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Old 09-04-2012, 09:14 PM   #1
jharris
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260 gallon tank came with the house. Need help on nitrate


I bought a house that came with a 260 gallon saltwater tank. I was told that there was a power outage a few months back and most of the corals were lost and a lot of fish. The fish in the tank look good, however, I am testing 160+ ppm nitrate. From what I have read, that is not good. Should anything be alive? Could my test be wrong? I did a 20% water change and still have very high nitrate. Amonia is zero and nitrite is zero.

I am new to this and need some expert advise.
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Old 09-04-2012, 09:24 PM   #2
hodge1995
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Well unfortuntly you probably inherited a poorly maintained tank. To help we are going to need all kind of info (and pics would help) Like sump and equipment , live rock?, substrate?, are there bioballs? , any kind of canister filter? , are you using rodi water?. Give us as much as you can. Water changes are a good start could probably stand 30% changes. and if you have substrate and is the larger crushed coral I would be vacuuming with the water changes.

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Old 09-04-2012, 10:29 PM   #3
jharris
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Hi hodge1995,

Thanks for the quick reply. I will give you as much information as I can, but I don't talk the talk yet.

I have a sump with bioballs and a protien skimmer. Don't know what live rock is, but I have a bunch of rock in the tank. I was told it was imported from Vietnam. Don't think there are any canister filters. If substrate is what is at the bottom of my tank, it looks like sand to me. Not very deep. There are alot of shells. Lots of little live blue legged crabs and a few "turbo snails".

I took a few pictures and attached them.

I have an RO system for the house, but I don't know if it is big enough to do water changes. I used tap water for the first one and checked for chlorine, amonia, nitrite, and nitrate before I mixed the batch. I used un-softened water. Thought the calcium would be better than sodium from the softeners.
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Old 09-05-2012, 12:04 AM   #4
Zark
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Run your skimmer, do water changes, make sure you siphon the sandbed when you do your waterchanges and that anything that may be dead/dying is removed from the tank and your nitrate levels will go down. I would remove the bioballs since they tend to help make nitrates faster than your bacteria filter can remove them. If you have a mechanical filter (floss sock etc) make sure your cleaning it out every day. Maybe buy some caulpera or chaeto for your sump, but you need to make sure you get a grow light on it.

Will take a couple months, but your nitrates will go down and youll have a kickass tank from the looks of your pictures!
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Old 09-05-2012, 12:05 AM   #5
JDP1988
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jharris View Post
Hi hodge1995,

Thanks for the quick reply. I will give you as much information as I can, but I don't talk the talk yet.

I have a sump with bioballs and a protien skimmer. Don't know what live rock is, but I have a bunch of rock in the tank. I was told it was imported from Vietnam. Don't think there are any canister filters. If substrate is what is at the bottom of my tank, it looks like sand to me. Not very deep. There are alot of shells. Lots of little live blue legged crabs and a few "turbo snails".

I took a few pictures and attached them.

I have an RO system for the house, but I don't know if it is big enough to do water changes. I used tap water for the first one and checked for chlorine, amonia, nitrite, and nitrate before I mixed the batch. I used un-softened water. Thought the calcium would be better than sodium from the softeners.
Slow Method over time.
First thing is to remove those bio-balls and replace that area with a refugium w/ alot chaeto morpha and other good algea to "help" eat some of that nitrate.
Next clean out that protein skimmer to almost brand new as possible and run wet skimmate it should look yellowish.
Siphon around the rocks and sand get most of the debris, don't move the rocks.
Do a 50% change one day, followed by another the next. Slowly after you see drop on Nitrate levels do 25% changes until reduce to a 20ppm or less. Turn your skimmer back to dry skimmate.

Faster but more work.
(If you want a faster solution is doing a major clean up such as a big water change of 90%. This will include removing all the live stock and rock. It will be considered a almost a rebuild. You will have to tear down the whole system clean up everything and start it up fresh again.)

Do not use tap water it contains metals that later will foul up your water and lead to more headaches down the road.
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Old 09-05-2012, 12:15 AM   #6
JDP1988
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P.S in my opinion breaking down the tank and redoing everything will give me a better sense of accomplishment. I will feel like I created that beauty rather just getting it as a hand me down or gift to throw away later. I am not implying anything just my opinion.
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Old 10-05-2012, 05:48 PM   #7
jharris
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Thanks for the help


Thank you for the help. I followed your instructions and no longer have a nitrate problem!
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Old 10-05-2012, 07:42 PM   #8
Xfactor1315
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Awesome lets see some more pics that system looks awesome.
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Old 10-05-2012, 09:26 PM   #9
Reefcamp
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I just hope you understand that these tanks take a lot of maintenance and time. They are also very addictive. I hope you stick with it and make the tank incredible. So are you going to turn it into a reef tank?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JDP1988 View Post
P.S in my opinion breaking down the tank and redoing everything will give me a better sense of accomplishment. I will feel like I created that beauty rather just getting it as a hand me down or gift to throw away later. I am not implying anything just my opinion.
I disagree completely, he was handed a tank that was poorly maintained and if he works hard and does his research as it seems he already has the tank will be as a life saved.
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