipure, purigen and phosguard?
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lakshwadeep

10 ppm really isn't a significant problem unless you have delicate SPS, but it could be a sign of some type of "nitrate factory", like maybe the chaeto. Ironically chaeto can act like trap for detritus like the bioballs/sponges/etc. that we try to remove or regularly clean.

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Thanks for your thoughts. I did get new test kits not too long ago, and I tested my freshly made water to double check it.

 

I don't rinse my food and never have. Do you rinse it in tap water? Doesn't it just end up going down the drain?

 

My live rock estimate is pretty iffy. I moved 10 lbs over from my old tank, bought 20 more, and have some larger pieces that came with coral on them. It kinda hard to guess whats in there at this point! I suppose another 5 lb chunk couldn't hurt anything though.

 

:) ty

 

 

I rinse my PE mysis shrimp by putting the frozen chunks in a net and rinse it under the faucet. My tap water tests pretty clean, but rinsing food doesn't really hurt anything. I obviously use RO/DI for all other applications. I just make sure I drain it really well. For the most part very little food actually goes down the drain. Maybe the smaller particals, but the larger pieces are fine. You'll notice that the water gets really murky.. Just try it by putting it in a a clear container and drop the frozen food in there and mix it around.

 

I used to just throw frozen cubes in my tank and let them thaw on there own in the tank, until some reefers told me to rinse it. At the time I had a huge green hair algae problem and after I started rinsing my nitrates and phosphates dropped to near nothing.

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here fishy fishy
I rinse my PE mysis shrimp by putting the frozen chunks in a net and rinse it under the faucet. My tap water tests pretty clean, but rinsing food doesn't really hurt anything. I obviously use RO/DI for all other applications. I just make sure I drain it really well. For the most part very little food actually goes down the drain. Maybe the smaller particals, but the larger pieces are fine. You'll notice that the water gets really murky.. Just try it by putting it in a a clear container and drop the frozen food in there and mix it around.

 

I used to just throw frozen cubes in my tank and let them thaw on there own in the tank, until some reefers told me to rinse it. At the time I had a huge green hair algae problem and after I started rinsing my nitrates and phosphates dropped to near nothing.

 

I'm just getting over an algae problem caused by high phosphates...that along with the nitrates made me think I was overfeeding. I thaw my frozen in a dixie cup of tank water before feeding it, and yeah it does get kinda murky but I always figured that might be yummy stuff for the filter feeders so I would dump it in along with the rest.

 

I think I will try rinsing the food and changing my floss several times a week.

 

10 ppm really isn't a significant problem unless you have delicate SPS, but it could be a sign of some type of "nitrate factory", like maybe the chaeto. Ironically chaeto can act like trap for detritus like the bioballs/sponges/etc. that we try to remove or regularly clean.

 

yes, and I did notice alot of crud in my chaeto that one time...it has been better though. I do beleive it was trapping detritus for sure at one point and so now I do take it out and swish it around in a little bucket of tank water every other water change or so. I had some snails living in the fuge but kept finding them wandering in the other back chambers and wehn I would they would go back in the tank. So now there aren't any in there, not sure how much good they were doing anyway. It seems funny to "clean" the fuge...

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