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Nitrate level

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Krish

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I've read that for freshwater, 0-40 ppm is acceptable (nitrate)...What about saltwater? Mine is at 20 ppm right now. Is that bad?
 

wrightme43

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bowling green ky
If you have corals that is very high, if it is a fish only system its still high but sort of acceptable. Try to get below 5 with water changes, use rodi water, 0 is best of course but sometimes that is very hard to achieve. Unless you have unlimited money for skimmers, and a very light fish load, with lots of long term established live rock. This is only my opinion, HTH. Steve
 

BCT182

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LOL. Don't listen to me because this is very BAD advise but I have a RBTA and Clam that survived 80-100ppm nitrate a few months ago.
 

Krish

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Well my tank is 20 ppm right now without any fish. If you remember a post I made about a week ago about "starting over" well, I did it. I took out all of the fish, scrubbed off all of the cyno off my LR, washed out my substrate thoroughly, and did a partial water change (all I left in was the clean up crew). The reason I asked was because the cyno is coming back slowly. I'm still waiting on the phosphate test kit to come in to check my phosphate level too see if that is the main contributing factor or if it is my nitrates. My ammonia is still 0 and nitrite 0. I thought about a refugium to harvest coulerpa, but I'm afraid, from what I've read, that it can cause more harm than good. Right now I'm thinking more along the lines of a phosban reactor and a denitrator.
 

CarlaW

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To be honest, I'd try setting up a fuge first. There are alot of people, me included that use them and have very good results. If you have cyano, you still have a problem, either phosphates or nitrates. If you set up a fuge, it might take a month or 2 before you notice any results, but as long as you harvest your caulerpa regularly, you should notice a difference.
 

NaH2O

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krish - I don't remember if you have a protein skimmer, or if you are using RO/DI water? Have you checked your mix water for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate? For sure post your phosphate results when you get them.
 

CarlaW

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krish, Nikki makes a good point about using RO/DI water. That is definitly a source for phosphates and nitrates, (tap water is). I definitly noticed a change in the growth rates of my caulerpa when I started using RO/DI water. That was in my 80 gallon tank.
 

Scooterman

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Three points to mention here.

Lighting?
Circulation?
Water changes?

Without any fish, and your fighting CYNO. then these items need to be thought about for startes. My guess without knowing more details, water changes, keep doing them until your system completes cycling. Starting over probably caused this but it isn't a bad thing, just needs a little time.

Just a few thoughts, left open for discussion.
 

Krish

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Yes, I am using RO/DI water that I buy from the water plant here. I've tested their water and it doesn't have any nitrites or nitrates. When I first started out I used well water that ran through a softener, but when I tested it, the nitrates were off the chart (above 160 ppm). I think by now I have flushed out all of the old water. I do a 10 gal water change weekly, and a few times 20 gal (90 gal tank). For lighting, I have the 260w coralife compact retro fit system that I have on the actinics for 11 hrs and the 10kws on for 7hrs (10am-12pm just blue actinics, 12pm-7pm everythings on, and then 7pm-9pm just blue actinics), for circulation I'm turning over 1300 gal per hour, but I still think I need more. I was thinking on adding another pump to circulate another 1500 gal/hr atleast. As for a protein skimmer, I do have one that is a part of my sump and seems to work quite well. I've noticed that since I've gotten rid of the fish load for now It doesn't skim quite as much at all. It's just the phosphates left to test. I want to see if there is any in the tank, which I'm sure there has to be, but to what extent, and also test the ro/di water I use. I'm really getting tired of fighting this hair algae. I think this weekend I'll scrub a few rocks again. I almost thought about leaving off all the lights for a while to see if it will die off,but I'm afraid af killing the coralline.
 

NaH2O

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The coralline will come back. For sure test for phosphates, if you get a positive reading, try to figure out where it is coming from. Mix water, live rock?. You can check the rock by taking a water sample from there. Have you been blasting the rocks with a turkey baster or powerhead to free up the detritus? Sometimes that helps, too. If things get too frustrating, you can always take some of the bad pieces of rock and literally boil them. The rock will be white, but will gain color back as the coralline grows again. Same with pods...they'll repopulate the rock in no time. I think there is a post on the board about that, somewhere. You might try and search for boil and see what comes up. How long has your tank been up...is it under a year?
 

Scooterman

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Your LR can go days without light & still be ok, If you don't have any fish in your tank, that may be a good idea, go a few days with lights off to get it under control. On the well water issue, to remove it all would take more than you think to replace it. 20% water changes won't be enough, lets say you change 20g today, & tomorrow you do another 20g. well the second change your actually removing some of the water you changed the day before so that isn't a 20% change of the original water. If what your telling me, the traits were off the charts with the well water, I hate to say it but you need to do some major water changes, maybe even total replacement all at once. I will have to get a few more opinions here to take a look at your situation, so I'm going to try and send out a few PMs to get some more thoughts on this, so we can lead you in the right direction. I think that may be a good start being that you basically are starting over. It can be ruff just getting started but in the long run we can help you get your reef going in the right direction..
 

Krish

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Thanks for the help...Maybe one day I can give advice from my own experiences. I was thinking about even changing all of my substrate (aragalive crushed corals) by going out to the beach and getting some sand a little ways out where there isn't much human interference. Is that a good idea? However, I was definately thinking about doing atleast a 50% water change. We'll see how it goes. Oh, by the way, I just ordered the phosban reactor from one of the sponsors and should have it sometime this month and my uv sterilizer should finally be here soon.
 

Scooterman

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You mentioned that you rinsed the substrate, so do your water change, get the reactor online, & run the UV. Stir up the substrate while skimming blowing off the rocks. I think at that point, you can head in the right direction. Let everything settle & mature & keep us posted. I don't have a UV or reactor, so your one up on filtration on me, I think those will be nice additions, wish I had a place like this before I tried to set-up my first tank. I think you have the right information, headed on the right track & things will get better. The cost of an RO/DI unit will pay off, as compared to paying for it, so that may be the next thought for an addition.
 

Krish

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Well, I pay $3.75 for a 5 gal bottle which is delivered right to my door. I guess in the long run it will pay for itsself, but don't ro/di units need some king of media to operate?
 

NaH2O

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krish - I wouldn't suggest taking sand from a beach. There could be run off full of nastiness that you wouldn't want in your system. However, I'm not familiar with living on a beach, but I can imagine there might be some things you do not want in your tank. I also don't know if there are local laws that would prohibit taking sand from the beach. I would keep at the water changes to try to bring your nitrates down. How much live rock and how old is the system?
 

Scooterman

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Yes a RO/DI will need media replacement, etc. I guess it is a convience factor also invloved because I know people who do pay a 1$ a gallon, been doing it for years.
 

mojoreef

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Hey krish dont stress out to bad we all go through battles with hair algae. The well water is the culprit, with all those nitrates having been put in the tank I would imagine your bacteria and algae (probibly cyano) went into a huge spike. Doing water changes will take care of the nitrates that are still in the water waiting to be eaten or taken up. But its not going to do much for the bacterial spike you probibly going to have. IMHO right now you are experencing a die off of this huge bacteria population, couple this with the removal of the sand (your denitrifier and sink) you lost your ability to reduce it or sink it. Your LR was processing it and releasing nitrogen gas (what you want, it turn nitrates to gas) now nitrogen gas is a like an all you can eat buffet for cyanobactor, thus it was was growing .

This might not sound like the best thing but I truely believe its the best coarse of action. Leave the sand you have, try to get some critter to keep it stired. Continue with 10% water changes every week. Allow the cyano to grow and harvest it as often as you can (every couple of days). The reason for leaving the cyano is that their is nothing better at absorbin vitrually all nitrogen products, it also grow 500x faster then any other absorbing vegi. Allowing it to grow and then harvesting it gives you a positive export mechanism to get rid of the nitrates. It might take a month maybe a little less or more but if you continue to do the right thing maintaince wise your tank will come back perfect.

keep your head up


MIke
 

Krish

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Thanks again for the info. So if I caught what you were saying correctly "majoreef" I should harvest the cyno, like keeping it in a refugium?
 

mojoreef

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For a bit Krish, its a great form of removing nitrogen based nutrients, its just not that attractive. Basically with the well water you supper loaded the nutrients, your are WCing your way out of available nutrients in the water column, but you still have to deal the the nutrient that are organic (as in taken up by bacteria). What wil happen is that you will see the blooms get smaller and smaller until they subside. Just keep harvesting and keep up with the maintence that you have been shown above

take care


Mike
 
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