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fish finger
03/13/2012, 03:56 PM
Hi Everyone,

I am new to the site and i am having some problems i need help with.

I have had my tank up and running for a couple of years and it has been flourishing with loads of coral growth and bright colours. but i have always had high ish nitrates around 40-80ppm, i did some research and decided to get a sump and have a deep sand bed and algae to try to get this down.

I set the sump up and let it cycle on its own (as the sump holds 60% of the water volume that my tank does) i just had the return hooked up to the inlet to create flow and a heater for 2.5 weeks until the ammonia was 0 ppm, Nitrite was 0 ppm and Nitrate was 20 ppm.

I decided to connect the sump to my tank and everything was fine until that evening when i did a water test and ammonia was 0 ppm, Nitrite was 1 ppm and Nitrate was 80 ppm, i thought this could be a small cycle and added some bacteria to settle things down.

I did a water test the following day and ammonia was 0ppm, Nitrite was 5+ ppm and Nitrate was 120+ppm both maximum on the test and changed colour instantly. my fish did not seem well at all, my inverts seemed to be normal but i would have expected a lot worse with changes like this in only 24 hours. i decided to disconnect the sump and all pipework.

It has now been 4 days and levels are still the same i have done 2 large water changes and 1 small, i have tried adding bacteria, Nitrite/nitrate remover and nothing even makes a dent.

What can i try to get things back to normal?

Could this be some sort of contamination from the hoses going to and from the tank as these were the only brand new components between everything testing ok and everything going wrong? if that is the case how do i fix it?

so far all animals in the tank are still alive including red Linkia starfish and shrimp but i'm not sure how long they will last so all help is really appreciated.

Thank in advance

bertoni
03/13/2012, 09:51 PM
[welcome]

The nitrate test kit won't be very useful until the nitrite drops to zero, most likely, since nitrite interferes with most nitrate test kits, if not all of them.

The nitrite might indicate that something large died and is decaying. Did any live rock get exposed to air in the process?

What kind of materials were used in the pipework?

fish finger
03/14/2012, 10:45 AM
thanks for getting back to me,

Everything in the tank is still alive all fish and inverts, i checked for everything when nitrite first got high and have been keeping an eye out since. all of the rock stayed submerged when i did water change i removed water from the main tank until it gets near the rock/coral then i took the rest from the filter compartment which holds an extra 20 litres.

The pipework consists of an acrylic overflow box, pvc fittings and a length of hose all of which i bought used although i put some old aquarium water through it before i used it to clean it out. I bought a length of hose and a return U-tube at my lfs which i put straight on.

Today i did another water change and did another Nitrite test it took a while to show its full colour then was reading somewhere between 2 and 5ppm, i'm not sure if the its the water changes or just time that is helping but i will keep doing small water changes regularly for now.

do you know how long it would take for the fish to return to normal? or could this be something that they don't ever recover from?

bertoni
03/14/2012, 11:10 PM
What do you mean by "it took a while to show its full colour"? I think most test kits have a time limit for waiting. Going past that might make the result inaccurate.

fish finger
03/15/2012, 01:25 PM
I mean it took the full 60 seconds that the test kit says it should to develop , i use the API saltwater master test kit and after the 60 seconds the colour doesn't really change for days so if you are interested in a particular test you can compare with results you have got previously as i have been with nitrite over the past few days.

I have done a test today and nitrite is 0ppm and nitrate is also 0ppm. all fish are doing well but i'm still thinking it was contamination of some sort.

wolfador
03/15/2012, 01:30 PM
I decided to connect the sump to my tank and everything was fine until that evening when i did a water test and ammonia was 0 ppm, Nitrite was 1 ppm and Nitrate was 80 ppm, i thought this could be a small cycle and added some bacteria to settle things down.


What "bacteria" did you add?

tmz
03/15/2012, 03:26 PM
Fish should not be harmed by nitrite or nitrate in salt water. Was the sand in the sump old or new?