Nitrate Problem, Please Help

chipnamanda

New member
I have had my tank setup for 6 yrs now and everything has been pretty good. I recently added a 150 gl sump and 30 gl refugium into my system both of which are in the basement. Since doing this I have not been able to get my nitrates below 25 ppm. I have tried everything I can think of to lower nitrates, but they keep rising steadily. The big question I have is, does my cats litter boxes close proximity to my sump have anything to do with my rising nitrates? It is the only thing I can think is causing this problem. Any help would be appreciated.
 

sedor

New member
I doubt that is causing the problem, although urine is ammonia which would turn to nitrite and then onto the dreaded nitrate. If you go into the sump room and you are overwhelmed with the smell of the litterbox than maybe, otherwise there has got to be another reason.

Whats going on in that refugium? Do you have it full of cheato? What about vodka dosing?
 

chipnamanda

New member
Chaeto is growing great in refugium. I have not tried vodka, I have added more sand and am hopefully getting my sulphur today to start my DJfrankie DIY sulphur reactor up today. I am just hoping to find the cause of the nitrates.
 

Shane Hoffman

New member
Any chance you are going through a cyclye from the additions. Maybe read up on the dreaded "old tank syndrome".....
 

g8gxp

New member
you shouldn't be having nitrate issues with just increasing system volume. Are your new additions used equipment? Maybe they were not completely sterilized?

Also, did you match your turnover rate to your increase in water? Not sure if that has any effect, just another thought.
 

chipnamanda

New member
The last time I added the sand was 2 monthe ago, so I don't think so, but I just can't figure out the cause. I have close to a 250 gl system with 4 small fish, who are probably starving with the tiny amount I feed them. I just can't seem to answer my nitrate riddle. I hope the Nitrate reductor works, and I will be walling off this room from everything in the near future.
 

chipnamanda

New member
No new equipment and everything is clean. When I increased sump volume I maxed out water return to the tank and added a few powerheads for extra circulation in the sump.
 

jlemoine2

New member
Could it be a problem with your test kit? Have you tried another kit, preferably a different brand, to confirm your measurement?

I would not recommend Vodka dosing in your system until you figure out the source of your nitrate problem. Your tank is clearly not stocked to the point where you should be having this type of nitrate problem.

How much sand is in the system? Is it a deep bed? Has it been disturbed when making your additions to the system? Perhaps its possible some noxious areas were released...
 

chipnamanda

New member
Sand is fine grain aragonite. I switched about four months ago from crushed coral hoping that that was the problem. I slowly removed the old substrate then went BB for about two months withour ever improving the readings then went with the fine sand. The tank has a shallow sandbed, I have a DSB in the refugium, approx 5 in. The sand has never been touched.
 

jlemoine2

New member
What about the test kit? They do go bad....

Perhaps the LFS can test a sample for you, if you don't know anyone with a kit you can borrow.
 

Santoki

Shimmer Addict
eliminate possible variables one at a time.
What's new:
1. 150g sump
2. ~150g new water
3. 30g refugium and everything in it (sand, etc..)
Try disconnecting the refugium for a couple weeks then test again. I don't imagine that nitrates would leak out of your sump. New water could also contain nitrates, but I assume you looked into that already. The refugium would be my guess.
 

chipnamanda

New member
Have tested w/ 2 different kits as well as LFS all testing the same. Sump initially lowered reading (probably due to large volume of new water but quickly went back up). The refugium has been setup for quite awhile now and has never made any noticable change in nitrate levels.
 

HighlandReef

Chalice Monger
did you try basting in back of the rocks and all to make sure you dotn have a bunch of gunk built up, also check you overflows to make sure they are clean, any fish disapear?
 

chipnamanda

New member
Thanks, to everyone for helping with this problem. Back to one of my first questions does anyone think it is possible for ammonia from cat litter boxes in the vicinity to cause this problem. What brought this to my attention was when I was doing a water change this week I tested my water and it was reading 25+ nitrates (this water had been sitting ready for about three days), I threw that out and made new water it tested 0, i then mixed it thinking maybe the IO Reef Crystals was the problem, but still 0. Now the only thing I can think is cat pee!!!
 

chipnamanda

New member
I clean the rocks approx. twice a week, and I never have a problem find fish they always want fed with the diet they have been on lately.
 

Santoki

Shimmer Addict
In your initial post, it seemed that both sump and refugium were new additions. If you are ruling out the sump due to known behaviors (ie. Observed nitrate levels remained unchanged since addition) then focus on the sump. Are there dead spots in the sump accumulating detritus?
FWIW, anytime there is a sandbed involved (you seem to have two) you can't rule out the possibility that one or more of them may have stopped functioning correctly for whatever reason. Sandbeds which are not functioning have been known to fuel nitrate problems. It seems that disconnecting the refuge seems like an easy way to rule that out. You could also perform separate nitrate testing on the refuge after disconnecting it for a couple weeks. This will help you narrow down the source of the nitrate. Like someone here said, it wouldn't be a good idea to start any other counter measures (like vodka) before you know what's happening.
 

Santoki

Shimmer Addict
just read your post about cat pee.
Cat pee would most likely not break down and turn into nitrates in your new saltwater tub due to a tiny bacterial population.
 

chipnamanda

New member
There is a small amout of detrious in the sump I will be cleaning that out ASAP. I can take the refugium offline with a valve so I will try that to. The sandbed in the tank is very shallow, more for decoration, my wife hated the BB look. And tonight I should be starting up my denitrifier.
 
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