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What type of fish is in the middle of CaptiveReefs (top left corner of page...hint it is the main character in Finding Nemo) )

nitrates...Nitrates...NITRATES!!!


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  1. #1
    Dragynwing - Reefkeeper CR Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Mobile, AL
    Posts
    7

    Default nitrates...Nitrates...NITRATES!!!

    help!! i did a major water change 2 weeks ago...i had nitrates at 100ppm! :cussing: well, i did some research and did a 100% (or close to it) water change as was recommended to me. i removed about 80% of the water, then i filled the tank back up to about 40%, then removed 50% of that water and then filled the tank back up. i "blasted" the sandbed and rocks with a powerhead right before removing the water. well, i took a sample of my water to my LFS today and lo and behold! nitrates are back up around 100ppm!!!! :banghead: i have a 55 gallon tank with one Yellow Watchman Goby, one Yellow Banded Coral Shrimp, one Tiger Pistol Shrimp, a Serpent Starfish and about 15 or so Mushroom Anenomes (most of which are very small, newly spawned individuals). i rarely feed the tank (once a week at most). everyone seems fine but i've been battling nitrates for over a year now! i have a Nautilus TE skimmer (which produces brownish fairly thick dry foam. if i don't clean it for 2 days i get a relatively thick build up of...well...brown yuck-a-yuck on the inside of the tube leading into the main collection cup), a Mag Drive 7.5 for return and 4 powerheads in the tank (one upper left rear, one lower left front, one upper right front, and one lower right rear...all 900 Maxi Jets except the left upper rear which is a 1200) and i have a Fluval 3 in the sump for mechanical filtration...i know i'm totally lacking a "clean up crew" except for the starfish, but i should have some snails coming in soon. i have about 60-70 lbs of live rock (i think!) and a sand bed that's an average of 3" deep (this tank was originally set up for Yellow Headed Jawfish but i've been unable to keep them due to the darn nitrate problem!!)...i am at my wits end!! :smt089: i just spoke with my friend at the LFS and he said it sounds like my sand is...well...dead...there's nothing moving around in it...no worms...not much at all and there's probably a lot of material down in there...probably not much living in my rocks either...i've seen one bristleworm lately and he was pretty small...help! i can't keep doing 100% water changes every 2 weeks...i really want to add some nice corals to my tank and get my jawfish in there but i'm afraid of killing everything due to the nitrates...well, sorry for the long post but i'm quite frustrated! thanks in advance for any advice! i really enjoy reading this message board!
    ~Lisa :sad5:
    (heh...sorry for going "emoticon crazy"...i was havin' fun!!
    when i want to hear the pitter patter of little feet i\'ll put shoes on my cats.

  2. #2
    bjpembo - Reefkeeper Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Fort Smith, AR
    Posts
    129

    Default

    Well i seriously doubt your sand or rock is "dead" what makes it live are the bacteria that live inside it, the other things are a bonus. When was the last time you cleaned the fluval? Mechanical filters like that are notorious for causing nitrate problems, never heard of them being that high, and actually the guys test kit is probably gone bad, as im pretty sure 100ppm in nitrates is toxic to marine life. I would start by buying your own test kit and making sure to check the exp date on the box and testing the water yourself. second i would take the fluval offline, they contribute to nitrates by trapping detritus inside the filter and since its a high oxygen area the bacteria that are needed to convert nitrate to nitrogen wont grow there so it spews nitrates back into your tank. Also, do you have any bioballs inside the tank? if so remove those too for the same reason as the fluval. And lastly, stop with the 100% water changes, doing that causes swings in the ph and other elements because of the massive changes which arent good for the critters you do have. you should be doing 10-15% changes, even if you do it once a day instead of the normal every 2 weeks.

    Also, maybe i missed it but are you using ro/di water? if not that could also be causing your nitrate problems since most tap water has nitrates present in some amount.
    BJ

  3. #3
    Dragynwing - Reefkeeper CR Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Mobile, AL
    Posts
    7

    Default

    i am using ro/di water. i cleaned the Fluval two days ago. no bio balls. i'll get my own test kit (i should have one anyways, what with all these problems).
    when i want to hear the pitter patter of little feet i\'ll put shoes on my cats.

  4. #4
    bjpembo - Reefkeeper Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Fort Smith, AR
    Posts
    129

    Default

    have you checked the tds of your ro/di water to make sure your filters dont need replacement?
    BJ

  5. #5
    Reptoreef - Reefkeeper CR Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Brigham City, Utah
    Posts
    2,530

    Default

    BJ, glad to see your opinions up again... been a while. As usual I'm with BJ. Are you moving the sandbed around?? Let it be... let the critters do the job. Besides, it sounds like with the movement in the tank that the neccessary movement ubove the sandbed and at the surface is in check. If not stir only 1/2 " of the top. Denitrification will take place in the deeper part of the poors in the live rock and the lower parts of the "undisturbed" sand bed.

    Repto
    There's nowhere else I'ld rather be... unless, of course, you're buying

  6. #6
    dakar - Reefkeeper CR Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Western Louisiana
    Posts
    4,335
    First Name
    Dave

    Default

    Something is definately going on that's for sure, think getting your own test kits is a must, I'd test both your tank and your water source before and after the RO/DI. Run ammo and nitrite tests as well, if there really is that concentration of nitrates it's likely there is ammo/nitrites present. I would not stir up the sandbed any more, there is some bad stuff like anerobic bacteria that lives towards the very bottom, you want it, but want to keep it there, releases hydrogen sulfide (pretty sure that's the right compound), you'll know it for the sulfer/rotten egg odor.

    There was someone (no need to mention names) but the source water was high in nitrates and for some reason or another the RO/DI got moved and accidently reversed the waste and output lines, nitrates were being added to the tank daily.... Just something to look for.

    Be sure to holler back and let us know what you find.
    --

    Hey BJ, LTNS.
    Every electronic device is manufactured with smoke stored deep inside... only a true genius can find a way to set it free.

  7. #7
    Dragynwing - Reefkeeper CR Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Mobile, AL
    Posts
    7

    Default

    no ammo according to the tests...i get my ro/di water from my LFS so it should be fine (no one else has reported any probs and they check it very often)...i'll leave the sand bed alone next time...i'll be getting in a shipment of snails soon. what should i do? acclimate them VERY slowly? maybe do a 20-30% water change right before they come in??
    when i want to hear the pitter patter of little feet i\'ll put shoes on my cats.

  8. #8
    bjpembo - Reefkeeper Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Fort Smith, AR
    Posts
    129

    Default

    dont count on your water from the lfs being fine, there's been more than one person that figured out all their problems were being caused by lfs water and their lack of filter changes. as for the snail acclimation, i do them the same way i do anything else i add to the tank. take a sg reading for the tank and the bagged water and slowly add to and exchange the water in the bag until the sg is the same then release.


    Has been a while guys, hopefully i'll be a little less busy and can keep up
    BJ

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