Nitrates are STILL at 0 in Reef Tank after 5 MONTHS

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Ocean’s Piece

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So I started my reef tank 5 months ago. Have 3 fish. Phosphates range from around .03-.08 but nitrates have never gone above 0 except after the cycle and they went back to 0 after the first few water changes. I have tried feeding a lot to raise them but it hasn’t. I have seen that the algae consumes the nitrates so I’m assuming it is that but I have had mixed answers from viewing old forums. What is causing this low nitrate and is there a way/time they will go above 0?
 
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Azedenkae

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So I started my reef tank 5 months ago. Have 3 fish. Phosphates range from around .03-.08 but nitrates have never gone above 0 except after the cycle and they went back to 0 after the first few water changes. I have tried feeding a lot to raise them but it hasn’t. I have seen that the algae consumes the nitrates so I’m assuming it is that but I have had mixed answers from viewing old forums. What is causing this low nitrate and is there a way/time they will go above 0?

Nitrate and phosphate can be low due to algae growth, yes, even with a lot of feeding. Once you have enough algae basically they wouls take up whatever excess nutrients produced.

I would not worry about the exact concentration of nitrate measured unless your corals and stuff are not doing well. If you only have fish, then yeah even less of a concern.
 
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Similar issue with mine in having low nitrates. It's likely algae taking up ammonia/ammonium or nitrates directly. Corals also take up nutrients but less than algae. Of this assumes good test kits.
I use Salifert which is the best of the Nitrate test kits under Hanna. (From what I have researched)
 
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Nitrate and phosphate can be low due to algae growth, yes, even with a lot of feeding. Once you have enough algae basically they wouls take up whatever excess nutrients produced.

I would not worry about the exact concentration of nitrate measured unless your corals and stuff are not doing well. If you only have fish, then yeah even less of a concern.
I’m a little late on the coral game but I plan to get a lot in the next few weeks. Every other parameter is fine and adequate for the corals I want besides nitrate.
 

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R u using dry rocks? If so, it could also be due to waste and nutrient being absorbed by the rock pores. It will take time for that to saturate.

So if you feed the same amount in another 3 months your nutrient will raise as the rocks saturate
 
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R u using dry rocks? If so, it could also be due to waste and nutrient being absorbed by the rock pores. It will take time for that to saturate.

So if you feed the same amount in another 3 months your nutrient will raise as the rocks saturate
About half live and half dry. I recently added more dry rock to the tank to make the structure taller and before it was 80% live and 20% dry but even then, nitrates we’re still at 0. Added extra dry rock about a month ago.
A8705906-3C63-44C6-8C02-B02B634B8147.jpeg

Everything is live except for the bone white dry rock at the top, the bottom left piece (added day 1) and the center right arch (added day 1)
 
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I’m a little late on the coral game but I plan to get a lot in the next few weeks. Every other parameter is fine and adequate for the corals I want besides nitrate.
If you feed a lot I would not worry about getting nitrate above 0, especially if there's algae growing. The key is ensuring corals get the nitrogen they need, and that does not necessarily mean there has to be a readable amount of nitrate. Even if nitrate reads 0 but you are feeding enough then that's not an issue.

But to answer your question, just gotta keep on upping feeding, or dose nitrate directly, to get nitrate above 0. :D The latter may be more preferable.
 
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Provided that your test results are accurate, you can put a couple of tiny spoonfuls of ReefRoids in your tank - that'll spike your nitrate levels.
Good thing I have some. I know it’ll increase phosphates by a ton but I’ll consider that when I get corals and nitrates are at 0.
If you feed a lot I would not worry about getting nitrate above 0, especially if there's algae growing. The key is ensuring corals get the nitrogen they need, and that does not necessarily mean there has to be a readable amount of nitrate. Even if nitrate reads 0 but you are feeding enough then that's not an issue.

But to answer your question, just gotta keep on upping feeding, or dose nitrate directly, to get nitrate above 0. :D The latter may be more preferable.
Im gonna try upping feeding and if that doesn’t work, then I’ll consider dosing.
 

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Good thing I have some. I know it’ll increase phosphates by a ton but I’ll consider that when I get corals and nitrates are at 0.

Im gonna try upping feeding and if that doesn’t work, then I’ll consider dosing.
I was on another thread with the same issue. The problem is that Cheato and Algae take up nitrate faster than phosphate. As such, by keeping your nitrates at Zero, you are going to start seeing a build up of phosphates. Then you have to do something like GFO to drop your phosphates which will (in my case) cause a dino outbreak. I avoided this by slowly dosing Potassium Nitrate. By dosing potassium nitrate, my Cheata was able to uptake more phosphates while maintaining a reasonable level of nitrates. Hope this helps.
 
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