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Old 01/18/2017, 07:29 PM   #1
mandarin chick
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Back again re: Nitrates

Posted a couple of weeks ago with hi Nitrates and followed some suggestions.

Reminder: 125g, 1 yellow tang, 2 clowns, 2 green chromis, 1 flame hawk. Couple of hermits and an immortal nassarius snail as well.

I can't remember the name of the nitrate test - but red is the highest level - I'm going to guess 100ppm?

Since that post, everything has been vacuumed a couple of times, turned the skimmer up a little - it's wet filled (rather than my usual dry skim) and emptied every day. I did 3 50g water changes 3 days apart- checking the Catalina water each time before adding, and I do a 10g change daily. It's been at least 2 weeks or there abouts.

I also have not fed the fish - much to their dismay - for the last week.

I also added a filter sock to the overflow outlet (in the sump) and change it every day. The first few days it was pretty nasty, when I was stirring and vacuuming the gravel and rock the first time - it was a process. It's been pretty clean since even with subsequent stirring and vacuuming.

Based on 100ppm Nitrates, I also started adding 10ml vodka daily - the 4th day is when the skimmate started increasing. I also started adding Microbacter every night at the same time I started adding vodka.

There has been absolutely no, nadda, zilch change in Nitrates. We are still at beet red - highest level on the test.

I wouldn't have expected a major change in just 2 weeks, but $%#!!! I should have made a dent!

It can't be a bad test kit because it comes out yellow (0) when I test the catalina and RO water.

What am I missing here?


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Last edited by mandarin chick; 01/18/2017 at 07:38 PM.
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Old 01/18/2017, 08:47 PM   #2
bertoni
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I think two weeks isn't all that much time. I'd give the vodka at least a month or two if the level is that high. You could try diluting the tank water with some clean saltwater to get some idea of the level. 3 parts clean saltwater to 1 part tank water might be good enough. Just multiple the result by 4.

The water changes might never do much. A lot of tanks seem to be able to generate nitrate fairly quickly.


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Old 01/19/2017, 01:19 AM   #3
Tripod1404
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If it is an API nitrate test, I won't trust it. They are notorious for giving false readings.


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Old 01/19/2017, 06:10 AM   #4
mandarin chick
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bertoni View Post
I think two weeks isn't all that much time. I'd give the vodka at least a month or two if the level is that high. You could try diluting the tank water with some clean saltwater to get some idea of the level. 3 parts clean saltwater to 1 part tank water might be good enough. Just multiple the result by 4.

The water changes might never do much. A lot of tanks seem to be able to generate nitrate fairly quickly.
You give me hope. I just finished the morning water change and it's actually more than 10g - more like 12-13. Hard to afford that much water on a daily basis.

You think I should back off on the water changes for a while and let the vodka do it's thing?


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Old 01/19/2017, 09:59 AM   #5
Dan_P
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mandarin chick View Post
Posted a couple of weeks ago with hi Nitrates and followed some suggestions.

Reminder: 125g, 1 yellow tang, 2 clowns, 2 green chromis, 1 flame hawk. Couple of hermits and an immortal nassarius snail as well.
Not many fish in a 125 gal system. I probably have more fish mass than this in 50 gallons and feed at least 4 cube equivalents per day and typically the system has no detectable nitrates. Please, go back to feeding your fish. I cannot see starving the fish is going to fix anything.

Quote:
I can't remember the name of the nitrate test - but red is the highest level - I'm going to guess 100ppm?
When nitrates are this high, it is best to dilute the test sample with distilled water to get the reading back to the midde of the scale. This will allow you to get a better estimation of the level.

Also, when things get weird, it would be good to confirm that you test kit is still working.

Quote:
Since that post, everything has been vacuumed a couple of times, turned the skimmer up a little - it's wet filled (rather than my usual dry skim) and emptied every day.
The skimmer adjustment may have little or no impact on nitrate level. Wet skimming takes out more aquarium water than dry skimming and possibly a little more material.

Vacuuming the substrate could have destroyed a portion of the tank's denitrification capabilities, though maybe there wasn't much to start with. It would take many weeks for this capability to come back and consume even 10 ppm nitrate.

Quote:
I did 3 50g water changes 3 days apart- checking the Catalina water each time before adding, and I do a 10g change daily. It's been at least 2 weeks or there abouts.
With the three 50 gallon changes, there should have been an immediate decrease in nitrates. If you saw no change, this could mean that the nitrates are much higher than 100 ppm. Diluting 200 ppm nitrate with fresh salt water would not have changed the test sample color which is probably at saturation.

When did the nitrates get so high and how long did it take to reach that level?


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Old 01/19/2017, 10:43 AM   #6
scooter31707
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Where are you getting your water source from. Are you using your own RO/DI or you getting it from a local source?


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240 gallon (cycling) w/ 125 gallon sump and 30 gallon refugium

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Old 01/19/2017, 10:59 AM   #7
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It's a pretty short time. But just as an fyi, after battling a huge nitrate problem for months with everything including carbon dosing, mine dropped like a stone over a matter of days after I got a vastly more potent skimmer---from a Coralife 200 to the same rating on an Eshopps.


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Salinity 1.024-6; alkalinity 8.3-9.3 on KH scale; calcium 420; magnesium 1300, temp 78-80, nitrate .2. Ammonia 0. No filters: lps tank. Alk and cal won't rise if mg is low.

Current Tank Info: 105g AquaVim wedge lps reef: 3 firefish, yellowhead jawfish, yellow watchman, 3 chromis, tailspot/starry blennies, pink margin fairy wrasse, mandarin, kalk, radion pro, gyre, Eshopps s-200 skimmer, basement sump.
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Old 01/19/2017, 11:04 AM   #8
Tripod1404
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I cannot really see a tank having 100ppm nitrate with 3 almost 50% water changes. That would mean you initially had ~1000ppm of nitrate. Unless something huge is rotting inside the tank. I would first verify that 100 ppm with another test (ideally from another manufacturer).

If the value is correct make sure your RO/DI is nitrate free.


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Old 01/19/2017, 11:38 PM   #9
bertoni
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mandarin chick View Post
You think I should back off on the water changes for a while and let the vodka do it's thing?
I'd keep to a normal water change schedule, maybe two 10% changes a month, and see how much the vodka helps, as you suggest.


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Old 01/20/2017, 06:07 AM   #10
mandarin chick
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Many good ideas! Working them as we speak. Thanks!


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Support your local fish breeeders, coral propagators and economy: ask for their livestock at your favorite live fish store!

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Current Tank Info: 125 reef
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Old 01/20/2017, 12:49 PM   #11
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Listen to Dan.

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