Hi nitrates 90 Gallon tank fowlr advice

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joshharmony

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Hi all, new here. I’d love some guidance/advice from aquarists who might be able to help me figure out how to bring nitrates down in my tank. My tank is little over a year old. 90 gallon with a 30 gallon refugium, protein skimmer, with some Chateo growing beneath... The tank previously housed a puffer fish that out grew the tank. My local fish store was kind enough to to trade me out the puffer for a maroon clown and cleaner shrimp recently and all is well besides high nitrates from the messy puffer.

I did 2 separate 40 gallon water changes the past 10 days with vacuuming the substrate... but haven’t really made a dent in the nitrate level yet.

Should I keep doing larger water changes and the high nitrates will eventually come down? If so how much/how often?

Or should I get a denitrifying reactor? Or carbon dose? I’d love to make steps that will allow me to introduce some soft corals and maybe a bubble tip anemone for my clown...

Currently stocked with
1 Maroon clown,
1 red stripe anthias,
1 fox face,
1 sailfin,
1 diamond goby

1 cleaner shrimp
5 mex turbo snails
10 small hermit crabs.

Many thanks in advance

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Quietman

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Welcome!!! Two 50% water changes and no change? Have you checked your test kit date?

You're on the right track...water changes, carbon dosing works well (too well sometimes), bigger fuge or better light, watch the feeding.....all the usual.
 

Spare time

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I would either

Do more water changes

Dose something like dr tims waste away (slowly and half the recommended dose at first)

Get a strong refugium light

Or consider something like a biopellet reactor (I prefer it over liquid carbon dosing as you don't have to do anything with it once its up and going other than adding more pellets every once and awhile
 

Quietman

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Was looking at pics...with that size skimmer - I may lean toward carbon dosing (NoPoX is what I used - stopped because of low nitrates but there are all kinds of recipes/brands). It was very effective and once I used for a few weeks, I could dial in dose to results really well.
 
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joshharmony

joshharmony

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Hi all, just checking in. Still haven’t seen a drop in nitrates yet. Was reading that old bio media can house nitrates. Should I leave the old bio media out of my sump and just have chaeto? Or will removing cause harm? Many thanks in advance.
 

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Dan_P

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Hi all, new here. I’d love some guidance/advice from aquarists who might be able to help me figure out how to bring nitrates down in my tank. My tank is little over a year old. 90 gallon with a 30 gallon refugium, protein skimmer, with some Chateo growing beneath... The tank previously housed a puffer fish that out grew the tank. My local fish store was kind enough to to trade me out the puffer for a maroon clown and cleaner shrimp recently and all is well besides high nitrates from the messy puffer.

I did 2 separate 40 gallon water changes the past 10 days with vacuuming the substrate... but haven’t really made a dent in the nitrate level yet.

Should I keep doing larger water changes and the high nitrates will eventually come down? If so how much/how often?

Or should I get a denitrifying reactor? Or carbon dose? I’d love to make steps that will allow me to introduce some soft corals and maybe a bubble tip anemone for my clown...

Currently stocked with
1 Maroon clown,
1 red stripe anthias,
1 fox face,
1 sailfin,
1 diamond goby

1 cleaner shrimp
5 mex turbo snails
10 small hermit crabs.

Many thanks in advance

2646153B-2249-4F60-8255-BEE202987B1F.jpeg 4100ECCD-8557-4B8C-BBD5-33F149EE0871.jpeg 4A8E83E5-3BCE-480E-BF07-AC1DAAF262D0.jpeg CB8ACC02-47FD-49BA-8EE7-2BCA41457C37.jpeg
Check the nitrite level just to be thorough.
 
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joshharmony

joshharmony

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Run your chaeto on an opposite light schedule from your tank also. With proper chaeto lighting and water changes the number should come down.

Run your chaeto on an opposite light schedule from your tank also. With proper chaeto lighting and water changes the number should come
I’ve had them on opposite schedules. Thank you for your input. Should I keep the old bio filter media or is it not needed? I’m worried it’s adding to the nitrates.
 

theMeat

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Water changes are not very effective at lowering nitrated because of rock and sand.
My advice is vodka or vinegar dose. Easy, but takes some time and testing
 
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joshharmony

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Check the nitrite level just to be thorough.
Thank you . Nitrite is zero. Nitrate still in the dreaded red. All fish and shrimp and snails are stoked though. Super healthy.
In you opinion, Should I keep the old bio filter media or is it not needed? I’m worried it’s adding to the nitrates.




Check the nitrite level just to be thorough.
 
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joshharmony

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Water changes are not very effective at lowering nitrated because of rock and sand.
My advice is vodka or vinegar dose. Easy, but takes some time and testing
Thanks for the input. I’ve been doing NoPox about 8 days now. I started half dose and increased the dose gradually to the suggested amount. My understanding is that It might take over a month of them to come down.... that’s fine but I’m nervous that my old bio media is contributing to the nitrates in the overall tank.
 

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Hi all, just checking in. Still haven’t seen a drop in nitrates yet. Was reading that old bio media can house nitrates. Should I leave the old bio media out of my sump and just have chaeto? Or will removing cause harm? Many thanks in advance.
Yes. They are detritus traps. This is your key, period.

Edit. Also want to add good job doing your research and navigating through a plethora of information. These days it's too easy to just post a question and get a bunch of stream of consciousness answers instantly. Don't consider dosing anything until you've taken cared of this.
 
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Chuk

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What is you actual nitrate level. If it’s max scale on your test it’s possible that it was way over and you just couldn’t tell. Then the water changes would be lowering it but you just can’t tell because you’re still off the scale high.
In my experience it takes 2-3 weeks before you see nopox work so once youre at full dose keep it steady there. You don’t want to accidentally get it plummeting and take it to 0 real fast.
 

Dan_P

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Thank you . Nitrite is zero. Nitrate still in the dreaded red. All fish and shrimp and snails are stoked though. Super healthy.
In you opinion, Should I keep the old bio filter media or is it not needed? I’m worried it’s adding to the nitrates.
Tank looks nice.

What is the nitrate level? Sounds like the test sample should be diluted before testing. This needs to be done before starting to make changes to the system because initially whatever remedy you go with is going to result in a small drop in nitrate and you won’t see a change In the deep red color. You will then decide the remedy is mot working and start switching back and forth between remedies.

When you can actually measure the nitrate level, remove one bio filter block and see if it helps. It might not. Your issue is that there is large bioload relative to the system’s capability to remove nitrogenous waste.

By the way, the skimmer does not look like it is working very hard or adjusted properly. It alone won’t bring down the nitrate level but make it do it’s share.
 

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Hi all, just checking in. Still haven’t seen a drop in nitrates yet. Was reading that old bio media can house nitrates. Should I leave the old bio media out of my sump and just have chaeto? Or will removing cause harm? Many thanks in advance.


I don't think rock/biomedia can hold nitrates. I would not remove them.

Keep the chaetolight on 24/7. I would highly recommend chaetogro or similar to keep it healthy and growing if you don't already dose any trace elements. What light do you have on the chaeto?
 

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I don't think rock/biomedia can hold nitrates. I would not remove them.
This is not true. Just look at the photo. This stuff is a detritus strap and that = nitrates. This is why we remove/replace our poly filters (if you use it) every few days/weeks or wash our filter socks. Exact same concept. This is also the reason we don't use the same chemical filtration that fresh water folks use.

This is a FOWLR so higher NO3 is not a huge deal but there are natural ways to get it down. If you want to handle the extra bioload add more rocks. There may not enough right now to handle the # or size of your livestock.
 

theMeat

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Well Josh as you can see you’re getting all kinds of solutions/advice all over the place. Think with your dosing nopox your headed in the right direction.
Rinsing half your media every month or so good practice. The other half next month or two.
Once you start to see the film that grows on glass start to grow white instead of the usual green nopox is starting to do its thing. You should also see a noticeable increase in skimmate collection. At that point make sure you test so levels don’t get too low
 
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What is you actual nitrate level. If it’s max scale on your test it’s possible that it was way over and you just couldn’t tell. Then the water changes would be lowering it but you just can’t tell because you’re still off the scale high.
In my experience it takes 2-3 weeks before you see nopox work so once youre at full dose keep it steady there. You don’t want to accidentally get it plummeting and take it to 0 real fast.
This is not true. Just look at the photo. This stuff is a detritus strap and that = nitrates. This is why we remove/replace our poly filters (if you use it) every few days/weeks or wash our filter socks. Exact same concept. This is also the reason we don't use the same chemical filtration that fresh water folks use.

This is a FOWLR so higher NO3 is not a huge deal but there are natural ways to get it down. If you want to handle the extra bioload add more rocks. There may not enough right now to handle the # or size of your livestock.

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This is not true. Just look at the photo. This stuff is a detritus strap and that = nitrates. This is why we remove/replace our poly filters (if you use it) every few days/weeks or wash our filter socks. Exact same concept. This is also the reason we don't use the same chemical filtration that fresh water folks use.

This is a FOWLR so higher NO3 is not a huge deal but there are natural ways to get it down. If you want to handle the extra bioload add more rocks. There may not enough right now to handle the # or size of your livestock.

Detritus is not nitrate. I am discussing literal nitrate. Detritus can lead to nitrate, but I am discussion if NO3 can be absorbed by rock itself, not be produced on rock as the op mentioned leaching NO3.
 

theMeat

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Detritus is not nitrate. I am discussing literal nitrate. Detritus can lead to nitrate, but I am discussion if NO3 can be absorbed by rock itself, not be produced on rock as the op mentioned leaching NO3.
Live rock and sand don’t directly release nitrates. What lives on and in them can decay and release nitrates. Pretty much the same thing, let’s move on.
Good practice to blow off rocks with turkey baster, and mix up portions of sandbed
 
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