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Nitrate Problem

2308 Views 26 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  chadf
Can I do water changes everyday on my 90 gallon reef to lower my nitrate problem? Or do I need to go every other day or something like that? I just changed about 20 percent yesterday. Please Help My Nitrates are way too high!
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Need some Q's answered to better aid you.
What exactly are your params at?
How heavily stocked is your tank?
How much, how often and what do you feed?
Are you running a Protien skimmer?
What does your biological filtration consist of, i.e. LR/sump/refugium or BioBalls?
Add to the above - did your tank cycle? Before this last water change, were your water changes consistent? Do you use r/o or tap water?
I would space them out and do a 20-30% every 2-3 days at most. Daily water changes can possibly cause more stress than high nitrates. However, you need to find/resolve the source of your high nitrates (overfeeding, overstocked, unsized skimmer, poor husbandry, etc.) or this water change marathon is only going to be a band-aid. Good luck!
How long has the tank been up? Usually nitrates are really high while cycling

If its an established tank, you either fed too much, had something die, your stocked it too much, etc etc. You could look into reactors and micro algae in your sump to help compete for the nitrates/phosphates.
ammonia-0, nitrie-0, nitrate-80 ppm. I have a 2 tangs, 2 clowns, and a foxface. I feed them about a half a frozen cube of mysis a day. I just got some sun coral so I might have over done the feeding because I have been having problems feeding them due to my cleaner shrimp taking their food, and that they werent opening so I put the mysis on the poylops to get them to open. Which actually worked. I do have a protein skimmer (which Im not sure on how well it actually does.) and run a refugium. But I did buy this system off a guy about a year ago and I have had a high nitrate problem since day one. I was gone for about a month and didnt change the water for a little longer than a month but still that was just one month. That doesnt explain a year of frustration! I do use RODI water. I just bulked up my clean up crew, but my water looks clear and I dont really have a algea problem. I just dont know what to do anymore. When I got back I did redo my aquascape, would that cause my nitrate to go up? My tank cycled when I first set it up a year ago, but does it continue to cycle? If so how do I know when it does and what does it cycling mean to me? Thank you so much for all the help everyone!
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my tank has been up for about a year. It is a reef tank. I do have micro algae in the refugium. I just had to take some out because it was filling up the whold chamber.
let the frozen food thaw in fresh water then strain it and mix it up again in salt water, this will get rid of excess food particles getting into your system leading to nitrates. i made this change and felt it was a major contributor to my nitrates.
also there are nitrate reducing filter pads that are really cheap and good for a quick fix. in 24 hours my nitrates went from 40ppm to 0pmm.
also i just started running biopellets to help with nitrates. they take a while to really start working so i havent seen any changes yet, but they are supposed to be awesome.
I think you're feeding way too much. 6 frozen cubes a day? whoa! I wouldn't feed but maybe one every other day and supplement with a pinch of pellots. Would also add some micro algae such as chaeto and if you cant get the nitrates down after that, then I would run a reactor.
I think the sun coral might be a bit too advanced for where you are in understanding. I know it's way beyond my experience. If I'm not mistaken, it's a nonphotosynthetic, which means you need a pretty elaborate system to put all the food in and then take it out before it decomposes. There are some advanced people in the forum and just reading their threads makes my head spin most days. I think you would have an easier time if you weren't spot feeding the sun coral.
Im only feeding half a frozen cube a day not 6 Bluwc
yeah after getting them and already having this many problems with the sun coral I am really second quessing myself.
Oh lol, for some reason I misread and thought you said 1/2 dozen of frozen cubes a day. Have you put macro algae in? I'd almost go to every other day with feedings though. And again, woudl consider some type of pellot reactor. I personally don't like bioballs. Do you have any filter socks, sponges, etc in there that you haven't replaced in a while?
How old is your test kit, from what you have described I do not see anything so out of the ordinary that your nitrates should be this much of a problem.

What type of substrate are you using... crushed coral? That could be a possibility of your reoccurring nitrate issue.

Also, on a sun coral note, they are actually quite easy to take care of, and if you are worried about there food really raising your nitrates when you feed, you can always try pellets. All I feed my Sun Coral is selcon soaked pellets 2-3x a week, and its happy enough to open right up the second blue lights go on at night/ grow new heads, and even spore a few heads on a rock 5-6 inches away. I have been using only pellets for 5 months now, and not saying that it is the way to go, but I have yet to see ill side effects from it.
First off, Thank you to everyone for your responce. It has given me some hope and some new drive to keep going with this hobby.

I do not have any filter sock or filter pads or anything like that...Should I put something of the sorts in at my intake of my refugium? I have the black with a little white sand mix. I dont remember the name of it but its the live sand that is mostly black with a little white in it. It is about 2-3 inches deep. I was told I needed 4 but didnt want to take the chance of burring my crabs and snails by adding more.

Thanks Willbattle about the sun coral tips. I will try that before I get rid of them. I really like them and they give my tank great color and would hate to not have them. Do you have have yours in the sand bed? Do you have any problems with your cleaner shrip or others picking at them durning feeding time? If so what do you do to stop them?
oh and my test kit is probably close to a year old. Should I just get a new one?
What brand of test kit are you using? Does it have an expiration date?

Did you use the same sand? If so, my bet is that's where your problem lies. I would get something to clean the sand and I think you'll see big improvements.

That's good that you're using ro/di, I would keep up with 20% water changes weekly for a while.

As for feeding, you should be offering a more varied diet - especially for the tangs. I would get some nori from the grocery store - its the same as the algae sheets and give to your tangs daily. Then, you can feed the mysis or other frozen food every-other-day. Tangs are constant grazers so really need something daily - and they are big algae eaters.

As for the cleaner shrimp - that's what they do:) I actually sold mine as I was tired of it picking food from my corals. I had to feed the coral, then keep the shrimp at bay with my hand until the coral was done. Another option is to use a 2-liter bottle and cut off the bottom. Put it over the coral, add the food and remove when the coral is done.
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No I dont see a experation date, it is the API marine test kit. I have some of those algea sheets that I was putting in every few days but I will start giving them one every day. will the clowns and foxface be ok with every other day feeding of the mysis? and what else should I feed the clowns and foxface?
sorry forgot to say something about the sand. I bought new sand when I set up the tank. Someone once told me never to use someones old sand, by the way, is that true?
I would never use old sand so that part was good.

Don't feed a whole sheet every day or you'll waste a lot:) Tangs tend to produce a lot of waste.

I use Rod's food - a lot of the cheaper frozen foods have a lot of waste in the fluid they are packed in. I thawed one cube and it looked like an oil slick.

What color of skimmate is your skimmer producing? What type of skimmer is it? How frequently do you have to empty it?
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