Nitrate Problem....Need Advice!!

Orangetruck94

New member
Hello Gang
So about 2 weeks ago I made a rookie mistake and moved all my live rock. Well my nitrate level went sky high! I have been doing water change (30-40%) every 4 days. I have been also using Brighwell Aquatics Reef Bio Fuel (its been 5 days of using it) I just tested my Nitrates with both API & Salifert (just bought the test) brands. They both read that my Nitrates are between 50-60!!!!!

My setup is a 40 gal with a 10 gal sump (skimmer is working fine).

Should I try ANOTHER major water change???

What can I do to bring it down???

Thanks Gang!!
Orangetruck
 

4218kris

Active member
my nitrates test at 160ppm top of the scale so they are probablly even higher that 160ppm. iv been using amquel+ to help. and feeding alot less.
 

badfish

Premium Member
Premium Member
Do 20% water volume water changes every week till your nitrates are at 0.
 

adambirk

New member
why are you dosing just bio-fuel? this is going to increase your nitrates as well. this product is normally used when dosing a bacteria to feed the bacteria. so without dosing the bacteria all you are doing is increasing nutrients in the water.
 

Orangetruck94

New member
why are you dosing just bio-fuel? this is going to increase your nitrates as well. this product is normally used when dosing a bacteria to feed the bacteria. so without dosing the bacteria all you are doing is increasing nutrients in the water.

A rep at a great store told me to try it out. On the front label it say "natural phosphate & nitrate reduction in all marine & reef aquaria".
Maybe you are think about another BioFuel?
 

Orangetruck94

New member
So I have been looking up Amquel Plus & AZ No 3.
They both seem to be great products. I will see which one I can get locally.

Thanks again guys!!!
 

bluelair

New member
What did you mean "moved all of my live rock"? Did you remove it from the tank? Or just move it around? Did you murder anything in the process?

What are your animals telling you? are any corals exhibiting stress? I have read about many systems that could deal with elevated nitrate. You might see some algae blooms from it, but if corals aren't stressing or dying, I wouldn't worry too much in the short term.

Also, be careful with your water changes. Many a reefkeeper (My younger self comes to mind) has introduced other problems with temp differences, salinity differences, and just plain sloppiness in a rush to change water under stress after a high nitrate test. This is not a cardiac arrest, more like a mild fever, OK? Treat it, but don't otherwise kill the patient.
 

Orangetruck94

New member
What did you mean "moved all of my live rock"? Did you remove it from the tank? Or just move it around? Did you murder anything in the process?

What are your animals telling you? are any corals exhibiting stress? I have read about many systems that could deal with elevated nitrate. You might see some algae blooms from it, but if corals aren't stressing or dying, I wouldn't worry too much in the short term.

Also, be careful with your water changes. Many a reefkeeper (My younger self comes to mind) has introduced other problems with temp differences, salinity differences, and just plain sloppiness in a rush to change water under stress after a high nitrate test. This is not a cardiac arrest, more like a mild fever, OK? Treat it, but don't otherwise kill the patient.


I have had my tank setup for over 4 years as a swim tank. I wanted to make it a reef tank so I wanted changed the look of the live rock (took out the live rock and put in buckets filled with water for an hour or so). I used the same live rock that I remove but I did disturbed MOST of the sand. OPPS!!!

Nothing was :uzi: killed in the process......:)

All the fish seen to be fine but some coral do look stressed. That is my main concern.

I was looking up all my options on the web.
I noticed that I can remove nitrates using media instead of adding chemicals. I have a Ehiem canister filtration system laying around. I wonder if thats a better solution to my nitrate problem??

http://www.marinedepot.com/Seachem_..._Filter_Media-Seachem-SC3191-FIFMCHNR-vi.html
 

crsaz

New member
the thing about the reef biofuel is not that it increases nutrients in the water it actually decreases them by fueling bacteria that feeds of po4 and no2 the bacteria is then removed by mechanical means (the skimmer) or eaten by corals, but after a while there will be one strain of bacteria that will outcompete the others this is where the mb7(microbacter7) comes in it replenishes the bacterial diversity,

On a side note I run brightwells neo zeo method which is a combination of reef bio-fuel, mb7 and a zeovit reactor, before running this system my nitrates were high (20-40 is high by my standards) anyway after starting the zeo method it brought my nitrate levels to zero(according to salifert but we all know that these test kits aren't acurate enough to tell us that you need a photometer to be that accurate) now I feed as much as I want as often as I want and all level remain near zero, + the zeo reactor creates it own food(bacterial mulm)
 

4218kris

Active member
How long does Amquel Plus take to start affecting/dropping the Nitrates? Is it right away or in a couple of days?
it drops nitrates immediately by 13ppm in a dose and you can dose once a day. the az n03 is absolute zero no3. (no3 = nitrates) also consider vodka doseing.
 

bluelair

New member
I have had my tank setup for over 4 years as a swim tank. I wanted to make it a reef tank so I wanted changed the look of the live rock (took out the live rock and put in buckets filled with water for an hour or so). I used the same live rock that I remove but I did disturbed MOST of the sand. OPPS!!!

Nothing was :uzi: killed in the process......:)

All the fish seen to be fine but some coral do look stressed. That is my main concern.

I was looking up all my options on the web.
I noticed that I can remove nitrates using media instead of adding chemicals. I have a Ehiem canister filtration system laying around. I wonder if thats a better solution to my nitrate problem??

http://www.marinedepot.com/Seachem_..._Filter_Media-Seachem-SC3191-FIFMCHNR-vi.html

The reason I asked this was, often high nitrates follow higher ammonia, not precede it. What does your Ammonia look like? Nitrate is the end process of a 3 step cycle that starts with high ammonia, I couldn't understand how disturbing your live rock alone would "release" nitrates, it may have caused some die off or re-curing in the rock that would have released wastes that would fuel a nitrogen cycle that would END with higher Nitrates, not start with it.

The 2 things I would be concerned about:

1. is this high nitrate level a one time event or a new steady state for your system? If the latter, then you need a longer term solution.

2. Water changes is the simplest, cheapest effective method unless your tank is 200 gallons+ for treating a nitrate problem. I would stick with that as recommended above and keep monitoring until you see a drop off.

Cut back on your feeding. Stop all together for a while. What is your bio load? How many fish? Can you bunk some fish elsewhere for a while? When I have this problem, I like to leave the tank alone, come back after a while and see some algae growth with the nice little bubbles around it (indicates nitrogen gas, or processed nitrates.) Do you have Chaeto or Mangroves in your sump? Can you get some?
 

Orangetruck94

New member
I tested my water this morning and everything is fine other than my nitrates. This is the first time my nitrates have spiked, as a matter of fact this is my first water problem. Thats why I was think it has something to do with moving the live rock & sand.

So i just setup the Ehiem can filtration system. until my nitrates come down I will keep the Ehiem going. Blueair, I see you are using a Fluval filter. What media setup are you using?

I think I am going to still use the BioFuel but be very careful with it.
 

bluelair

New member
That fluval is not running much media right now, I will usually run some carbon in it along with the sponge pre-filters. It's really for water clarity more than anything else, and as a backup to the skimmer. (Don't ever trust a needle-wheel pump.)

Occasionally I'll run phosban or chemipure through it, but I haven't needed to lately. The fluval is as much a backup to my skimmer than it is anything else. It also provides some addl. water circulation.

You likely disturbed your DSB and interrupted your live rock a little, but it'll recover.
 

auntdeb

New member
How often do you feed? Your fish will act starved all the time but that doesn't mean that they need to be fed. We fed once every 2-3 days. Also, flake food (I've heard) is the worst for nitrates. Ever noticed how crazy the skimmer goes when you feed flake as compared to mysis? If so, that should tell you something. We still did feed flake about every second or third feeding and it was a small amount with pellet food just for variety. Feeding also does of coarse depend on the type of fish you have.
 

Orangetruck94

New member
How often do you feed? Your fish will act starved all the time but that doesn't mean that they need to be fed. We fed once every 2-3 days. Also, flake food (I've heard) is the worst for nitrates. Ever noticed how crazy the skimmer goes when you feed flake as compared to mysis? If so, that should tell you something. We still did feed flake about every second or third feeding and it was a small amount with pellet food just for variety. Feeding also does of coarse depend on the type of fish you have.

WOW...I might be over feeding. I feed 2 time a day 9am & 5pm

Just wondering "we feed once"....your family?
 
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