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High nitrates, probably from old live sand…. ideas?


MysterRC

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Background:

Picked up a 39G established cube tank and relocated it. Added more sand when I set it back up, but kept the old sand, thinking it would help with keeping the tank from cycling. I believe that was my mistake. There also is 45-50lbs of live rock in there.

 

Issue:

Since setting it up, I have had very high nitrates. There are no nitrates in the water used in changes, so it has to be coming from in the tank. I only have 3 fish and they are fed very sparingly (too sparingly if you ask them!).

 

This morning I woke to my xenia being all closed up, tight. Nothing else has changed, so without even doing a test I can almost guarantee it is my nitrates being high — I will test that later tonight.

 

I did a quick water change, but will need to do a couple more I suspect. Is there any relatively quick method to remove nitrates when they are growing faster than the bacteria in your system can process? I am pretty sure it is coming from the old live sand that is in the tank, but there is no real way to remove that without tearing the entire system down and redoing it all… not an option at the moment.

 

I will be leaving for a week fishing trip in a couple weeks so I’d like to get the nitrates down quick, even if it is a temporary fix until I can address it long term. And if that was not bad enough, I need to keep the cost as low as possible. I have already obliterated the budget for this tank for the next couple months so low cost == good.

 

 

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Well, a 15G water change has brought the nitrates down to somewhere closer to the 20-30 range vs somewhere in the 40-80 range at least… Noticed the xenia is opening back up some even just under moonlights so that is a good sign…

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Well, a 15G water change has brought the nitrates down to somewhere closer to the 20-30 range vs somewhere in the 40-80 range at least… Noticed the xenia is opening back up some even just under moonlights so that is a good sign…

Keep those waterchanges coming, you'll get it there. What lights are you running?

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I have a NanoBox Duo over the tank. This morning the xenia is fully open and looking much happier. In general, I am pretty sure that when the tank got set back up a bunch of the live sand got buried, apparently causing more than a minor cycle… now that i”m looking back on it. It seems it was delayed though as I never caught an ammonia or nitrite spike, just suddenly very high nitrates.

 

Last night’s water test showed 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 20+ nitrates, pH 8.1 after doing a 15 gallon water change (out of 39G volume…).

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I fought nitrates of 40.0 in my 7 gal tank ever since it cycled 3 months ago.

I tried water changes, Purigen, Chemi-pure elite, protein skimmer, etc and did get some reduction in nitrates from 40.0 to 20.0 and then they plateau'd at 15 but no lower.

 

I read and read, and researched and came across a product by Seachem called De-Nitrate. It's a pea sized media that you put in a bag and into your fuge or filter. I put it in and after 3 days my nitrates were almost undetectable using a Salifert test kit. 2 weeks later they are still only at about 0.25 ppm and holding.

 

I have not tried the other nitrate reducing products such as AZN03 or Kent Marine Nitrate sponge but De-Nitrate worked very well for me and it's very cheap 4.55 for a 250 ml jar.

 

Of course it doesn't cure the reason for the high nitrates but it does lower them quickly in a pinch.

 

 

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