Originally Posted by jharris
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.