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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well I need help, i have been battling a nitrate problem since i have started this hobby.
I first had a 26 bow front and i could never get the nitraes down they were always above 40ppm, so i tought that it was my inexperience in a nano reef so i upgraded to my 75. Well i have had it running for about 7 months now and i am still having big problems. this is the time line

1st month
nitrates 20ppm
2nd month
nitrates >40ppm
3rd month
nitrates<5ppm
4h month
nitrates10ppm
5,6,7 nitrates fluxuating between 20 and 40 ppm

I am not sure what i am doing wrong. The water I am using alwasys tests negative for nitrates and nothing has died in the poast 3 months, i only feed once maybe twice a week, i do my water changes on a weekly basis since i have not been able to get the nitrates down, i stoped attempting to do a 10% for ten days a few months back. It did not lower the nitrates at all and I was thinking i was depleting all my nitrate fixing bacteria by sucking them all out.

About 3 weeks ago i bought some calerpera to possibly assist in the problem, and after i put it in the tank the nitrates dropped about 5ppm, but now they just continue to go up.

Most of my live stock seems to be unaffected by it and they are all still thriving. But I have noticed a problem with lots of detritus.

So this is my set up in a nut shell
75 gallon
50lbs crushed coral ( i am getting ready to go to sand in about amonth, but i am holding out till i move into my new place)
80lbs Live rock
Aqua clear HOB
440 W Vho and 80 W NO
4 Rio Power heads
calerpera (i think it is called grape???)
One tomato clown
a fire fish
2 anemones
One plate coral
a few mushrooms
One pepermint shrimp
Serpent Star
5-8 Naarrious snails
10 Asteria snails
1 bumble bee snail
One small orange/red star
Lobafillia

and that is it.
I clean my HOB once a month religiously
and that is my problem in a nut shell

Please Help me I can't afford this salt any more
Oh, I use tropic marin salt and Sera tests
 

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Golden Shellback
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I think you know part of the problem already when you said you noticed lots of detritus. I don't see a skimmer mentioned.
What's your total water movement?

Here's my ideas for whatever they're worth....

You have crushed coral...so you can place your power heads closer to the bottom of the tank to keep as much of the detritus in suspension without blowing the substrate everywhere. Depending on how much water movement you have, you may have to add more powerheads or think about a closed loop system for circulation.

Vaccuum the crushed coral as often as possible. You have plenty of LR for biological filtration, so don't be afraid to plunge the siphon as deep as you can into the substrate and suck that detritus out.

If you have a skimmer, crank it up for wet skimming. By keeping all the detritus in suspension, your skimmer can remove it before it has a chance to be turned into nitrates.

Clean the HOB two to three times a month. The faster you can remove the detritus, the less nitrates you'll have.

If you really want to put a dent in the nitrates, try a 25% water change every two weeks for a few months.

Personally, nitrates at 40ppm or less I wouldn't worry about unless it's affecting your inverts.

HTH,

Kevin
 

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I do not see a skimmer in your setup - if this is correct then thats where I would start.

Sounds like you stopped doing water changes because you thought you were removing nitrate fixing bacteria - that assumption is incorrect and you need to resume water changes. You should also note that a 10% water change will only reduce your nitrate by 10% - as such - once your nitrates get high you need to start to make larger water changes.

I would also start to clean out your hob filter weekly rather than monthly.

You should consider using a refugium - this should help alot. I see you have some grape macro - this should help reduce nitrate but I would be cautious about leaving that in a show tank as it can spread rapidly and once stablished can be tough to get out of the system.

Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
well see i want to keep a tahng, b/c I am starting to get algae were i don't want it. and I have wanted a tang since i got the larger tank. won't the nitrates bother it?
 

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Golden Shellback
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The nitrates are coming from the detritus. If you remove the detritus before it breaks down into ammonia and nitrites, you won't have nitrates. I'm guessing the algae is being fed by phosphates instead of nitrates. By removing the detritus before it breaks down also cuts down on the amount of phosphates in your tank as well. The phosphates are coming from the food you feed to your fish, and the bacterial action on the detritus (fish poop). Algae needs much less phosphates to thrive than anything else in your tank, and bacteria are constantly releasing it into the water. The more detritus that's in your tank, the worse the problem gets, and it's going to take a long time to fix. The best way to fight it is by constant cleaning, which is a big pain.

If you can afford it, I'd say to get a canister filter and use it to vaccuum your tank. You won't be losing any water, because it's going back in the tank. When you're done vacumming the substrate, take a powerhead and blow your live rock off. Let the canister filter polish the water for a few hours, then un-plug it, empty it, clean it and store it for the next use.

Most fish are pretty tolerant of nitrates, but your inverts aren't (corals, snails, shrimp, crabs, etc...)

I'd say, if everything in your tank looks and acts healthy, you're doing pretty good.

Kevin
 

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Hey Ghost:

An inmediate solution to high nitrates could be Algone. That stuff works great removing nitrates. I've tried it and it works. It's not chemical, but biological. It's made of plant fibers that obsorbs dissolved organics and nitrogen compounds. Looks like tea bags and can be placed anywhere in the tank and it's completely reef safe. A short/long term nitrate reduction that I recommend a lot is adding mangroves. I don't had space in my room to add a refugium to my 55 gal tank, so I transformed my AC 500 into a HOB mangrove filter (see photo. It's an old photo now). I added 3 inches of sand, planted the mangrove seeds, a clip on lamp with a pc daylight bulb over the filter and that's all. It is recomended 1 mangrove per 10 galons of water. They grew quicker for me than what I was expecting and no need to use algone to have low nitrates anymore. Mangroves can remove phosphates also. I you need actual photos of my mangrove filter I can send you some.
If you tried all and still have high nitrate leves maybe it could be your brand of test kit. Consider buying another brand of tests. Sometimes is good to have a second opinion. Please let me know your progress.
Juan
 

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