Test Results after Bad Few Weeks - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 14 Old 05-25-2008, 11:36 AM Thread Starter
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Test Results after Bad Few Weeks

I'll admit, I'm terrible. I feel really horrible that I felt like I could just give up like that. After the algae bloom and getting rid of it, I was getting frustrated with the LFS since it always seemed like I could never get the information I needed. I've talked to the LFS and now I have a bit of an understanding why my test results may have differed so much in one week from the test results from the store. So now I'm back into the hobby after several weeks of letting my tank just sit there.

I know, I know. That's bad. I turned the light off (the tank was still exposed to natural sunlight a few hours a day) and just let the filter run. No water changes, no water tests, no adding fresh water. It took about 5 gallons of fresh water last night to fill the tank to the proper level. I turned the light on for a few hours last night and again this morning. I let the water run through all night and tested it just about 30 min ago using API. Here is some information about the tank for background info and the test results from today.

Tank Size: 20g (20L tank)

Filter: Millennium 3000

Light: Nova Extreme T5 High Output Light (Can't remember the other info for the light. I'll write it down when I go to the store and see the same light's box)

Substrate: 1-2inches of Live Sand

Live Rock: 11lbs (3lbs was base rock.)

Inhabitants: A few hermits (I know bad me. Bad decision on my part)

Tank Age: Tank has been in operation for several months. I'll have to look up the exact age of the tank from previous threads.

Test Results:

Ammonia: 0

Nitrite: 0

Nitrate: 100+ppm

So I think for now the tank has cycled, but I will get the opinion of the LFS. He said my tank should be cycled by now, so we shall see. I plan on adding a few more lbs of LR tonight, maybe 3lbs. How will that affect my cycle? Also, I plan on doing a good water change tonight, but how much would be a good water change? 10%, 20% 40%, 50%?
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post #2 of 14 Old 05-25-2008, 11:55 AM Thread Starter
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Update: The tank has been running for almost 3 months.
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post #3 of 14 Old 05-25-2008, 12:57 PM
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Wow with Nitrate at 100 PPM, i would do a 50% then in 2 days 50% again till you get that as low as possible, are you running the filter pads in that canister filter?.

Vistit Burch Aquarium CAL.
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post #4 of 14 Old 05-25-2008, 05:48 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, there are two filter bags in the filter (its not a canister filter though). From back when I used to have freshwater I was told not to throw them out since they develop the bacteria that break down ammonia. I was told to just rinse them off in the tank water that I take out during a water change.

I had the LFS test my water and the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels match perfectly. I also had them test other things. Here are there test results...

pH - 7.79 ( I will be adding buffer during the next time I add fresh water)

Alk - 4.8

Phosphate: .11

Nitrite: 0

Nitrate: 150

Salinity - 1.027 (they said this was high and to do a water change but add fresh water instead of salt. 2 gallons worth and to bring in my water tomorrow to have it tested again)

Calcium: 300

Magnesium: 1120

Ammonia: 0

They said the alkalinity was a little low and the calcium and magnesium could come up too. They didn't tell me what the proper alkalinity should be or the calcium but they said Mag should be somewhere between 1300 and 1500. What are the proper levels of these three things needed for a reef tank?
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post #5 of 14 Old 05-25-2008, 06:09 PM
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Those nitrates are through the roof! How often are you doing water changes? You could use a lot more live rock in order to bring these nitrates down. I would also suggest having your tap water checked for ammonia/nitrites/nitrates as well. If you've got a lot of nitrates coming out of your tap, even keeping up with water changes and having all the live rock in the world isn't going to do you a whole lot of good.
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post #6 of 14 Old 05-25-2008, 06:33 PM Thread Starter
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The Nitrates are normal for what I've been doing (or rather, haven't been doing) I have not done a water change in well over a month in a half. As I said before, its been a bad few weeks. Now I'm back on track and will be getting rid of the nitrates with regular water changes.
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post #7 of 14 Old 05-26-2008, 11:48 AM
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I would start using all R/o Water, Your parimeters are all off, they might come back better if you do a big water changeyou want to shoot for about 8.2 on Ph and 0 for Phoshate and about 1.023 for salinity after the water change just run the carbin in the filter with no pads the pads are housing your nitrates and yes more live rock would help. i dont have all the answers but this is a few ic that will help your problem. I'm doing a weekly water change on mine today ,as mine is only a 40Gal i will change about 16 gals of the water today, because i dont have a refguim my tank my nitrates after 1 week shoot to about 20ppm then after a water change there back to .05ppm.

Vistit Burch Aquarium CAL.
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post #8 of 14 Old 05-26-2008, 02:03 PM Thread Starter
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I'm not sure if the guy was lying but my levels have changed since yesterday. I added some pH buffer for salt water tanks and its supposed to start raising my pH to the desired level of 8.2 (round about) and raise my alk too.

Today's Salinity, Alk, and pH test results:

Salinity: 1.025

Alk: 9

pH: 7.9 <- going up but the stuff said it will take up to 48 hours to raise it completely.

I use the fresh water that the store carries. I believe it is R/O water.
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post #9 of 14 Old 05-26-2008, 04:44 PM
Be careful with LFS. Some are just in it for the money and won't tell you everything.
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post #10 of 14 Old 05-26-2008, 09:29 PM
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Here, as requested, are your target levels.

Salinity - 1.025 - 1.026
ph - 8.2 to 8.4
ammonia - 0
nitrite - 0
nitrate - <20 ppm
calcium - 380 to 450 ppm
alkalinity - 7-11 dKH or 125-200 ppm
magnesium - 1250-1350 ppm

I recommend investing in purchasing yourown RO/DI system as opposed to purchasing water at your supermarket or lfs. you can find an inexpensive RO/DI filter on ebay for about $100.00. You can continue to but your RO from the stores, but you leave the quality of your water in their hands, and will pay a considerable amount more then necessary. just to give you an idea, the cost to purchase water for the water changes and top-off of a 55 gallon tank w/ 30 gallon sump with an avg evap rate of 1.5 gpd is just under $300.00/year.

As for maintaining your ph, calcium, alk, and magnesium, I recommend implementation of b-ionic (or similar) 2 part, Kalkwasser added to you top-off water, and a magnesium supplement. 30% total water volume in water changes monthly with a good quality salt mix.

As for getting your nitrate levels down, I'd follow the afforementioned advice of several larger volume (>50%) water changes every few days with daily testing. I'd also recommend having the water you are adding to the tank tested. if the RO membrane in the filter at your store is deteriorated, you might as well be adding plain tapwater (no, I'm not suggesting that you do). This may well be the cause of your previous problems with nuisense algaes.

Take pride in what you do, for it is a reflection of who you are.

The Haunting Grounds - SKAustin's Reef Diary - Part 2 (the 75g upgrade)
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