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Old 01/31/2018, 09:48 PM   #1
Misticl
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Exclamation Nitrates thru the roof

Ok, i am looking for a solution here. I need real honest answers on how to remove nitrates from my reef tank. I don't want this to turn into " you have a fish that doesn't belong in that tank" type of post. I just need solutions to remove nitrates. I am currently testing with API and getting blood red results. I have taken a lot of actions to reduce the amount of nitrates in the tank but still seem to be testing extremely high. I dont know what my starting number truly is as it has remained higher than API can test for about 2 months now. Everything i find looking for answers, no one posts about anything higher than 80. below are some descriptions about my tank and actions i have taken. All help is greatly appreciated as i am getting to the point of starting over or quitting out of frustration.

75 gallon tank cycled in June of 2017
75 lbs of live rock
Fluval 406 (all white filter pads replaced with every water change each week)
Jaebo powerhead
Feeding is LRF Reef frenzy the size of my thumb from finger nail to first knuckle.
Added Ehiem Skimmer filter (rinsing pad daily as it fills up)
Added macro algae in acclimation box floating in tank (rotated daily during feeding time)
substrate is 3" which is vacuumed weekly
2 weeks ago went complete blackout for 3 days and hired a sea hare to remove the algae
Kessil ap700 light mounted 9 inches above tank
reduced light time to 6 hours

current residents
1 Sailfin tang
1 Royal blue hippo tang (Dory) we have kids
2 Clown fish
1 Orange back fairy wrasse
1 Yellow coris wrasse
1 Starry blenny
1 coral beauty
1 flame angel
1 sand sifting goby (yellow head with black and white horizontal stripes)

Coral
1 Purple tree
2 frags of Zoas
1 Florida Ricordia
1 Dendro
1 Toadstool
1 green polyp
1 4 head torch
1 long tentacle plate
1 3 head duncan (light blue)
1 9 head duncan (light green, dark green mix)
1 bubble coral
1 candy cane (neon green)
1 satosa frag
1 deep water pipe organ (about 20 polyps)
1 acro blue tort

CUC
2 Cleaner shrimp (they paired up and she is pregnant)
12 Hermit crabs various sizes
6 Trochus snails

I desperately need a way to reduce these nitrates as i have much invested in this setup and have plans to get a 300 gallon up and running this summer.
Please respond with nitrate reducing solutions only.


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Old 01/31/2018, 10:02 PM   #2
bertoni
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You could consider a denitrator coil or a sulfur reactor. That'd be my first thought for an extremely high nitrate level. If the animals are doing well enough, you could ignore the nitrate level. It's actually not very toxic in our systems. You might try diluting a sample of tank water with fresh saltwater or RO/DI to get more of an idea of the actual level.

A coarse substrate can produce a lot of nitrate, as can any filtration media that traps a lot of organic debris. I'd also add more live rock, although that might not be enough to help. Something like an extra 50 lbs might make some difference, though.


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Old 01/31/2018, 11:06 PM   #3
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The obvious, import nutrients is greater than export nutrients.

From your post weekly maintenance is time consuming and green hair algae must be out of control. The fluval is helping to convert ammonia to nitrite and nitrite to nitrate. The 3 in sand bed and live rock is also helping with the conversion but these do not export nutrients.

You did not mention a sump and the ehiem skimmer must be overloaded.

I would consider added more nutrient export equipment.

These can be
1) larger skimmer
1) a. Larger skimmer + carbon addition
If you don't have a sump you may need to add one.

2. Refugium might have to be pretty big for your bio load I am guessing about 20 gallons in size maybe bigger...

3. Algae turf scrubber. I tried a diy ats but was unsuccessful but at the time I had a large refugium protein skimmer sized for twice my tank size and nitrates were zero. But others have been successful.

The best road to success is to have a sump over sized protein skimmer, carbon dose with either bio pellets or vodka, and have a refugium. If you are not set up for this you might just say screw it and start over.

Another option is to get an Algae turf scrubber seed it with some green algae from the rock and see if it works. Santa Monica sells them and I Hear mixed reviews so I can't endorse it but it would be the simplest to get a HOG (Hang on Glass) and put it in the back. Everything else will be a lot of work.

Honestly you might gut need to start over... have you talked to other reefers and been over to their house to see there tanks? It is well worth seeing what other are doing successfully and unsuccessfully.


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Old 01/31/2018, 11:34 PM   #4
Misticl
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I tried to send pms to discuss further but don't have the points to do so. No I don't have a sump I have canister fluval 406. I have had thoughts that the nitrates may be "locked" into my live rock consider the fact that I am making weekly water changes and changing, not just squeezing out, all the filter material. If I knew then what I have learned now, I would never run a saltwater system without a sump and refugium. I'm all about the natural process and algae in a sump/refugium is hands down the best way to filter everything. If either of you are available to have chat call me at XXX_XXX-XXXX. I'll remove this line tomorrow so I don't get more call from President Trump telling me I have been awarded a grant.



Last edited by griss; 02/02/2018 at 08:55 AM. Reason: Phone number removed per OP request
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Old 01/31/2018, 11:44 PM   #5
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How much chaeto are you keeping? Too little you wont see any difference and wait for then to grow.

How much waterchange is done? What is the filtration method?

Did you try carbon dosing? Nopox from red sea is what i would recommed.

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Old 01/31/2018, 11:49 PM   #6
Misticl
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@hegeh

How much chaeto are you keeping? None.
Too little you wont see any difference and wait for then to grow.

How much waterchange is done? 20 gallons weekly.
What is the filtration method? As stated above.... 406 Fluval

Did you try carbon dosing? No.

Nopox from red sea is what i would recommed. Nopox REQUIRES a skimmer. Which I don't have.


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Old 01/31/2018, 11:57 PM   #7
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Cheapest solution:
Remove foam filters from fluval and replace with rubble
Begin dosing white vinegar
Perhaps one more powerhead
Skimmer!!!


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Old 02/01/2018, 12:09 AM   #8
Misticl
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@Daddi0

Cheapest solution:
Remove foam filters from fluval and replace with rubble. Please elaborate on what the rubble will offer over the foam filters. Just learning and want to understand more.

Begin dosing white vinegar. What will this do? What is the reaction with nitrates? I don't have a sump or skimmer so I can't suck out oxygen and pump in nitrogen. Again learning here.

Perhaps one more powerhead. I have my powered on 2 of 7. It is on a pulse string to create a wave type movement. It is also pointed towards the surface to break water tension to promote air exchange and break surface tension as the fluval 406 inlet and outlet are quite submerged.


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Old 02/01/2018, 12:17 AM   #9
hegeh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Misticl View Post
@hegeh

How much chaeto are you keeping? None.
Too little you wont see any difference and wait for then to grow.

How much waterchange is done? 20 gallons weekly.
What is the filtration method? As stated above.... 406 Fluval

Did you try carbon dosing? No.

Nopox from red sea is what i would recommed. Nopox REQUIRES a skimmer. Which I don't have.
No skimmer with that amount of bioload, it would be very hard to keep up with the nutrient export. Unless waterchange more frequent to achive lower nitate. As long ur fishes and corals looks happy then its ok. Dont chase numbers.

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Old 02/01/2018, 12:27 AM   #10
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I have lost multiple fish and coral recently. I'm not comfortable with my nitrate levels. I have been told not to chase numbers, but when one is outstanding drastically above the rest, I one have one direction to go.

2 Vlamingi tang (first was 6 month in the tank, second was 10 days in the tank)
1 Tomini tang (2 days after introduction)
5 polyp candy cane coral
Halloween urchin
Serpent star
Countless snails
Pink gonipora
Alveapora
2 blood red for shrimp

All above died in the past month.

I am not introducing anything new into this tank until I get the one item that is measuring out of scale into control. I have read both sides of the coin on nitrates. But seeing as I have had too many things go south quickly, I need to make an adjustment.


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Old 02/01/2018, 12:46 AM   #11
Misticl
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Starting over might be my best option.


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Old 02/01/2018, 12:46 AM   #12
Misticl
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Can I save my live rock or is it tainted?


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Old 02/01/2018, 12:47 AM   #13
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How do you figure the proper size for a sump?


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Old 02/01/2018, 12:48 AM   #14
Misticl
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Is refugium and sump the same thing?


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Old 02/01/2018, 12:48 AM   #15
Misticl
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Do you grow more than one type of macro algae?


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Old 02/01/2018, 04:42 AM   #16
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I don't think there is a "proper" size.

From my experience, the bigger the better, within reason of course. The more total water volume between your tank and sump, the more forgiving the numbers are.

For a 75-gallon tank, I'd go with a 30-gallon sump.

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How do you figure the proper size for a sump?



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Old 02/01/2018, 04:46 AM   #17
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In most cases a refugium is a section within your sump. A refugium can also be standalone, but then you'd have to deal with additional plumbing headaches.

Google "trigger systems emerald 34" and look at the pictures. In the case of this sump, the center section is the refugium.

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Is refugium and sump the same thing?



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Old 02/01/2018, 04:59 AM   #18
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Not so sure about that. Definitely ask others for advice, but I'd:
  • Get a sump.
  • If you have the room, get a skimmer. I'm going to assume if you can make room for a sump, then you can make room for a small skimmer within that sump. Anything is better than nothing.
  • Do a big water change. Maybe even 50%. Ask others about this, that's just what I would do.
  • I'd toss a MarinePure plate in the sump.
  • I'd skip the refugium to start and would only introduce it after you get things under control and stabilize everything. In some cases a refugium can cause even more headaches. Again, just my personal experience.
  • If you add the sump, change your socks every day or every other day. Might seem extreme, but it helps.
  • Leave your live rock alone. I don't think it's "tainted" as you asked in a previous post.
  • Don't do anything drastic. While you should address your issues as quickly as possible, it's still a process that is going to require patience. If you're worried about your livestock, you might want to take it to a friend or store and pay a "rent" for them to hold it until you resolve your problem. If I lost all that livestock in a month, this is the FIRST thing I would do. After all, the reason for the tank is the livestock, why risk losing more?

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Starting over might be my best option.



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Old 02/01/2018, 05:33 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Misticl View Post
I have lost multiple fish and coral recently. I'm not comfortable with my nitrate levels. I have been told not to chase numbers, but when one is outstanding drastically above the rest, I one have one direction to go.

2 Vlamingi tang (first was 6 month in the tank, second was 10 days in the tank)
1 Tomini tang (2 days after introduction)
5 polyp candy cane coral
Halloween urchin
Serpent star
Countless snails
Pink gonipora
Alveapora
2 blood red for shrimp

All above died in the past month.

I am not introducing anything new into this tank until I get the one item that is measuring out of scale into control. I have read both sides of the coin on nitrates. But seeing as I have had too many things go south quickly, I need to make an adjustment.
This is only advised when your "numbers" are within the generally accepted range(s). Also more often suggested when discussing Alkalinity, Calcium, and Magnesium.

If you are at the point of losing that many fish/coral you have a big decision to make IMO. First you can work your butt off to correct the tank as is. Taking the advice from folks here and spending money (maybe significant money) on equipment all at once to get things on track. Or second, break it down, send the livestock to healthy homes, thereby giving you time to learn, acquire equipment, and come back slowly.

Best of luck.


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Old 02/01/2018, 06:03 AM   #20
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This is how you solve your problem..
There is NO need to "restart"..
Relax..
Do exactly this..

#1- Turn off the fluval 406 and remove it from the system now.. It is not needed and not doing anything beneficial.. Remove it..
#2- Stop feeding your corals.. They do not need food (you may want to return the dendro as it does need food or just sparingly target feed it only)
#3- Perform a few large 50% water changes.. <--This is the most important.. do not skimp on this step.. water changes are the absolute best/fastest/proven method to fix your problem..
#4- Start adding vinegar to your tank following the chart amounts as shown here..
http://reefkeeping.com/joomla/index....arine-aquarium
#5-Purchase a HOB (hang on back) skimmer.. Something like the Eshopps PSK100h or one of the Reef Octopus .
#6-Stop vacuuming your sand bed
#7-possibly reduce feeding of fish.. start by simply feeding the same amount but every other day assuming you are feeding daily now..

Do all of that.. Do not Pass Go.. Do not collect $200..

A 50% water change "should" reduce nitrates by 50%.. another by another 50%..
But you are in the blood red so you are quite high and may not see a reduction until after the 3rd change or so.. If you don't then post back..


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Old 02/01/2018, 06:50 AM   #21
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I donít think you can carbon dose without a skimmer. I successfully reduced nitrates in my 150g from over 50 to 2.5 in approximately 100 days by vodka dosing but I donít think thatís an option for you. My other observation is that your tank is only 7 months old and some significant coral/fish loss early happened to me as well.

Can you post any photos of your tank?


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Old 02/01/2018, 07:54 AM   #22
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Shouldn't be too hard to correct. Simply you have a ton, even after the deaths, of bioload in the tank. So are adding more than you are removing. 20% water change would reduce nitrates by 20% obviously but then a week goes by where they go right back up. You can carbon dose without a skimmer if the tank is very mature with a lot of filter feeding organisms in it. This is not the case for your tank so I'd get at least a HOB skimmer. A sump wouldn't be too bad to add on with a HOB overflow to get the water there.


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Old 02/01/2018, 08:18 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcgyvr View Post
This is how you solve your problem..
There is NO need to "restart"..
Relax..
Do exactly this..

#1- Turn off the fluval 406 and remove it from the system now.. It is not needed and not doing anything beneficial.. Remove it..
#2- Stop feeding your corals.. They do not need food (you may want to return the dendro as it does need food or just sparingly target feed it only)
#3- Perform a few large 50% water changes.. <--This is the most important.. do not skimp on this step.. water changes are the absolute best/fastest/proven method to fix your problem..
#4- Start adding vinegar to your tank following the chart amounts as shown here..
http://reefkeeping.com/joomla/index....arine-aquarium
#5-Purchase a HOB (hang on back) skimmer.. Something like the Eshopps PSK100h or one of the Reef Octopus .
#6-Stop vacuuming your sand bed
#7-possibly reduce feeding of fish.. start by simply feeding the same amount but every other day assuming you are feeding daily now..

Do all of that.. Do not Pass Go.. Do not collect $200..

A 50% water change "should" reduce nitrates by 50%.. another by another 50%..
But you are in the blood red so you are quite high and may not see a reduction until after the 3rd change or so.. If you don't then post back..
This is a sound course of action. If you can add a sump & better skimmer instead of the HOB skimmer, that would be even better. Remember, nothing good happens fast in a reef tank.


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Old 02/01/2018, 08:58 AM   #24
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Sand and rock can bind phoshates, but not nitrates. Those are just in the water. Water changes, big ones.

Get rid of canister.

Too many fish, including two that shouldn't be in a 75 gallon anyway. 10 fish is too much, and the blue and sailfin tangs need a tank that's 3-4 times that size.


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Old 02/01/2018, 09:10 AM   #25
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At this point I see no point in recommending a sump..
A sump just allows you to increase water volume and give you a place to put your equipment out of sight.. Other than that it will not "solve" this problem at all.. Certainly not in a way that you can't solve without out..


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