View Full Version : Nitrate Probs. Need help.

10/10/2000, 04:10 AM
I have a 55.

My nitrates are about 25mg/l.

I have crushed coral as my substrate. I know this is bad.

I'm now thinking of redoing the bottom, but I don't know where to begin. I can't get calepra.

1) Should I leave crushed coral and get some mangroves?
2) Should I use beach sand (dry) and lay it over my crushed coral,or use beach sand on bare bottom?

3) What should I do?

Thanks for the help.

I have a seaclone. I know it sucks. I only have 3 fishes.

10/10/2000, 07:15 AM
I tried to get to your web page to find out more info, but I was "forbidden" :(

Is this a fish or reef tank?
How much live rock do you have?
For only 3 fish, you might be feeding too much.
Lastly, 25 isn't that bad.

10/10/2000, 09:20 AM
How deep is current CC bed? If not that high(say inch or so) could just put fine sand on top of it.

Done the mods to the clone yet?

10/10/2000, 09:23 AM
Need more details!

But in general, the best way to to reduce Nitrate is lots of LR. Then a deep sand bed and heavy skimming will help.

Or this could be an issue or normal cycling or to heavy of a fish load on a tank. So report back with the vitals on your tank.

10/10/2000, 11:51 AM
First of all thanks for the help.

Signu- I'm not sure exactly how many pounds, but I think I have 60 lbs or so. Its a fish only tank and has been running for about 6 months.

Staceon-What happened to the marineaquarium.org board? The seaclone seems to be working pretty well w/o mods.

Playfair-My site is hosted by the same one as marineaquarium.org, they seemed to bee down for about 1 month already. Sorry about that. My tank is a fish only, but I want to maybe get ready for reef.

The CC bed is about 2 inches max at the hightest point.

I don't think I feed them too much, probably once a day, a small pinch or less of a food cube.

10/10/2000, 12:14 PM
Wind I thought that was you.:) Just sounds like you need to up your exporters. Meaning, DSB or macros/mangroves. Also more frequent water changes can help.

10/10/2000, 12:36 PM
To reduce nitrates, your options are many:

You already have a low fish load, and I commend you for that.
Increasing the amount of live rock might help. You already seem to have enough, though.
You can feed less, but the effectiveness of this option is doubtful, IMO, and personally, I cannot bear to feed my fishes less.
Sometimes adding some detrivores can help keep nitrates from forming. hermits and nassarius snails eat leftover fish food and kep it from decomposing into nitrate. These creatures take away from the bioload more than they add to it, having an overall "positive" effect on nitrate levels, IME.
You can lay a sandbed over the crushed coral, but over time, the sand works its way down between the CC bits, with the net effect of the CC being on top. Unattractive, IMO. I'm not sure if this affects the nitrate-reducing ability of a sandbed.
You can remove the CC bed and replace it with sand. This option would be my preference, even though it's a pain in the butt. I would NOT be careful about removing all of the CC for 3 reasons: (1) It would REALLY be a pain in the butt, (2) you'll want to leave some of it in there to seed your new sand (you could also get a detrivore kit or buy live sand as well), and (3) according to some, the best sandbed environment for livesand critters is a sandbed of mixed particle size, heavy on the finer particles, with some larger ones. This is likely what you'll end up with if you remove most of the CC and replace it with LS.
You could find a way to get a hold of some macroalgaes. Perhaps you could get them MO or maybe a fellow hobbysit here at RC can help you out. When encouraged to grow and regularly harvested, macros are an excellent way of exporting nutrients.
If your lighting is sufficient, you could add several clams. I found this to be very helpful (JME, not scientific data) in my tank. It can be an expensive option, however. I had trouble reducing my last lingering 5 ppm of nitrate, but with the addition of two largish derasa clams (and the encouragement of several kinds of macros), the nitrate dropped to zero.
You might want to consider upgrading your skimmer. It might help to prevent the accumulation of more nitrates, but will not remove the nitrates already present.
You might want to consider increasing your water change regimen. This is simply a way of increasing export mechanically.
If you have a form of mechanical filtration, such as a filter bag or floss filter of some type, you might want to consider changing the floss or pad more often. the detritus that accumulates in these filter pads can produce nitrates.
If you have a biological filter aid that focuses on aerobic nitrif9ication (such as a wet-dry, fluidized bed, or biowheel), you might want to consider removing it. These types of filters are very efficient at eliminating ammonia and nitrite, but at the expense of accumulating nitrates. Excellent for a very young tank, but IMO an established tank does not need this type of filtration.


10/10/2000, 12:49 PM
HFF....very nice work....

10/10/2000, 02:36 PM
Great post HFF! I found it very useful.

Archive it maybe?

Larry M
10/10/2000, 02:42 PM
tagged for the archives

10/10/2000, 07:19 PM
Well. I think I might get some more liverock. Do liverock really reduce nitrates? Or does the sand bed help more.

I too, dont' like removing cc and redoing the substrate. I dont' have enought lights for a clam. But I have this clam that grew on a rock, its not those color ones.

HFF, thanks for taking the time. I only have a skimmer, I guess I'll consider upgrading skimmer in a few months when i save money.

I do want macro algae. I think its the way for me to go, however I hope my hermits don't eat it. Thanks for the help. I need some help getting macro algae. HEHE. Oh well laters and thanks to all.

10/10/2000, 09:01 PM
"The nitrate reduction capacity of a sand bed depends on grain size and depth. Fine sand, like oolitic aragonite from ESV and Aragamax sugar-size sand from CaribSea, requires only about 2 inches in depth."

I read this from somewhere. Do you think it is true? What if I decide to do this or redo my tank's substrate. In SUMMER 2000 Seascope they talk about livesand.

Can anyone help me w/ the macro or ls thing?


10/10/2000, 10:04 PM

If you want to read about sandbeds, try my page.

It should answer most of your questions. :)

Oolitic Sandbeds in the 2" range should do well for de-nitrification. Maximum nutrient re-cycling "requires" a deeper bed of about 4", according to sources I trust.
Make sure to seed it with some live sand.

See if you can pick up http://www.IPSF.com They should be local and have some algae. I bought a bag of caulerpa from my LFS for $6. See if one of your LFS has
some for a reasonable price.

Hope this helps;


P.S. Do you know any of the UH students that went to Interop? :)