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Old 04-21-2012, 08:13 PM   #1
lilkatabb
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How long before live rock and sand removes nitrates


So I was wondering how long or how old does a tank with live rock and sand need to be to remove nitrates naturally?
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Old 04-21-2012, 08:16 PM   #2
afrankiewicz12
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how old is tank, how old is substrate, how high are nitrates, and whats in the tank
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Old 04-21-2012, 08:25 PM   #3
lilkatabb
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Well the tank is about two and a half months old.
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Old 04-21-2012, 08:25 PM   #4
lilkatabb
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And the nitrates are around 40ppm

2x clowns
1x orange shoulder tang
1x yellow faced goby
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Old 04-21-2012, 09:42 PM   #5
tbardoni
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You're most likely at that point now, though different tanks take different time. If you have nitrates, then you're tank is cycling. So, the question is, if you have nitrates, are you filtering properly? Are you over feeding?
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Old 04-21-2012, 09:46 PM   #6
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Most info I have seen seem to say 1 yr old or older. Ive not kept sw that long yet!
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Old 04-22-2012, 10:06 AM   #7
lilkatabb
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tbardoni View Post
You're most likely at that point now, though different tanks take different time. If you have nitrates, then you're tank is cycling. So, the question is, if you have nitrates, are you filtering properly? Are you over feeding?
Well the over feeding thing has always confused me.I usually feed once in the morning and once close to lights out and my fish finish the food quick.Can you really only feed them once a day or ever other day,that just seems not enough.
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Old 04-22-2012, 12:51 PM   #8
DM1975
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Depends on the fish, but heavy waste in the water is what causes this stuff. More water can generally handle a higher bioload and heavier feedings. What size tank do you have and what kind of filtration?

Some fish need to eat a few times a day like Tangs or dragonets. Others can go every other day. Live rock can help this but if their isn't enough rock or water to handle the bio load then it will have to be done with water changes. Please forgive me as I am re learning all of this myself. I tend to stock my tanks rather fast myself but you still have to do your water changes and watch your water conditions really close.

I currently have a 125g with a total of about 150g of water with the sump, live sand, 40 lbs of live rock, and 80lbs of base rock. I have had it up for about a week now and I have several small fish in it already with zero ammonia almost zero nitrites and my nitrates dropped to 10 ppm yesterday and my diatom outbreak is in full bloom. I feed once a day and run my skimmer heavy and also use a small carbon pad in my sump.

I may be heading for a crash later on but so far things are working out well. I kicked my system off with a little ugly water from my LFS on setup and I think that is what has helped me cycle so quickly through the spikes. I wouldn't have done that if I had much of a smaller system, but it sure did help things out well.

Bigger fish like the tangs I want and such will come later on, and the corals are several months away for me to even think about. Those bigger fish really put out the poop and I want to make sure all of my bio is in full swing before I have it trying to tackle that much waste. I will be adding a small fox face next week but that is mainly to aid in defense against algae.

I am even toying with the idea of adding a seperate 50 gallon refugium/propagation tank housed inside of a cabinet next to the aquarium to get my water up to 200g, add a place to grow chaeto to keep my nitrates and phosphates down, and to grow pods for my system in. Not sure how the plumbing will be for that yet but I like lots of fish and you just can't sustain a lot of fish in salt systems like you can a fresh water system.

I know I am a bit long winded in this and may be WAYYYY off on my thinking so if anyone wishes to correct me then please do. I am still trying to re educate myself on what I used to know and learn the new stuff as well. I am mostly just trying to help spur the conversation on to maybe help you a bit.
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Old 04-22-2012, 02:05 PM   #9
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Slow down...Salt water systems take time to come together and work properly...I have found that if you are doing fish only with a few easy to grow softies and leathers you can get away with a lot. The one thing you did not mention is your water source, if you are using tap water you may be introducing a lot phosphate and nitrate, and should consider an RO/DI unit. If your rock and sand are not cleaned they will create unwanted phosphate and nitrate...When fish eat, they poo, what happens to the waste?
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Old 04-22-2012, 11:12 PM   #10
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Understand I appreciate any help and advice I get.I have a trickle type sump that i have removed all of the "trickle stuff" other than the blue scrub pad I change every other day,well at least rinse it out every other day.the tank it self is 55 gal i have the infamous sea clone 100 protein skimmer that seems to be pulling skim mate fine the cup was half full today and is cleaned out at least every other week.I have been getting water from the local department store from one of the culligan r/o units and making my own saltwater.
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Old 04-23-2012, 12:50 AM   #11
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Here's a little info on new tanks cycling. I like this pic as it shows a rough graph of levels and stuff:



Have you done any water changes to help lower it?
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Old 04-23-2012, 07:27 AM   #12
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Just remember, there are two sources for removing dirt and detritus. Your protein skimmer and your siphon hose. Period. Keep your skimmer clean and operating well, use your siphon to clean all the accumulated waste off the bottom. I suck up five gallons of waste twice a week, this is dumped and then add fresh sea water. (150 total gallons of water total system). This works for me, with my bio load, and my system. My system is well established, hardly any algae ever, low bio load, so my maintenance is fairly quick and easy. Each system is different and you will find your way. Patience is key in this hobby...good luck
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Old 04-23-2012, 08:40 AM   #13
DM1975
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It might also help to use a turkey baster to blow the detritus off of your rocks before you siphon as well.
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Old 04-23-2012, 10:24 AM   #14
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sand and LR will not remove nitrates. it just does not work that way. once nitrates are in the water column it is very difficult for them to be removed. algae can, but that creates another set of problems.

your best bet is to make sure you are removing all detritus in a timely manner and making sure that your LR has good flow all around it.

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Old 04-23-2012, 11:04 AM   #15
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imo bring the 40ppm down to 5ppm or less with a few large water changes over a week or two. use rodi water use a turkey baster on the rocks. once managed you test and get an idea of how much they rise adjust water changes and feeding to get it down so import and export stabilize to about even. dont be afraid to turkey baste the rocks during the week to help get the detritus to your skimmer for export as well. that detritus also works as food for the coral too.
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