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Nitrate issues in 300g fowlr tank

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Randy Holmes-Farley

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I personally would not remove rocks on the hope that cleaning them will solve a nitrate issue. It might, but seems drastic and may not be the issue.

There are plenty of good and easier ways to deal with nutrients, such as organic carbon dosing and growing macroalgae.
 
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nldemo

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Thanks Randy. I am continuing to research, but right now I'm narrowing in on a sulfur reactor, and then adding on a chaeto reactor once they become available in the larger sizes. Those are still really new on the market, so who knows what we might have available in another couple years.

I will test again and start upping vodka dosing from current 19ml mark if that is not too much. I just think the reactors are a more sustainable solution in the long run, especially for when i'm away on vacation.
 
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nldemo

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Well I tried some tests via the dilution method and even at a 1:4 ratio of tank water to pure RODI water, I was still reading at the highest levels (160+). I did notice that when I changed from half, to third, to a fifth that the water stayed orange longer (API test kit), so maybe it was helping a bit. Idunno. Either way I bought a new test kit (Nyos) and it will be here next week. I can run the tests again then.

Also just dosed some microbe lift special blend, and microbe lift nite out 2 following bottle directions. I doubt it will do anything, and I definitely know bottles aren't a long term solution.. but I'm just seeing what I can do to help the tank out.
 
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Randy Holmes-Farley

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Well I tried some tests via the dilution method and even at a 1:4 ratio of tank water to pure RODI water, I was still reading at the highest levels (160+). I did notice that when I changed from half, to third, to a fifth that the water stayed orange longer (API test kit), so maybe it was helping a bit. Idunno. Either way I bought a new test kit (Nyos) and it will be here next week. I can run the tests again then.

Also just dosed some microbe lift special blend, and microbe lift nite out 2 following bottle directions. I doubt it will do anything, and I definitely know bottles aren't a long term solution.. but I'm just seeing what I can do to help the tank out.
Might be worth getting a different kit test to verify that it really is that high. You are now talking above 600 ppm.
 
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nldemo

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Agreed, already ordered. Although, I am worried the results may be accurate. If the nitrates have just been piling up for a couple years, they could be at who knows high number before it actually impacted anything else in the tank.
 

josephxsxn

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Just thought I would add this here where another reefer got a sulfur denitrator. Looks like he is having good success after the unit cycled.

 
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nldemo

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thank you :) i have actually been working my way through that thread. I am wondering if nitrates are truly at 600ppm, if that will ever be able to catch up.

I am also looking at the TS-3 myself. it's rated large enough for my tank, and i like the little sponge filter it has on the inlet to catch sump debris and try and keep it out of the reactor.
 
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Colin_S

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Have a look at this

Nitrate reactor, all is explained in the thread.
i just made one, had 160ppm nitrate for over a year. Tried all sorts of media, installed Turf scrubber, large water changes, dosed no-pox into DT, never touched my No3.
made one of these. my nitrates have dropped from 160ppm, i assume it was 160ppm as thats the highest the test kit went, and it dropped to 20ppm.

Have a read, its very informative
 

piranhaman00

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Why don’t you just do a huge water change? Why do you have to pay someone to do it?

Also, NYOS is terrible for high range, no color matches.
 

excell007

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I was on the same situation as you about 5 months ago, I have a 15 year old FOWLR with nitrates >300. 3 years ago the first 2 inhabitants of my tank died (purple and sohal tang that I have since 2005), lost interest in the hobby, so I have been neglecting my tank ever since. I only did minimal maintenance like topping off the water and never measure parameters other than salinty, but never lost any fish after the tangs. Last march I decided to convert this into a reef tank and measured the parameters, and not a surprise no test kit can measure the nitrate. It took 3 30% water change before API can even measure it and it is still way above 100. long story short it took 10 30% water change to bring it down to <10. I did this in 10 weeks because I don't want to shock the fishes. But phosphate is harder to deal with, it started at >3 and right now it's still at 1.6. All those years of the rocks absorbing the phosphate and now leaching it back out. I know this will be more difficult for you due the size of your tank, mine is just a 90G with 20G sump, so i only need about 35 gallons of water a week. I am using a bit of LC for the phophate, about 9ml a day divided in 3 dose. I also used a portion of my refugium to grow chaeto, it's still small about softball size but it's growing.
 
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nldemo

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Have you put any macroalgae like codium in the tank? They soak up a ton of nutrients and don't "go sexual" like some species. Plenty of aesthetic options if you'd like to go that route!
Straight into my main display? Would it be safe with the rabbit fish and butterflies? Used to have a tang too.. but lost it (in theory, due to the really high nitrates)
 
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nldemo

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Why don’t you just do a huge water change? Why do you have to pay someone to do it?

Also, NYOS is terrible for high range, no color matches.
Huge water changes are not simple by any means for a 300gal tank. I described it earlier in the thread, but i'd need 7 BRUT trash cans in my hallways filling up with water during the week in order just to do one 50% change over the weekend. I'm open to creative solutions but would prefer something more self sustaining in the long term than that.

NYOS goes up to 160 just like my API kit. Are there better ones on the high end?
 
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nldemo

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I was on the same situation as you about 5 months ago, I have a 15 year old FOWLR with nitrates >300. 3 years ago the first 2 inhabitants of my tank died (purple and sohal tang that I have since 2005), lost interest in the hobby, so I have been neglecting my tank ever since. I only did minimal maintenance like topping off the water and never measure parameters other than salinty, but never lost any fish after the tangs. Last march I decided to convert this into a reef tank and measured the parameters, and not a surprise no test kit can measure the nitrate. It took 3 30% water change before API can even measure it and it is still way above 100. long story short it took 10 30% water change to bring it down to <10. I did this in 10 weeks because I don't want to shock the fishes. But phosphate is harder to deal with, it started at >3 and right now it's still at 1.6. All those years of the rocks absorbing the phosphate and now leaching it back out. I know this will be more difficult for you due the size of your tank, mine is just a 90G with 20G sump, so i only need about 35 gallons of water a week. I am using a bit of LC for the phophate, about 9ml a day divided in 3 dose. I also used a portion of my refugium to grow chaeto, it's still small about softball size but it's growing.
I feel you, when one of my clowns jumped from the tank and died (first two fish i ever got), i took a break from getting anything for a while. Finally got a new naked to replace the original "Nemo" version, he'll be clearing 90 days of QT pretty soon here :)

I'm glad your water changes have worked out for you! Like you said, it's not that easy for me with the 300gal tank. But, it's good to know that you were able to have success with water changes at all.
 

piranhaman00

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Huge water changes are not simple by any means for a 300gal tank. I described it earlier in the thread, but i'd need 7 BRUT trash cans in my hallways filling up with water during the week in order just to do one 50% change over the weekend. I'm open to creative solutions but would prefer something more self sustaining in the long term than that.

NYOS goes up to 160 just like my API kit. Are there better ones on the high end?
Haha yes that is how I do big Water changes! 250 gallon but ya lots of brute.

Imo do the one huge one and then keep up on small water changes.

Nyos has high range but the colors don’t match. I emailed NYOS about it and they said I shouldn’t have 100+ppm nitrate, that’s not the point...
 

Alaeriel

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Straight into my main display? Would it be safe with the rabbit fish and butterflies? Used to have a tang too.. but lost it (in theory, due to the really high nitrates)
I've read that most fish don't love the taste of codium so they leave it alone, but other literature says that "certain species" of snails and urchins will eat it. Tidal gardens has some for like $10 if you feel its worth a try. I don’t have any herbivores in the tank at the moment, so I can't confirm it'll be 100% left alone, and just about every article I find on it says something different. Helpful, right? Its not quite the nutrient sink chaeto is, but I like the look of it in the display and it grows quickly without going insane. Definitely soaks up a good chunk of nitrates on its own.
 
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nldemo

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I've read that most fish don't love the taste of codium so they leave it alone, but other literature says that "certain species" of snails and urchins will eat it. Tidal gardens has some for like $10 if you feel its worth a try. I don’t have any herbivores in the tank at the moment, so I can't confirm it'll be 100% left alone, and just about every article I find on it says something different. Helpful, right? Its not quite the nutrient sink chaeto is, but I like the look of it in the display and it grows quickly without going insane. Definitely soaks up a good chunk of nitrates on its own.
Worth checking out :) How fancy of lighting does it need to grow ? My LEDs were only like 200$ each, since the aquarium is fish only they do the job great.
 
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