Nitrite problem!

Fairytail

New member
Hey everybody,

I'm looking for some suggustions on the nitrite problem in our tank. We've been having a problem for a few months, and can't seem to get it under control. We cannot get it under 100ppm.

This is our setup:
55gallon tank built in wall between two rooms.
Emporer 400 biowheel filteration
-Added amonia absorbing filter media
-Purigen pouch
-Emporer filter cartridges
- Magnavore PURA Filtration Pad
Two powerheads- one is a powersweep
Remora skimmer with a maxijet 1200
Coralife t-5 lighting
Live sand
Approx 45lb of live rock, maybe more.


What we have in the tank:
1 Yellow Tang
2 Damsels
2 Clownfish
1 Manderin Goby
1 Scooter Blenny
1 Algea Blenny

Cleanup crew:
5-6 blueleg hermits
2 Redleg hermits
Lotsa snails
One or two itty bitty serpant starfish
Small Pincushion urchin

Other stuff:
1 gonapora
1 "flowerpot" pink kinda weird thing
1 long tenticle plate coral
2 regular sized feather dusters and 5-6 itty bitty baby feather dusters
1 Green mushroom
1 2inch gargonian(orange with red spots and white flowers)

(and yes I know the gonapora and flowerpot thing are not known to live long in the tank, but my S.O purchased them)

I added a small 4lb chunk of live rock to the tank last week, at the thought of it needed some more new bacteria in the tank, with no help. The skimmer is skimming like it should, we feed once a day(frozen saltwater multipack+seaweed) We'v tried doing 15gal water changes weekly, that didn't help.

My only thought is that it needs more filtration?? Or perhaps some kind of refugium... If anybody has any thoughts it would be appriciated. The tank was doing great until about december.
I would like to add that are nitrate is userally 0, occasionally .5, amonia is 0, ph is fine. The temp runs about 80degrees. I also add spectra vital a couple times a week.

Do I have too much in the tank?

:confused: :confused: :confused:


Edited to add: The tank has been setup since may of 2005.
 

Reefmedic79

Life and Reef Saver
Are you possibly mixing up you Nitrate and Nitrite reading? I think a Nitrite reading of 100 ppm would be killing you corals if it's been a problem for a few months.
 

Fairytail

New member
Nope. Its the nitrites for sure. Test at home with quickdip strips, as well as the LFS doing the liquid testing.


<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=6908438#post6908438 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by fleetmarine79
Are you possibly mixing up you Nitrate and Nitrite reading? I think a Nitrite reading of 100 ppm would be killing you corals if it's been a problem for a few months.
 

Swanwillow

goby girl
Emporer 400 biowheel filteration
-Added amonia absorbing filter media
-Purigen pouch
-Emporer filter cartridges
- Magnavore PURA Filtration Pad

this will cause the nitrite problems, just from junk being accumulated in it, getting dirty... with the skimmer, you don't need this!!!! is this a nitrite problem or a nitrate-nitrites don't read above 5, so I'm assuming nitrate. and nitrite, you'd have a bunch of dead lil fishies!!!

what size tank do you have? if its under 90 gallons, IMO-get rid of the tang. if its a 55-ish gallon, then your bioload is high, but not too high if you get rid of the tang...
 

Swanwillow

goby girl
nitrites just can't be that high-if it was at 10, your fish would die from poisioning... and your corals would be mush. I think at 5, your corals would suffer, and the fish will be getting thier gills burned...

what kind of test kits are you using, and maybe the boxes are mixed up?!?!
 

Reefmedic79

Life and Reef Saver
Quick-dip strips are notoriously inaccurate.

If you not mixing them up then my guess is you test kits are giving you a false positive.

If it turns out they are mixed up and you Nitrates are 100 ppm. Water changes will bring it down. One large (30-40%) change will give the best results with another large change a week later. This will only work if your using filtered water for your water changes.
 

Fairytail

New member
Ok,

I AM an idiot. I guess going to the eye doctor yesterday was a good thing seeing how I can't read properly apparently. I just went a doublechecked the strips.

Its the NitrAtes that are high.

test.jpg




Also, one thing I noticed- is my skimmer supposed to have foam? All I get is this liquidy crap
skimmerjunk.jpg


and this is our tank- excuse the junk in the background i"m spring cleaning!
tanknow.jpg




I'v been doing our water changes with city water- With no avail. Should I use RO water? Would that make a differance?
 

Reefmedic79

Life and Reef Saver
My guess is the source of your problem is the city water.

Your skimmer looks fine the foam in the riser is all the foam you need.
 

goda

In Memoriam
ro water is better. city water may be adding the nitrate

btw your filters are fine just dont use mechanical filters in the emporor. keep the bio wheels tho and if you need to just throw a bag of carbon in there. ( dont use the cartridges they clog tofastand cause nitrate build up )
also consider getting a refuge
 

Fairytail

New member
I know I sound stupid- but is it the chemical makeup of the city water? I know theres not nitrite/nitrates in it already. My LFS uses the exact same water I use(I bucket it from her cuz I have well water with a 9.5ph, gh of 28 and kh of 24) and she doesn't have any issues.

I guess tomarrow(payday) I"ll go get some buckets of her RO to try. It can't hurt anything at this point!

<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=6908629#post6908629 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by fleetmarine79
My guess is the source of your problem is the city water.

Your skimmer looks fine the foam in the riser is all the foam you need.
 

Swanwillow

goby girl
yeah-everything looks normalish... but...

still, IMO: the yellow tang is gonna have ta go sooner or later, tanks too small... and that anemone is bleached/bleaching... may be from the high nitrates though... if you have the t5 lighting.... unless its a light brown color...
 

Fairytail

New member
The tang will eventually be moved to the 120gal sitting in my shed.

Its not an anenome, but a plate coral. Here is a better pic of it, it was this color when I purchased it, and hasn't changed.


platecoral.jpg


I'm taking a water sample down to the LFS to have an accurate liquid reading done on the water to doublecheck my strips

<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=6909163#post6909163 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by Swanwillow
yeah-everything looks normalish... but...

still, IMO: the yellow tang is gonna have ta go sooner or later, tanks too small... and that anemone is bleached/bleaching... may be from the high nitrates though... if you have the t5 lighting.... unless its a light brown color...
 

Swanwillow

goby girl
ok, I feel better now...

umm, feeding once a day may be raising the levels a bit also. try cutting back to every other day, or every three days. ummm, dunno what else.
 

MCary

Premium Member
Just for FYI, unlike in freshwater, nitrite is not toxic to SW fish.

Nitrite is a by product of bacteria. It seems to hang around for a month or two before its all gone. If you still have it longer then your bacterial filter is not working very well, whatever that filter is.

You would know if the nitrite was coming from your city water, because you and your family would have diarrhea and vomiting. The only way city water would have nitrite is from fecal contamination. Nitrite is easy to test for and kits won;t vary much from one brand to the other. Avoid considering these red herrings.

I would have 50 pounds or more of live rock if you can afford it.
Remove all media from your canister with the exception of a sponge and carbon and don't clean it too often. When you clean it rinse the media in luke warm unchlorinated salt water, you don't want to kill the bacteria colonized in the sponge. The biowheel should quickly illiminate nitrite but the effect will be increased nitrate.

Mike
 

goda

In Memoriam
"The biowheel should quickly illiminate nitrite but the effect will be increased nitrate."

and thats fine. a dsb or lr will then finish it off by turning it to free nitrogen
nitrite is worse then nitrate so your better off with nitrate anyways 100ppm isnt really that bad. i know we prefer 0 but corals use nitrite and nitrate as food infact some aqua culture places feed ammonia to clams to help the algae in them

i say slap a refug on that tank and youll be fine
 

Swanwillow

goby girl
nitrite IS toxic to fish: it gives them burned gills, just like ammonia. thats why the test kits for it only go up to 5

nitrATE isn't too bad, and can have high amounts in the aquarium: a FO system can have it easily into the 80's...
 

whiteshark

New member
Yeah, I would worry about nitrite too. It will become toxic if it gets too high. I had a nitrate problem, readings were up in the 100's. I bought an RO and did like 10 20% water changes every other day to every day. Now my nitrates are steady at about 5. Nitrite is 0. It's a lot of work, but in the end it was worth it.
 

MCary

Premium Member
Swan, you THINK nitrite is toxic to saltwater fish. Do some research and you will KNOW that it isn't. Then you can AVOID passing on wrong information.
 
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