HELP Nitrate problems

Discussion in 'General Discussions and Advice' started by thegoldfishstudio, 19 Apr 2008.

  1. thegoldfishstudio

    thegoldfishstudio

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    Hi there

    i have a nitrate problem of 50ppl (the second dark red pic before the end on the sera nitrate test kit)

    i do a 10% water change every week. and have upped my water changes to more often to help bring it down but it doesn't seem to help. I have tried nitrate minus and it's done nothing. all my fish and corals are healthy but i have lots of hair algae!!! my tank is 1.5 metres and holds 515 litres WITHOUT my sump. my sump is about 1.2 metres and i'm not sure how many litres it holds- it has a live sand bed in it in one compartment, aragonite in the next and a skimmer on the end compartment with my return pumps.
    I have have 3 clowns, 1 tang and 2 dawf angels... some leathers, polyps and mushrooms, and blue sponges. - no fish have died and not sure why my water is so bad. it has been running for 1 year and 1 month. everything is thriving except 1 of my leathers who isn;t opening otherwise polyps are multiplying at a very fast rate and mushrooms are having babies... fish are healthy.

    plse help - could it be my protein skimmer... i got it with the tank from the guy i bought it from - it's home made but skims fine.

    not sure what to do.

    thanks for whatever help you can give
     
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  3. Jason

    Jason

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    Ok firstly place your skimmer in the begining of your sump (if theres place) Secondly how is your flow in he tank and what is it rated at your pumps? What it could be is buildup on the LR and under your LR, try pointing one if your powerheads/wave makers at the LR and place some powerheads under your LR... Also do you have substrate in your tank and do you siphon it weekly? How much do you feed your fish per day and how much at a time, can also be that there is to much food laying in the tank causing P04 to rise... IMO i would do 25% water changes weekly... My 2c

    Cheers
    Jason
     
  4. Galibore

    Galibore Retired Moderator

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    Hi Goldfishstudio,

    You have not mentioned how much Live Rock you have in your setup (unless I missed it, the Bulls won so I'm a bit pissed now). LR is your #1 denitrification method.

    As Jason has mentioned overfeeding might be a factor here.

    Some pictures of your setup including sump will help us identify what the problem is that is causing your high nitrates. Because honestly, a setup of over 1 year really shouldn't be having nitrate problems.

    Ciao
     
  5. Galibore

    Galibore Retired Moderator

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    O, and Welcome to MASA BTW. May you learn a hell of a lot and maybe teach us a bit ;)
     
  6. Muz

    Muz

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    Your tank has been setup for a while, everything seems stable from a health point of view, you are not overstocked & nothing you does makes a difference.. IMO test with at least another test kit, maybe take to a LFS to test or use another reefers test kit before you take any further action, and stay away from chemical solutions if possible.

    The skimmer position will not make any difference to your readings, as long as it is reasonably efficient.

    Where in CT are you , maybe I can come have a look , I will bring my test kit and check it out for you, or post a pic so we can have a look, what Jason said has merit WRT pump positions and substrate but with 10% a week you should see a difference in the test results. Your fish would be under much stress with that reading which leads me to rather point in the direction of possibly expired test kit.

    Just a thought

    Muz
     
  7. Quinton

    Quinton Smarty-pants Newbie

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    Seems like you have two problems to solve.

    1. Get rid of the nitrates already in your water.
    2. Solve the nitrate buildup problem, which involves reducing the creation of nitrates, plus boosting the breakdown of nitrates.

    First things first. After double-checking that your test readings are correct (great idea Muz) I'd suggest doing a few major water changes. If you do the maths you'll realize that it'll take a shitload of 10% water changes to bring down a high nitrate count. You'll need to go for something like several 50%-70% water changes, or even more. Just be careful. You need to make sure that the water you're adding has the correct salinity, pH and temp, otherwise you'll stress your livestock.


    Once you''ve sorted that out, you can tackle the buildup problem. Check your skimmer. How much skimmate does it produce? Give us more detail on the sand beds in your sump. Depth? Material? Critters? Algae?
     
  8. thegoldfishstudio

    thegoldfishstudio Thread Starter

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    hi thank you to everyone who has replied and given me ideas.

    i have quite a bit of live rock in my tank but i'm not sure on weight. will try post a pic of my tank and sump. i'm not sure of the rating of my pumps??? um strong ones :) ??? i'm not good at details like ratings and sizes etc... got my tank as a complete running setup from a guy who was selling his tank- i've just changed some of the corals and fish and my sand bed/argonite in the bottom of tank and in sump. but had it for more than a year now.

    i can't do a water change of more than 20/25% as it drops my water level to low and i fear it will upset my corals and a small piece of sponge i have.

    thank you for all the suggestions so far and the warm welcome
    B
     
  9. IMarine

    IMarine

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    Hi you should not worry about stressing your corals, they will be fine if your water parameters is correct as cal 400-450,kh 8-10,ph8,2,8,4, and nitrites 0,nitrates 0, amm 0 etc and the ro water you use must have a very low tds 0-5 then your water should be then very stable, to do water changes ,but remember that by doing water changes it helps to feed the cyno bacteria be care full,just skimm wet i will come check on your tank when you ready
     
  10. Warr7207

    Warr7207

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    You won't have a problem with dropping the level below your corals long as it is not for a long period.

    When I mount my corals on my reef, they are out of water for at least 30 minutes. i haven't had a unit die from being out of the water.
     
  11. Alfie

    Alfie

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    Yes it is paramount to find your source, water changes will rectify the problem in the short term but it will come back if you don't find the source. As a extra measure for nitrates I also run a sulphur reactor.
     
  12. Muz

    Muz

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    You won't have a problem with dropping the level below your corals long as it is not for a long period.

    Carefull with general comments like that .. air will kill sponges which he said he has, yes granted some species of corals live in areas where tidal flow allow for air exposure and these corals can protect themselves accordingly, but not most species of sponges.
     
  13. Rod

    Rod

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    Coil Denitrification

    Mandarinman posted last year about using a coil denitrification unit which he then changed to a bioball unit. Any feed back?
    As I have installed a coil unit on a system I maintain, which is giving me problems, waiting for coil unit to mature atm. Nitrate reading 10 ppm 14 th April 2008. One of my friends swears by the coil system.
    So to throw the cat among the pidgeons, is a coil unit more effective than a Deep Sand Bed? Certainly in my mind the Coil unit is simpler than a DSB.
    Link: What Is a Coil Denitrator, and How Does It Work to Eliminate Nitrate in Saltwater Aquariums?
    Any one with experience using a coil?
     
  14. Warr7207

    Warr7207

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    Sorry dude, didn't know we were talking about sponges. I thought it was corals :whistling:
     
  15. Jason

    Jason

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    Ohh yes and another thing, when your corals are out of the water make sure your lighs are off... Don't want to burn them... ;)
     
  16. cybervic

    cybervic

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    I've also suffered with a nitrate problem for quite some time. What are you feeding habits? Maybe start growing cheato in the sump. IMHO the best option to get rid of excess nitrates and phosphates, are to grow some kind of algae that will use up the nutrients.

    What are you phosphate readings? As far as I know all algae need some phosphate to grow as well.

    I'd reckon you should not change too much, but maybe look at detris build up as suggested and look at what and how much you are feeding. Also add some macro algae to your sump. Light the sump in reverse from your main tank.

    The more you move and change things in your tank, the longer it will take before you notice a reduction in nitrates. This is just my personal experience. Reeftanks want to be setup and maintained, not contantly be re-setup.
     
  17. thegoldfishstudio

    thegoldfishstudio Thread Starter

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    what is detritus and cheato?
     
  18. thegoldfishstudio

    thegoldfishstudio Thread Starter

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    ok there are pics of my tank and sump so you can see how much live rock etc... let me know what you think .... should i have nitrates roblems? am i doing somwthing wrong?
     
  19. thegoldfishstudio

    thegoldfishstudio Thread Starter

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    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  20. thegoldfishstudio

    thegoldfishstudio Thread Starter

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    thanks for all the help so far - BTW i don't feed to regulary - 2/3 times a day and not too heavily
     
  21. cybervic

    cybervic

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    Okay, might have made a spelling mistake there :p Should be Detris = organic matter that build up over time in you tank - normally on the substrate or on the live rock in places where you have no flow or minimal flow.

    Cheato aka Cheatomorpha is green macro algae looking similar to coarse steelwool.
     
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