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Nitrate Problems

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    Posted: January 04 2011 at 5:29pm
Well i decided to check my water parameters this month. I know i am really lazy to do this things, and found out the nitrates at 40ppm. This is crazy none of the corals look unhealthy so i thought everything is fine. I got a few questions of how to fix this problem

What will the percentage of water i need to change to make the nitrates acceptable?

Is the macro not doing its job? Cheato is covered with detritus, could this causing the problem?

I added a powerhead, to the refugium and turn the DSB turn to its natural color, it was very dark.

Refugium lighting is 18w 50/50

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 04 2011 at 5:44pm
If the coral look good, don't worry about Nitrogen. 40 ppm is not bad if everything is doing good. Can it be better? Of course. Smile

Ideally, the light should be the brightest you can find in a daylight color, and no blue. I recently bought a $7 cone Reflector and for only $4 found a 2-pack 100W twist PC daylight bulbs. Gotta love HD. Total: $10 for a light that is 5x brighter than what you have currently.

How large is the Refugium and how much flow runs past the algae?


Edited by Mark Peterson - January 04 2011 at 5:45pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote arthuriv Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 04 2011 at 6:17pm
What are the rest of your water parameters, specifically your alk, pH, and cal?
 
I second the Home depot light!!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Luckedout Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 04 2011 at 6:34pm
Did you say you stirred up your DSB?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SGH360 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 04 2011 at 6:35pm



My parameters are as follows

NH4: 0
No2: 0
No3: 40
Ca: 460
Alk:13.4 dKH
PH: 8.2
Mg:1260

My refugium volume is 10.2G on a 29G sump

Refugium measurements
14.5 Length
12 Width
13.5 Height

My refugium had just the flow that the water went thru one side to the other of the tank. I decided to add 600 Rio Powerhead, thats when it the DSB turn to its natural color.

Here is a picture of how it looks like the DSB is 5in around 50lbs



Edited by SGH360 - January 04 2011 at 6:36pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bur01014 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 04 2011 at 6:35pm
You mentioned you put a powerhead in the refugium....I woudn't do this....you stir that sand up in the fuge you are asking for trouble.....this is just from my experience....also I wouldn't spend a whole lot of time cleaning the fuge(you may not)...just set it up and don't mess with it for a year or two, then you can mess with the sand....preferably replace it if you are running a DSB after a couple years....you said the power head made the sand a different color or something.....you can have a little flow in there, but see no need unless it is stacked with live rock.
 
Next question: how much flow do you have going through the fuge back into your display?  You don't want too much so your water filled with nitrates has adequate contact time with the macro....
 
Next question:  I think a "bad" but better than nothing...rule of thumb is...does your chaeto ball double in size every 2 to 3 weeks?  What is its growth rate?  What size do you trim it down too...is it all a healthy green color?  With 40 ppm, that chaeto should be growing pretty quick....
 
Last question: any fish go missing recently....perhaps some large turbo snails or anything?  Could cause the nitrates...perhaps you they aren't always at 40....keep testing and see if they drop at all....
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bur01014 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 04 2011 at 6:39pm
also just noticed....your light is too weak.....that will keep chaeto alive, but not really growing....you need to get a much stronger light, I find a 6500k is a good balance between great macro growth and minimal nuisance algae....take mark's advice and go to HD or something....I had a little 18 watt light on my setup a while ago...the chaeto didn't really grow.
 I just use a clip on desk light with standard fluorescent twisty bulb...6500k, think its rated at 65watts or something....get it close as you can to the chaeto without getting water on the bulb....if your macro starts turning white raise the light/or rotate chaeto every few days...
 
ALso- forget the water changes....give the feeding a rest, get a stronger light, and run it 24/7 for the next few days....I think your nitrates will drop...


Edited by bur01014 - January 04 2011 at 6:42pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SGH360 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 04 2011 at 7:12pm
I just dont trust those clip on lights, i heard so many stories about them falling them to the water and just caused more damage. what is the HD? the only reason i have the 18w it used to be 36w but one ballast just gave up on the fixture. Rio powerhead was added since the water in the refugium was not getting skimmed, so the light penetration was worse. i do have those 6500k twist bulbs on me just dont have the fixture. its just the fear that the clip on just falling into the water
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote davser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 04 2011 at 7:20pm
add some bacterial supplement from pestmart and it will bring nitrates down i like a day or two that way you will get time to fix the light and things like that
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Luckedout Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 04 2011 at 7:35pm
HD = Home Depot

I've ran a clip on light for a year without problems. There are ways of securing it pretty easily if it makes you nervous.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jeffs_little_ocean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 04 2011 at 7:46pm
^^ +1 for HD clip on light. In my sump, the stock little mount on the light clips perfectly on the side and is very safe.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SGH360 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 04 2011 at 7:46pm
what are some ways to make it more secure?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jaschall Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 04 2011 at 10:05pm
zip ties, and small screw hooks is what I use
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wickedsnowman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 04 2011 at 10:13pm
The clip that comes with those home depot fixtures is actually really strong.. Its kind of a pain in the ass to even open it. So it should be strong enough to stay attached. I have mine hooked to the side of my refug tank and it has never moved. You could even clip it to your stand and if your really worried about it just get a cheap bracket from home depot to mount it to the wall, stand or whatever. The fixtures are design to rotate as well. So once its hooked to something you can just twist it to where you want it. I dont have much clearance under my stand so I just took the reflector off and the bulb is like 2 inches from the water.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SGH360 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 04 2011 at 10:36pm
I tried them they are really strong clips, just need cash to buy them.

Next question is? should i remove the RIO 600 powerhead or keep it?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wickedsnowman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 04 2011 at 10:44pm
Personally I dont really see a need for any added flow in there. I think the bacteria in a DSB would do best when its not being stirred up. Also the slower flow will give it more time to do its magic and reduce nitrates. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SGH360 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 04 2011 at 10:52pm
ok i always thought  that. but i heard mix opinions that increased of flow will increase the growth of macroalgea, not to mention it the only thing that is skimming the surface, that how slow it the flow is without the a powerhead
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wickedsnowman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 04 2011 at 11:02pm
 well maybe you could increase the overall amount of flow going through the refug. What return pump are you using? what is it rated for? If its really going that slow I think getting a larger return pump would help without stirring things up.

Edited by wickedsnowman - January 04 2011 at 11:05pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SGH360 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 04 2011 at 11:19pm
the return pump is rated 1092gph its a Rio 17HF
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 05 2011 at 11:59pm
That is good enough flow through the Refugium. The reason adding a small powerhead to the refugium helped the algae color improve was twofold. It cleaned the buildup of detritus off the algae, giving it more light and it increased the flow of food to the algae.
Here is what I would do:
1) ASAP remove 90% of the rock. That rock is stopping the flow over the sand so the LS is not able to do it's job of reducing Nitrate!
2) Immediately increase the Refugium light photoperiod to 24/7 until a brighter light can be installed. Nylon/plastic Zip Ties are a hobbyists best friend.



A screw into the wood underside of the stand with a zip tie almost tight around it like a ring allows another zip tie to go through the ring. The "ring" is then tightened so it cannot slip off the screw. In this rough picture the purple zip tie is the "ring". It is tightened to hold the blue zip tie to the screw. In limited space the metal clip can be removed and another zip tie wrapped around the light switch part and through blue zip tie

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