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FrancineJ

NitrAtes!! Questions!?

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FrancineJ

So I’m sure most of you that may reply already know my situation lol

 

I have a 32g biocube 

 

25-26lbs LifeRock NOT LIVE rock lol

 

deepish sand bed- 1.5-2” (Caribsea aragonite reef sand)

 

using InTank media rack with floss, purigen, chemipure elite 

 

InTank Fuge+ jbj nano glo light with Chaeto (not growing yet but new tank (1 month and Chaeto has been in just a week)

 

i have a couple snails and 2 x O. Clownfish

 

ammonia and nitrite are 0 consistently... I’ve been testing every morning just to be sure because it’s so new... PH is a steady 8.0 in the am 

 

when tank was done cycling I did a fairly large water change (because I used BB I wanted to make sure the results were right and I was cycled and didn’t just have the bacteria still sitting in the tank water (Tank and sump part hold about 25-26g of water and I replaced 20g’s)

 

i am having issues trying to get my Nitrate down... and frankly even telling what it is!!

 

Right now I have no corals and don’t plant to for a while (months) as I am slowly adding fish first... but I figured it would be easier to try and get it as low as possible now before I get my full stock in there and then add corals....

 

so API is reading 20ppm (or slightly lower)

 

seachem multi test is a very clear 2-3ppm

 

red sea pro (this one knly goes to 4ppm and it’s at 4ppm- so probably higher)

 

i ordered fhe regular Red Sea and it comes tomorrow 

 

why such a variety of numbers?? (They have all been consistent exactly the same for days and days now... I even have repeated the tests)  I don’t believe it’s user error as I am not new to any of them except the Red Sea...

 

Now I have read 200 different answers like with corals it should be near undetectable... to 20ppm is fine....

very confusing lol.... now I know I am not over feeding at all... they eat get a couple NLS pellets or a couple pieces of mysis shrimp and NOTHING hits the bottom lol

and I give them a starvation day in there as well....

 

how the heck do you know what test is right and where your numbers are? I know there is no point in asking what test kit to use because everyone will say a different one... just wondering if I should try doing like 5 or 8g water changes every couple days and see if that helps? Or just wait it out? And see if anything starts to change?

 

no algae what so ever... like nothing anywhere....yet (I only added - couple snails and one poor guy already didn’t make it because of lack of algae (he wouldn’t stay off the glass and it was spotless lol but the others got a good feeding that way!) 

 

but basically what shoukd/ can I do to lower them... as I said I know 20ppm (at worst) is ok for the fish right now and isn’t crazy but also would like to get and keep it lower (like maybe 5ppm) so I’m not fighting an uphill battle later....

 

i have space to add a bag of denitrate or similar right now and that was my only thought... get it down with that and then regular water changes should maybe keep it there? That was my only idea lol Or I don’t know if it’s better to just do once a week water changes and let the Chaeto try and use it up once it starts to grow (if it starts to grow lol) 

 

any suggestions, ideas, or missing info you need I’m up for any opinions lol 

 

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Clown79

2-5ppm is considered a good level of nitrates but 20ppm is not that high either.

 

Answers will differ depending on the corals you keep.

 

Having 20ppm with leathers, mushrooms, zoas is fine. Whereas with an sps tank lower nutrient levels is preferable. 

 

Doing a 50% waterchange will drop it by 50%.

 

 

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Tamberav
1 hour ago, FrancineJ said:

 

 

red sea pro (this one knly goes to 4ppm and it’s at 4ppm- so probably higher)

 

 

 

+1 everything clown79 said. However, I have this low range red sea kit and it has instructions on how to use it for high range over the 4ppm too. So you could run that test to see what it says. 

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FrancineJ

that’s all we  are gonna start with anyway (Zos Ana mushrooms anyway)

 

I just got an AutoAqua AWC so I’ll get a small change every day (just gonna set it for about 0.5g a day right now because my stock is so low... 

 

and yes @Tamberav I know I can do the dilution test just gonna lose my patience first lol if it is really 20ppm (or who knows what) because I like to do it in steps not just start with like 1/4 dilution right away lol so I figured it was better to have a decent high range test anyway just in case... because I hate API’s nitrate test anyway lol

 

i don’t find the API even consistent and accurate for my FW tanks... it’s the way you have to shake that stupid bottle #2  lol

 

and yes I know 50% will lower them roughly in half but Im not sure I want to subject the new fish a my couple little snail buddies to that when they are so new... I think I should have just done another water change before the fish but I figured that 20 out of 26g’s would be good enough lol (they were not crazy high after the cycle... Do you think maybe if I did some smaller ones (like 20%) and then a couple days later do another and do maybe 3 within the week or so it would still get me down enough?

 

Do you get what I am saying though about fighting an uphill battle? Does that make sense rather than waiting until I’m fully stocked and then trying to lower them? Get them down a bit more now and then concentrate on keeping them down? 

 

Or or should I just “figure it out” when I want to add coral? 

 

 

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Tamberav

i would not let it stay high even without coral, that may lead to algae issues and its not good for your snails. 

 

I wouldn't worry about water changes stressing fish. I do large water changes now and again, and do them on my quarantine tanks, fish are like WTF YOU DOING but its done and over quickly and they forgot about it. It's not like you are chasing them around trying to catch them. You can do it either way though, if you are more comfortable spreading out a few smaller ones, that is fine too. 

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FrancineJ

Ya mine wouldn’t be so quick right now... I use a 10g brute for mixing which holds 8g of saltwater... I will rarely need to do more than that every week with a 32 biocube... I have tons of other 5g pails but I was thinking if I did 3 x 8g changes maybe every 3rd day or so it would be both quicker and better...

 

Reason being.. I use an mj1200 to mix my 8g’s of water and it takes very little time lol the only other pump I have is the stock one that came with the biocube and I would rather keep it nice and clean for a back up for my tank just Incase lol 

@Clown79 knows my paranoia lol 😂 

it certainly has not been increasing so I don’t think it will effect it much differently...

i know it would seem like less work to do it once and once only but with my set up right now I think it would end up being more because I’d have to do repeated change after change to get to 50% all in one day while waiting for the salt to mix in between... having the leave the heater and stuff off ect... I have a 32g brute but I use that for storing my water.... if it was near empty I’d just use that and wash it out good afterwards but or course I just filled it lol

Plus I’m hopefully soon get a chance to hook up the AWC so that will drastically help I think.... changing 0.5g a day everyday..... if they work as good as everyone says they do....it will literally come down to mixing SW like every week and a half and filling the top off water like every several weeks (I don’t get much evaporation) and dumping a bin of waste water every week or whenever.... not to mention the benefits of having those fresh minerals going in for the fish and inverts everyday.... I think it sounds too good to be true but apparently it’s a life changer from everyone that owns 9g tanks to 200g tanks.... so we shall soon find out lol

I am due for a water change (technically) 

in a day or 2 anyway so we will see if that does anything... if it helps then I’ll do another one in a couple days or get the new system set up... 

Thanks for your opinions.... the only reason why I was thinking the denitrate or similar is because I know there is no “route” to my problem... I just didn’t do enough after the cycle to get it down far enough because I knew I was just gonna have fish for quite a while and that 20ppm is not harmful to them (or even the inverts- from all of my reasearch and people telling me also lol) but now I am thinking ahead lol

Again thanks for the help 🙂 

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Tamberav

I love the idea of AWC but that is partly cuz I am lazy.. ha! Then you have the other group of people who do ATI essentials or what not and do NO water changes. 

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FrancineJ

Lol well I’m not so much lazy.... I just have like 200 other tanks so if I can get away with not doing it on one then that’s a bonus haha 🤣 

And quite honestly they are not that expensive... I think I paid under $300 and it does the ATO as well.. so considering a decent ATO alone is a couple hundred bucks why not put a little extra out and get the whole thing lol

now just have to find a day when my damn kids don’t have hockey to get it set up! 🙄 lol

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patback

Not sure if anyone has mentioned it yet but do a test on fresh saltwater first and compare it to what you are getting from the tank. If you are using a good nitrate free water source, this will be your true zero, not what they put on those color charts. All those color based tests are pretty hard to read and not the best for accuracy.  

Another point, dont worry about it.  20 is okay for most corals as said above and if you put some in and they seem happy, be happy.  

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FrancineJ

Oh ya what I have has no nitrAtes in it... I always have my water tested before I ever add it to a tank 

 

Thanks again everyone for all your info! And help 🙂

 

 

Also, I am used to reading different tests... I have been in the FW world for like 30 years lol

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Clown79

Doing a 50% water change will not hurt fish or inverts. 

People with pico's do 80-100%.

 

When you move, do a tank transfer, or encounter a problem, very large waterchanges are a common practice.

 

 

For fish and inverts, there is no difference of 10% to 50%, they don't know how much water I being removed.

As long as parameters match, there is no issue when doing large waterchanges.

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JBM
3 hours ago, patback said:

Not sure if anyone has mentioned it yet but do a test on fresh saltwater first and compare it to what you are getting from the tank. If you are using a good nitrate free water source, this will be your true zero, not what they put on those color charts. All those color based tests are pretty hard to read and not the best for accuracy.  

Another point, dont worry about it.  20 is okay for most corals as said above and if you put some in and they seem happy, be happy.  

 

This, and! Test your water day of water change (before water change). Then test water day after water change. Each kit should show a reduction in nitrates.

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FlytheWMark
13 hours ago, Clown79 said:

2-5ppm is considered a good level of nitrates but 20ppm is not that high either.

 

Answers will differ depending on the corals you keep.

 

Having 20ppm with leathers, mushrooms, zoas is fine. Whereas with an sps tank lower nutrient levels is preferable. 

 

Doing a 50% waterchange will drop it by 50%.

 

 

+1 This.... completely agree.  I've struggled with Nitrates in my 10 gallon IM. Mine would go two 40, I'd do a water change, get to 20 but couldn't get it much lower.  My LPS and softies were all fine but I wanted to get it to around 10 because... well i don't have a good reason for that number but it seemed "reasonable".  So added a skimmer, started dosing Nopox and I consistently stay between 7-10 with water changes every two weeks (If I did these weekly I probably wouldn't' have to but this is what I want my schedule to be).  And you know what... everything is still the same with my corals after all of this.  My point is what many people here preach (but few of newbies listen) is don't freak out over numbers.  Most LPS and softies will do fine at 20.  Some (like Zoa's) seem to prefer it.

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FrancineJ

Thank you for sharing that... 

My point my have been missed a little bit....

I was wondering on opinions on if anyone had anything other than water changes (I know it will lower it if and when I do enough lol) 

but I was more thinking like if I added something like a bag of denitrate or something like that... a bag of media or something that will absorb it temporarily (the same way that if our phosphates were too high we would put some phosguard in to get it down until it was better controlled with water changes.... or it was figured out why they were high....I don’t want to start dosing or add stuff like that.... I did buy (don’t know if it will work or not but it was cheap) is an nitrate reducing sponge.... my plan I think is I am going to try and cut to size and use this to replace the sponge (yes I still have the sponge between 2 and 3) but I rinse it like 3 times a week ( I wanted to buy 3 more so I could swap them once a week but apparently it’s impossible in Canada 🙄) can’t find them anywhere online...

I keep it there because of the Chaeto pieces for now... once it gets growing then I will take it out but it’s at the stage right now where it still has the tiny little break offs (still very new to tank- a week today I think or close)

Trying to protect my pump for now but I had wanted to be able to switch them out (the sponges) once a week and wash and dry them (would be like a months worth) to let the bacteria die so it didn’t become a nitrate trap...(it’s not causing them to go up so far anyway) but that way it would stay clean and no nitrate factory and protection for my pump....

but anyway I just didn’t know if there was anything else like hanging a bag of Denitrate or something to pull it out... it’s bothering me because right now my stock is so low that I know it’s just left over from my first water change.... lol and I would rather just get it down now before I add all the fish and stress them out if it happens to get higher with more bioload....

so I guess I will try this new sponge in place of the old one, do an 8g water change and then hopefully try and get the new AWC system up... and see if that helps... we don’t plan on keeping a lot of corals and we will be doing them slowly in about 6 months or so when the tank matures more (and we have all of our stock) so I’m a ways  away yet... just wondering what your guys ideas were on trying to lower it as much as I can now 🙂 

 

Hope that makes sense lol

 

Thank you guys again for the help 🙂 

 

 

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FrancineJ
2 hours ago, JBM said:

 

This, and! Test your water day of water change (before water change). Then test water day after water change. Each kit should show a reduction in nitrates.

We always test before a water change (but the tank hasn’t had fish even in it long enough to do one yet with them in)

 

just did did our initial one before adding the fish...

but we will do that... I also do it on my FE tanks (I wait about an hour before testing) 

but hopefully the new AWC I won’t have to do much of anything lol

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Clown79

I've never used denitrate. I use purigen but it doesn't significantly drop numbers. More like help control things.

 

There are other products ppl dose for nutrient control but they require very good skimmers and not something recommended for new reef hobbyists.

 

 waterchange is the easiest and safest method to reducing nutrients.

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FrancineJ
14 hours ago, Clown79 said:

Doing a 50% water change will not hurt fish or inverts. 

People with pico's do 80-100%.

 

When you move, do a tank transfer, or encounter a problem, very large waterchanges are a common practice.

 

 

For fish and inverts, there is no difference of 10% to 50%, they don't know how much water I being removed.

As long as parameters match, there is no issue when doing large waterchanges.

That’s actually been proven a bit wrong... I’m sure it wouldn’t kill the fish but it’s now proven that (unless it’s an emergency or you have to do it for one reason or another- like you said moving, certain fish) that you should really only do no more than 30% at a time... if I did a huge water change it could drastically changed the water chemistry therefore effecting the fish.... I’m sure the couple snails and 2 clowns would be fine but I’d rather not if I don’t have to

 

also because of the reasons I said... (about the smaller buckets) don’t wanna use like 200 buckets lol or spend like hours doing it lol 

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FrancineJ
2 hours ago, Clown79 said:

I've never used denitrate. I use purigen but it doesn't significantly drop numbers. More like help control things.

 

There are other products ppl dose for nutrient control but they require very good skimmers and not something recommended for new reef hobbyists.

 

 waterchange is the easiest and safest method to reducing nutrients.

De nitrate works well... I am already using purigen and purigen won’t really lower it... it kind of keeps it where it is... if you go buy seachems answers to what it does (it does remove other things but won’t really “lower” your nitrAtes....

Gonna see in the AM what the new test kit reads... if it’s 20 or close like the API that’s what I’m going with.... but does go to show you... the seachem one is very much 2ppm not even close to the higher numbers... not by a LONG shot lol

ill try out the changes and see how that goes... if it’s not helping significantly I’ll try a bag of denitrate to get it down and then see if it stays down 

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MrObscura

After cycling a tank I usually have to do a bunch of  near 100% water changes to get nitrate low. 

 

I don't know what to tell about the inconsistent results though, but try to get an accurate reading of 5 or so and your good to go. Higher won't hurt anything but it's a good place to have it when starting to stock imo. After that I wouldn't worry too much about it. Despite what seemed to be a reefing commandment in the past, people are  getting away from trying to maintain low nutrients and just letting the tank balance it out. Which usually seems to fall between 5-20ppm with a common sense approach to nutrient import/export. Though some very successful reefers have no3 much higher than that. Every tank is different. 

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FrancineJ
1 hour ago, MrObscura said:

After cycling a tank I usually have to do a bunch of  near 100% water changes to get nitrate low. 

 

I don't know what to tell about the inconsistent results though, but try to get an accurate reading of 5 or so and your good to go. Higher won't hurt anything but it's a good place to have it when starting to stock imo. After that I wouldn't worry too much about it. Despite what seemed to be a reefing commandment in the past, people are  getting away from trying to maintain low nutrients and just letting the tank balance it out. Which usually seems to fall between 5-20ppm with a common sense approach to nutrient import/export. Though some very successful reefers have no3 much higher than that. Every tank is different. 

Yes and now after adding my clowns I realize I should have done more back to back water changes but I wasn’t too concerned because during cycling they did not go up that high to begin with... regardless I have fish now ( and I know 20ppm is fine for fish) 

 

but that was the point of my post... I was looking to see if anyone had some ideas other than the obvious water changes to lower it as I know it’s just left over from my cycle... unfortunately... 

We will see what the new Red Sea year says in the AM and again if it matches any of the other high range tests...

but hopefully my Chaeto will start to grow and help out with getting rid of them... the good news is they are not going up lol 

 

as for ghe inconsistant results it’s nothing new.... I’ve seen experiments people have done using everything from api to Hanna checkers to nyos and they all differ... so I’m at the conclusion that probably most people don’t even know exactly what their true nitrAtes are as they appear to vary from test to test lol and a large number of people have done this... so I can’t be just me lol 

 

for example if someone only ever uses the seachem one they might think their nitrAtes are just fine when in reality they may be 10x that lol 

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MrObscura

There are a number of ways to lower n03, but I'd just do some more water changes. 

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FrancineJ
1 minute ago, MrObscura said:

There are a number of ways to lower n03, but I'd just do some more water changes. 

Ya I don’t want to go to extremes like dosing ect... that’s why I was looking for anyone who had done this before... because I know it’s left over from my cycle I know once I get it down it will stay down ( for now anyway lol)

thags why I considered temp adding the denitrate or a similar media to absorb it and then I can just remove it.... my new nitrate sponges come tomorrow too so we will see how that goes... (if you read above you will see why I still have sponges and that I keep it clean and such... it’s not the source because they were testing like this before I even put the sponge back in when I added the Chaeto) but yes I know they can be nitrate factories that’s why I am very careful to make sure it’s cleaned regularly (couple times a week) and that’s why I’m trying these new pads that way I can just cut to size and toss and hopefully they might actually reduce the nitrAtes lol 

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JBM

Those nitrate sponges (if they even work) and denitrate media will cost more then doing water changes by a significant amount.

 

 

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FrancineJ

That’s the point I’m trying to make though... in reality it won’t... I just need to get them down and they will stay down..it’s not a permanent thing (except the sponges which I need to else I will have Chaeto clogging my pump and going into my DT.... so those will be replaced no matter what... but the de nitrate would only be in there until the nitrAtes were reduced... because they are again, just left over ones from not doing a couple water changes after my cycle... I only did one big one... 

and it wouldn’t cost me anything because I have it here already for my FE tanks and a bag to put it in... my phosphates are at 0... everything else is in check it’s just the nitrAtes.... my ammonia and nitrite are and have been at 0 since cycling and I didn’t even see a bump when I added my 2 clowns... no mini cycle what so ever... so I just was looking for any ideas to get the nitrAtes down so that when I do my wager changes they will stay lower.... it’s all good I think I have it figured out anyway!

so thank you all again for your help! 🙂

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Lula_Mae

I think you're overthinking this. Nitrates of 20 aren't that bad, especially for a new tank. Since this is the likely result of your cycle ending plus introducing bioload, a couple of large water changes are the best way to get nitrates down. It is a good call to get nitrates down to a level you're comfortable with before increasing stock, so you've got the right idea there. I couldn't tell you about test kits because the last time I tested was when my tank finished cycling a year ago in December. 

 

I think your automatic water changer will be a boon to help keep nitrates under control. I've never used denitrate or other nitrate reducers but most of the time things like that should be used with caution. I would highly recommend you get rid of the sponge. No matter how well you rinse it, there can be particles of detritus trapped in the cells that cause nitrate problems. It's not the bacteria we're worried about with sponges, it's the trapped detritus. Same with bioballs, live rock rubble, etc.. Instead, go to the craft store and look for some Polyfil, either the sheet kind used for quilt making or the fluffy kind used in stuffed animals (I've used both and find the sheets less messy). Make sure it's not been coated with flame retardant. Then cut a piece to size and stick it where it'll trap stuff coming through. Most recommend changing it at least a couple times a week so it doesn't start leaching nutrients. That will catch your little chaeto bits and other stuff. 

 

23 hours ago, FrancineJ said:

That’s actually been proven a bit wrong... I’m sure it wouldn’t kill the fish but it’s now proven that (unless it’s an emergency or you have to do it for one reason or another- like you said moving, certain fish) that you should really only do no more than 30% at a time... if I did a huge water change it could drastically changed the water chemistry therefore effecting the fish.... I’m sure the couple snails and 2 clowns would be fine but I’d rather not if I don’t have to

I'd be interested to know where you heard this. Unless you're using a salt that mixes high in certain parameters and your tank uses a lot of those and depletes them before a water change, as long as you match temp and salinity, large water changes shouldn't hurt the fish. If your particular immediate goal is to get nitrates down, the few large water changes to accomplish that shouldn't have any kind of long term effect on the fish. Personally, I'd employ whatever buckets and pumps I needed to and do a couple of 50% or more water changes and call it good. Get it all over with at once, if you will. Then rinse and dry what doesn't need to be used anymore and put away. Doing smaller water changes will work, but will take longer and more of them due to the reduced dilution capacity of smaller water changes. 

 

You've gotten a lot of good advice here.  Most of us have found that the best way to reset things in our mini-reefs is through large water changes which is why most on this thread have recommended it. Most of us also have done freshwater, and while there are similarities, saltwater is a whole different ball game. How you run your reef is up to you, but I've found that when a lot of people recommend something, it's for a good reason.

 

Good luck. 

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