Nitrate swings after months of stability

Thawman

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How/why would my nitrate swing so much throughout the day? And how to correct it?

100 gallon tank, 4 months old, transfer from 2 year old 40 gallon, mostly softy and LPS, few SPS.

I attached pictures of the readings. But at times, I have tested NO3 in the course of a day and it can swing from 9.9 to 26.

09:00 - 9.9
12:24 - 26
13:32 - 12.9
19:15 - 20.6
20:33 - 13.7

All tests with Hanna tester. I've tested 2 samples at the same time and they are very close. Also tested 2 samples multiple times and got the exact same numbers (test 1 18.1, 18.0, 18.1, 18.2 test 2 13.1, 13.1, 13.1, 12.9) guessing this rules out my tester. All tests are done before feeding, if applicable.

Running a BM Curve 3.5 skimmer. I understand it's small for 100g, but only have 7 fish (<15" total). It skims, but very wet. Considering upgrading to the Curve 5.

Phosphate stable, at 0.04, but run a reactor with Phosguard only when it starts to creep up.

Dosing Fauna Marin Bactoballs, Fauna Marin Coral Balance for the nitrate levels, vibrant for Bubble algae (week 5).

Doing 10% WC weekly. Intermittently will do up to 20% if Nitrate high, but can't do water changes every couple days if the nitrate just runs high all the time.

Lastly, may be coincidence, but my elegance is all but dead, mushrooms are melting, Galaxies losing tissue, hammers not opening as much. This all started in the last day or two when the swings really took off.

Screenshot_20211016-214751.png Screenshot_20211016-214806.png
 

blaxsun

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Is there a correlation between any dosing and nitrate spikes/drops? Some people have reported issues with Vibrant (I haven't seen any personally myself), but you may want to just temporarily suspend that one for a few weeks to rule it out until you figure what's going on with your corals.

I suspect there may be more going on here, so if you could post all your water parameters and maybe a few images of the sick corals that might enable someone to shed a bit more light on your plight.

With only 7 fish you shouldn't be overtaxing your skimmer (even if a bit undersized). How often do you change out your filter socks? Is there any other filter media that you run?
 
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Thawman

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Is there a correlation between any dosing and nitrate spikes/drops? Some people have reported issues with Vibrant (I haven't seen any personally myself), but you may want to just temporarily suspend that one for a few weeks to rule it out until you figure what's going on with your corals.

I suspect there may be more going on here, so if you could post all your water parameters and maybe a few images of the sick corals that might enable someone to shed a bit more light on your plight.

With only 7 fish you shouldn't be overtaxing your skimmer (even if a bit undersized). How often do you change out your filter socks? Is there any other filter media that you run?
I haven't noticed any correlation between dosing and swings. Vibrant and Coral balance are once a week.

My LFS is also stumped, but had wondered if the Bubble algae die off may increase the NO3, but can't explain the drop.

Can't figure out how to pull actual numbers from Apex for Alk, Ca, and Mg. But Alk swings typically 0.2 per day. Ca 40 and Mg 20 (swings are over the length in the pic, not per day) in the picture provided below. All controlled with Trident and DOS.

I'm using Filter Floss, and it's changed roughly 2-3 days, at least twice a week. Only other things I can think of is Marine Bioblock, Denitrate (new due to nitrate levels).

The photo of the elegance is after lights out, but it looked like this most of the day. Had some tissue loss about a year ago, hence the skeleton showing. Can't get a good pic of the mushrooms unfortunately. The galaxea tissue loss MAY be due to loss of light as it grew, shading the effected area.
 

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blaxsun

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Your other parameters (Ca, Kh, Mg, pH) all look good. Minor Ca and Mg swings are fairly normal for the Trident (at least that I've noticed). I also use MarinePure bio blocks, spheres (etc.) in the post-filter chamber - and change my filter socks every 4-5 days (I run 4 of them at a time). In combination with my Nyos Zeo reactor my nitrates are <5ppm with phosphates <0.03ppm. You could try switching to some 100-micron filter socks for a week or two to see if that might make a difference.

While I like the Hanna checkers, I might be inclined to pickup a Nyos nitrate kit and see if it records any of these weird swings. You can really use whatever nitrate kits are available, but I do prefer the Nyos (there's less guesswork and the results seem the most consistent).

Your elegance has definitely seen better days. I wonder if treating some of your sick corals with something like Polyp Lab Reef Primer would help? (I had a hammer displaying symptoms of BJD and a quick 5-minute bath cleared it up completely).
 
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Thawman

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Your other parameters (Ca, Kh, Mg, pH) all look good. Minor Ca and Mg swings are fairly normal for the Trident (at least that I've noticed). I also use MarinePure bio blocks, spheres (etc.) in the post-filter chamber - and change my filter socks every 4-5 days (I run 4 of them at a time). In combination with my Nyos Zeo reactor my nitrates are <5ppm with phosphates <0.03ppm. You could try switching to some 100-micron filter socks for a week or two to see if that might make a difference.

While I like the Hanna checkers, I might be inclined to pickup a Nyos nitrate kit and see if it records any of these weird swings. You can really use whatever nitrate kits are available, but I do prefer the Nyos (there's less guesswork and the results seem the most consistent).

Your elegance has definitely seen better days. I wonder if treating some of your sick corals with something like Polyp Lab Reef Primer would help? (I had a hammer displaying symptoms of BJD and a quick 5-minute bath cleared it up completely).
First off, THANK YOU so much for the response, should have said this the first time around. I very much appreciate the help.

I'll pick up some filter socks, worth a shot!!

The Hanna testers were meant as upgrades from my Nyos kits as I have a hard time with the Nyos Nitrate colors. I'll use the Nyos kit next time around alongside the Hanna. Also going to verify the Hanna along my LFS Hanna tester.

I've dipped the elegance in the past in Revive and an Iodine dip which helped. I'll see if I can find Polyp Lab Reef Primer.

What Zeolite reactor are you running? Really wanting to get my nitrates stable a low.

Thanks again for all the help!
 
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Thawman

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That much swing in so short a time seems highly unlikely to me. I'd suspect testing error of some kind.
I would completely agree!!

But multiple tests each time, which report the same value. Used different reagent batches to rule out reagent.

Tested once against Nyos. But maybe that was the actual value by coincidence. Will test with both Hanna and Nyos to confirm.

Tested 2 separate samples 4 times each and got the exact same results (as posted).

Going to take samples to my LFS tomorrow and test against their Hanna tester.

User error, possibly, but I've been a lab tech for many years so comfortable with this kind of testing, but still possible I'm doing something wrong!!

Thanks for the response!!
 
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blaxsun

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First off, THANK YOU so much for the response, should have said this the first time around. I very much appreciate the help.

I'll pick up some filter socks, worth a shot!!

The Hanna testers were meant as upgrades from my Nyos kits as I have a hard time with the Nyos Nitrate colors. I'll use the Nyos kit next time around alongside the Hanna. Also going to verify the Hanna along my LFS Hanna tester.

I've dipped the elegance in the past in Revive and an Iodine dip which helped. I'll see if I can find Polyp Lab Reef Primer.

What Zeolite reactor are you running? Really wanting to get my nitrates stable a low.

Thanks again for all the help!
Hey, no problem at all. Wish I could offer something definitive that would help you out. If you need a second set on the Nyos nitrate results just msg me a quick snapshot. Reef Primer is one of the few that treats BJD, so if the coral has that or some bacterial infections it should clear it up (I literally went from one spot with BJD to cleared up in just a few hours). Note that for the 45g size they indicate the full dose for 4 liters, so if you're only fitting in say a 500ml container make sure you divide by 8 (so just shy of 6g). And 5 minutes max (no more) - then straight back into the tank.

I use a Nyos Torq reactor with a 2.0 body and ~1950g of Nyos Zeo in it. I change it out maybe every 2-2.5 months (ish). I don't run a refugium, but in combination with the 4x 100-micro filter socks, the MarinePure bio media and the zeo reactor it's surprisingly effective (my system is 200 gallons total; with 160 gallons and 32 fish in the display). The system is just over 6 months and nitrates have consistently been under <10ppm. I have a fairly effective cleanup crew, so it's entirely possible that they (and not me) deserve most of the credit!
 
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Thawman

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Hey, no problem at all. Wish I could offer something definitive that would help you out. If you need a second set on the Nyos nitrate results just msg me a quick snapshot. Reef Primer is one of the few that treats BJD, so if the coral has that or some bacterial infections it should clear it up (I literally went from one spot with BJD to cleared up in just a few hours). Note that for the 45g size they indicate the full dose for 4 liters, so if you're only fitting in say a 500ml container make sure you divide by 8 (so just shy of 6g). And 5 minutes max (no more) - then straight back into the tank.

I use a Nyos Torq reactor with a 2.0 body and ~1950g of Nyos Zeo in it. I change it out maybe every 2-2.5 months (ish). I don't run a refugium, but in combination with the 4x 100-micro filter socks, the MarinePure bio media and the zeo reactor it's surprisingly effective (my system is 200 gallons total; with 160 gallons and 32 fish in the display). The system is just over 6 months and nitrates have consistently been under <10ppm. I have a fairly effective cleanup crew, so it's entirely possible that they (and not me) deserve most of the credit!
I may have to hit you up on the nitrate reads!!

Probably not a bad idea for me to have some Reef Primer in hand anyways.

I had the Nyos Torque, was very unhappy with it. Top kept popping off, it flowed strangely out the top and was super loud and it finally bit the bullet when the purple control plate at the bottom split in half. But I can definitely pick up any reactor!

Probably wouldn't hurt for me to grab a few more CUC members either!!

Thanks again!
 
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blaxsun

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I may have to hit you up on the nitrate reads!!

Probably not a bad idea for me to have some Reef Primer in hand anyways.

I had the Nyos Torque, was very unhappy with it. Top kept popping off, it flowed strangely out the top and was super loud and it finally bit the bullet when the purple control plate at the bottom split in half. But I can definitely pick up any reactor!

Probably wouldn't hurt for me to grab a few more CUC members either!!

Thanks again!
I haven't had any issues with my Nyos reactors... yet (though I have heard of similar issues). I have a long list of cleanup crew, so if you want a detailed breakdown let me know and I'll msg you.
 
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Thawman

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I haven't had any issues with my Nyos reactors... yet (though I have heard of similar issues). I have a long list of cleanup crew, so if you want a detailed breakdown let me know and I'll msg you.
If you don't mind that would be awesome!! No rush though!

I have a fighting conch (who is a beast!), about 20 Hermits, no idea snails as they have reproduced a few times and 6 Nassarius snails.
 
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Thawman

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My buddy said he noticed the more air you introduce into the water sample while mixing the vial and powder packet on the HR test changed his nitrate levels as well.
I'll be honest, I had wondered about this at one point, then thought it seemed a silly idea. Never paid any attention to results verses how hard I shook. I'll try and pay attention going forward now.
 
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