PDA

View Full Version : Do I need a new skimmer?


kentwo
07/05/2015, 12:50 AM
My tanks has been running for a year and like many folks I can never get the nitrates below 20-40. I've tried macro algae, but the chaeto died off. Don't want to do carbon dosing yet. Have good water flow. Change 20% every week. Clean out my filters and everything pretty well. Lots of live rock and a pretty deep sand bed. Still can't get it down.

So I started wondering if the slimmer I have was insufficient for the tank. I got the reef octopus 100hob for my 29 gal tank but has since upgraded to a 55gal tank. The skimmate looks okay. I get 1/4 cup of green liquid and lots of mud every week. 3 clowns 1 yellow tail damsel 1 small snowflake and cleaner shrimp. Plus some clean up crew with snails and brittle stars.

My question is if my skimmer wasn't working well enough would
It show up in my nitrates first? Wouldn't it show up as ammonia or nitrite first? Those are always 0.

BleuFish
07/05/2015, 03:19 AM
not sure if the problem is the skimmer. Maybe it's from overfeeding? What are u feeding them and how often?

kentwo
07/05/2015, 05:02 AM
not sure if the problem is the skimmer. Maybe it's from overfeeding? What are u feeding them and how often?

Depends. Some days some mysis shrimp, others marine 2 pellets, eel gets a small piece of frozen squid that I chopped up and mixed with some spirulina powder.

Fish get fed once a day, weekends off. Eel 2-3 times a week.

Dkuhlmann
07/05/2015, 05:32 AM
I'd try and figure out why your chaeto died off. That stuff is a crazy growing weed

I'd do a 50% wc to get your nitrates down. It's also possible that your nitrates are coming from the DSB. Do the big wc and see what you read after. If it reduces them considerably then I'd do a 50% wc say 3 weeks in a row and then drop to 20% and see where you are then.

julie180
07/05/2015, 08:16 AM
My question.. Are you trying to reduce nitrates because of what the test kit is showing, or are you having problem with your tank? My personal theory..Don't try to fix what ain't broken. It almost always ends with new problems!

RussIV
07/05/2015, 08:18 AM
it is likely from your dsb. they leach nitrates after a period of time ime. just change out a portion of it every 12 months.

and no. you dont need a good skimmer to have low nitrates. i have .5ppm nitrates and no skimmer.

your bioload will have a lot to do with it as well.

RussIV
07/05/2015, 08:19 AM
My question.. Are you trying to reduce nitrates because of what the test kit is showing, or are you having problem with your tank? My personal theory..Don't try to fix what ain't broken. It almost always ends with new problems!

+1
this is good advice

gone fishin
07/05/2015, 08:23 AM
My question.. Are you trying to reduce nitrates because of what the test kit is showing, or are you having problem with your tank? My personal theory..Don't try to fix what ain't broken. It almost always ends with new problems!

I agree. You did not mention corals so I will assume it is a fish only tank. If that is the case I would not worry about the nitrates at that level.

ericarenee
07/05/2015, 09:37 AM
it is likely from your dsb. they leach nitrates after a period of time ime. just change out a portion of it every 12 months.

and no. you dont need a good skimmer to have low nitrates. i have .5ppm nitrates and no skimmer.

your bioload will have a lot to do with it as well.



I Agree its probably the Sand bed or Live rock. the snowflake is a messy eater and will just let food waste lay around on the sand bed.. NO Critter is getting close to him / her to gobble it up in fear they will be the next meal..

As far as the skimmer. If his skimmer is as small as i am thinking . The Collection cup only holds about 1/2 cup or so.. and he is getting it full of Green not black skim . It Very well could be skimming to wet . But to make it more dry it would not be taking anything out.. So I Think it could help

I to believe if you have no Corals and are not planing on any. Leave it be and Just boost you water changes... If you want to get them down do like 30% water changes back to back for every other day until they drop.. Just be careful and not shock the bio load by doing one Huge one..

kentwo
07/05/2015, 12:54 PM
I agree. You did not mention corals so I will assume it is a fish only tank. If that is the case I would not worry about the nitrates at that level.


Yep, right now no corals, but I'm interested in trying a few zoas. Thus, the attempt to try and reduce the nitrates.

Thanks for the advice.

rt67ghy
07/05/2015, 02:09 PM
Vacuuming the sand bed would be a good way to deal with nitrates. You'll be getting rid of much of the detritus before it turns into nitrates. After I set up my tank I first vacuumed my sandbed exactly 1 year later and I couldn't believe the brown coco-powder like stuff that came out of the sand and went up the syphon.

RussIV
07/05/2015, 06:17 PM
Yep, right now no corals, but I'm interested in trying a few zoas. Thus, the attempt to try and reduce the nitrates.

Thanks for the advice.

zoas can live in 40+ ppm nitrate. xenias, duncans, gsp. all fine for higher nitrate tanks ime. you arent trying to grow millies.

CStrickland
07/05/2015, 10:02 PM
Clean out my filters and everything pretty well

What kinda filters, and how well? If this is your culprit the fix might be super easy.

When nitrates get high sometimes a big wc followed by smaller and smaller, like stepping down, can help a lot more than many little ones. Idk why.

Also, I'm a fan of vaccing sand but I would start really slow if you haven't ever done it. Even after you get good with the siphon tube it's not a perfect operation so you will likely foul the water a little bit as you get the hang of it.

pisanoal
07/05/2015, 11:43 PM
What kinda filters, and how well? If this is your culprit the fix might be super easy.

When nitrates get high sometimes a big wc followed by smaller and smaller, like stepping down, can help a lot more than many little ones. Idk why.

This is because of dilution factor. Imagine a tank at 100 ppm nitrates. A 50 percent water change yields 50 ppm nitrate. 5 10percent changes yield 90, 81, 73, 66, 60 respectively.

CStrickland
07/05/2015, 11:58 PM
This is because of dilution factor. Imagine a tank at 100 ppm nitrates. A 50 percent water change yields 50 ppm nitrate. 5 10percent changes yield 90, 81, 73, 66, 60 respectively.

Yeah, assuming more aren't being created in the interim between the smaller changes, but your 5 would be over a month or so. I'm thinking of tanks that hover at 40 ppm forever with 10% weekly changes, and then do 50, 50, 30, 20, 20 to knock it out before resuming 10 weekly. I guess the dilution factor acts as a reset so the biofilter can catch up where before it could only maintain the status quo? Sometimes when people do that the nitrates don't rise back up again.

kentwo
07/06/2015, 08:25 PM
What kinda filters, and how well? If this is your culprit the fix might be super easy.

When nitrates get high sometimes a big wc followed by smaller and smaller, like stepping down, can help a lot more than many little ones. Idk why.

Also, I'm a fan of vaccing sand but I would start really slow if you haven't ever done it. Even after you get good with the siphon tube it's not a perfect operation so you will likely foul the water a little bit as you get the hang of it.



So far, I've been doing my vaccuming on the top 1-2" of the sand. I can start going a bit deeper to see if that helps.

My skimmer has a media bag with phosphoban and a sponge that I clean out pretty often. I also drain all the water from my HOB skimmer and rinse everything out once a month or so. Just to wash out any sediments that may have settled in the skimmer bottom.

CStrickland
07/06/2015, 09:36 PM
If pretty often is like every other day than you can prolly rule out the sponge, if it isn't then that might help. Or just take it out for a week and test.

I missed the part where you have deep sand, I think there might be diff ways to clean them out. Like, in my 2" I just stir it around with a tube and it sucks so much nasty stuff out. But I dont think that would be the right way in 6" because there are layers that it would disturb or even sulfide pockets. I know some clean them every once in a while, like years, but idk the process, some replace portions with fresh stand too (I think that's for phosphate though).

I don't think you are supposed to do much to it the first year while worms establish. But nitrate removal is supposed to be one of the few things a dsb is good for. Is a year old considered mature and denitrifying, or still leveling out the trophic colonies?

Im not too worried about it @40, it's unlikely to damage much noob coral, but anemones don't like it and some inverts too. I wouldn't freak, but there a few easy things in this thread to try. If it were me I'd start with the cheapest ones first read up on things and the run the idea by the forum. youll get a lot of confusing advice, listen harder to the people who've been members a long time, they've seen which methods last.
GL!

gone fishin
07/07/2015, 10:23 AM
I personally would not disturb a DSB in any way, there is a high potential to release some nasties. I would think a new skimmer may help with removing more organics out of the water. Just my two cents worth.

nuxx
07/07/2015, 05:16 PM
Read about carbon dosing and wet skimming ;)

kentwo
07/08/2015, 03:26 AM
I'm thinking of trying carbon dosing.

But only if I can actually find the corals that are easy and look nice. Surprisingly difficult to find in Hawaii, with the importation restrictions.

If I can't find anything, I may just wave the white flag and keep it fish only. They seem fine with the nitrates.

kentwo
07/08/2015, 03:27 AM
I'd try and figure out why your chaeto died off. That stuff is a crazy growing weed

I'd do a 50% wc to get your nitrates down. It's also possible that your nitrates are coming from the DSB. Do the big wc and see what you read after. If it reduces them considerably then I'd do a 50% wc say 3 weeks in a row and then drop to 20% and see where you are then.


Not sure. One batch grew like crazy, so I kept removing some.
Eventually it started to get overtaken by some slime looking algae and died off.

Dkuhlmann
07/08/2015, 08:03 AM
I started running my sump lights 24/7 and it grows like crazy with led's on it, these are just el cheapo led's for plants. The lights do need to run IMO for at least 12 hours a day.