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Eliminating nitrates - water change frequency, bio balls, etc.

This is a discussion on Eliminating nitrates - water change frequency, bio balls, etc. within the Beginner Saltwater Aquariums forums, part of the Saltwater Fish and Coral Reef Tanks category; --> bear sounds right to me. trust me admin, getting rid of the bio-balls is the best thing you could have done with that tank ...

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Eliminating nitrates - water change frequency, bio balls, etc.
Old 09-08-2010, 05:56 PM   #51
 
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bear sounds right to me.

trust me admin, getting rid of the bio-balls is the best thing you could have done with that tank to date and esp. since there isnt fish, now was the perfect time to do it.
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Old 09-08-2010, 06:26 PM   #52
 
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Originally Posted by bearwithfish View Post
it sounds to me as though your tank is beginning to cycle again as you are now relying on LR vs the bio-balls.... i would think that in a few days time things should level out and drop ....
I am inclined to agree.... but the testing of ammonia for the first couple of days after the removal of the bioballs would have been needed to confirm this. Something has happened here to create an ammonia spike, given that there are no fish in the tank. I am inclined to believe that something died which you were not aware of... perhaps something inside the rock. Isn't the rock a relatively new purchase?

By the way, it isn't a mistake to have removed the bioballs. A temporary unexpected result, perhaps, but not a mistake. We are after long term success here.

Also, in another pic, I noticed a lot of foaming action in that skimmer.... good brown skimate. Where is that coming from, given the lack of nutrient source? Something died. Talk more about the source of that live rock, how it was transported, and how long you've had it.
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Old 09-09-2010, 05:44 AM   #53
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bearwithfish View Post
it sounds to me as though your tank is beginning to cycle again as you are now relying on LR vs the bio-balls.... i would think that in a few days time things should level out and drop ....
Quote:
Originally Posted by onefish2fish View Post
bear sounds right to me.

trust me admin, getting rid of the bio-balls is the best thing you could have done with that tank to date and esp. since there isnt fish, now was the perfect time to do it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pasfur View Post
I am inclined to agree.... but the testing of ammonia for the first couple of days after the removal of the bioballs would have been needed to confirm this. Something has happened here to create an ammonia spike, given that there are no fish in the tank. I am inclined to believe that something died which you were not aware of... perhaps something inside the rock. Isn't the rock a relatively new purchase?

By the way, it isn't a mistake to have removed the bioballs. A temporary unexpected result, perhaps, but not a mistake. We are after long term success here.

Also, in another pic, I noticed a lot of foaming action in that skimmer.... good brown skimate. Where is that coming from, given the lack of nutrient source? Something died. Talk more about the source of that live rock, how it was transported, and how long you've had it.
Thanks, guys. I feel much more confident about the decision to remove the bio balls again despite the temporary setback after reading your replies.

I tested the tank for ammonia and other parameters on 9/1, 5 days after removing the bio balls from the system on 8/27, and there were none, so this is a relatively recent development.

As for things that may have died, I found 1 of 2 sally lightfoot crabs dead a few days ago and removed it, and although I brought home 2 peppermint shrimp on Sunday I've only seen one in the tank since. I've also noticed the scattered remains of a hermit crab every now and then since it seems they eviscerate each other when they can, though there has never been ammonia present as a result in the past.

As for the live rock, I bought my first piece, which the LFS described as "90% cured", in mid July and added two more "100% cured" pieces from another LFS over the course of the next month or so. I brought each piece home from the LFS wrapped in wet newspaper. I believe I've had all three pieces in the tank for at least 3 weeks now. I have 75 pounds of Marco dry rock on the way, so hopefully adding it will provide more biological filtration.

As for handling the ammonia, I wasn't able to do a water change last night so I am going to change 10 gallons this morning.

Thanks again for your ongoing support, guys!
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Old 09-09-2010, 07:18 AM   #54
 
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I decided to test the ammonia before performing the water change so I'd know the concentration before and after. Sure enough, the ammonia was at 0 ppm this morning. I tested it a second time and it was still at 0 ppm.

Either you guys are right that the tank cycled and I just happened to test the water at the tail end of it yesterday, or, less likely since I'm very careful when I test, I botched the test somehow, or misread the test results. Either way, today there is 0 ammonia present in the tank.

The nitrates are still at 15 - 20 ppm, but hopefully that's nothing the dry rock that is supposed to arrive tomorrow won't help resolve. Marc from Marco Rocks has said several times that his dry rock can go directly into a display tank after a rinse.

How long do you guys think it will take for bacteria to form on/in the rock and begin converting nitrates to nitrogen gas?
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Old 09-09-2010, 07:57 AM   #55
 
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the older rock already has it present and the new rock will in time.. some of the rocks will be processing in a few weeks while others will take a few months .. not to worry however as you have enough to get things going and it sounds like the cycle has ended.. so you are looking good.... i would dare to say that as you slowly bring the bio-load up everything will keep pace and all will be well moving forward ... i know how much of a pain it is to basically start a tank over again (which you have) but in the long run the benefits are astounding.... i eagerly continue to watch for updates and the progression of this tank....
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Old 09-09-2010, 10:47 AM   #56
 
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well adding 75#s of dry rock to what you have will prob. start another cycle. atleast you've made a great choice on your rock selection though, its really some great stuff.
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Old 09-09-2010, 07:04 PM   #57
 
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Originally Posted by Administrator View Post
How long do you guys think it will take for bacteria to form on/in the rock and begin converting nitrates to nitrogen gas?
4 to 6 months would be typical, in my experience. Just don't get to hung up on it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by onefish2fish View Post
well adding 75#s of dry rock to what you have will prob. start another cycle. atleast you've made a great choice on your rock selection though, its really some great stuff.
Ehhh. I bet that given the source of rock, you won't see any ammonia spike at all. But it will take time for the bacteria to seed the dry rock, so don't expect to much to fast. In 6 months you probably won't recognize the dry rock from the live rock.
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Old 09-10-2010, 06:21 AM   #58
 
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Thanks, guys. If anyone told me years ago that I'd be as excited as I am today to receive a box of rocks I'd of told them they were crazy, but here I am counting down the minutes until I get home from work so that I can start aquascaping.

75 pounds was probably way too much since I already have about 40 pounds in my 55, but I figure I can just choose to use the best pieces if it won't all fit.

I know there was some disagreement about whether I should put rock in my converted wet/dry-sump. I ultimately decided to because it should have higher flow than most sumps by virtue of the chambers being connected by wide openings at the bottom of each chamber. Anyhow, should I have ordered rubble to add to the sump or are whole rocks just fine? If rubble would have been preferable, should I just break up whole rocks into little pieces?
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Old 09-10-2010, 06:34 AM   #59
 
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Rubble is more likely to trap detritus. Just use the big pieces.
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Old 09-11-2010, 10:03 AM   #60
 
hey administrator sounds like you had an eventful week. sorry i didn't get on the forum as i was in the middle of the ocean crusing the week and stress away on vacation with no way of getting online, phones,pagers, or messages! yeah!! now it's going back to work this week ho hum :( . just got caught up on your post and sound like you had a mini cycle to me too. from the sounds of it you're going to be adding new rocks to you tank too. that can also cause a mini cycle because the rocks may contain dead animals within the rocks. one way to tell if the rocks are somewhat decent is to smell the rocks. if it has any bad smell you'll definitely going to get ammonia, nitrite and nitrates again. so before adding give it the smell test.
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