General Help

Discussion in 'Reef Aquarium Discussion' started by Dboyd6, Jan 3, 2018.

  1. Dboyd6

    Dboyd6 Member

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    I’m new to the reefing hobby,

    What is the best way to get nitrate levels down
     
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  2. hijinks7

    hijinks7 Active Member

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    big water changes

    other then that there are things you can do.. refugiums, algae scrubbers, reactors, etc
     
  3. Gareth elliott

    Gareth elliott Active Member

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    Welcome aboard!

    How long has your tank been up? is there livestock yet? how are you filtering now?
    Liverock or dead rock?
     
  4. Greybeard

    Greybeard Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor

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    Water change.

    For many years, this was pretty much the _only_ way. These days, there are alternatives to maintaining low nitrate levels, but even now, once you're reading high nitrates, water changes are still the fast and sure method of reducing them.
     
  5. MaiReef

    MaiReef Well-Known Member

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    Find cause and add bacteria and/or something that consumes nitrates, like macro algae. Decrease bioload.
     
  6. Gareth elliott

    Gareth elliott Active Member

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    Read some of your other posts :)
    Agree with the water changes.
    If your still feeding marine snow, i would stop. If see a decrease in coral growth after that feed the corals directly :)
    Also would decrease how much you feed any fish. Since this is the enjoyable time with fish do more often.
    Example If feeding 1 cube 1 times a day. Feed 1/4 cube 2x a day
     
  7. redfishbluefish

    redfishbluefish Stay Positive, Stay Productive R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Reef Squad Leader Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor NJRC Member

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    The best way is a multitude of things....not just one....and potentially different for each tank. Consider water changes, refugiums, skimmers, carbon dosing, etc.....all the way to something like denitrification systems like sulfur denitrifiers or Natureef's system.
     
  8. Susan Edwards

    Susan Edwards Valuable Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    How high are they? My tank is cronic with high Nitrates in the 20-40 range. Even as high as 80. All corals are doing great, even two acros. Water changes make almost no difference in my system though the other night, day after a wc I hit 5! Tested again next day, back to 20-30. Test today same. I have no algae and .08 phos. I started nopox again as I'd like to get them down to 5-10. Didn't do anything last time I tried it. I may have to just accept my tank runs okay in the nitrate range of 20-40. It's still my goal to get them lower, but at the same time, my tank is thriving despite.
     
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  9. bdejong1112o

    bdejong1112o Active Member Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    Same as @Susan Edwards. I do no water changes but I am running a large refugium and sump. After cycle Nitrates were off the scale of the red sea test kit. I did nothing but let nature run its course and eventually all the Nitrates dissapeared(alge in refugium helped a little :cool:). I now have to dose to get any detectable nitrates and I control phosphates with GFO reator timing. At least thats what I am doing today.

    Also in all fairness I am running a very light bio load of 10 relatively small fish; sail fin, foxface, goby, lawnmower, 4 pajama cardinals and 2 clowns. This combined with large sump volume and large skimmer that runs 24x7. My tank was designed and meant to be low maintenance.
     
  10. thaitopher

    thaitopher Active Member

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    Critical:

    1. Dont overfeed and make sure no left over food at end of feeding period.

    2. Weekly water changes of at least 10% water volume

    3. Skimmer

    4. Lots of live rock and live sand

    5. Macroalgae

    6. Dont overstock your tank
     
  11. Chuk

    Chuk Member

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    best way I have found is carbon dosing in combination with a decently sized refugium. I have a fairly heavily stocked 90 and I tend to overfeed and my nitrates stay at 1.0 ppm
     
  12. Chuk

    Chuk Member

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    and I do a 10-15% water change every week too
     
  13. PatW

    PatW Well-Known Member

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    There are many ways to decrease nitrate levels. There is no one “best” way. Here are some commonly used methods.

    First, the good old reliable brute force approach of multiple large water changes. Even if you are doing very large water changes, it takes time. If you do a 20 percent change, you have 80 percent of your initial nitrogen level. You do another and you are at 64 percent. You do another and you are at just about 50 percent. So it takes three changes to halve the nitrate levels. Obviously, it can be slow going.

    Second, there is carbon dosing. It works by adding an energy source like vodka or vinegar. This energy causes an increase in bacteria levels. The multiplying bacteria remove nitrates and phosphates from the water. Your skimmer will remove the bacteria which exports the nitrates. I use this method and I can reduce nitrate levels by about a ppm per day.

    Third, you run a refugium with macro algae in it under a strong light. The algae grow removing nitrates and phosphates. When you get a bunch of algae, you remove some. Like vodka dosing, this can work pretty well.

    Fourth, just do not feed so much. The less food you add the less that will get converted into nitrates.

    Fifth, remove detritus by blowing it off your rocks and out of your sand so it gets removed by your filter sock which you clean regularly. That way detritus does not convert into nitrates as much.

    I have used all of the above. Often, I use several methods together. In facts, my nitrate removal works so well that I dose a little nitrate to keep the nitrate levels at about .75 ppm.

    Six, denitrification. In the absence of oxygen, bacteria can convert nitrates into nitrogen gas. Supposedly,this can happen in live rock or deep sand beds or in marine pure blocks. I am not sure how effective this is.

    Seven, nitrate reactors. This is a method that I have read about. It is reportedly very effective. But I have never tried it.
     
  14. Susan Edwards

    Susan Edwards Valuable Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    Sometimes even following the above list doesn't do it.

    1- I do tend to feed more as I have a large head of sun corals that I feed every other day and of course food goes into tank. But the clowns have figured this out and are right there to snag food. Even the chromis are starting to "wake" up for a late night snack. I also feed some of the other corals but all food gets consumed or sucked into sump. Sometimes I feed 2 x's day, sometimes once
    2-weekly 10% or more WC's. Change the sponges each week. Sometimes every few days. Vacuum sump every couple months. Stir sandbed--going to start doing weekly to see. Sometimes I do 5% wc every few days.
    3- I have a skimmer that runs all the time
    4-lots of liverock and sand No macroalgae as I have an aio tank.
    5-2 chromis, 2 darwin clowns, 1 mandarin, 1 scooter blenny and some cuc. in a 60 gal

    no matter what I do, nitrates hold around 20. As I said, no algae except back glass gets crusty--some might be coraline now and some on the glass that I scrape off or leave for snails until it's too noticable.

    maybe if there are no adverse affects, one shouldn't worry about it?

    @Dboyd6 What are your nitrates at? How old is tank? What is your algae situation? What is your PO4? Without knowing all this, it's hard to assess your situation to see if you need to worry about them or not..
     
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