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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My nitrates are out of control. I purchased my system 3 years ago from a neighbor for $600, he was losing his home . It was under cared for when I got it. We moved it with no problem and got everything going again within 3 hours. He did not have any salt so we had to use the same water. The small fish store we have in town did not have salt in stock.
Knowing nothing about saltwater I took a sample to my LFS. Everything was OK except the nitrates were off the scale. I worked and read, then I applied what I read... Now 3 years later my nitrates are still very high, like 80.
Whats odd is that this AM they were at 20, when I got home they were about 80. I tested again and came up with the same reading. I did not know they could change that quickly. My ammonia and Nitrites are zero. I expected a slight rise in both as the rock I took out and washed had to restart their cycle, I did see a small rise in Ammonia for about 2 days. Nitrates remained at an undetectable level.
For the past year I have spend very little time caring for it. I added RO/DI water every other day and cleaned the glass every other week, maybe.
About 2 weeks ago I got the bug to get it looking nice again. I washed some of the upper LR to remove the very thick Algae that was growing. I replaced the PC light system that had 2 year old bulbs with a LED setup (smart move). I have done 3 30 Gal water changes over the last 10 days that included vacuuming the junk off the surface of the sand bed. I removed everything from the sump and cleaned out the mess that was on the bottom. I set it back up with one section as a Refugium and the second side full of cycled LR from the tank. I have a little bit on Micro Algae in the refugium. It appears to be doing ok, not washed out but its too soon to say it is growing. I have 18 watt PC hood and a 18 watt grow light bulb on it.
I built a DIY de-nitrater 2 years ago, never got it cycled. Gave up on it last week and shut it off. I plan on removing it this weekend.
I am concerned that my newly added snails and crabs are going to die from the nitrate level.
I have another 30 gals circulating right now, I plan on a water change on Friday. Bio load is not really heavy.
Any Ideas on my next step? Is there something I am missing?
Nitrates cause gray hair! *r2
 

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Nitrates are caused simply because the nitrate consumers are not keeping up with the nitrate producers.

you cleaned up the tank, removed tons of algae and now have nitrates?

Should be enough said.

algae consumes nitrates.

Stock the refugium with macro algaes and get them thriving. nitrates will drop down.

my .02
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Beaslbob,
Thank you for that enlightening post. Sometimes the answer is so close we can not see it. I knew that algae grew form excessive nitrates but failed to put 2 and 2 together that removing the bad algae is actually taking away the only consumer of the nitrates. I have some more micro algae on the way, should be here tomorrow. I will continue the water changes to keep the nitrates from going off the chart again.
Thanks again.
 

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Hopefully you ordered (and received) macro algaes. (not micro)

let us know how it works.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Got the MACRO algae and its working quite well, below 20 now.

Thanks for the help....
 

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