Tank parameters not quite right

AudioGoose45

New Member
View Badges
Joined
Nov 3, 2019
Messages
10
Reaction score
7
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Hello all,

So I have a 90 gallon reef tank with approx. 30 gallon trigger sump that we recently setup. For the last several months I've kept a log on the tank parameters, and to me, something seems off. Ammonia levels have consistently been elevated, ranging anywhere between 0.1 to 0.5 ppm. During May and June, we had a long battle with both green hair algae and brown algae. The algae seems to be starting to come under control, with us observing much slower algae growth this month. The last couple of weeks, we started seeing red slime starting to develop.

Today's test was PH 8.0, dKH 10, 0.5 ppm ammonia, 0 nitrites, 5 ppm nitrates, and 0 phosphates. I've also had attached a screenshot from my Excel tracker for the last three months of water tests. We are conducting weekly 10-20% water changes.

1625517432729.png


My question is what can we do to try to get the ammonia under control? In the freshwater world I'm used to throwing a zeolite/carbon mix in the canister filter to bring ammonia down and then let the plants soak up the nitrates, and I'm wondering if a similar tactic can be used on a reef tank?

And then once we have the ammonia under control, what are people's recommendations on getting the nitrates under control?

EDIT: also, I've been using the API tests to test water. Is there a better test set out there?

Thank you.
 
Aquarium Specialty - dry goods & marine livestock

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
View Badges
Joined
Dec 9, 2014
Messages
20,431
Reaction score
16,831
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
tejas
it is not out of control, that's a test misread for free ammonia. post tank pics

once you apply tan conversion its much lower, per instructions on the kit.

if thats a seneye digital nh3 reading then the machine isn't trimmed right.

you'd be reporting dead fish if ammonia could not be 100% controlled. cloudy water too, smells bad/dying tank

we automatically know these details about your tank unstated, since its been months you've tracked out vs hours:

you do have sufficient surface area/rocks and sand or the whole tank would be dead.


you are post cycle/has algae issues/ been reefing a while to earn those. these fish take big daily feed input that's being handled too. 100% certain this is a misread.

stop testing for ammonia for the life of this tank it'll only confuse you, ammonia self controls from here on out just fine. it can never drift out of spec, and the only thing that could overcome your system is mass fish dieoff, which owning an ammonia tester won't prevent, ammonia comes after several fish die for other reasons it never, ever causes the fish loss beginning. that's velvet or some other malady we see.

every single entrant here was sure they had same issue. rumor holds it many still do heh and simply did not buy into the diagnosis. but if you message them today, all fish are fine and water is clear, that's the hidden unspoken tell that links every example, every one of them.

 
Last edited:

KrisReef

5000 Club Member
View Badges
Joined
May 15, 2018
Messages
5,425
Reaction score
17,104
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
ADX Florence
it is not out of control, that's a test misread for free ammonia. post tank pics

once you apply tan conversion its much lower, per instructions on the kit.

if thats a seneye digital nh3 reading then the machine isn't trimmed right.

you'd be reporting dead fish if ammonia could not be 100% controlled. cloudy water too, smells bad/dying tank
How can you be so sure? API is a very popular test kit!

:)
 
OP
A

AudioGoose45

New Member
View Badges
Joined
Nov 3, 2019
Messages
10
Reaction score
7
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Tell us more about your tank...How old is the tank? Sand? Liverock? Inhabitants? Lights?
what’s your water change schedule
The tank was setup and started running in late February. So it's 4-5 months old. The display tank has two Kessil A360x's tied together to a single controller. The Sump has a Kessil H80 fuge light tied to the same controller. Display lights ramp up to a max 60% intensity with a mixed white/blue color setting. The fuge light is set to be off when the display lights are on, and on when the display lights are off. the fuge light is currently set to a 50% red/blue mix.

The sump is a trigger systems sump that came with the display tank (it was a package deal from the LFS). It has 4 inch filter socks (currently I have 200 micron socks on it). There's a Reef Octopus protein skimmer in the sump.

The sand is a live sand bought from a LFS. I used about 40 lbs of dry rock leftover from a previous reef tank along with 60 of additional dry rock bought from the same place as the live sand.

We have 2 oscellaris clowns, 2 banggai cardinals, a firefish, a 6 line wrasse, a short spine urchine, a peppermint shrimp, a skunk cleaner, and multiple hermit crabs. There's also a green star polyp, a duncan, a hammer coral, and a SPS. The sump has cheato algae that came from an established reef tank at a LFS, so it has a good starting population of copepods and amphipods. It's also been seeded with additional copepods as well.

1625522296789.png
 
OP
A

AudioGoose45

New Member
View Badges
Joined
Nov 3, 2019
Messages
10
Reaction score
7
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
How can you be so sure? API is a very popular test kit!

:)

It is, but I'm questioning the API test kits. With trying to track these parameters over any period of time, it's somewhat difficult with a test kit that seems like the results are positive/negative versus a precise measurement.
 

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
View Badges
Joined
Dec 9, 2014
Messages
20,431
Reaction score
16,831
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
tejas
Hey what a nice clean laser clear tank.

truly you can retire ammonia from any testing source going forward, it self controls. That your api shows some total ammonia before tan conversion is good, not bad, that’s a living bio system, we would expect ammonia made by the second (And then it’s promptly dealt with, never compounds in any post cycle reef per above even though api or Red Sea may cause alarm)


see how we can predict things about your tank before seeing it…in my opinion that’s the hallmark of today’s cycling science vs old science that said ammonia control varies tank to tank. Today we know that post cycle reefs are amazingly consistent with ammonia control- to the degree any disagreement is a test kit malfunction (or a crashing reef due to insults, hardware/poison/disease, you aren’t going to stop a true crash but they’re not drifting out of spec they are a legit mistake somehow, preventable, instantly consequential)

I’ve yet to see a single outlier that was true inability to control and not a test misreading. Every single tank in the study above had fine control yet api or red sea was causing panic- no tan conversions. Until Dan and Taricha explained it I wasn’t even considering tan specifics. I read about it in Randy’s ammonia article but it didn’t sink in.
 
Last edited:
Biota Marine Life
Top