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High levels in Water Params!

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by CyberJester, Jan 8, 2008.

  1. CyberJester

    CyberJester Inactive User

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    I have been watching my nitrate levels rise in my tanks over the past couple of weeks slowly. Have been doing a lot of water changes and yet they continue to rise. My tank has a Megaflow 3 wet/dry sump below with a coralife super skimmer 120 in it. I also have a 9 watt U/V attached in-line. I replaced the bio-balls that came with the sump with live rock chunks left over after I received my live rock 4 or 5 so months ago as well as some larger pieces in the bottom of the sump. I even added some carbon pellets on top of the filter pad trying to bring the levels down.

    I was thinking of taking my pluming in a new direction in an effort to reduce my levels and for an overall healthier tank in general. Going with a fuge setup possibly instead of the protein skimmer. Please feel free to post any responses as to what you think may be going wrong as I am at a loss as for what is causing this issue with my levels. I would like to hear as well what all of you are using under your tanks as I have seen some real nice looking tanks in the homes of the GIRS member that I have been in
    Thanks a load
     CyberJester
     
  2. Guest

    Guest Guest

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    in my sump the water comes down into chamber 1 where the skimmer is, then it goes into the fuge (dsb, LR,chaeto) i also have a aquaclear 70 (i just had it from a previous tank) running with some phosban, carbon and some ammonia removing stuff, then it goes into the return where i have more rock that i couldnt fit in the fuge and there is a UV in line to the DT
    but, i dont really know that much about that aspect yet. im still getting into it a little at a time. a lot of people told me a uv would be a waste of money and stuff but its helped my water clarity and for that, to me, its worth having (at least on my tank..)
    someone will chime in soon with good tips.
     
  3. Guest

    Guest Guest

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    Where is this filter pad and what is its purpose?

    Running a refugium in addition to the skimmer would be best, as the skimmer removes organics and a refugium removes inorganic nutrients.

    How much do you feed? What is the bioload, size of the tank, etc? How much rock? Barebottom?

    I'd recommend working in a refugium and getting rid of anything that intentionally traps detritus, unless you're diligent about cleaning the thing.
     
  4. einsteins

    einsteins Experienced Reefkeeper

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    I run a low nutrient system so I cant have a refugium....

    eins
     
  5. seanndenise1

    seanndenise1 Inactive User

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    i voted other only because in my sump with skimmer i have a wad of cheato floating in there, not really a refugium but with macro.

    how many critters are in your tank and what size is it?

    check your new water right out of the ro/di. i would start checking at this point of your system.
    how do you make up your new water, is it a ro di, or just an ro. and do you add any sort of chemical to your tank to remove chlorine or chloramines.
    you really need to get as close to zero on your new water as possible, and zero is not hard to do.

    and im wondering how well your skimmer is skimming, if you are feeding 3 times a day on 8-10 inches of fish, thats really quite a bit for any tank under 50 gallons, you might think you feed lightly but water can get high nitrate levels fast, and small water changes wont keep up with it.
    a 25%water change, if you think about it does very little to remove contaminents, even two in one week does very little if you do the math.

    there has to be a reason for high nitrates.

    im not sure if youve posted before on you tanks inhabitants but can you list them again?

    list your critters how much you feed
    tank/sump size
    your ro/system ro/di or just ro.and when you last changed its filters.
    adding any chemicals to remove anythingor have any sort of chemical removing pads
    any other filters on your tank.
    rest assured, wherever they are coming from, you are putting them in there, somehow.
    im betting on your new water.
    also, uv sterilizers do account for alot of dieoff, contributing to ammonia/nitrite/ nitrate.
    think about it, im not saying get rid of it but, everything that goes thru there gets killed, algae microorganisms, everything just adding to your bioload,all the while killing off good biologicals.
    it is basically creating one problem to safeguard another. and its main supposed function is questionable at best.
     
  6. Philby

    Philby Inactive User

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    I voted sump with skimmer - but I have a very new tank, and my sump does have some LR in it...I may eventually add chaeto if my nitrates rise, but I'm hoping to have a low nutrient system that won't require any macro algae.
     
  7. xroads Veteran Reefkeeper

    La Porte City, IA
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    I have a 100 gallon rubbermaid sump, 75 gallon reguge (2/3 full of water though), external skimmer, & a fluval 404 with carbon in it. I think skimming is the highest priorith with refuge being a close second. Add some extra crabs if you feed alot & go with a skimmer & refuge. Your tank looked pretty nice when I saw it, does it look the same? Might be a bad test kit too.
     
  8. CyberJester

    CyberJester Inactive User

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    Posted By ryansholl on 01/08/2008 10:43 PM
    Where is this filter pad and what is its purpose?
    Running a refugium in addition to the skimmer would be best, as the skimmer removes organics and a refugium removes inorganic nutrients.
    How much do you feed? What is the bioload, size of the tank, etc? How much rock? Barebottom?
    I'd recommend working in a refugium and getting rid of anything that intentionally traps detritus, unless you're diligent about cleaning the thing.
    Water comes into a small chamber on the left side of the wet/dry sump, then it waterfalls over a tray with a fiter pad in it.  This pad is meant to remove any med - large particulates in the water then flows through the rock rubble into the main chamber where the protein skimmer then flows through a set of ballists with a mircobubble sponge fiter then to my return pump which pushes water throught the UV back into the system.
    Tank size: 90 gal reef
    inhabitants:
    1 X 4" Yellow tang
    1 X 2" purple tank
    1 X 3" blue tank
    2 X 1" Royal Grandmas
    3 X 1" Clowns
    1 X 1.5" Flame angel
    2 X clean shrimp
    2 X fire Shrimp
    120LBS of live rock
    2" live argonite sand bottom
    I have cut the feeding down to 2 cubes of brine shirmp every other day. 
    Jeremy
     
  9. glaspie69

    glaspie69 Experienced Reefkeeper

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    take the filter pad out of your sump, the food and detritis gets stopped by this pad and it basically turns into a nitrate factory.
     
  10. CyberJester

    CyberJester Inactive User

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    Posted By seanndenise1 on 01/09/2008 3:51 AM
    i voted other only because in my sump with skimmer i have a wad of cheato floating in there, not really a refugium but with macro.
    how many critters are in your tank and what size is it?
    check your new water right out of the ro/di. i would start checking at this point of your system.
    how do you make up your new water, is it a ro di, or just an ro. and do you add any sort of chemical to your tank to remove chlorine or chloramines.
    you really need to get as close to zero on your new water as possible, and zero is not hard to do.
    and im wondering how well your skimmer is skimming, if you are feeding 3 times a day on 8-10 inches of fish, thats really quite a bit for any tank under 50 gallons, you might think you feed lightly but water can get high nitrate levels fast, and small water changes wont keep up with it.
    a 25%water change, if you think about it does very little to remove contaminents, even two in one week does very little if you do the math.
    there has to be a reason for high nitrates.
    im not sure if youve posted before on you tanks inhabitants but can you list them again?
    list your critters how much you feed
    tank/sump size
    your ro/system ro/di or just ro.and when you last changed its filters.
    adding any chemicals to remove anythingor have any sort of chemical removing pads
    any other filters on your tank.
    rest assured, wherever they are coming from, you are putting them in there, somehow.
    im betting on your new water.
    also, uv sterilizers do account for alot of dieoff, contributing to ammonia/nitrite/ nitrate.
    think about it, im not saying get rid of it but, everything that goes thru there gets killed, algae microorganisms, everything just adding to your bioload,all the while killing off good biologicals.
    it is basically creating one problem to safeguard another. and its main supposed function is questionable at best.
    how many critters are in your tank and what size is it?
    See previous post.
    I have RO/DI water and I have already tested it for Nitrates (0), but when I get home I will test it for ammonia and Nitrite.
    Skimmer is producing about 1/8" - 1/4" of dry skimmate every day.  I am having trouble keeping that constant though due to verying water levels within the sump (due to evaporation) on a daily basis (I really need a top off system).
    Feeding, Like I said in my previous response, I have dropped my feeding down to 2 cubes of brine shimp every other day (can't keep that up for long as fish are losing a little weight).
    My water change amount is 10Gal which is just above the 10% mark of my tank.  I really have no way to do a bigger one because I have to move water from my sunroom over to the tank (wife won't let me just convert the living room into a fish room, that #%^#%).  Howver, I may be able to get another 10Gal plastic pale and jump it up to 20% water changes.  problem with that is, it takes a while to collect that much water as it comes out of a faucet in my sink.
    I don't think my change water is the source of the contamination though.  When I moved here last year, I spent approx $7500.00 on a complete solution water system.
     
  11. CyberJester

    CyberJester Inactive User

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    Posted By glaspie69 on 01/09/2008 3:03 PM
    take the filter pad out of your sump, the food and detritis gets stopped by this pad and it basically turns into a nitrate factory.
    I try that, I do change the pad out 1 a week, every other week at the longest.
     
  12. CyberJester

    CyberJester Inactive User

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    What are the cleaning regiments that you guys use?
     
  13. jtesdall

    jtesdall Expert Reefkeeper

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    As many here know I was fighting high Nitrites for quite some time and tried many things to solve this. My general BioLoad in numbers isn't that high, but with a Puffer, Lionfish and Moray in a tank connected to my system the waste is high.
    So how high are your nitrates? Are you getting much for unwanted Algae growth? As craig mentioned be careful of your test kit if the numbers sounds very strange.
    I went through the following steps to reduce nitrates over about an 8 month period.
    1. Added a sump refugium with miracle mud and Cheato
    2. Added Mangroves
    3. Upgraded from a 55 to 90 gallon reef display (More water volume). I also have a %% agressive, 30 gallon sump/fuge and 55 frag tank connected to the same system.
    4. Replaced crushed coral with 5" of aragonite sand
    5. Upgraded to coralife 150 skimmer (I know some say not much of an upgrade, but it was from a 65 and I like Super Skimmers)
    6. Tried adding sugar, works but not a long term solution
    7. attempted to get a DIY De-Nitrator to actually remove Nitrates (I Failed)
           ****  Nitrates still at about 20 ******
    8. Finally splurged and bought a Midwest Aquatics Sulfer De-Nitrator
    Problem solve!. Nitrates maintain undetectable for about 2 months now. Thank you JJ!
    As Ryan was pointing out, watch out for anywhere that can collect detrius like filter pads and bioballs. Sounds like that is ok for you.Also very important ..... RO/DI or atleast is there nitrates goin into the tank with water changes. Ryan Neilson can tell you all about that.
     
  14. CyberJester

    CyberJester Inactive User

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    Posted By jtesdall on 01/09/2008 3:43 PM
    As many here know I was fighting high Nitrites for quite some time and tried many things to solve this. My general BioLoad in numbers isn't that high, but with a Puffer, Lionfish and Moray in a tank connected to my system the waste is high.
    So how high are your nitrates? Are you getting much for unwanted Algae growth? As craig mentioned be careful of your test kit if the numbers sounds very strange.
    I went through the following steps to reduce nitrates over about an 8 month period.
    1. Added a sump refugium with miracle mud and Cheato
    2. Added Mangroves
    3. Upgraded from a 55 to 90 gallon reef display (More water volume). I also have a %% agressive, 30 gallon sump/fuge and 55 frag tank connected to the same system.
    4. Replaced crushed coral with 5" of aragonite sand
    5. Upgraded to coralife 150 skimmer (I know some say not much of an upgrade, but it was from a 65 and I like Super Skimmers)
    6. Tried adding sugar, works but not a long term solution
    7. attempted to get a DIY De-Nitrator to actually remove Nitrates (I Failed)
           ****  Nitrates still at about 20 ******
    8. Finally splurged and bought a Midwest Aquatics Sulfer De-Nitrator
    Problem solve!. Nitrates maintain undetectable for about 2 months now. Thank you JJ!
    As Ryan was pointing out, watch out for anywhere that can collect detrius like filter pads and bioballs. Sounds like that is ok for you.Also very important ..... RO/DI or atleast is there nitrates goin into the tank with water changes. Ryan Neilson can tell you all about that.
    I really didn't want to say how high they were because of the shame factor :-(.  But, now that asked I tested two days ago and they were about 80.  I don't even know how anything is alive in there.  I am assuming that the test kit is good.  Because when I tested the water that came out of the RO/DI unit it tested no Nitrates at all.
    I do have unwanted algae growing on the glass.  I can see a film building on it daily.  I have to run my mag-floats across it daily or at least every other day.
    I take it that the "Midwest Aquatics Sulfer De-Nitrator' works pretty well.  Could you share a little more info about that product.  And any good/bad experiences you have had with it?
    Also I was thinking about adding a fuge with Miracle mud.  does that have any kind of cycle time associated with it?
    Cyber
     
  15. jtesdall

    jtesdall Expert Reefkeeper

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    No reason to be ashamed, many of us have been there. If you are sure your RO/DI is ok (double check) then we have to look at other things.
    A few thoughts:
    A 2" inch sand bed is not enough if you want a true DSB that has any de-nitrifying power at all. I would look for the articles on DSB in RK Mag and Reef Central. 4-5 inches is needed.
    I don't think you said how often you do a 10 gallon water change, but that is pretty small if it is anything more than a week.
    If your trates are that high you need to Act! Your fish will tolerate them that high but not many corals will. It will also wear on your fish. The best and fastest way is large water changes several times over a week or two period. A reccomendation would be 50% (or higher) water changes every two to three days. If you do the math after 5 water changes you will only have about 3 gallons of the original water left and your nitrates should be down to about 5. This is exactly how Ryan Neilson recently got his down under control.
    Now you have to figure out how to keep them down. You BioLoad doesn't seem to be very high, but I would still like to know your maintenance water change schedule. I provided a list of what I have done including creating a 5 inch DSB in the previous post.
    I have had 0 issues with the sulfer de-nitrator. You do have to test it daily and keep a close eye on it the first couple of weeks to make sure you don't pump hydrogen sulfide into your tank. If you smell the water you can smell it though and then you just turn up the rate. Basically follow the instructions to the letter and it works VERY well. You could just use the Nitraor to get your trates down over a month or two but I wouldn't wait they are way too high especially if you have any coral.
    Here is the link to the MW Sulfer De-Nitrator.
    http://www.midwestaquatic.com/products.htm
    Good luck
     
  16. seanndenise1

    seanndenise1 Inactive User

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    i dont meen to keep going back to the same subject and bothering you about it but, i would double check your new water with someone elses test kit and i dont know if we hit on this either but whats your tds reading on your new water?.
    if youve posted your tds and i just didnt see it, sorry.

    besides your new water, maybe your tank is just overstocked and small water changes wont keep up with it.

     
  17. jtesdall

    jtesdall Expert Reefkeeper

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    Yes TDS, I meant to mention that. Even though Nitrates are zero there could be something else causing problems. But really should only be Ammonia, Nitrite or poop. ooooohhhh /site/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/_default/emoticons/smile.gif
     
  18. Guest

    Guest Guest

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    Well, if the RO/DI is not a problem then I'd suggest modifying the skimmer to pull more out. How much flow do you have running through the sump? Just thinking that if you gravity fed the skimmer and converted the needlewheel (or better yet meshed it) pump into a recirculating pump you could do away with the filter pads entirely, not have to deal with the rising/falling water level in the sump, and put a lot more air through the skimmer.

    In the short term, as Joel said, you could use sugar to bring your nitrate level down. It is every bit as useful as doing partial water changes, except it's far less work and you don't get the benefit of balancing calcium, alk, etc levels. I seem like I'm the only person that ever thinks it a viable option, but that is because it worked amazingly well for me while I fixed the problems behind my nitrates (which involved modding my seaclone into something respectable).
     
  19. Guest

    Guest Guest

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    Also, try rinsing your food before you feed. All of the juices don't get consumed and end up just polluting the water. Might also consider feeding more than just brine shrimp.
     
  20. vvolfe1

    vvolfe1 Inactive User

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    Sorry if I missed it but, how old is your tank? Maybe if it is new you just have a little cycle going on. Also do you use Cheato? For things to do to lower nitrates it sounds like you are doing most if not all. But it also sounds like your bacteria is not keeping up with the food source. I'd probably either take out the filter pad or start cleaning it every other day. Another thing that would help is to put in a remote deep sand bed or increase the amount of sand in your bed. Rumor has it that shallow sand beds really do not do much to lower nitrates. I have a shallow sand bed in my display that is 1.5-2" deep but my refugium has close to 6" in most of it. And lastly you could order one of those bottles of bacteria to boost up your bacteria count.
    I'd also agree with taking your water to be tested by someone else. I just recently took my water over to einsteins and realize that every water change I did to cure my problem was what was actually causing it.
     

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