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low ph, nitrates a little high

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blennyluv

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Nov 6, 2004
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montana
my tank is 3 mos old, 60# live rock, crushed coral bottom, ug system with 2 maxi jet 1200 power heads. large power filter and a skimmer (the tube kind with a power head attached)
every thing is doing really well, except my ph is staying around 7.8 and my nitrates around 20 sometimes a little lower sometimes slightly higher, but not usually. is my ug system causing the problem?? (i was told it could) and are these nitrates hard on inverts. lost a nudi, thought maybe that was the problem
 

cwcross

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Aug 18, 2004
Messages
250
blennyluv said:
my tank is 3 mos old, 60# live rock, crushed coral bottom, ug system with 2 maxi jet 1200 power heads. large power filter and a skimmer (the tube kind with a power head attached)
every thing is doing really well, except my ph is staying around 7.8 and my nitrates around 20 sometimes a little lower sometimes slightly higher, but not usually. is my ug system causing the problem?? (i was told it could) and are these nitrates hard on inverts. lost a nudi, thought maybe that was the problem

Under gravel filters can keep your sandbed from becoming aneorobic at proper depth. These aneorobic bacteria can provide substantial de-nitrating power into your aquarium. Also, crushed coral does not provide as good as a de-nitrating capacity as does the finer aragonite based substrates. Pretty hard to do with 60lbs of live rock, but you might find your system works better with no UG filteration. I would think you should take out the plastic bottom pieces though. If you leave them in there you might have more of a plenum which can be problematic if not designed properly.

That being said, nitrates of 20 are not very high. Certainly higher than we would like but not as bad as 40 or 50 either.

As far as pH being low, I agree with the previous post. What is the alk?

Sincerely...Collin
 

blennyluv

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Joined
Nov 6, 2004
Messages
44
Location
montana
i don't have the tests for those two things. I will mosey to the pet store tomorrow (if she decides to be open) and get them, if not i will test on monday
if i do this, what do i do with the powerheads??? put a sponge on them? or is the little bastket thingy them come with good enuf?? and i would rather have sand, but our store did not have it and she really is no help to getting started. heard her tell lots of people bad advice. i point the to these forums to get info. i think i will leave it alone for a couple of months cuz changing out the coral will be expensive, i do have 20 pounds of the really fine reef base, its little spheres of coral, and the starfish love digging in it. it stays to the top since it is lighter than the coral. do you think the trates killed the nudi??? if i do bigger water changes will it help? i am doing like 5-7 gallons a week.
 

cwcross

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Aug 18, 2004
Messages
250
blennyluv said:
do you think the trates killed the nudi??? if i do bigger water changes will it help? i am doing like 5-7 gallons a week.
Nudi's can be hard to keep alive anyway. Not sure if nitrates of 20 are bad for nudi's or not. For sure lower is better in general though. Either more frequent water changes, larger water changes, a combo of both and/or less feeding will help to keep nitrates down without changing your system. How often do you feed? I only feed once every other day and I have 9 fish. Also wet/dry trickle system or some other biological filters can cause high nitrates. Likewise if you have any filtration media like sponges, wool or other forms of mechanical filtration. These can grow lots of nitrate producing bacteria if not changed regularly.

Sincerely...Collin
 

blennyluv

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Nov 6, 2004
Messages
44
Location
montana
geez, i feed like 3 times a day. not alot, but cuz its fun i suppose. flake once, brine once and another frozen. i drop shrimp pellets in a couple times a week for the stars and the crabs, my emerald loves them. i have 7 fish in a 55, and my lawnmower is huge, i feed him about a 2x2 algae sheet a day. i change my filter sponges about every 2-3 weeks. is that enough? so i am guessing i could cut down on feeding. my fish are looking plump. ha ha, all but the mandarin that is
 

NaH2O

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Jan 25, 2004
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Over feeding can lead to future algae problems along with high nitrates. I would keep an eye on your mandarin, as a tank as young as yours, it may not have a sufficient pod population to sustain life. What type of skimmer do you have? Is it pulling a lot of skimmate? Post up your alk when you do the test, along with your other tank parameters (include specific gravity). How are you testing your pH (monitor or test kit)?

Here is a thread on UGFs:
Should I use an UGF?
 

cwcross

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Joined
Aug 18, 2004
Messages
250
Yes, in my opinion, 3 times a day is way to much. Especially once your tank starts to get established. Most fish can find at least some stuff to eat off the rocks. My fish stay healthy and I just feed once every other day. Also reduced feeding helps to keep your tank clean as the critters pick at the rocks, especially if you have herbivores. Some fish like free swimming food though so at least some feeding is necessary.

Cleaning sponges every 3 weeks is probably enough. However, I don't have any sponges in my system so it is hard to say. My fuge takes care of all the nitrates and they stay at virtually zero no matter what I do.

Regards...Collin
 

blennyluv

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Nov 6, 2004
Messages
44
Location
montana
i guess when i put my fish in the tank was so full of algae, long green, dark green, purple brown red all kinds of algae and they cleaned it up so fast i was wondering if they got enough to eat. it is still really really clean, nothing on the rocks. i think almost all my fish are algae eaters. i guess i read somewhere that you should feed 3 x's a day, small feedings. i just put a little in and make sure it gets eaten, and then a little more. so i will try to cut down. my mandarin is very thin, pet store told me my tank was sufficient and learned the hard way it is not. we have had him a month, but i feel he will die soon. noone to give him to around here, if he is still alive when i go to the big city (billings) the store up there said they have a spot for him. feeding live brine, but know that is not enough, was told cyclop-ease may fool him, going to try that too.
 

blennyluv

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Joined
Nov 6, 2004
Messages
44
Location
montana
thank you!! he is eating live brine right now, i am trying to sustain him. sure is a pricey food!! if i buy that bottle, i take it i should not have to do it again.
 
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