Super High Nitrate - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 10 Old 06-22-2008, 09:52 AM Thread Starter
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Super High Nitrate

Well I have a 125 gallon freshwater tank that is about a year to a year and a half old. Its been well established the whole. About 2 weeks ago i added two medium sized algea eaters to the tank and within 12 hours the entire tank was spotless. I was like wowo....thats goood for me. I didn't think anything of it. A week after that i decided to add a 10 gallon refugium to it. I added the refugium and did a water test and CRAP......the Nitrates were off the 200+ ppm. I was freakin and immediately did a 25% water change. I poured 4oz of amquel+ in the tank and added 3 large pouches of Nitra-Zorb to the refugium. After about 8-10 hrs i checked the nitrate again and it seems to be creaping down but is still high.

I have 18 fish in the tank and a bunch of wisteria and dwarf hairgrass in the refugium with a 15watt 10,000k coralife bulb. I have been reading a bunch of forums to read about the toxicity of nitrate and seems that most people are not AS concerned about the Nitrate over the ammonia and nitrite. The water is at 80F with a salinity of 1.005, ammonia is .5ppm and nitrite is about .5ppm :( . So do you think the refugium will help with the absorbsion of the toxins or what???? Anything will help. It seems at first the fish were breathing kind of hard, but now they are slightly better looking..????
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post #2 of 10 Old 06-22-2008, 10:04 AM
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What is the stocking of your tank? What kind of filtration are you running? Have you checked the water parameters of your tap water?
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post #3 of 10 Old 06-22-2008, 10:11 AM Thread Starter
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Tapwater has 0ppm of nitrate and nitrite. Along with the refugium i have a marineland magnum350 wet/dry filter with activateed carbon then pumps through a uv sterilizer(which i turned off yesterday) then back to tank. The fish?? Can't remember the exact scientific names of them but 4 tinfoil barbs that are about 4-5 inches, 6 africn cichlids that are 2-3 inches, 2 bala sharks 3.5 inches, 2 bichers that are about 4 inches, 1 catfish, 2 algae eaters and the last fish i can't remember what its called?? He's about 3.5 inches
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post #4 of 10 Old 06-22-2008, 11:13 AM
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How often do you usually do the water changes? Do you do gravel vacs with your water changes? Any recent treatments for any of the fish that would have thrown things out of whack?

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post #5 of 10 Old 06-22-2008, 11:19 AM Thread Starter
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I do a gravel vac/water cahnge every week at about 15-20%. Change the outer filter on my sytem about once a month and change the carbon evry 2-3 months. My tank was rockin along it seems untill i added the two algae eater.. I was thinking that the algae was the reason my nitrates were low, because the algae was consuming that toxin. Once the algae eater ate it all the nitrate had nowhere to go??? That was my first thought. Is that right or wrong??? I have since turned off my UV sterelizer, hopefully produce the algae again. Or should i just get rid of the algae eaters??????Weird!!
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post #6 of 10 Old 06-22-2008, 04:33 PM
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How much algae was in the tank before you added the algae eaters? I suppose it's possible that the algae was really doing a good job at keeping your nitrates in check. What kind of fish are these "algae eaters"? Are they plecostomus? How big are they? These fish are HUGE waste factories so if they ate *all* of your nitrate-reducing algae they would in turn produce a lot of nitrates in the tank. Considering the size of your fish (i.e. not yet fully grown by any means) your tank isn't that heavily stocked for a 125g, so it seems strange that your nitrates are so high.

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post #7 of 10 Old 06-22-2008, 05:07 PM Thread Starter
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I believe they are plecostomus and they are both about 2-2.5 inches. They did produce alot of waste. After they ate all the algae they was waste all on the bottom of the tank...I bet you they are the problem. There wasn't a whole LOT of algae, i guess if it were consolidated to one area maybe.............20"x20" patch of glass????
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post #8 of 10 Old 06-22-2008, 07:03 PM Thread Starter
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Well i just did a 35 gallon water change and took the algae eaters out of the tank. We'll see if that helps by tomorrow
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post #9 of 10 Old 06-22-2008, 07:20 PM
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What do you have in the refugium? Your plant life should eventually eat up some of the nitrate (different species, of course, do it a different rates). There are lots of good posts concerning nitrate levels on this board as well.

I would also recommend stepping up your filtration, if I read your post right , you just have the Mag 350 on there right? This is probably not going to be quite enough considering the bioload. You may consider doing a full blown sump setup or at least slapping a good 300+ GPH power filter on there (much less expensive).

Fresh water algae, especially the amount you are talking about, has a very small biomass and does not so dramatically effect water levels... I would first look to improving the filtration situation, do alot of water changes (don't forget to condition the water some way), and then re-visit the nitrate problem once the above is established.
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post #10 of 10 Old 06-22-2008, 07:29 PM Thread Starter
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What do you think are some good brands for the filter upgrade...I know the one i have right now is a litle under-rated for the tank, i was hoping the refugium would be a biological filter for the tank also right??? I have a lot of water wisteria and a small amount of dwarf hairgrass. I also planted some various bulbs today. Also it has been about 20hrs since i have fed the fish...should i feed them a little or wait some more. Is it going to add more stress if they haven't eaten in a while??
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