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We bought this tank from someone who had a shop. We have nitrates at 80 and phospates .5. We did a water change on Wed. How often is it possible to do water changes to get those rates in proper order. Also we have loads of particles that are floating around and don't seem to go through the filtration system. We have had this tank for 2 weeks today. I feel this tank was not very well taken care of and the sand may be dirty. Can you use a the same thing you use to clean gravel to clean sand? Your help is appreciated.
 

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I would try to change about 2-3% a day until things are back in line - or maybe 10% right away and then 2-3% per day. Once levels are within spec, reduce to 1% per day.

You may just want to siphon out the old sand as you do your water changes - and replace with new sand (or go bare bottom - check threads here on how to do that). The system may have been stable and well cared for, but once moved, it disturbed your sand bed that had squestered a lot of detritus - hence - your higher levels in the water column.
 

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Dump the sand. If you don't have much history with the tank and do not know how old and cleaning frequency it is best to replace. I assume the tank has live rock. You are dealing with a lot of phosphates, so chances are the LR is loaded. You may have to "cook" (purge the bound nutrients out) the rock inorder to get headed in the right direction.

Best advise to you would be to read, read and read more. Learn about all of the issues you can be faced with. Better equip yourself to deal with all of them and what to watch out for. If you attack them as the appear in most cases it is too late. If you learn the signs then you can act to prevent.

Try starting here:

http://www.thereeftank.com/forums/f...d-160389.html?highlight=reefkeeping+made+easy
 

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+1 on the above - it is a great read - AND read *between* doing the water changes (and siphoning the sand out ;) ).
 
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