Eliminating nitrates - water change frequency, bio balls, etc. - Page 7
Tropical Fish

Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources » Saltwater Fish and Coral Reef Tanks » Beginner Saltwater Aquariums » Eliminating nitrates - water change frequency, bio balls, etc.

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; --> Originally Posted by Pasfur Rubble is more likely to trap detritus. Just use the big pieces. Thanks, Mark. Big pieces it is. Originally Posted ...

Check out these saltwater fish profiles
Sailfin Tang
Sailfin Tang
Bicolor Angelfish
Bicolor Angelfish
Reply
LinkBack Thread Tools vBmenu Seperating Image Search this Thread vBmenu Seperating Image
Eliminating nitrates - water change frequency, bio balls, etc.
Old 09-11-2010, 03:04 PM   #61
 
Mike's Avatar
 
Rock On

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pasfur View Post
Rubble is more likely to trap detritus. Just use the big pieces.
Thanks, Mark. Big pieces it is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by reefsahoy View Post
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.
I hope you had a great time on your cruise, reefs! I received the rock as I describe below and found that it did not smell at all.

I received 25 of the 75 pounds of dry rock I ordered yesterday. I was disappointed that I didn't receive both boxes because I was looking forward to putting the rock in my tank after work. I called Fedex asking why I'd only receive one box when two were shipped together from the same place and was told that the 50 pound box of rock somehow opened during transit, which likely accounted for its delay. I was assured that nothing was broken, as if there would be any way to tell.

Anyhow, the delay turned out to be a blessing in disguise. My wife had somewhere to be today while I put the rock in the tank and arranged it. Had I received both boxes yesterday and endeavored to aquascape then, she would have seen just how much water, rock dust, rock fragment, etc., got all over our living room, the hallway to the bathroom, etc. I finished and couldn't help but think of the ending of Ferris Bueller's Day Off as I raced to get the place back in order afterward.

Here are pictures of my tank and sump before the addition of the rock.

beforeTank.jpg

beforeSump.jpg

Here is a picture of the boxes the rock arrived in. You really don't need to see this, but for the sake of completeness...

boxes.jpg

Here is the rock I had to work with. I'm no rock connoisseur, but most of these pieces looked great and were full of nooks and crannies.

rocks.jpg

I wanted to put as much rock in the tank as I could to maximize the amount of nitrate converted to nitrogen gas, but at the same time I didn't want to forfeit aesthetics altogether. This is the compromise I arrived at:

afterTank.jpg

afterSump.jpg

What do you guys think?

I arranged the rock so that I could still get my magnetic algae scraper around the front and sides of the tank, and succeeded except for one small spot where the rock comes too close to the glass to allow the scraper to pass. From the side of the tank, you can see that the rock sort of divides the tank between front and back. I heard that current is good, so I have a Maxi-Jet pump sending a stream of water down the "front lane" from the left side of the tank to the right. Would the tank benefit if I bought another Maxi-Jet and set it up to send water back from the right side to the left via the "back lane"? If so, why?

Here's a picture of what I'm talking about in case it isn't clear.

lanes.jpg

I had ordered 75 pounds of rock and the weight of the two boxes I received totaled 81 pounds, including some rubble. I weighed the pieces I ended up not using, excluding the small fragments I'd consider rubble, and found it came to 18.4 pounds, which means I added about 62.6 of the 75 pounds of rock I ordered to the tank. I believe I had about 40 pounds of rock in the tank to begin with, so I suspect I now have between 100 - 110 pounds of rock in my 55 gallon tank.

If it's true that live rock facilitates bacteria that turns nitrate into nitrogen gas that leaves the tank on its own, then with this much rock there should be 0 nitrates in the tank in 4 - 6 months time if I keep a few small fish and a bunch of inverts, right?
Mike is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-11-2010, 09:42 PM   #62
 
Pasfur's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Administrator View Post
If it's true that live rock facilitates bacteria that turns nitrate into nitrogen gas that leaves the tank on its own, then with this much rock there should be 0 nitrates in the tank in 4 - 6 months time if I keep a few small fish and a bunch of inverts, right?
In an oversimplified world, yes. But no two tanks really operate on the same time frame. I do think you have a great plan in place.
Pasfur is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2010, 06:08 AM   #63
 
Mike's Avatar
 
Thanks, Mark. Would you add another Maxi-Jet in the position I discussed?
Mike is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2010, 06:40 AM   #64
 
Pasfur's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Administrator View Post
Thanks, Mark. Would you add another Maxi-Jet in the position I discussed?
I tend to over do it on water flow. The less detritus that settles into the sand bed the better, so the increased water flow would have a benefit. So, yes I probably would.
Pasfur is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2010, 07:42 AM   #65
 
Mike's Avatar
 
Thanks, Mark. I'll add a Maxi-Jet to return water to the other side of the tank.

The right side chamber of my converted wet/dry-sump doesn't have much flow since water only spills over the lip of this chamber and into the chamber on the left, yet I stuffed it with rock anyway. While I don't suspect the rock in the center chamber will become a problem, do you think it's likely that the rock in the chamber on the right with less flow/circulation will? Would you just see how it goes?

Mike is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2010, 10:30 AM   #66
 
onefish2fish's Avatar
 
i would create gaps, arches, openings and such in the rock so its not just a solid wall. this allows fish to swim in and out of the rock ( which is natural for them ) and at the same time allow water to flow in through out the rock as well.
as for flow, i had a 46 bowfront with 2 hydor k #2s, 1 hydor #4 and a mag #9 as my return pump from my sump. granted it was full of mixed corals, but had alot of water flow.
i think i personally would put the sump rocks into the display and put chaeto algae with a 6500K clamp on work light where the rocks were. i would wait alittle bit on the chaeto though so it has something to remove from the water.
onefish2fish is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-2010, 06:56 AM   #67
 
Mike's Avatar
 
Thanks, guys.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pasfur View Post
I tend to over do it on water flow. The less detritus that settles into the sand bed the better, so the increased water flow would have a benefit. So, yes I probably would.
Quote:
Originally Posted by onefish2fish View Post
as for flow, i had a 46 bowfront with 2 hydor k #2s, 1 hydor #4 and a mag #9 as my return pump from my sump. granted it was full of mixed corals, but had alot of water flow.
I'm definitely going to add flow in the other direction, then. I checked out exactly which pump I have in the tank now and it isn't a Maxi-Jet after all, but a Mini-Jet 606 rated for 82–153gph. Is that a strong enough flow/current to be beneficial? If not, how many gph of flow/current should the two pumps be?

Quote:
Originally Posted by onefish2fish View Post
i would create gaps, arches, openings and such in the rock so its not just a solid wall. this allows fish to swim in and out of the rock ( which is natural for them ) and at the same time allow water to flow in through out the rock as well.
I would have to take 1/2 of the rock I added to the display tank out in order to create more gaps arches, openings, etc. I would prefer to keep as much rock in the display tank as possible in hope that it will help me eliminate nitrates altogether. You can't see them very well in the picture I posted, but I just took another look after reading your post and there are a number of gaps for smaller fish.

Quote:
Originally Posted by onefish2fish View Post
i think i personally would put the sump rocks into the display and put chaeto algae with a 6500K clamp on work light where the rocks were. i would wait alittle bit on the chaeto though so it has something to remove from the water.
Thanks for the suggestion. Unfortunately, I couldn't move much of the rock from the sump to the display tank without making the display tank look more like a wall of rock and there being less open space for fish to ultimately swim. If in a number of months I find that either the rock in the sump is trapping detritus and causing nitrates after all or the tank would stand to benefit from more cheato then I'll definitely consider swapping the rock in the sump with cheato. In the meantime, though, I'm hoping to maximize the conversion of nitrate to nitrogen gas since that would seem to reduce the amount of work required in order to maintain the system.
Mike is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-21-2010, 08:38 AM   #68
 
bnhaus's Avatar
 
Been reading this post and thought I would add a few points.

Here is a link to a guy who added a sump. It has no bio balls (nitrate magnets), a skimmer (Absolute must) and a refugium.

Melevsreef.com - Install a Sump in an Existing Setup

Looking at your tank it has great potential. Adding the rock will help with the nitrate after it has cultivated. I believe the rock in your sump is overkill. A skimmer, heater and cheato with live sand would work great there.

The coral and live sand have organisms that require lighting and water movement. The more pumps the better. A large die off may have happened to your existing rock and sand. This would explain a high nitrate level.

Have you tried another test kit? I use 2 types for nitrate test kits to get a better reading.

Good luck
bnhaus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-22-2010, 05:28 PM   #69
 
Pasfur's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bnhaus View Post
Been reading this post and thought I would add a few points.

Here is a link to a guy who added a sump. It has no bio balls (nitrate magnets), a skimmer (Absolute must) and a refugium.

Melevsreef.com - Install a Sump in an Existing Setup

Looking at your tank it has great potential. Adding the rock will help with the nitrate after it has cultivated. I believe the rock in your sump is overkill. A skimmer, heater and cheato with live sand would work great there.

The coral and live sand have organisms that require lighting and water movement. The more pumps the better. A large die off may have happened to your existing rock and sand. This would explain a high nitrate level.

Have you tried another test kit? I use 2 types for nitrate test kits to get a better reading.

Good luck
Good comments. Welcome to the forum.
Pasfur is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-28-2010, 09:14 AM   #70
 
Mike's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bnhaus View Post
Looking at your tank it has great potential. Adding the rock will help with the nitrate after it has cultivated. I believe the rock in your sump is overkill. A skimmer, heater and cheato with live sand would work great there.
Thanks, bnhaus, I appreciate your input. As for the rock in the sump being overkill, my thought was that if the bacteria on/in the rock converts ammonia to nitrite, nitrite to nitrate, and ultimately nitrate to nitrogen gas where it leaves the aquarium without requiring a water change for that purpose, more of it could only be a good thing. In fact, I just added 2 of the 3 left over pieces of dry rock to the tank this morning and revisited this thread to post an update.

moreRocks.jpg

Is there any way the amount of rock I've added to the system between the sump and the display tank could be counterproductive, or can it only make the biological filtration that much more efficient?

As for a skimmer, a heater, and cheato, I have a hang on back skimmer on the display tank and a heater and some cheato in the display tank. Because the chamber in the sump where the return pump sits is connected to the adjacent chamber by a generous opening at the bottom where water passes through it freely, I don't think adding sand to the sump is an option because it would probably go right up the return pump.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bnhaus View Post
The coral and live sand have organisms that require lighting and water movement. The more pumps the better.
Is there a specific pump/powerhead you or anyone else would recommend for moving water around in a 55? Right now I have a single Mini-Jet pushing water around which is supposedly rated for 108 GPH full throttle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bnhaus View Post
A large die off may have happened to your existing rock and sand. This would explain a high nitrate level.
Thanks but I had high nitrates for a long time and didn't have any rock for most of that time. Everything I've read suggests the bio balls were the issue... they did a good job of breaking everything down into nitrate but supposedly couldn't take the process the rest of the way by converting nitrates into nitrogen gas like live rock allegedly can.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bnhaus View Post
Have you tried another test kit? I use 2 types for nitrate test kits to get a better reading.
Thanks for the idea. My nitrates are currently at around 15ppm, though, so I wouldn't say they're high anymore. Back when they were high, I brought in a water sample to confirm that my test kit wasn't the issue.

At this point my goal is to see the nitrates reduced to as close to 0 as possible like I've read many other have achieved so that I can grow coraline algae on the rock, successfully keep some coral, not have any nitrate related issues with fish (though I understand they have a high tolerance for it), etc.

Thanks again for your input and welcome to the community!
Mike is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Water change frequency and stocking question pillar Freshwater and Tropical Fish 7 08-24-2009 07:30 AM
Water testing Frequency Justinskym51 Water Chemistry 10 11-20-2008 12:36 PM
Tiny green and purple balls in tap water filter - harmful? Mike Saltwater Aquarium Equipment 7 08-21-2007 07:02 PM
Water Change Frequency 40gal / 15 fish < 1" each ?? Us5Camp Beginner Freshwater Aquarium 6 01-29-2007 06:32 PM


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:54 AM.