Some advice on replanning my tank please.


New member
My ~50 hex system is, I think, a very nice happy little tank. I have a minimum of nuisance algae and I very rarely lose even the smallest of inhabitants. It has been set up for a year though and my nitrates have been creeping up. They are currently ~30ppm. Its gotten to a range that has me concerned, so I'm considering some options. Since I want to rescape anyway, just for fun, I can take some fairly drastic measures.

My current system has a tunze 9005 skimmer which takes out about a cup or more of dark green but watery skimmate a week. I have a sock I clean twice a week. I'm running carbon because it keeps things looking clean.

For livestock, I have 2 small oscilaris, a small red hawk, a medium purple tang, a sand sifting star, loads of varied snails and hermits and a potters angel. I feed them daily, usually an inch or so of nori and a small amount of flake with frozen added once to twice a week. The coral selection is varied, of few LPS and mostly SPS and a BTA.

My nitrate reduction plans. My current sand bed is about 1 inch in depth and, thanks to predation by the star, not as a live as it could be. I think this is the source of my nitrates. I can:

1. Remove the sand bed and go BB.
2. Consider some alternative system like neozeo.
3. Upgrade my skimmer.

I tried vodka for a while and it seemed to lower nutrient levels some, but never below about 15, so I dropped it. I would prefer to spend less, with a wedding comming, money is always a consideration.

What do people suggest. I would really like to nip this nutrient issue in the bud rather than wait until things get ugly, but I'm not really sure of the best choice or combination of choices... How do I get nitrates to 5 or less.


New member
I would continue the vodka and possibly increase the dosage this time. There's an article in the RC magazine that details how to properly ramp up vodka dosing. Too little or too much doesn't work.

You have a decent amount of fish for that system, so make certain when you're feeding that everything is consumed within 30 seconds.

Maybe consider keeping the sandbed, but vacuum it when you do water changes.

Also make certain your tank gets sufficient flow.

In the 17 years I've been keeping reef tanks, I've yet to have nitrates show up in any of them. I recently have begun dosing a very slight amount of nitrate, lol. Anyway, although my tank looks good now, it certainly hasn't in the I'm not claiming perfection or anything. The main culprit of nitrates has got to be stocking/feeding.

If your skimmer is producing stinky stuff and foam consistently spills into the cup, then it's probably doing fine. But if it's not working very well, then you probably could improve your nitrate situation by getting a more efficient skimmer.


New member
Thanks for the feedback. My main concern with the sandbed is that it makes it harder to get at the fallen detritus. Vacuuming it has proven hard since so much of it is under rock or inaccessable due to rockwork. I hate having to shell out the cash for a new skimmer, but I feel it may be unavoidable... I don't see the amount of skimmate I think I should comming out of this thing. As for vodka dosing, are there any recommendations on the bacterial suplements?