Nitrate levels - I'm at a loss...

MMcKenna1029

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So, a little hesitant to post because it's darn embarrassing when you realize you let things get way out of control but at this point I am at a loss. I have a 29g tank with HOB skimmer in my basement. It held my clown pair after I broke my reef down almost 2 years ago. The only other life in that time is a brittle star and the bristle worms living in the live rock. A few weeks ago I added some frags that seem to be doing well. The live rock is going on 4 years mature and is awesome purple color.

My issue is nitrate

Alk: 7.6, dialing in kalk dosing to maintain 8
Cal: 420
Mag: 1320
PO4: zero
NO3: still too high too test

I historically have tested with all red sea, (i am a fan). My NO3 & PO4 test kits were outdated by a few months. They have always both read zero. I recently purchased the Hannah ULR NO3 & PO4 checker. NO3 came in last week, I test, range too high. I dilute, test, range too high. I pulled out the dusty API kit and check NO3 and it is off the color chart, correlating with the Hannah... Lesson learned, don't use out of date test kits.

I did a 15 gallon water change, around 60%. 1 day later I did another 60%. Corals look happy but I tested today with the standard 10-1 dilution and it was still out of range. I diluted 20-1 and still out of range. I am at a loss. For that to be true NO3 would have had to be north of 600 before the water changes. Granted, I have a few frags that look better since the changes, but they didn't look that bad before.

PO4 checker came in today and I tested, expecting the worse, but Hannah ULR gave me 0.0.

NO3 north of 600 and PO4 at 0?? Is this even possible or am I completely missing something?

I am mixing up another 15 gallons of fresh saltwater now.

I appreciate any thoughts, critiques, even insults if it helps me understand what I am seeing.

Thank you,
Matt
 
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MMcKenna1029

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What are feeding?
I was alternating a small pinch of pellet food one day and a cube of brine shrimp the next. The clowns didn't need the whole cube but the brittle star would scarf a bunch. I didn't worry as everything tested low. When I added the frags I was making a point to bring nutrients up.
 
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MMcKenna1029

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I should add. I just set a dosing head up for Nopox but have not hit go yet. I am not sure at what point I should try to lower with water change vs Nopox dosing...
 

Pistondog

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Did you neglect the water changes or how did no3 get off the charts.
Keep doing water changes, it'll come down unless you are feeding way too much.
 

vetteguy53081

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May be false readings. Also do not test at least 18-24 hours after a water change and 8-10 hours after a feeding- False results will occur for sure
 

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