re-establish bio filter - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 5 Old 08-21-2010, 02:23 PM Thread Starter
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re-establish bio filter

I am new to reef aquarium keeping. I am/was using an Aquapure De-nitrator That had clogged. I back flushed it and it caused a huge ammonia spike in the tank. Now, several days later the ammonia is still high after 15 to 20 gallon water changes in a 55w/ 40 pounds pf live rock in tank w/ 4 inch sand bed. Many zoanthids are still closed up. Everything is sloughing off. Am I going to have to start at square one? Replace all the live rock, re initiate the bio filter, and generally clean all the power heads? I have a 10 gallon sump w/ cured live rock, and a 2" sand bed hooked to an over flow box. I have a four bulb t5 light system with blue and atinic bulbs.
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post #2 of 5 Old 08-21-2010, 04:13 PM Thread Starter
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re establish bio filter

I should have said that I made the 15 to 20 gallon water changes each morning since Tuesday August 17th.

Some of the corals try to peek out now and then, the leather coral, the xenia, and one or two of the clove polyps. I am thinking of putting a dozen or so hermits in the tank to pick away at the filmy material that waves around on the live rock. Any suggestions? Would that help? Thanks.
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post #3 of 5 Old 08-21-2010, 05:16 PM
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You really shouldn't ever use a product like a de nitrator. The best thing for you to do to lower your nitrates would be removing a lot of your sand. Cut it down to a 2 inch sand bed max. Aldo do regular water changes and use a protein skimmer or carbon. You might have to start over butim not sure.
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post #4 of 5 Old 08-21-2010, 10:16 PM
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i dont think you should touch the sand, atleast not yet and if you do, i would take it down to more like 1 inch, not 2. you want less then 1 inch OR 4 - 6 inches. 2-3 inches seems to trap debris. the rock in the sump may be trapping debris as well, since this is a slow flowing area. you may be better off putting it all in your main display.
i would continue with water changes. what is your actually amm reading? what about other params?
i to, wonder why you ran this as it seems like your tank is setup nicely. there should be no need for additional biofiltration besides plenty of live rock, other things like canister filters, floss, catch debris and allow them to break down. you dont want that on a saltwater tank. i dont understand why you'd have such high amm. readings anyways unless the tank was farely new.
i dont know if adding hermits would do much of anything, if not hurt things. inverts esp. dont like amm, nitrite or high nitrates. may or may not kill them, which would just raise these levels even more.
maybe up your water changes to x2 a week if thats possible.
anyways, welcome to the forum.
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post #5 of 5 Old 08-22-2010, 07:14 AM
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OF2F - I think you misread the post. The topic is about a denitrator, not a traditional biofilter. A bit of a different discussion.

Denitrator's are actually very popular in some parts of the world and have been used with great success by many reefers. I personally have no experience with these units. I use a deep sand bed system of 4'' to 6'' of aragonite sand to accomplish denitrification. I really don't have much advice, not knowing the chemistry behind what exactly the denitrator released into this tank causing the ammonia to spike.

Have you tested alkalinity, calcium, and pH?
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