what are the symtoms of high trates on Acro's?

Ralph ATL

Formerly mysterybox
after going nearly insane for months, it "appears" that I have found my problem with my Acro tips receding, bleaching, or sloughing, & then, eventually dying. The test kit that I was using over the past year was showing 0 trates for the last 9 months. (It was showing nitrates in the 5-20 range the first 3 month, however).
I tested trates about 3 weeks ago with Salifert, and it showed 25!!!!!! So for the past 6 months, I can only guess that my trates were between 25-80!!!!!!
trates are down to 5 right now, & I expect them to be 0 soon as I am using AZ-NO3.
other parems are as follows:

temp: 80
Salt: 1.26
phosphates: .008
Calcium: 440
Alk: 9.0 / 3.2

1) would sky high trates cause the tips to do that?
2) if you have used AZ-NO3 before, what do you think? Also, were all fish, Acro's, inverts ok?

Thanks A lot for your feedback!


New member
With trates that high you should have had brown acros, little or no growth and occasional loss of whole colonies from STN.

AZ NO3 is only a temporary fix. You need to address the source of your nitrates for a permanent solution. Do you have a refugium growing macro algae? Deep sand bed in the refugium? You are creating Nitrate, either through some mechanical filtration (factory) or overfeeding and high bioload.

Ralph ATL

Formerly mysterybox
phosphates are .0008; not .008!
FYI, I got trates down to 10 before I started using AZ NO3, but I figure it can control it while I continue to work on my permanent fix. Thanks for the info!

Ralph ATL

Formerly mysterybox
I have a small fuge in my sump with 4 inches of MUD & Chaeto in it. 65 pounds of live rock in a 55 gallon, with a 15 gallon sump. I kave about 1/2 of my bio balls left, removing about 10 per week.
I was down to 10 in trates and decided to use AZ-NO3 until I finish removing the rest of the bio-balls. I have reduced my bioload, upgraded sump, skimming, added sand, great flow, etc. All of my Acros since May have died starting at the tips & working it's way down from there. The tips begin to bleach or slough over the course of 2 or 3 weeks. I do have a Valida (browned) that has been in there for over 2 months. I put a few Acros in the tank last week, & they are doing fine so far. My other SPS's have not been affected.
Could high nitrates cause that to happen to my Acro's? or should I still be concerned? Thanks.

Randy Holmes-Farley

Reef Chemist
Premium Member
I would not guess that 25 ppm nitrate ion will kill acropora corals. it might make some appear more brown, but even that is a tentative conclusion since it may not happen to many species. many folks have SPS corals with elevated nitrate.