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Steemax

Unable to Register any Nitrates

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Steemax

Hello, i'm having some nitrate issues with my new setup. I've never come across such an issue in the however many years i've been doing this so i'm dumbfounded. 

 

My tank is a 20g High with a HOB AC50 running basic carbon & filter floss. I had installed a Protein skimmer but removed it a week ago due to this issue. I'm also running a 9 watt UV. 

 

As of my last water change on 1/2/2020, nearing 2 weeks ago i've been at 0 nitrates on my API test kit. I know the test kit is fine as I made some saltwater using my tap knowing there are nitrates in there and sure enough it showed nitrates fine. 

 

A few things to note. 

-Feed fish once a day. 

-Feed corals Mysis twice a week and Reef Roids once.

-All live stock are doing very well so no issues there, my worries are Dinos which some showed up but have subsided now on their own. 

-My sandbed is crystal clear since the diatoms went away, there's some green algae growing on the rocks (not hair algae). Coraline algae has taken off on the back glass though. 

-I added a 3rd fish in hopes of increasing my bio-load? Would rather do that then overfeed to create extra waste. 

-I've had a pod explosion, they are EVERY where including in the water column. 

-I used LR from an established reef tank that's been going for 20+ years from LFS. 

 

Here's a link to my build thread for details and pics of the tank: 

 

 

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Jmevox

Have you tried dosing nitrates?  Do you have any phosphates?

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Steemax
3 minutes ago, Jmevox said:

Have you tried dosing nitrates?  Do you have any phosphates?

I haven't tried, but logically there shouldn't be any reason I would have completely 0 nitrates since I have nothing that would consume nitrates at that rate right? 

 

Not sure about Phosphates, picking up a test kit either later today or tomorrow. 

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Jmevox

That is odd. You sure your test kit is accurate? After shutting down the skimmer and feeding more you should be registering some nitrates

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Steemax
1 minute ago, Jmevox said:

That is odd. You sure your test kit is accurate? After shutting down the skimmer and feeding more you should be registering some nitrates

I mean it worked against my tap water and I had used it during cycling, it was registering nitrates correctly and fine just a few weeks ago. I can still try taking sample water to LFS and check against their tester I suppose. Worth a shot since nothing else is making sense to me. 

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Clown79

Api is an ok kit to use but it doesn't read in increments so when nitrates are low, it registers at 0.

 

My api showed 0, salifert showed 2 because api lowest reading is 5.

 

 

Why are you using a UV sterilizer? It's not advised to use this constantly, rather when there is a purpose for its use.

 

I had nothing but problems trying to keep nutrients. It took getting dino's for my tank to get nutrients.

 

I had to stop waterchanges for a month, I fed reef roids and dosed phyto.

 

I got my nitrates to 5 and phos well above the "recommended" numbers.

 

Once I got my nutrients to where I needed them, I started doing smaller waterchanges, dosed phyto 1 time a week, reef roids 1 time a week and I have maintained nutrient levels 

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Steemax
4 minutes ago, Clown79 said:

Api is an ok kit to use but it doesn't read in increments so when nitrates are low, it registers at 0.

 

My api showed 0, salifert showed 2 because api lowest reading is 5.

 

 

Why are you using a UV sterilizer? It's not advised to use this constantly, rather when there is a purpose for its use.

 

I had nothing but problems trying to keep nutrients. It took getting dino's for my tank to get nutrients.

 

I had to stop waterchanges for a month, I fed reef roids and dosed phyto.

 

I got my nitrates to 5 and phos well above the "recommended" numbers.

 

Once I got my nutrients to where I needed them, I started doing smaller waterchanges, dosed phyto 1 time a week, reef roids 1 time a week and I have maintained nutrient levels 

 

The UV was in response to the small amount of Dino that popped up. Wanted to nip it in the but before it got out of hand which it has alongside manual removal via a syringe +carbon. I'm just continuing to run it a bit longer to ensure there's nothing left in the water column. 

 

So based on that, odds are I do have some nitrates, just that there are lower than 5 so API won't show them. Maybe i'll pickup a Salifert test kit. I really like my Salifert test kits for calcium and alk. 

 

For now then i'll try lowering my water changes to 10% bi-weekly vs 25% weekly and continue with my feeding. I added my 3rd fish yesterday so bio-load should be increasing as well. 

 

Thanks, 

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mcarroll

How are you filtering/cleaning this tank?

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Steemax
1 hour ago, mcarroll said:

How are you filtering/cleaning this tank?

AC 50 with Carbon and Filter floss, AL 115 in-tank protein skimmer and 25% weekly water change with distilled water tested at 0 TDS. I removed the protein skimmer temporarily to see if it would help but so far it's been a week and still not showing any nitrates. 

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mcarroll

Doesn't sound too bad.....I'd say to chill out on the water changes as much as possible and make sure you're feeding your existing critters well.

 

The carbon and filter floss are definitely optional if you want to do without them for a while.

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Steemax
Just now, mcarroll said:

Doesn't sound too bad.....I'd say to chill out on the water changes as much as possible and make sure you're feeding your existing critters well.

 

The carbon and filter floss are definitely optional if you want to do without them for a while.

I figured as much... i'm keeping on with my once a day feeding of the fish and feeding the corals so definitely not dialing that back. Otherwise the tank is responding very well so i'll just stay the course. 

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Amphrites

Just dose nitrates, bottoming out nutrients is more common these days than you might think. Ending up too clean has become common enough nowadays to make Dino's an almost-common occurrence in the hobby, and that's not a coincidence.

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mcarroll

As long as phosphates remain well above zero AND there's no over-filtering AND tank feedings are regular, I don't see much danger in low nitrates.  (Lots of important qualifications!!)

 

In the long run, maybe consider slanting more feeding toward your fish and fewer (or eventually no) feedings toward your corals.

 

 

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Perthreefer

Having a similar issue with my system. Last check nitrates were at 0.2 and phosphate at 0.01. It may be the case because you used very established LR that your biological filtration is just too efficient for you current bio load.

I have cut my skimming down to 12 hours a day (I know you have removed yours, that’s fine so long as there is sufficient aeration of the water without one); now feed twice a day (the fish love it); and feed coral food every other day. You could go down the reduced water change route but you’ll want to maintain your trace elements if you start increasing your coral numbers.

Personally I wouldn’t dose nitrates, dosing should always be the last resort in my eyes, in coral systems we really have no other viable option to maintain Alk, Calcium and mag (other than calcium reactors etc).

But for nitrates, why dose and pay for a product when you can reduce filtration, increase feeding and add more livestock.

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Amphrites
19 minutes ago, Perthreefer said:

Having a similar issue with my system. Last check nitrates were at 0.2 and phosphate at 0.01. It may be the case because you used very established LR that your biological filtration is just too efficient for you current bio load.

I have cut my skimming down to 12 hours a day (I know you have removed yours, that’s fine so long as there is sufficient aeration of the water without one); now feed twice a day (the fish love it); and feed coral food every other day. You could go down the reduced water change route but you’ll want to maintain your trace elements if you start increasing your coral numbers.

Personally I wouldn’t dose nitrates, dosing should always be the last resort in my eyes, in coral systems we really have no other viable option to maintain Alk, Calcium and mag (other than calcium reactors etc).

But for nitrates, why dose and pay for a product when you can reduce filtration, increase feeding and add more livestock.

Depends, if you have 0 P04 and do not dose - you're liable to end up with dino's in a newer system, it's less likely and may take longer in an established reef tank, but 9 out of 10 forum posts for "weird stringy algae" immediately open up with "my nutrient levels are all 0 and I don't understand what I'm doing wrong".

Some systems will also just get to a point where you cannot reasonably maintain levels with feedings or stocking alone, quite a few folks out there have to dose N03 or P04 in order to meet consumption haha.

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Clown79
12 minutes ago, Amphrites said:

Depends, if you have 0 P04 and do not dose - you're liable to end up with dino's in a newer system, it's less likely and may take longer in an established reef tank, but 9 out of 10 forum posts for "weird stringy algae" immediately open up with "my nutrient levels are all 0 and I don't understand what I'm doing wrong".

Some systems will also just get to a point where you cannot reasonably maintain levels with feedings or stocking alone, quite a few folks out there have to dose N03 or P04 in order to meet consumption haha.

Yup.

 

I feed a lot. My po4 is high but nitrates very low.

 

If I could dose nitrate, I would.

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Amphrites
1 hour ago, Clown79 said:

Yup.

 

I feed a lot. My po4 is high but nitrates very low.

 

If I could dose nitrate, I would.

Can you no longer request saltpeter at a pharmacy or get ahold of stump remover in Canada?
Genuinely curious, the stuff is nasty enough in the water and has enough less-savory uses that I understand it being controlled or banned.

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Clown79
4 minutes ago, Amphrites said:

Can you no longer request saltpeter at a pharmacy or get ahold of stump remover in Canada?
Genuinely curious, the stuff is nasty enough in the water and has enough less-savory uses that I understand it being controlled or banned.

All stump removers here have none of the ingredients for nitrates. It's a banned/retricted product that requires license to sell or purchase.

 

Not sure about saltpeter but currently read it's not easy to get.

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mcarroll

I've never heard anyone answer:  How do you all grow plants up there in gardens or in your house with none of these chemicals available?

 

Are the things on Amazon.ca actually available?  Seachem Flourish Nitrogen is listed in multiple sizes.  Ditto for 'Phosphorous.  Both are listed on *.ca as "Amazon's Choice".

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Tired

I think people mostly use compost and manure and whatnot on plants, when the more... human-assembled fertilizers aren't available. 

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Clown79
1 hour ago, mcarroll said:

I've never heard anyone answer:  How do you all grow plants up there in gardens or in your house with none of these chemicals available?

 

Are the things on Amazon.ca actually available?  Seachem Flourish Nitrogen is listed in multiple sizes.  Ditto for 'Phosphorous.  Both are listed on *.ca as "Amazon's Choice".

We use products that don't have these ingredients, so mostly natural products or with differing ingredients.

 

I never had a green thumb so I have never needed to look into it.

 

Not all products on amazon come direct from them, so usually out of country which is subject to customs inspection. So a restricted product would not get passed.

 

The seachem products obviously don't have enough in it to be restricted...yet.

 

Considering you can't buy meds for your fish and you could last year, anything can change.

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mcarroll

Seachem Nitogen should be a better alternative to the stump removers anyway.  Looks like in this case that Seachem is shipped from and sold by Amazon.ca.

 

The stump remover article on my blog is super popular, but I'd still never use or recommend that vs a commercial product like those from Seachem (Brightwell and others) if it's available.

 

FWIW, Spectracide Stump remover KNO3 is also listed on Amazon.ca by a company called MCI Goods.  Sounds local.  Not sure if you can verify whether they're local enough to know better though.

 

Ref: A Nitrate Dosing Calculator For Better Tank Health (And Better Coral Color!)

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Steemax

Just to update this thread. I picked up a salifert test kit to test my APi against and it makes sense why the API can't register anything. Salifert shows 2ppm. Very low despite my efforts of heavy feeding and minimal water change + no skimmer.

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