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JonathanDillio

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Hey everyone! 

 

So my tank has been set up for about 3 months now. I had a slightly delayed cycle that took about 6-7 weeks. I added two clowns and a small clean up crew and then waited about 1 month and added a cleaner shrimp and some more snails. One of the clowns died but I am 99.9% sure that the other EVIL clown fish, that i have now named Pennywise, killed him.

 

Currently, All of the inhabitants in the tank seem happy and healthy BUT i can not get my damn Nitrate below 30ppm. My Ammonia and Nitrite is steady at 0ppm. Salinity is steady at 1.025 an my temp stays between 79.9 and 80.1. I do 5g water changed once a week. I guess I should mention that my tank is a Red Sea Max Nano (20g). What can i do? Is 30ppm ok  for the longevity of my fish and eventually corals? I did 10g weekly changes for 2 weeks and even that didnt help, it literally never budges from 30ppm. I have NOPOX from redsea but i didnt know if I should use it or not. 

 

My next question is, Is it ok to start adding corals now?  This is my first saltwater/reef tank so for now I am only going to do LPS and softies. Is there a limit to how many corals can be added at a time (like there is for fish). 

 

And i guess my last question, for now, is : Should i start dosing for Alkalinity? I have a Hanna test for Alk and since the water change on Monday it has gone from 8.1 to 7.5. I feel like this is a dumb question and I really should dose, especially if i want coralline algae to grow but I just want to make sure. 

 

Seriously, thank you all for being so amazing helpful through this learning process. I always feel that i am being annoying by asking questions but you guys are amazing! 

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Najay343   
3 hours ago, JonathanDillio said:

Hey everyone! 

 

So my tank has been set up for about 3 months now. I had a slightly delayed cycle that took about 6-7 weeks. I added two clowns and a small clean up crew and then waited about 1 month and added a cleaner shrimp and some more snails. One of the clowns died but I am 99.9% sure that the other EVIL clown fish, that i have now named Pennywise, killed him.

 

Currently, All of the inhabitants in the tank seem happy and healthy BUT i can not get my damn Nitrate below 30ppm. My Ammonia and Nitrite is steady at 0ppm. Salinity is steady at 1.025 an my temp stays between 79.9 and 80.1. I do 5g water changed once a week. I guess I should mention that my tank is a Red Sea Max Nano (20g). What can i do? Is 30ppm ok  for the longevity of my fish and eventually corals? I did 10g weekly changes for 2 weeks and even that didnt help, it literally never budges from 30ppm. I have NOPOX from redsea but i didnt know if I should use it or not. 

 

My next question is, Is it ok to start adding corals now?  This is my first saltwater/reef tank so for now I am only going to do LPS and softies. Is there a limit to how many corals can be added at a time (like there is for fish). 

 

And i guess my last question, for now, is : Should i start dosing for Alkalinity? I have a Hanna test for Alk and since the water change on Monday it has gone from 8.1 to 7.5. I feel like this is a dumb question and I really should dose, especially if i want coralline algae to grow but I just want to make sure. 

 

Seriously, thank you all for being so amazing helpful through this learning process. I always feel that i am being annoying by asking questions but you guys are amazing! 

Got to get those Nitrates down low. Less than <5ppm I would say maybe even <2ppm if you want corals, I am not a fan of water changes. back when I was new all I did was waste time with water changes. In my opinion water changes have a negative affect by shocking the system. More so if you are doing large quantity changes like 40%+ of the tank volume since it messes with the pH/alk and hardness too much. Now with my current and most recent systems, I never do water changes and my corals and fish are happy and healthy.

 

Another question, do you test phosphates? if your nitrates are at 30ppm your phosphates are surely up there as well, they go hand-in-hand. Clowns being aggressive towards one another is completely normal. They can take a lot of bullying around with each other. I have 3 and they are always sniping at each other for dominancy. My thought is your clown may have passed due to phosphate poisoning and/or nitrate poisoning. They are more reseilent to nitrate than nitrite or ammonia but long term or high ppm of Nitrate is still toxic to them.

 

There are a number of ways to remove nitrate and phosphate from your system naturally without water changes which I highly recomend. Natural nutrient control.

-Run a reactor with GFO media. This will control the Phosphate

-Add macro algae to your system. Cheato is awesome. You can just throw it in the display, in the sump or rear chambers or make a macro algae reactor. Get a reactor and a cheep LED light strip and wrap around and the macro algae will consume the nitrate and phosphate. 

-Add mangroves to your system to help with nutrient control, would use in addition to one of the above methods.

 

7.8 is a fine pH. I would shoot for that for now. It will increase to around 8 on its own with time adding corals and different live rocks (GIVEN YOU DONT DO WATER CHANGES AS I DO) just be careful adding buffers as they can raise the water hardness which is not ideal and only continues to make your pH unable to remain stable.

my system did just fine with no skimmer for a long time, I have one now and it definitely removes some gunk but also just things to consider.

 

Best of luck, I consider myself to be newer skill wise getting into the moderate-intermediate zone in this hobby. People may disagree with my opinions above but I have learned everything on my own which unfortunately was the result of a few mistakes and tons of research.

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seabass   
5 hours ago, JonathanDillio said:

i can not get my damn Nitrate below 30ppm.

What do you get when you test your source water for nitrate (or a newly mixed batch of saltwater)?  When I first started, I used RO water from a grocery store's vending machine.  I couldn't figure out why I couldn't get nitrate below 40 ppm.  It turned out that the RO water contained 40 ppm nitrate.  So I switched to distilled water (then finally to my own RO/DI unit).

 

30 ppm nitrate is OK for most fish.  However, you typically want it below 10 ppm (lower for SPS corals).

 

You shouldn't need to dose anything at this point.  Once you have corals and/or coralline, then you can dose to replenish what is consumed.

 

Oh, and I'm all for weekly partial water changes.  It serves to export organics and wastes, as well as to replenish consumed elements that you don't dose (or even test for).

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3 hours ago, seabass said:

What do you get when you test your source water for nitrate (or a newly mixed batch of saltwater)?  When I first started, I used RO water from a grocery store's vending machine.  I couldn't figure out why I couldn't get nitrate below 40 ppm.  It turned out that the RO water contained 40 ppm nitrate.  So I switched to distilled water (then finally to my own RO/DI unit).

 

30 ppm nitrate is OK for most fish.  However, you typically want it below 10 ppm (lower for SPS corals).

 

You shouldn't need to dose anything at this point.  Once you have corals and/or coralline, then you can dose to replenish what is consumed.

 

Oh, and I'm all for weekly partial water changes.  It serves to export organics and wastes, as well as to replenish consumed elements that you don't dose (or even test for).

I have an RODI unit from BRS and a while back during my cycle I tested my source water before and after adding salts (I use Red Sea Coral pro salts) and everything tested at 0ppm. I'm going to check again today just to make sure. 

 

If it tests at Oppm again, the what? 

 

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seabass   
1 hour ago, JonathanDillio said:

If it tests at Oppm again, then what?

Then science and math tells us, that a 50% water change, would reduce nitrate in half.

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Clown79   

What test kit are you using?

 

I'd test your water source first.

 

Then 1 large waterchange. Doing 50% will drop the nitrates by 50%.

 

Other questions:

 

How much and what do you feed?

 

Filtration: what are you using, sponges, floss, carbon etc? And what is the routine on changing them?

 

Do you vacuum your sand bed and blast the rocks?

 

Is the tank an aio? If so do you clean the chambers and has the pump been cleaned?

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TILTON   

WWC keeps their nitrates at 20+.  Mine right now are around 10-15 according to my API test kit and all of my sps look great.  Just ordered a nyos test kit to verify.  I want to get mine down to around 5 but may just stay at these numbers.  My phosphates though have read 0 the last couple times testing with Hanna ultra low phosphorus kit.  Not sure how accurate that is.  I don't have any algae on the rocks but I get some film algae on the glass.  

 

Anyways, don't chase nitrates if there are no ill effects.  If you have algae issues, or corals start to brown out, then I would worry.   I would do a large water change to lower them to what you want.  I think why mine have always been somewhat higher is because I didn't do a huge water change after my cycle was complete.

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Tamberav   

You will find many ways to be successful in this hobby. Pico's that people do 100% water changes on, some people that do little or no water changes. Some that run reactors, others that use natural filtration methods only like deep sand beds or macro algae, some people dose vodka, some people siphon the sand bed and others do not and rely on a huge population of micro-fauna, and I even talked to a guy recently who had a thriving SPS reef and disliked activated carbon. 

 

A large water change is the fastest way to lower Nitrate. I would aim for 10ppm for softies, 5 for LPS and 2 for SPS. I realize some people have success outside these ranges but this is the general safe aim and people keep different corals so what may work for one tank, may not work for the next. For example, there are some super hardy acro's out there that survive entire tank crashes and some acros that will die if you just look at it wrong.

 

Phosphate causes more issues than Nitrate so if you see any algae issues pop up, that will need to be addressed as well.

 

I have a fairly new 20g as well but I will give you my maintenance schedule so you have an idea:

 

I do a weekly water change of 10g, siphon out back chambers, change carbon each water change, blast the debris off the rocks and stir the sand. I scrape the glass and take a toothbrush and run it over the pumps/backwall/chambers in hard to reach places or anywhere on the rock where I see a bit of buildup. I change filter floss two times a week. I run a small skimmer, Phosphate remover, and purigen. My plan is to change the purigen when it turns brown and change phosphate remover when PO4 starts to rise.

 

One thing I would like to change is to siphon the sandbed instead of stir it. It gets dirty looking about the time its due for the next water change.

 

Last test two weeks ago showed showed Nitrate at 0.75 and PO4 at 0.039.

 

Stocking is a mix of softies, lps, and sps with 4 fish. Tank was started in June.

 

 

I would not add corals until Nitrate is 10ish, I would not dose alk until you have an absolute need to. I have had so many issues trying to dose alk up in young tanks. It has been easier to just slowly let it drop and bring it back up with the next water change. I would not dose alk until you actually have enough corals actively growing to demand it.

 

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9 hours ago, Clown79 said:

What test kit are you using?

 

I'd test your water source first.

 

Then 1 large waterchange. Doing 50% will drop the nitrates by 50%.

 

Other questions:

 

How much and what do you feed?

 

Filtration: what are you using, sponges, floss, carbon etc? And what is the routine on changing them?

 

Do you vacuum your sand bed and blast the rocks?

 

Is the tank an aio? If so do you clean the chambers and has the pump been cleaned?

I use the Red Sea Test Kits and randomly confirm it with the API kit.

 

I tested my water source a couple of weeks ago it everything was Oppm. I use RODI water from my BRS unit. 

 

I have done 10g water changes before and it literally had no effect on my nitrates. I know how that sounds, CRAZY. But I swear thats exactly whats happening. 

 

I feed frozen/thawed mysis shrimp. I typically thaw out a cube and then use a pipette to feed my clown and the shrimp. They are both great about eating directly from the pipette. 

 

I have the Red Sea Max Nano and it has a filter sock that I clean every other day and it has a skimmer. I also use carbon that I change every 4 weeks but I rinse the bag once a week. 

 

I do vacuum the sand bed and blast the rock (ever since your previous recommendation)

 

The tank is AIO but I have never cleaned the chambers. When i look in the chambers I never see any algae back there an there is no buildup on the bottom. 

 

 

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Clown79   
33 minutes ago, JonathanDillio said:

I use the Red Sea Test Kits and randomly confirm it with the API kit.

 

I tested my water source a couple of weeks ago it everything was Oppm. I use RODI water from my BRS unit. 

 

I have done 10g water changes before and it literally had no effect on my nitrates. I know how that sounds, CRAZY. But I swear thats exactly whats happening. 

 

I feed frozen/thawed mysis shrimp. I typically thaw out a cube and then use a pipette to feed my clown and the shrimp. They are both great about eating directly from the pipette. 

 

I have the Red Sea Max Nano and it has a filter sock that I clean every other day and it has a skimmer. I also use carbon that I change every 4 weeks but I rinse the bag once a week. 

 

I do vacuum the sand bed and blast the rock (ever since your previous recommendation)

 

The tank is AIO but I have never cleaned the chambers. When i look in the chambers I never see any algae back there an there is no buildup on the bottom. 

 

 

I wouldn't feed frozen everyday and a full cube seems alot for 1 fish and a shrimp.

 

I feed 1/4 cube to 3 fish. 

 

I'd feed a good pellet food and then feed frozen a couple times a week.

 

Back chambers need scrubbing and siphoning often. It's not just algae but you would be surprised at the amount of crap that sits back there.

 

I scrub mine with a baby bottle brush and siphon  every 2 weeks.

 

Also alot of stuff can build up in the return pump and hose.

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Just now, Clown79 said:

I wouldn't feed frozen everyday and a full cube seems alot for 1 fish and a shrimp.

 

I feed 1/4 cube to 3 fish. 

 

I'd feed a good pellet food and then feed frozen a couple times a week.

 

Back chambers need scrubbing and siphoning often. It's not just algae but you would be surprised at the amount of crap that sits back there.

 

I scrub mine with a baby bottle brush and siphon  every 2 weeks.

 

Also alot of stuff can build up in the return pump and hose.

I must have miss spoke. I feed every other day, and I only feed as much as they can eat. I probably end up feeding less then 1/4 cube. My next water change is on monday. I will definitely scrub the back chambers  

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seabass   
1 hour ago, JonathanDillio said:

I have done 10g water changes before and it literally had no effect on my nitrates. I know how that sounds, CRAZY. But I swear thats exactly whats happening.

Two possibilities; either testing error, or the water change caused a disruption which released more nutrients into the water.  Otherwise you would see a decrease.

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Hey guys. 

 

So on on Monday I did another 5 gallon water changes and added some purigen and now nirates are slowly going down.

 

Also, before I did that I checked my ATO water, my freshly made RODI water and my freshly mixed salt water and they all tested 0ppm for Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate. 

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