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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Everyone,

I was looking for some advice on a few issues from some of you experts out there. Let's start at the beginning. I have a 125 gal reef with a 55 gal sump and refegium. The tank is now 3 years old. It contains about 4 pieces of coral and 3 fish. A yellow Tang, Unicorn Tang and a clown. There is also an Anemone in the tank as well. To make a long story short, I was away for work for a 8 month period. The tank only received very basic maintenance ( meaning water top offs and daily feeding). I arrived back to discover a very large hair algae problem in the tank. Right away i thought it's a nitrate issue. I quickly began doing water changes to correct the problem. Also I replaced my bulbs out of fear that they were beginning to weaken. Did a 55 gal change the first time ( Yes it's RO/Di water with a TDS of 0) nitrates dropped from 90 to about 50. That was 4 weeks ago. Since then I have cleaned my sump, meaning sucked out any ditrus or any other matter that collected in there. Siphoned my sand bed and siphoned out the bottom of the overflows for any build up in there. I have also painstakingly pulled a lot of the hair algae off of the rocks. The algae growth has slowed significantly and the water looks great, fish are happy, coral looks good. However no matter how much water I change now, my Nitrates will not drop below 50. I even tested my nitrates in the barrel of seawater before I did the change and they show 0 . I have read about the Vodka dosing but really don't want to experiment with it unless I have to. So far I have changed 50 gallons a week, all at one time, for the past 4 weeks and they will not decrease below 50. My skimmer is working good. Been cleaning the collection cup every other day to help it along and I no longer have any bio balls in the system, they were removed as soon as I returned home and started cleaning the system. I don't want to change to much water out of fear of decreasing the good bacteria in the system. The filter sock is changed and washed every few days as well. Here are the rest of my parameters that I have tested for.

Sal 1.024
PH 8.0-8.2
Cal 450
Phosphates 0

If anyone has any advise on this I would be very grateful Thanks A lot :confused:
P.S. my send bed is only about 1/2 inch deep
 

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I battled the nitrates in my 300. It took me about 5 months of weekly 50 gal water changes while siphoning the bed. I would bet you have some phospates and they are getting locked up in the algae therfore unreadable. There could be some die off of the algae causing the readings. It could be in the sand still as well. I am newer but his was my experience with it. I am sure one of the "old dogs" will chime in.Removing the bioballs was a good move. I would just keep at it. Just sucks because with larger tanks means larger water changes.

How much live rock do you have?
 

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Hello Everyone,

I was looking for some advice on a few issues from some of you experts out there. Let's start at the beginning. I have a 125 gal reef with a 55 gal sump and refegium. The tank is now 3 years old. It contains about 4 pieces of coral and 3 fish. A yellow Tang, Unicorn Tang and a clown. There is also an Anemone in the tank as well. To make a long story short, I was away for work for a 8 month period. The tank only received very basic maintenance ( meaning water top offs and daily feeding). I arrived back to discover a very large hair algae problem in the tank. Right away i thought it's a nitrate issue. I quickly began doing water changes to correct the problem. Also I replaced my bulbs out of fear that they were beginning to weaken. Did a 55 gal change the first time ( Yes it's RO/Di water with a TDS of 0) nitrates dropped from 90 to about 50. That was 4 weeks ago. Since then I have cleaned my sump, meaning sucked out any ditrus or any other matter that collected in there. Siphoned my sand bed and siphoned out the bottom of the overflows for any build up in there. I have also painstakingly pulled a lot of the hair algae off of the rocks. The algae growth has slowed significantly and the water looks great, fish are happy, coral looks good. However no matter how much water I change now, my Nitrates will not drop below 50. I even tested my nitrates in the barrel of seawater before I did the change and they show 0 . I have read about the Vodka dosing but really don't want to experiment with it unless I have to. So far I have changed 50 gallons a week, all at one time, for the past 4 weeks and they will not decrease below 50. My skimmer is working good. Been cleaning the collection cup every other day to help it along and I no longer have any bio balls in the system, they were removed as soon as I returned home and started cleaning the system. I don't want to change to much water out of fear of decreasing the good bacteria in the system. The filter sock is changed and washed every few days as well. Here are the rest of my parameters that I have tested for.

Sal 1.024
PH 8.0-8.2
Cal 450
Phosphates 0

If anyone has any advise on this I would be very grateful Thanks A lot :confused:
P.S. my send bed is only about 1/2 inch deep
You have covered everything commendably! Not much more to do except as you said, don't start with the too frequent and excessive water changes. A phosphate reactor is advisable. If opposed to the reactor, use Purigen Pouches. Time will tell.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks guys for your reply's and compliments :agree: I have right around 110 lbs of live rock in the display tank. I am not opposed to a phosphate reactor in the least. Just don't know anything about them to be honest. Guess it's time to start doing my homework on them. Any specifics that you recommend in regards to purchasing one? Thanks again to all that help :wavey:
 

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Sounds like your doing what needs done. I think it's mostly time for the system to leech out what's hiding. I would probably pull the sand bed out and give it a couple weeks then replace with dry new sand. (washed before placing)

I bet there is a good deal of detritus up under and around the rocks. Are your rocks supported without the sand? Rock lift or not resting on the sand for support?

Figure it's either residues bleed out or a build up you havnt found. I suspect between the sand and rock.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Unfortunately I believe I made the dumb mistake of putting the sand bed in before I added my live rock. I guess I will try to siphon out around the rock as best as I can. Just don't want to start an avalanche.....
 

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Dont feel bad I did that exact thing I just redid 1/2 the tank and removed the cc from underneath my rock. I need to do the other half now.Live and learn.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well I guess that will be a mission down the road... Really didn't want to disturb all that rock , however maybe I should?
 

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Well I guess that will be a mission down the road... Really didn't want to disturb all that rock , however maybe I should?
NO!! You don't want to exasperate the problem. Don't disturb things and stir up more nutrients. Most systems, after they are addressed for a given problem, will eventually work out the issue on their own. I have this reactor; http://viaaquaoceanpure.com/reactor/polyreactor.html it comes with the pump. Tried to post the pic and then this forum won't let me delete the below.
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks everyone for your kind help. I am studying up on the reactors as we speak and will try to give it a go. Thanks for the link to the one you have mrplum. I will look for one online and purchase this week....Then I just have to learn how to use it :)
 

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Thanks everyone for your kind help. I am studying up on the reactors as we speak and will try to give it a go. Thanks for the link to the one you have mrplum. I will look for one online and purchase this week....Then I just have to learn how to use it :)
Don't fret! It is one of the easiest things you will do.
 

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Siphoning and working on it over time won't stir up much. My point was there is somewhere in the tank detritus was building up and breaking down. Finding what is being missed instead of letting it collect more and possibly growing. A reactor is treating to effect not finding the cause. Keeping up with water changes and working on small areas is minimal impact. There is some good threads on pulling sand out and replacing. If the tank is fully cleaned waiting for it to leech off while water changing is fine. Pulling small areas of sand and replacing also works. Being a shallow bed there is not a lot of worry.

Yanking the whole tank apart without looking into how to do it yes is bad. Hiding an effect without knowing the cause leads to possible problems in the future.
 

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Siphoning and working on it over time won't stir up much. My point was there is somewhere in the tank detritus was building up and breaking down. Finding what is being missed instead of letting it collect more and possibly growing. A reactor is treating to effect not finding the cause. Keeping up with water changes and working on small areas is minimal impact. There is some good threads on pulling sand out and replacing. If the tank is fully cleaned waiting for it to leech off while water changing is fine. Pulling small areas of sand and replacing also works. Being a shallow bed there is not a lot of worry.

Yanking the whole tank apart without looking into how to do it yes is bad. Hiding an effect without knowing the cause leads to possible problems in the future.
I agree. This is why I did half my tank. Kept al rockwork upright and removed all (one side) of the rock to filled tubs siphoned the CC then removed some and pushed the rest forward. I opted not to go with the reactor because I wanted to just fix it now rather than have another piece of equipment to try and keep up with.
 

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With 50% changes and no change there is a stockpile of detritus some where. Something I have noticed is when it's aloud to collect and settle and sits it can become very well stuck and paste like. Which I have to scape off. With 8 months of not blowing put rock or cleaning vast amounts could work in under and in rock becoming hard to remove when normal cleaning starts back up.
 
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