Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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ImShellyC 06-28-2013 08:59 PM

High nitrate levels
We have a 125 gallon saltwater tank with a HOB Red Octopus protein skimmer with live sand, live rock and crabs and snails. Wanting to add fish and later some soft coral, but we are having trouble with high nitrate levels. All other water qualities are good. After reading another post, we checked our water source and the water has a high nitrate level. What can we do? Should we add some kind of chemical to the water before putting it in the tank? We are doing weekly 10%-20% water changes, but if the water is high in nitrates from the source, that is not going to help.

wake49 06-29-2013 06:45 AM

I would suggest using RO/Di water. Tap water usually has other metals that aren't considered 'heavy metals' that are not neutralized by conditioners. These metals, copper and such, can be toxic if you are thinking of doing coral in the future. I think you are probably fine for now, but I would start using RO/Di water going forward.

ImShellyC 06-29-2013 01:19 PM

We are using water from a well and I've heard most people don't recommend that. I've been using this water for years in my freshwater tanks and that is just what we decided to use to set up the new one.

So if we use RO/DI water, that would require us to buy another piece of equipment, right?

Is there any way to test the water we are using to see if the regular conditioners would work before we invest in something else? This aquarium has already cost a fortune and we don't even have fish yet. LOL

Of course I don't want to use water that is going to harm the fish or coral, but I didn't realize tap water would have stuff in it that would do that. Freshwater fish are not that picky. :)

wake49 06-29-2013 09:38 PM

It is expensive, lol

You can use a TDS meter to see what the total dissolved solids are in your water, but I guarantee that it will be above 0.

RO/Di water is the best for the marine aquarium. Tap water can be risky and have undesirable elements that conditioners can not take care of.

ImShellyC 06-30-2013 12:41 PM

We decided to go ahead and order the RO/DI equipment. Dr. Fosters had one on sale for $150. We figured that even if the conditioners worked we would have to continue to buy them and the other is a one time investment. Hopefully once we do a partial water change a couple of times with the RO water, our nitrates will be down where we want them.

Thanks for the advise.

beaslbob 07-01-2013 09:49 AM


you should add macro algae to the system. Best with a refugium.

Or even an algae turf scrubber.

This idea is the get the added algae to consume the nitrates.

My .02

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