Originally Posted by Pasfur
Did you say Nitrates have reached 80ppm???? This is a crazy high number, unless you are curing live rock. Can you give some more background? When did you add the live rock to the tank? Was it cured at the LFS, or did it still have a strong odor when you purchased it? What livestock if any do you already have?
I have rarely if ever seen Nitrate go above 20ppm in the cycling stage. Another thought, have you tested your source water for nitrate?
I did say 80ppm although it could be 40ppm - honestly I have a hard time telling the color difference between the two on the card itself with my API test kit and an even harder time trying to tell what color the water is. I think that it's on the lighter side of 80 and the darker side of 40.
Yes, I am curing live rock. I put it all in the tank about 2.5 weeks ago - 40 pounds of un-cured and one seven pound cured rock. Added a 4 inch sand bed a few days after (argonite or whatever it is called right from the bag). Saw an ammonia spike in the first four days and then saw a nitrite spike. By the end of the first week, Nitrites were at 1 ppm and Nitrates were at 10 ppm. It's stayed there until the past couple of days when the Nitrates started skyrocketing up.
The only thing that I had done in between was gotten some sand from a cycled tank from the LFS as you had suggested and added it to my sand bed. I did this about two days before the Nitrate levels started rising.
Tank is a 50 gallon cube with 10 gallon built in sump. Filtration is a low quality skimmer that I'm just now been getting to work as it should (it's been running the whole time), a bio-pad or sponge (you know the blue on one side white on the other stuff) and a bag of carbon which was changed out once about a week ago.
I have two power heads in the tank and feel that it has pretty good circulation.
Today's readings are:
Temp: 76 degrees (has been very constant)
SG: 1.025 (also very constant)
PH: 8.4 (slightly up, has been 8.2 for last week and a half, incuding yesterday)
NH3: 0 - has been 0 for a week and a half with the exception of a small spike up to .25 after I added the sand from my LFS
No2 - 1 ppm (although sometimes it looks like 5ppm like in the photo below - it better matches 1ppm to the eye, though) - has been this way for a week and a half after spiking at 5ppm at the end of the first week.
No3 - 80 ppm (maybe a little less depending on how you read the colors) had been at 10 ppm for a week (although there was little or no color difference between the first set of drops and the second making me think that it was mainly No2) and has been rising the last few days.
KH: 9.6 degrees (when I first did the test a week ago it was 10.2)
For most of the time, I've kept lighting down to 2 or 3 blue lights (T5) and just yesterday I started adding a couple of white lights in as well. Lights are on maybe 8-10 hours a day.
I've done one water change after the first week (10 out of 50 gallons) when I was reading the Nitrate levels wrong (wasn't shaking vial after adding 1st set of drops) and thought that Nitrate levels were at 160ppm. I've since discovered my error and a few days ago took some water to my LFS so that they can test it and they got the same readings that I did.
Tank is totally covered with diatoms. Just recently I noticed more air bubbles forming just beneath the surface of the sand. Cool stuff is definitely growing on the rocks, more so on the one that I bought cured (now has green mossy stuff on it and a few other unidentified treats). Patches of caroline algae are starting to grow on the un-cured rocks - although it's hard to tell underneath all of the diatom dust.
I'll check my source water in a few minutes - I did check my standby saltwater batch a week ago when I was wondering why my Nitrites were stuck at 1ppm and it registered 0. I didn't check it for Nitrates but I will soon and report back.
Here's photos, that's for your time and your help!
BTW, first shot of API test kit is with white balance corrected in photoshop at the expense of some over saturation. Second shot is some photo as it came off the camera (flash on).