very high nitrate concentration

Discussion in 'ASAP' started by amberj, Oct 17, 2008.

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  1. amberj

    amberj Astrea Snail

    Jun 16, 2008
    Ok, I know I've started a couple of threads within the last few days... but there is good reason.

    Bought a kit to test my water params last night (used to take in a sample to the LFS) and here are the results:

    Ammonia: 0
    Nitrite: 0
    PH: 8.3
    Temp: 81
    Salinity: 1.022-1.023


    nitrates: 80 ppm!!!

    How bad is this?

    For reference, I have a 20 gallon tank with about 5-6 pieces of LR (estimate 20lbs?), hang on the back filter, T5 lighting (1 10k, 1 actinic)

    I plan on doing a water change today as soon as I get off of work to hopefully bring these nitrates down. I'm thinking the cause is because I've recently purchased 2 new fish (false perc and bangai cardinal) and they haven't been eating very well.



    Here is a photo of something that I thought may be contributing to all of this... its a photo of a lot of "garbage" on my sand... little black specs, etc.

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  3. phoenixhieghts

    phoenixhieghts Panda Puffer

    Dec 28, 2007
    Manchester UK
    that isnt causing it, but actually a result - prob dinos feeding off of it.
    Dont panic - Nitrates arent lethal in that sense! Work out what could be causing the high build up and solve it

    for example - are you using tap water?
  4. Tangster

    Tangster 3reef Sponsor

    Aug 16, 2006
    NO3's are a given in that they are the last step in the total de-nitrification process and there are many ways to deal with them.. But they have to be dealt with if its corals you want to keep 80ppm will harm several species where as with softs they can be tolerated a little better many fish like tangs that many call ich magnets can't deal with them that well either . They will stress from lack of proper respiration and lowered 02 and hence the ich magnet label.
  5. morau89

    morau89 Fire Shrimp

    Aug 6, 2008
    Charleston, SC
    do you have a protein skimmer? Are those your only two fish?
  6. unclejed

    unclejed Whip-Lash Squid

    Sep 23, 2008
    Clinton Township, Michigan
    Hi amber, I will suggest that when you post and are asking for help or for ideas, please include all basic information. Basic information should include; all water parameters(Calcium,Magnes ium,Alkalinity,Ph and Nitrate and Phosphate levels) along with Temp. of your tank and Sg (specific gravity).Size of tank and complete set up meaning, filter type (sump, canister etc.), if you use a skimmer,lighting (what type and total output)plus what type of lighting are you using and what is your lighting schedule (how long a period are your actinic and daylights on) and if you have fish only with live rock and if you keep
    corals. Also how long the tank has been up. I know some of this is in
    your bio but many bios don't contain this info.
  7. amberj

    amberj Astrea Snail

    Jun 16, 2008
    Tank Set-up:


    Most of that is posted in my first post, but here it is again:

    20 gallon tank

    estimate of about 20lbs or live rock

    fish: false percula clown, bangai cardinal

    corals: about 20 mushrooms, 3 kenya trees (one of which looks like it is dying on the right side of the tank under GSP, picture in my other post titled "kenya tree not looking good"), 2 bubble tip anemones (split from 1), 1 pink thing that I cant remember the name of but it looks like one of those "pulsing" corals (but doesnt pulse), green star polyps, some random Zoo's, and newly acquired Sun coral (tubastrea) and little pink coral (explained and photo in the ID Thread titled "what type of coral is this")

    Lighting: 1 T5 actinic (35 watts I think) and 1 T5 10k (35 watts I think) - lighting is on a timer set to turn on about about 12 noon, and turns off at about 9pm.

    Age of tank: We bought the tank with just about everything in it about 3-4 months ago and then purchased ourselves.... the 2 fish and the 2 newly acquired corals

    parameters that I have tested:

    ammonia: 0
    nitrite: 0
    ph: 8.3
    salinity: 1.023
    temp: 78-82

    NITRATES: 80+ ppm

    I don't have the params for the other chemicals/tests such as:

    Calcium, Phosphate, Magnesium, Alk
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  9. missionsix

    missionsix Super Moderator Staff Member

    Sep 25, 2007
    Bend,Oregon - USA
    You said there was alot of leftover food from the fish. Just wonder how much extra leftover food is left from feeding the tubastrea(sun coral)? Sounds like you could use a clean-up crew to take care of the extra stuff. And possibly adjust feeding habits to get you started on the nitrate battle.
  10. Froc3

    Froc3 Fire Goby

    Sep 19, 2007
    Saskatoon, Sk
    Well, first of all get the nitrates down with a couple small water changes imo.. I would then look for the cause, feeding too much? +1 on the cleaner crew. i would suggest getting those other kits if you're going to keep coral. those are important parameters to know.
  11. amberj

    amberj Astrea Snail

    Jun 16, 2008
    Oh and I forgot about the pump.

    I'm a little embarassed that I don't know the exact terminology, but it hangs ok the back, sucks water up and drops the Water back in after it passes through a little chamber. All built into one.

    The extra food is Partly because of the tubastrea and partly because our fish haven't been eating much
  12. {Nano}Reefer

    {Nano}Reefer Dragon Wrasse

    Aug 9, 2008
    Hang On Back or HOB Filter :)