Cannot get nitrates down!?!?

Rathje70

New member
My 29g biocube has been set up for about a year and a half and is connected to a 13 gallon refuge. My stocking list includes numerous SPS and soft corals, a flame angel, clownfish, and a andarin dragonet. Everything is looking great in the tank and nitrates do not seem to bother them, but I want the best quality water for my SPS.

So heres the deal, I had recently done a 20% water change for four days straight and on the fifth day, nitrates listed around 5-10 ppm still. Is there anything I should check for to get my nitrates down. I run carbon and phosphate remover in my refugium along with chaeto and mineral mud.

My parameters are

Calcium - 400
Magnesium - 1240
Alk - 9 DKH
Ammonia - 0
PH - 8.2
Nitrates - 5-10!!!


I will appreciate any help or if I should even worry about it, everything looks healthy.


Thanks,
Rathje70
 

Boyman

New member
How is your feeding schedule?

Do you trim or clean your chaeto regularly? They can accumulate a lot of detritus in the long run.
 

Rathje70

New member
I have a fairly deep sand bed, probably around 2-3 inches since I used to have a Blue Spot Jawfish. I feed twice a day, once frozen, and once flaked food. I do clean my chaeto pretty regularly and just cleaned out my fuge, not exactly sure whats doing it.

Appreciate any suggestions!

Thanks,
Rathje70
 

Rathje70

New member
Is it anything I should worry about? I have had all my SPS frags in my tank for about a week now and they have not lost color, but in my opinion gained color since I put them in there. Everything seems to be thriving.

Thanks,
Rathje70
 

wuster77

New member
Did you check for nitrates in your water before mixing in the salt? Maybe you need a new RO filter if there's nitrate in source water. Any mechanical filters in your tank? Maybe just feed once a day instead? I am just throwing out all the possibilities.

I am also new with sps (got my first frags just under 3 weeks ago), but just letting know that my nitrate is a little under 5ppm and the frags are definitely coloring up everyday and growing too. So a little nitrate shouldn't be detrimental, probably just not the optimal environment for sps that's all.
 

Genetics

Hands deep in water
Team RC
Premium Member
Nitrates of 5-10 will not harm anything. Increasing water changes would bring it down some but the numbers aren't too concerning.
 

Rathje70

New member
I appreciate all of the help, I will just keep an eye on things, everything looks very healthy! SPS would lose color if they did not like your system within a couple weeks right?

Thanks,
Rathje70
 

Dejavu

ReefKeeping Mag staff
Team RC
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=14150380#post14150380 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by Genetics
Nitrates of 5-10 will not harm anything. Increasing water changes would bring it down some but the numbers aren't too concerning.

+1 Thats were I like mine.
 

Tswifty

New member
Small water changes over a common interval like that do nothing... it's the back, to back, to back type water changes, where you change out 50-75% (potentially even more) of your tank's volume that will get you the drastic reductions. However, there are obviously risks associated with it. As others stated... those numbers aren't too concerning.

http://www.melevsreef.com/reducing_nitrates.html

55 gal Reef Example: Make up 20 gals of fresh saltwater in a trashcan in front of your tank. Drain 10 gals of tank water into the 20 gals of new water, and let that mix. Pump 10 gals of that water back into your tank, and let the power heads mix that water up in your tank for a minute or so. Then repeat this three more times. Dispose of the now polluted 20 gals of water. Make up another 20 gals of fresh saltwater, and repeat this procedure. As long as your temperature and salinity match the tank, your inhabitants won’t be affected adversely, and with each rotation of water, the nitrates are being diluted and removed from your tank.

Simply pulling out all of the water in one massive water change puts stress on your entire tank. Doing small water changes consistently won’t bring nitrate levels down. At best, it will maintain them at their current levels. Using the example above, a tank that was at 80ppm would be around 30ppm after a couple of hours work and your population will be happy and unaffected. Once your nitrate levels drop, they are easily kept low with regular water changes, as well as the use of a DSB and macro algae.
 

Rouselb

New member
That level should not hurt any SPS, but you dont want it getting higher. I would make sure that your TDS is close to 0, add some macro in the corner, and do some water changes. Water changes may not eliminate the problem, but always help keep things under control so they dont get worse.
 

Rathje70

New member
Well, I have a 13 gallon refugium pretty packed with chaeto, I just added some more a few days ago, I am pretty sure this will help. I am not to worried about them, I am just going to do some water changes every 3-4 days until my system can get caught up, I just put my SPS in so would like to stay away from 50% water changes.

Thanks for your suggestions,
Rathje70
 

sjfishguy

New member
Increase your flow, A LOT. I personally know several people that were having nitrate problems and when they increased there flow, the nitrates fell to zero. The reason is without a lot of flow or having lots of rock tightly packed into a tank, you get low flow spots for detrus to build up. These spots will continue to produce nitrates as long as they exist. Even if you think they don't exist they probably do.

Rock work should not be layed against a back wall to easily allow continuous water circulation in the back and around the tank. You probably don't want to redo rockwork, etc, so I would just increase the flow, it really can't hurt.

Is your rockwork against the backwall? How much flow do you have?
 

cmc0814

New member
Also, you said you had a refugium packed with chaeto. You want the chaeto to grow. That is how it reduces nitrates and phosphates. If there is no room for it to grow, you aren't exporting anything.

-Chris
 

Cadu

New member
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=14153281#post14153281 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by Denadai
maybe your No3 test kit is not working....try another one

I would try another test kit as well.
 

Tswifty

New member
FYI... I just performed the method above on my 20 Long temp setup. The Nitrates have been gradually creeping up over the past few weeks, so I decided to try the water change method.

I ended up changing 15 gallons spread across 5 individual 3 gallon changes. I waited 5 minutes in between each change.

It cut my Nitrates in half and dropped them from 10ppm to 5ppm.
 

Rathje70

New member
I have a lot of flow in my tank, and use a turkey baster to blow detrius out from behind the rock as much as I can. I should not say my fuge is packed with chaeto, it has plenty of room to grow. I just checked my nitrates tonight and they are now at zero, so I am not sure what to say.

Thanks,
Rathje70
 
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