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High nitrate, please help!!
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nikilynn02
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Joined: 27 Apr 2005

PostPosted: 2005.04.27(Wed)13:32    Post subject: High nitrate, please help!! Reply with quote

I have a 55 gallon tank, upgraded from a 29 about 4 months ago. I have a trigger, blue tang, clarki clown, black clown, and maroon clown. At one time I had more than 100 snails in the tank until my stupid trigger ate about 80 of them. My question, I have struggled with my nitrate levels for a month now. The tang got very sick so I immediately started treatment for one week, and did a 25% water change after. The nitrate was at 20 when she first got sick, after treatment it was down to 12. That was one week ago today. I used to do a 10% change every 10 days, and filters cartriges every 2 weeks, but now with the tang I do water changes (10%) every 7 days. So I just changed the water today, and checked the level before I changed it, its up to 30!!!!! Funny thing is, the tang is perfect, looks great! But my black clown is sick. NO clue how this is happening. I have the penguin 330 and 170 on the tank, heater, air pump that has twice the capacity for the tank. 15 lbs of live rock. I feed the trigger a goldfish (smallest available) about every other day, and same with seaweed for the tang. I have searched everywhere, asked pet stores and they said I am doing all that I can do. I do NOT have a skimmer, am poor enough as it is, but its the next thing I will get once summer comes and I can work more hours. One little catch that could be hurting the tank, but hasn't in previous months. I have gone to my local lake and picked up some cool rocks, brought them back and scrubbed as hard as I could to clean them, then cooked them in my oven at 450 degrees for more than 20 mintues, waited for them to cool and put them in the tank. Rest assured I did this more than 4 months ago and everything was fine, but got rid of those when I got the tank and went out to find new ones. I do not know how I am hurting the tank so bad and really feel terrible about it. So much money has gone into it as we all know, and being a college student, keeping this kind of tank up has used up all of my money! I don't want it to go down now! PLEASE HELP ME!!!!!!!!!! The poor fishies just want to feel better! Thanks for any help anyone can possibly offer!
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sirreal63
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Joined: 21 Feb 2004
Location: St Louis

PostPosted: 2005.04.27(Wed)16:37    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do the Penguins have bio-wheels on them still? If so that is the source of your Nitrate problems. They are very effecient at producing nitrates. It would help if we knew more about what is in the tank...live rock, water parameters, etc.
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29 gallon planted various fish
58 gallon salt, 30g fuge
75 gallon planted, 5.45 wpg
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nikilynn02
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Joined: 27 Apr 2005

PostPosted: 2005.04.27(Wed)17:03    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have around 20 lbs. of live rock, yes both have bio wheels. the rocks from the lake are around 15-20 lbs. I read from the manual that you were not supposed to change the bio-wheel since it helps ammonia. I upped the temp to 82 when the tang was sick, and it has been there for around a week. I do have only a 150W heater, I know its not large enough for the tank, I think it goes up to around 40 gallons or so. could a slight fluctuation in the temp cause this? pH is 8.2, ammonia 0 and nitrite 0. I use stress coat to purify water before I put it in. I use instant ocean salt. is that enough information? oh, I have crushed coral for gravel, but not sand. any suggestions?
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aurther_dent2001
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Joined: 11 Apr 2004
Location: NJ

PostPosted: 2005.04.27(Wed)19:07    Post subject: Reply with quote

What kind of rocks did you get from the lake? The live rock for marine setup is extremely porus, and is basically old (very old) coral skeletons. The denitrifing bacteria live deep in the pores where oxygen level is very low and they break nitrates to nitrogen and oxygen.

So two points:
1. Your live rock may not actually be any good.
2. If it is, 20lb will probably not be enough to take care of nitrates in 55G.

How about a DIY protein skimmer? Would prolly help.
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nikilynn02
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Joined: 27 Apr 2005

PostPosted: 2005.04.27(Wed)19:17    Post subject: Reply with quote

my live rock is quite cured, I got it from a pet store, and try to pick the ones that have the most stuff on them. they have lots of colors/living stuff. I would love to make my own skimmer, I am in the process of making my own stand. I really couldn't find a good source to tell me in lamens terms what a skimmer did, and how it did it. I just got a fish book today that explained it quite well. I am very handy and if I knew how to build one I would. so you think I need more live rock? how do you think I had such a quick nitrate spike? you think its because I put the rock in the tank from the lake that isn't cured? I also just read a source on this site that said the blue tang would greatly benefit from a UV light filter, this true?
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sirreal63
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Joined: 21 Feb 2004
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PostPosted: 2005.04.27(Wed)21:30    Post subject: Reply with quote

Niki...take the bio-wheels off one at a time. I would take one off now and wait a week and test the water daily...if nitrates haven't dropped, take the other one off and do a water change. For the next week after that check your nitrites and ammonia daily. You should not see any significant rise in nitrites or ammonia. Definately take the bio-wheels off, they work awesome in freshwater...but produce too much nitrates in salt.
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29 gallon planted various fish
58 gallon salt, 30g fuge
75 gallon planted, 5.45 wpg
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nikilynn02
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Joined: 27 Apr 2005

PostPosted: 2005.04.28(Thu)6:47    Post subject: Reply with quote

hey thanks, I will try that and keep you posted!
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aurther_dent2001
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Joined: 11 Apr 2004
Location: NJ

PostPosted: 2005.04.28(Thu)8:26    Post subject: Reply with quote

nikilynn02 wrote:
I am very handy and if I knew how to build one I would.


If you do a search on google.com for "DIY protein skimmer" (without the quotes), you will get a bunch of links telling you how to make one. Though I have never tried to make one myself, so cannot give you personal recommendations
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aurther_dent2001
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Joined: 11 Apr 2004
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PostPosted: 2005.04.28(Thu)8:30    Post subject: Reply with quote

sirreal63 wrote:
Niki...take the bio-wheels off one at a time. I would take one off now and wait a week and test the water daily...if nitrates haven't dropped, take the other one off and do a water change. For the next week after that check your nitrites and ammonia daily. You should not see any significant rise in nitrites or ammonia. Definately take the bio-wheels off, they work awesome in freshwater...but produce too much nitrates in salt.


sirreal, correct me if I am wrong. But since all the nitrates are produced in a tank from the waste generated, removing the bio-wheels will not help if the amount of waste initially generated does not decrease. right? bio-wheels are just good at converting the waste to nitrates, (waste being decaying matter, ammonia and nitrites). the source of the problem is the wastes. no?
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sirreal63
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Joined: 21 Feb 2004
Location: St Louis

PostPosted: 2005.04.29(Fri)5:34    Post subject: Reply with quote

The problem with the bio wheels is the nitrates have no where to go, they just keep getting released back into the water column. They are so effecient that they may prevent the live rock from doing much filtering, hence the rock isn't functioning properly. Obviously a skimmer is needed as are frequent water changes and reducing the feeding. I have never seen a marine tank with bio wheels that didn't have high nitrates. They do an awesome job at converting ammona and nitrite, maybe too good of a job.
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29 gallon planted various fish
58 gallon salt, 30g fuge
75 gallon planted, 5.45 wpg
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