Urgent help needed Nitrates very high!! Help

Discussion in 'Urgent Help Needed' started by mala1610, 22 Jan 2016.

  1. mala1610

    mala1610

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    Hi guys

    I have had a testing kit for almost 4 years now and for the last couple of months I have been battling with lots of GHA. The test kit would not give me high reading out of the ordinary at all. In the past I would just get a sea hare to eat the GHA which worked perfect I would then pass the sea hare on when there was no more GHA left. When the GHA came back I would just purchase another sea hare and so on. I started to think maybe I should purchase another testing kit and check........ So I have checked this morning and my Phosphates are 2 mg/l and my nitrates are 50mg/l........ I don't do water changes and don't dose anything.

    I have added an algae scrubber in my sump 1 month ago.

    I have attached pics of my setup and sump.

    Over the past month I was not able to find a sea hare so I manually pulled as much GHA as possible out my tank.

    I feed my fish once a day 2 frozen squares.
    I used to feed more but have stopped for over a month now.

    I was thinking on these measures.
    • Big water change ( what is the biggest I should do my tank is total 750L )?
    • Siphoning out detritus ( In the one picture you can see detritus how can I get rid of that if my sump is near the floor and a siphon wont work)?
    • Remove ceramic rings and plastic bio balls ( the ceramic rings are situated where my DT water enters my sump they are placed on glass slats so water forced to run through them) (where you see all my live rock I have placed a bag of around 100 plastic bio balls underneath the live rock )
    • I have already reduced my lights b 10:00 to 19:00 and my white 11:00 to 18:00
    Thanks

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  3. mala1610

    mala1610 Thread Starter

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    More pics

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  4. Richard01

    Richard01

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    How long has the tank been running for? And what is the no3 normally at?
     
  5. mala1610

    mala1610 Thread Starter

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    Almost 4 years ... The old testing kit said between 0 and 10mg/l
     
  6. tekkengal

    tekkengal Moderator

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    Firstly, don't panic. You can correct this with time :)
    I am not the expert but will try and help, others will chime in with other useful suggestions :)

    As you got softies, a big water change can help without stressing out the coral too much however if you kill the nutrients off too quickly they will suffer. I would recommend a 20% water change for now just to get things going and then 10% weekly. It is not going to change it drastically and there are many threads which do indicate that this is an inefficient way of getting rid of nutrients BUT you should use this to siphon dettritus from the display and to rinse things like your ceramic rings out etc.

    One of the things that I would start changing (very slowly though) is the ceramic rings. They look a bit gunky and may be contributing to the high levels. When you are doing your water change, rinse them out in that waste water to remove whatever gunk has accumulated in there. You will need to start doing this regularly and would recommend doing so with each water change. You may want to start slowly changing over to something like seachem matrix but do this slowly as you don't want to shock the system. What is in the red bag and under your skimmer?

    Your tank substrate looks like it has lots of little shells, rock pieces etc scattered on it. I would recommend taking this rubble out to prevent detritus from accumulating.

    I agree with you wanting to siphon the detritus from the sump. What you can do is agitate the water so that the detritus is in the water column and then remove that water. I would also try to do that with the live rock as there may be some settlement around it.

    After you clean the ceramic rings and sump, I would suggest dosing something like special blend etc to help with nitrfying bacteria as there may be some die off when cleaning those items.

    Keep your algae scrubber running, it can only help.

    These are the initial changes that I would do so long. Long term you can look at phosphate removers and other nutrient removers but for now you need to correct the main things that could be contributing to the build up.

    Above all, take it slow. If you change too much too quickly you can cause your system to crash so be prepared to slog it out for a few months to bring this down.

    Good luck and keep us posted! I am positive that you can win this battle!
     
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  7. Dexter

    Dexter

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    Matrix works wonders. They take a bit of time to get going, but once they "active" your nitrate will drop very quickly. What you also can look into is carbon dosing. I am doing VSV dosing and it help me ALOTT.
     
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  8. viper357

    viper357 Admin MASA Contributor

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    Tekkengal has pretty much nailed it. Just to re-iterate some of her points and share with you my thoughts on how to proceed....

    There is no need to panic, your system will survive, it just needs some fine tuning.

    This will not be an overnight fix whatever method you choose or whatever route you choose to take, it is going to take a few months to sort out. You'll need to decide on a plan and stick to it.

    I think the first decision you need to make is whether or not you're going to keep the bioballs and ceramic rings, they do work, however they need to be used in conjunction with some form of Nitrate removal and are also high maintenance, they need to be cleaned regularly.

    Here is a nice and short, yet easy to understand video clip about bioballs.



    What I would do, is decide on what direction you want to go in, if you want to keep bioballs then you need to learn how they work and how to maintain them and how to clean them regularly. If you want to use a different method of Nitrate removal, such as biocubes, NP pellets, NOPOX etc. then you'll need to remove your balls and ceramics, but slowly, as these other methods can take 2 to 4 weeks to kick in. For example, if you start dosing nopox then every day remove a handful of your bioballs, keep going until they have all been removed, that way you are not shocking your system with sudden changes and you are still giving your new method time to establish itself and start working. My advice would be to keep it simple. Get going with some 10 to 20% water changes in the meantime, they will help in diluting the pollutants and will give you a head start on recovery.
     
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  9. mala1610

    mala1610 Thread Starter

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    Thanks @tekkengal and @viper357

    There is another problem I have a TDS meter but today I thought let me take my RO water and test it just in case because I want to do a biggish water change. It was 43PPM I bought all the filters around 4 months ago and only do normal water changes. ( Im not to sure if this has anything to do about anything I just think this was strange the 3rd time I changed all my filters I have a 3 faze and 1 resin my clean RO water pipe and my waste pipe switched flow my original waste pipe was now running slow and my original clean water was running fast. So I had checked TDS on the two and I had to swop them around ) not sure if this has happened to anyone?

    So to sort out this problem im going to buy a brand new RO unit tomorrow hopefully....... Does anyone recommend a RO unit??

    I was doing some research today and I liked the idea of the Nitra guard bio balls ( not to put in as a quick fix but to help long term) I bought 2 x 1000ml containers today
    I would like to add them to where the current ceramic rings are because it gets direct flow from the DT and I would like to put a few air stones also in that section and my skimmer is in that same section. My question is can I take all the ceramic rings out siphon all that gunk rinse the ceramic rings in the water I just siphoned and add them back into the sump just somewhere else so that section I can put the nitra guard bio balls??? I will start taking out ceramic rings slowly once taken all out I will start taking out the plastic bio balls is this fine?

    Regarding my skimmer section can I swish up all the water and let my skimmer suck all the detritus??

    I also saw that a an over packed DT with rock is not good for flow and can have dead spots is it fine for me to take as much rock from DT and move to my sump without affecting anything??

    So this is a break down of what I will be doing please have a look:

    1. Buy new RO unit
    2. Buy new TDS meter
    3. Move DT rock to sump
    4. Remove all visible rubble
    5. Make 240L new sea salt in my 750L tank 30% water change (during this siphon out detritus and gunk by ceramic rings)
    6. Add another flow pump to my DT to increase flow
    7. Add Nitra guard bio balls
    8. Remove ceramic rings then plastic bio balls slowly
    9. 10 % water change weekly
    10. Where all my frags are in my sump make that whole section for macro algae ... Chaeto and Caulerpa.
    Are these steps fine?
    Thanks
     
  10. tekkengal

    tekkengal Moderator

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    This approach is fine. :)

    You can, don't know if it will catch everything but it is worth a try.

    You are right and you can store it in your sump. Depending on how tightly your rock is packed there actually may not be much detritus settlement. I did have a similar issue with one of my tanks (too much rock) and when I removed some I noticed that there was not a lot of detritus going around. I did however find crud loads in the substrate where it was exposed. You may want to consider vacuuming the substrate to remove the trapped gunk. There are pros and cons of this but that is a topic for another day.

    Steps are good, just take it slow. Would do these over the course of a few weeks to keep the system stable. :)
     
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  11. valdero

    valdero

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    Best to have the skimmer in the first section of the sump so less detritus settle in your filter media. Keep the in sump live rock elevated with flow below it. Also consider filter socks.

    The new ro unit with 0 tds reading will have the biggest impact. Test first before buying a new tds meter.
     
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  12. PeterAmos

    PeterAmos

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    So it looks like everyone has covered it, my two cents worth get more live rock and less ceramic rings to start. I battled with GHA for over a year, in a larger system, tried most of the sugestions but had to scrub rocks every two weeks. Its a long story but what has fixed it for me is doing the vodka dosing and using a log book to measure the amounts etc, the Phospates were more of an issue that the nitrates for me. Anyway it took about 6-8 weeks and lots of measuring but i havent seen any GHA for 4 months now, my hammerheads have notisably improved in colour etc. Just whats worked for me. So much so i have removed my Nitrate and phosphate reactors as the dosing is proving to be a better alround fix.
     
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