Nitrate problems despite everything I've tried.

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VLSARK

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My aquarium nitrates increase despite everything I am doing. I have a 20 gallon tank with a 20 gallon sump filled with biomedia, 5 gallon bucket filled with pumice with water going through at 50 Gph, 200ml purigen, carbon, 15 oz. Cobalt total nitrate, fluidized sand bed filter v2 bio600f, skimmer eheim hang on back for 100g+ tank, biopellet reactor, deep sand bed with sifting starfish, fluval 306, aquaclear 30, plus overflow/filter box from fluval 32 gallon glued inside 20. I add 100ml instant ocean nitrate reducer weekly, and yesterday added 7.5oz cobalt total nitrate resin. I fed about 20g tilapia yesterday after doing 7g water change with nitrate at 40ppm. Now they are at 60ppm. Despite 7g changes every other day I cannot keep nitrate under control at all. Nothing is eating and I'm surprised stuff hasn't died long ago. Can anyone see what I am doing wrong. The more I try the worse it gets. It's been running for 8+ months and never been this bad.

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VLSARK

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Ok, let's start with what is in your tank.... Live Rock or no? What is the complete species list. That will help get all of us on the case....
It is grossly overpopulated. Green damsels, green serpent star, 3 inch molly, banded serpent star, 2x maxi mini, 3x rock flower, 2x astropyga radiata(exotic reef exports was supposed to send asthenosoma varium but dont know their urchins), 1x 6c green carpet anemone, live rock, sand sifting starfish, star polyp, zoanthids of some sort, 1x red mushroom, 5x ball anemones(I know not anemones, but I like anyway), purple pincushion urchin.
 
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VLSARK

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Tilapia? Stop with that garbage feed first off....if it kills you quick, it will kill the wee ones faster....
As @Cwentz758 mentions you have a heck of a lot going on here in a system of this size, you are creating nitrates exponentially.
I also feed shrimp, octopus, mussels, squid, seaweed, live caulerpa, dried krill
 
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VLSARK

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Have you tried vodka dosing or something such as vibrant or MB7. Those help biological diversity and can help lower nitrates
I have never heard of mb7 or vibrant but will look it up. I am about to try vodka. I just emailed bowmans vodka company for ingredients just to verify it's just ethanol and water.
 
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It is grossly overpopulated. Green damsels, green serpent star, 3 inch molly, banded serpent star, 2x maxi mini, 3x rock flower, 2x astropyga radiata(exotic reef exports was supposed to send asthenosoma varium but dont know their urchins), 1x 6c green carpet anemone, live rock, sand sifting starfish, star polyp, zoanthids of some sort, 1x red mushroom, 5x ball anemones(I know not anemones, but I like anyway), purple pincushion urchin.
Your CUC is not far off what I have altogether.... shrooms same if not more, your nems on other hand are more than I could deal with..
 
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sawdonkey

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Problem is I have 2x astropyga radiata and they eat like pigs. Usually i feed 2 sheets of seaweed and 6cm^3 tilapia( I dont usually weigh it), just to keep them from eating everything else.
Wait...you feed your urchins 2 sheets of nori plus tilapia each day? That has to be overkill. Do you have fish? I think your urchins will done fine if you don’t specifically fed them anything and just let them collect scraps. I’ve never fed my urchin and have had him for years.
 
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VLSARK

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Lets talk test kits. You may be getting false readings which API is notorious for. I would get a second opinion, taking a water sample to a trusted LFS that does NOT use API kit and see what they come up with and to compare with your readings
Unfortunately I work at the only Lfs in 20 miles and at best they only have api. Maybe I'll buy red sea or seachem. Regardless of correct reading though, health of my tank decreases with increasing api reading
 
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VLSARK

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Wow that is a lot of stuff and a lot of food. 20g of food in one day!? How much live rock is in the tank?

If it was me I would feed way less, ditch the DSB, do a few water 20% water changes over a week or two and honestly slowly remove everything except the skimmer, assuming you have enough live rock. Clearly all this stuff is not helping and some if could be making things worse.
I would do away with the dsb, but my favorite organism in the tank is the stichodactyla haddoni, which likes it
 
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It is grossly overpopulated. Green damsels, green serpent star, 3 inch molly, banded serpent star, 2x maxi mini, 3x rock flower, 2x astropyga radiata(exotic reef exports was supposed to send asthenosoma varium but dont know their urchins), 1x 6c green carpet anemone, live rock, sand sifting starfish, star polyp, zoanthids of some sort, 1x red mushroom, 5x ball anemones(I know not anemones, but I like anyway), purple pincushion urchin.

You're tank doesn't sound grossly overpopulated. If I'm counting right you have 3ish fish, a few starfish and some urchins.

Honestly your responses indicate you really like having a massive, elaborate, but completely ineffective filtration system and you're unwilling to reduce feeding because you're convinced that your grazing algae eaters need massive amounts of tilapia.

So your current plan is to dose vodka? Good luck.
 
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VLSARK

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Wait...you feed your urchins 2 sheets of nori plus tilapia each day? That has to be overkill. Do you have fish? I think your urchins will done fine if you don’t specifically fed them anything and just let them collect scraps. I’ve never fed my urchin and have had him for years.
That is fine with my purple pin cushions, and long spine and Halloween (in other tanks), but these A. radiata are the hungriest sw animal I have ever come across. If I feed less spines fall out.
 
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VLSARK

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You're tank doesn't sound grossly overpopulated. If I'm counting right you have 3ish fish, a few starfish and some urchins.

Honestly your responses indicate you really like having a massive, elaborate, but completely ineffective filtration system and you're unwilling to reduce feeding because you're convinced that your grazing algae eaters need massive amounts of tilapia.

So your current plan is to dose vodka? Good luck.
8 fish, 3 starfish, 2x 3" test urchins, 1x 2" test urchin, 6 anemones
 
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I would just give em back to the store if they cannot be sustained in your tank, i mean you work there so it shouldnt be an issue. Your feeding way too much and also probably want to take out the cannister filters. I get liking filtration and I built my own too but its good to simplify things. imo take out the 5 gallon bucket, fluidized sand, the two cannister filters, aquaclear filter and hob filter and just run a sump, protein skimmer and biopellets
 
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mdb_talon

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Sometimes simpler is better. Good suggestions were to feed less and simplify filtration and you are going option C and adding fluidized sand bed and a sulfur reactor.

Those things may marginally help, but realistically unless they are massively oversized i doubt any benefit would be noticeable if you keep pouring buckets of food in.
 
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VLSARK

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You're tank doesn't sound grossly overpopulated. If I'm counting right you have 3ish fish, a few starfish and some urchins.

Honestly your responses indicate you really like having a massive, elaborate, but completely ineffective filtration system and you're unwilling to reduce feeding because you're convinced that your grazing algae eaters need massive amounts of tilapia.

So your current plan is to dose vodka? Good luck.
Tilapia is cheaper than seaweed and since I work at a company with less than 10 employees, my boss is allowed to pay me 2 levels under the minimum wage places like McDonald's have to, which he does, I haven't been able to get 40 hours since COVID, and I've been saving for over a year to get a vehicle after my last one was totaled, so price does have a big impact on me. So for now tilapia it is. Filtration works great for everything except anaerobic biological filtration. All these organisms are crammed into about 15 gallons of space and I am trying to cope the best I can. I also have doubts about the vodka, but I'll try most anything at this point.
 
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VLSARK

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Sometimes simpler is better. Good suggestions were to feed less and simplify filtration and you are going option C and adding fluidized sand bed and a sulfur reactor.

Those things may marginally help, but realistically unless they are massively oversized i doubt any benefit would be noticeable if you keep pouring buckets of food in.
I did not add all this at once. After $150 worth of biomedia and 50lb live rock didn't work I started trying different things. I would love to go simpler and improve the led lights I make for the tank instead, but I'm not sure what simpler would be unless you mean a huge amount of area filled with more biomedia than I can afford. Could you elaborate?
 
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BRS

What have you found to be the best things/methods to beat hair algae? (choose all that apply)

  • Hydrogen peroxide

    Votes: 67 17.5%
  • Lawn Mower Blenny (or other fish)

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  • Manual Removal

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  • Rock Scrubbing

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