07-02-2009, 08:31 PM
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Nice job and good questions.
First, lets talk about biological filtration. You said that biological filtration leads to high nitrates. When applying this question to your dish scrubber system, or any other man-made biological filter, this is a correct statement. The very concept of these biological filters is to break down ammonia and nitrite, with an output of nitrate. It is the INTENTIONAL outcome and purpose of the filter design. You designed a filter to add Nitrates to your aquarium. (long pause.... think about it.... let it sink in for a second)
On the flip side, you will have 10 pounds of live rock and live sand. These offer natural forms of biological filtration which break down ammonia and nitrite, and eventually break down nitrates, with an end result of nitrogen gas, which leaves the system naturally. You have practically zero introduction of nitrate into the aquarium.
You need to remove your dish scrubbers immediately. Just take them out. Replace them with one of the following:
1) A small protein skimmer, set down inside the sump.
2) A chamber full of activated carbon that you rinse weekly and replace monthly. Given that your aquarium is only 10 gallons, this option will work, but will be more expensive long term.
Here is something for you to do as you consider this advice. Take a minute to read the "build" threads located in the Pictures & Videos forum. There are a dozen or so of these projects posted by experienced and successful marine keepers. You will not find a single aquarium that utilizes biological filtration.