Safe Zone for Nitrates in a Reef Tank - Page 4 - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #31 of 38 Old 09-02-2009, 09:14 PM
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"HA!" OK, Did you test your nitrates with a better more accurate kit like LaMotte or Salifert?
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post #32 of 38 Old 09-02-2009, 09:54 PM Thread Starter
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Nope. The nitrate results are a bit difficult to read accurately with the AP kits. I thought about the Salifert kits but they aren't available locally. I know where I can get them though. About a 1 hr drive to That Pet Place, Lancaster, PA. That's where I get most of my livestock. I'll check them out. This weekend. Promise!
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post #33 of 38 Old 09-02-2009, 10:28 PM
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I think you number's will change with Salifert kits. Even if it changes for the worse, you will know what you are dealing with.

LFS do charge a lot for those kits, Check out some online stores, i was able to get MH bulbs, kits, salt etc. & have it at my door in 3 days, for a lot less then my LFS.

If you do get the kit post the results.
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post #34 of 38 Old 09-18-2009, 07:52 AM Thread Starter
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Here's an update on several things. You asked, so here they are.

Over the past 10 days I've spent most all of my spare time reading about nitrates, nitrate removal and skimmers. I have found this to be true: No matter what skimmer you read about, when you read the reviews, there are ALWAYS users who claim it's the worst skimmer on the market. Also, I found that for every skimmer out there, expensive ones and inexpensive ones, there are mods that can be done to make them function better. There is no one skimmer that will make everyone happy. Some people would complain if they were hung with a new rope, and many of these same folks have reef tanks with skimmers.

I have a Seaclone 100 on my 20 gal reef and I have liked it since I first set it up. It skimmed and gunked up just fine. Nonetheless, my nitrates kept rising every day about 2.5 ppm (I'm now using the Salifert test kit).

Now comes the important part of this post. I made one simple mod to my Seaclone that I used several years ago on my worthless Skilter Super II Noise Maker. I dropped an airstone down the center of the chamber and attached an airline to a Whisper pump. I now have Seaclone bubbles out the wazoo, and even more skimmate than before.

The other change I made - I removed everthing in my HOB power filter that I had stuffed in there for nitrate removal, and replaced all of it with a nylon bag of activated carbon. That's it. That's all that's in the HOB now.

Result. Four days ago I did a 3 gal WC and dropped my nitrates to 7.5 ppm (Salifert). It is now Friday (four days later) and my nitrates have not moved from 7.5 ppm. Tomorrow I'll make another WC and see if I can bring the nitrates down a bit more. I really would like to see how long I can keep nitrates steady without any upward movement at all.

Comments, condemnations all welcome.
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post #35 of 38 Old 11-23-2009, 11:41 AM Thread Starter
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When I started this thread I never imagined I would have nearly 1,200 views. Someone must be interested in something that appears here!!

If you go back to page 3, you'll see what my tank looks like as of today, Nov 23, 09. I've made some minor changes since my last post on Sept 18, so here is the update.

Remember first of all that I do not recommend that anyone begin their reef tank with an undergravel filter. It's a no no for sure. My reef has an undergravel filter because I "sort of morphed" to a reef from a fish only tank, and never really intended initially to move to a reef.

Nonetheless, when I added some live tock and matters began looking good, then even better, I became serious and decided that I was going to make this reef tank work. For the past three months my filtration system has included:

About 12 lbs live rock
An undergravel filter (ouch)
A protein skimmer (which I might remove because my Poly Filters I'm sure are doing all the work)
A HOB power filter that contains only 1 8"x4" Poly Filter, folded over. Nothing else.

If you don't know anything about Poly Filters, check them out. I sincerely believe they are miracle workers.

For 4 months my nitrates have been steady at 5.0, phosphates at zero. I do one 15% WC a week, only to replace the elements and nutrients that the corals consume. That's it.

The only problem I've had that I can't figure out is some of my shrooms have shriveled and they appear to be diasappearing to nothing. Puzzling, because other shrooms are growing quite large, and some are spreading.

I've had a few other problems but they were explainable and corrected.

Any clues on the mushroom problem are appreciated.

Last edited by gus1911; 11-23-2009 at 11:43 AM.
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post #36 of 38 Old 01-29-2010, 10:18 AM Thread Starter
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Over 1,800 views must mean that someone is interested in something in this thread (???). As I add corals to the tank I update the pic on page 3 so if anyone is interested in what's happening you can take a peek at page 3. I if I post anymore I'll include the date in the pic's corner.

Nothing has changed in months. 20 gal, undergravel filter (ouch), 96 watts light, 15 lbs live rock, zero phosphates, nitrates about 7 - 8 ppm and it never changes, no skimmer (removed that 4 months ago) and replaced it with Poly Filters in a small HOB Whisper filter, 3 gal water change weekly. Supplements are Kent Essential Supplements and Coral Frenzy as instructed.
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post #37 of 38 Old 01-30-2010, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by tales View Post
"I have always had good experiences with the SeaClone Skimmers "
What skimmers have you compared it to?
There is a chance you think its doing good, A good skimmer can full a collection cup with crap that looks like you did an oil change on your car.
There is a difference in skimmers Good ones like ETSS, BK, MSX, ER will pull a lot more skimmate out of your tank then a SeaClone.
I just noticed this comment, some 4 months later. I was the person who said i've always had good experience with SeaClone Skimmers. The other skimmers listed above are better, no question, but this is a 20 gallon soft coral display that would be very adequately skimmed with a Sea Clone. I will leave it at that.

By the way gus, beautiful display. As we discussed before, I don't think the u/g filter is causing any negative effects on your system due to the particle size of your substrate and extensive amount of live rock. However, I don't think it is providing any benefits either, other than water flow.

I appreciate your comments on Poly Filter. I have intended to give it a try in the sump of my 180 FOWLR.

In any case, awesome job.
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post #38 of 38 Old 01-30-2010, 08:55 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Louisville. I liked my Sea Clone a lot, however, when I removed it and replaced it with the Poly Filters, there's been absolutely no change in water parameters.

I'm positive that your clue to my success is the large amount of very porous live rock - you mentioned that early on in this thread. At any rate, I never really expected to do this well with an undergravel filter. It's got to be the live rock, and the Poly Filters because I have nothing else working positively for me. Moreover, I never intended to go with hard corals but I have frogspawm, pagoda,and brain that have been flourishing for several months. I just added trumpet and montipora - let's see what happens in the next several months.

Thanks for the advice and the encouragement.
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