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Getting Nitrates down...


cal1319

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I skimmed all the forums about this topic before posting, just want to make sure my plan is the right way to go about it. My tanks is more then 4 months old. It is a 15G column with a modded AC110 with filter floss, purigen and chemipure elite, also 110 Skimmer. I think my issue was after my tank finished its cycle, I never did get my nitrates down to zero before adding live stock. They have been around 20-40 for the past few months, and today when I test they where up to 80! I think my issue is two fold. First I didnt get them down in the beginning after the cycle and doing 10% WC every week is not enough to keep up with the nitrate, secondly I think I was feeding to much. I have two clowns, a pistol, three hermits and 4 trochus snails. I feed either marine cousin or mysis shirmp mon, wed, frid and tues/thursday i feed flakes. My plan is to two 30% water change every day until the nitrates are 0-5ppm and just feed Mon,Wed,Fri. Was also going to replace my chemipure. The purigen is still almost white so I dont think I need to replace that. Please give me your feedback!

 

Water:

Ammo: 0

Nitrite: 0

Nitrate: 80

phosphate: 0.1

pH: 8.1

Alk: 9

Ca: 440

1.025

 

Cheers

Chris

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It's odd you saw a tiny spike in Nitrites, but not Ammonia first. I was gonna suggest that you threw yourself into a mini cycle, but now I'm not so sure after looking at your data. Do you vacuum your substrate during water changes? I noticed you have Trochus snails. Theyre great, but don't really aerate the sand amd only eat the deitrus and algae on TOP of it. To my knowledge, they do not burrow in the substrate.

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pismo_reefer

Did everyone leave, and the rules went with them?

 

50% water changes will cut Nitrate by 50%.

Its a direct relationship.

 

10% water changes are LUDICROUSLY small.

Start doing 50% changes every couple days, until you hit ~20ppm.

 

Then, switch to 50% a week.

See if it drops, or if it stabilizes.

 

If it drops - do 50% every two weeks. (You want stable, not sterile.)

If it stabilizes - you have a bioload issue, whether it be detritus or livestock.

 

Or, just go balls out and do 100% water changes.

It aint gonna hurt anything.

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High nitrates may be caused by dead snails, over feeding, not using RODI water, etc. You may want to get in the habit of feeding every other day, and instead of 10% do 20% water changes.

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I think API is ok for nitrates. I might suggest cutting back on feeding the frozen foods, and make sure you rinse them thoroughly. I have that marine cuisine and have noticed that it is really dirty. I only use it every once and a while, and try to only use 1/3 of a cube in my 16 gallon w/ 3 fish.

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It's odd you saw a tiny spike in Nitrites, but not Ammonia first. I was gonna suggest that you threw yourself into a mini cycle, but now I'm not so sure after looking at your data. Do you vacuum your substrate during water changes? I noticed you have Trochus snails. Theyre great, but don't really aerate the sand amd only eat the deitrus and algae on TOP of it. To my knowledge, they do not burrow in the substrate.

He mentioned he has a pistol shrimp which most likely does more than enough for the substrate.

 

Did everyone leave, and the rules went with them?

 

50% water changes will cut Nitrate by 50%.

Its a direct relationship.

 

10% water changes are LUDICROUSLY small.

Start doing 50% changes every couple days, until you hit ~20ppm.

 

Then, switch to 50% a week.

See if it drops, or if it stabilizes.

 

If it drops - do 50% every two weeks. (You want stable, not sterile.)

If it stabilizes - you have a bioload issue, whether it be detritus or livestock.

 

Or, just go balls out and do 100% water changes.

It aint gonna hurt anything.

This is a good idea. I would stick with 50% for a few weeks and see what kind of dent you make. 100% seems a little drastic if your livestock all seems to be ok.

 

High nitrates may be caused by dead snails, over feeding, not using RODI water, etc. You may want to get in the habit of feeding every other day, and instead of 10% do 20% water changes.

+1

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Sorry I was reading on my phone at work and must have missed a bit of information. You definitely need to change more water. Those quick 10% changes barely leave a dent.

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Thanks for the input everyone! The pistol keeps the sand turned up all the time! I'll do the larger water changes more frequently and hope they come down! I will also cut the feeding down too! Would you recommend flakes more often and only use frozen once a week maybe?

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Can I ask, what natural filtering do you have in there, for instance do you have "decent" live rock and sand and to what quantities, there is decent and decent.

 

Also, take the floss and anything resembling it out, bio balls and such junk, sorry, but joking aside, you shouldnt need any of this if your skimming well,

 

API test kits are notoriously ... ermmm, junk, if your serious here, grab some salifert or D+D (deltec) ones :)

 

Also with any large water change, you are bringing down all beneficial water bound bacteria's aswell, I would not advise extreme changes, I do 15% or so a month and add additives to compensate the losses, my nitrates are a steady 1 now.

 

My tank is similar 4 month or so, a 24x18x12 high sumped, about 120 litres, I skim with a skimz sm163, and in sump there is a rowaphos reactor, UV (light insurance) and a little bag of 60ml of seachem matrix carbon, thats it, I use extra cured live rock which was over $250 for my stock (im in the UK), and my live sand is caribsea's bahamas Oolite, flour fine sand, I'm not boasting, its just for reference.

 

Your best thing here, go buy a better test kit, or if you can take some water to a "reputable" fish store, get them to test it, also a shot of your RO/DI water aswell, get rid of anything "flossy" LOL, its best to find the fault first before water changes, especially some suggested here.

 

This is my tank now - https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10203553809195692&l=161ac70ad7

 

Cheers, Lee

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... I also feed mysis every other, flake - loads probably 2-3 times a day, crab pellets and occasionally spirulina tabs for the crabs to munch :)

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Hey LEE, I have 20lbs rock and 20lbs sand, its a deep sand bed, I wanted that because I love the way pistols move it around, its changes daily! I change/wash the floss 2x a week. I like the fact that it catches some junk and also polishes the water a little bit. I no my Top off water is fine... it has zero TDS as it is lab grab ultra pure RODI (I work in a lab)... the ohms are always around 18 when I get the water, and when I started this tank I tested it too, just to make sure haha. My skimmer functions moderately well for a little thing. I get a nice light tea color skimmate and good foam head out if it when its working right haha.

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pismo_reefer

Thanks for the input everyone! The pistol keeps the sand turned up all the time! I'll do the larger water changes more frequently and hope they come down! I will also cut the feeding down too! Would you recommend flakes more often and only use frozen once a week maybe?

Frozen food, once a week, RIGHT before water change.

Yer sand is not the issue here.

Yer tank husbandry is.

 

SCREW THE TEST KIT.

Do what I said, and you wont need a test kit for at least a month.

With the specified water change duration, you will be constantly replacing everything,

Stabilizing ph, nutrients, etc.

 

You dont need to test for that, its a fact.

Hundreds before you can attest to it.

You don't need to watch the nitrates do anything.

Theyre gonna go down, period.

The only time you need to test for them, is after a couple weeks to see if youve stabilized or are declining.

Its a science experiment, the variables are known facts.

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Thanks pismo.. I have to agree. I think I made a big mistake at not getting my nitrates down to zero after the cycle.. and doing limited water changes they just keep going up. Going to increase them and slow down on the frozen food!

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pismo_reefer

Thanks pismo.. I have to agree. I think I made a big mistake at not getting my nitrates down to zero after the cycle.. and doing limited water changes they just keep going up. Going to increase them and slow down on the frozen food!

The cycle part is where yer beating yerself up.

That didnt matter.

 

The water changes, or yer lack of grasping how they pertain to the situation, Is what go ya here.

No worries, we'll get ya straightened out.

 

And, we'll figure out the problem along the way.

By the way, i was a mechanic by trade.

Hence the methodical approach, and the disregard for trivialities, such as how yer snails move yer sand. ;)

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As a scientist, I totally understand, and not fully understanding all there is about reefing, instead of thinking I know best options and fixes I come on here to get help from you fine folk!

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... you talk of science, then you'll realise that unless you do 100% water changes you'll never replenish used areas of a pure salt mix, but yet your fine with throwing away all beneficial bacteria in the process ? this is reefing, science does come into it agreed, but so does logic.

 

Yea screw the test kit, thats why your worried about nitrates right ? Thats not a dig, things need testing for, I test 9 or so variables that NO amount of water change can replenish, for instance strontium useage in mine goes from recommended 8-9 to 1-2 EVERY month (EDIT - sorry every fortnight), you change 50% water, that don't equal 8-9, and thats just one.

 

"With the specified water change duration, you will be constantly replacing everything,
Stabilizing ph, nutrients, etc." - sorry, completely wrong.

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So I did a 50 percent water change and got the nitrates to around 40ppm... I'm going to do another 50 on wed and again Saturday I'm hoping to get it down and with less feeding and bigger water changes hope to keep it down...

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Did you get rid of your coris wrasse too? If you cut down on the stock, continue to do waterchanges, all you can really do is play catch-up now.

 

Frozen food, once a week, RIGHT before water change.

 

He has sun corals and NPS gorgs. Once a week aint going to cut it for some of his corals. I realize no one knows this, I have just been following his thread.

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pismo_reefer

I had suns that thrived.... Fed once a week, before water changes.

You just gorge their little fat-a$$es. :D

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I had suns that thrived.... Fed once a week, before water changes.

 

Every tank is different and pods, ect I would assume would be food for sun's as well. Regardless, he has NPS gorgs which poses the bigger problem.

 

He also used to have a lot more fish but he's working on that and looks like he got rid of almost all of them.

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Im going to throw this out there, you can buy yourself a bottle of Microbacter7 and a small bottle of 80 proof non-flavored vodka. follow the instructions on the microbacter7 for high nutrient systems and daily dose vodka. do a lil research on how much vodka to dose for your water volume and how to maintain low nutrients with vodka and MB7. you should see your nitrates fall rapidly after about 2 weeks.

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