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duprst
01-14-2015, 08:56 PM
I am having a heck of a time with my tank and am thinking about hanging up the hobby. I have a 25 gal tank that has been driving me crazy. I can't seem to keep my nitrates under control. I tested them today and they are at least 40 ppm. And my fish are dying or just seem to disappear. I had a clown and a cardinal some how ending up being stuck to one of my power heads. My coral don't seem to be as lively as before. How the heck can I get my levels under control the fastest and keep them that way. I am running a protein skimmer and a power head on each end of my tank. Any help would be appreciated. This is very frustrating right now. I know that having such a small tank is part of the problem, due to any changes take effect quickly good or bad.

Joe
01-14-2015, 09:04 PM
Can you give more of the history of your tank? Age, amount of rock, number of fish, sand depth, type of filtration? Water change, carbon, and some denitrifying bacteria could be good steps. More info will help people give other suggestions.

Joe
01-14-2015, 09:04 PM
Pictures might help too.

Romebaby
01-14-2015, 09:09 PM
Also what are you feeding & how often?

coach
01-14-2015, 09:12 PM
Do you have a sump or is it a hob skimmer?

Murfman
01-15-2015, 11:17 AM
Nitrates don't kill fish very often and not usually at those levels. I have had nitrates over 100 for months at a time and no ill effects. How old is the set up?

Coral Xpressions
01-15-2015, 12:51 PM
WHAT Test KIT are you using

duprst
01-15-2015, 12:52 PM
I have had my tank up and running for about 7 months now. I have a 25 gal tank with 22 lbs of live rock, my sand depth is about 2 inches, I tried to change the water ever week but more often its about every other week. I do a 10-20% change. I have a HOB protein skimmer and nothing else. I am now down to 3 fish, about 8 hermit crabs, 2 turbos, and two other smaller snails. I also have a few zoa and some other coral. But nothing is as lively as it was. I have an issue with green hair algae but I have some stuff growing on the back of my tank glass. I will try to get some pictures up this evening.

Joeys Tank
01-15-2015, 02:46 PM
I have had my system up for 6 months now and I was trying to get my head around high nutrients also (nitrates and phosphates). Like mentioned by Murfman, 40ppm of nitrates will not kill off fish, but it will create a stressed environment. If the fish are healthy, you won't notice anything. Algae growth is a prime indicator of high nutrients and why you are having an issue with GHA. However, something else is going on in the tank.

On topic, how do you get this under control the fastest? Water changes is the quickest solution to bringing down nitrates. A 20% WC will reduce nitrates by 20% (approximately). What is your target level for nitrates? This mainly comes down to the type of coral you are keeping. Softies are more tolerant than stoney coral, but definitely want to get it below 10ppm (less than 1ppm is more ideal). I would recommend small WCs of about 1 gallon per day for a week because you don't want to do a BIG WC and add further stress to the system. This should bring your nitrates down from 40ppm to 30ppm. You are using a HOB skimmer. Any filter floss? Any Purigen? What are your phosphate levels at?

Another thing you can look into is carbon dosing. This is different than running a bag of carbon. Nitrifying bacteria break down your wastes (ammonia and nitrites) and denitrifying bacteria convert nitrates to nitrogen gas. The growth cycle of denitrifying bacteria takes longer than nitrifying bacteria. What carbon dosing does is provide a liquid food source to "spur" denitrifying bacterial growth. Vodka is one approach. I am currently using NO3-PO4-x because I had elevated nitrates and phosphates (40ppm and 1.85ppm respectively). Using NO3-PO4-x, you will see a quick reduction of your nitrates (phosphates take longer to pull out). Using this along with small, daily WCs will bring your nitrates quickly under control (1 to 2 weeks tops).

Taking care of the nutrients will help with your GHA issue as well as help perk up your coral. As far as what else is stressing your fish will require more looking into.

Levi
01-15-2015, 03:05 PM
I have had my system up for 6 months now and I was trying to get my head around high nutrients also (nitrates and phosphates). Like mentioned by Murfman, 40ppm of nitrates will not kill off fish, but it will create a stressed environment. If the fish are healthy, you won't notice anything. Algae growth is a prime indicator of high nutrients and why you are having an issue with GHA. However, something else is going on in the tank.

On topic, how do you get this under control the fastest? Water changes is the quickest solution to bringing down nitrates. A 20% WC will reduce nitrates by 20% (approximately). What is your target level for nitrates? This mainly comes down to the type of coral you are keeping. Softies are more tolerant than stoney coral, but definitely want to get it below 10ppm (less than 1ppm is more ideal). I would recommend small WCs of about 1 gallon per day for a week because you don't want to do a BIG WC and add further stress to the system. This should bring your nitrates down from 40ppm to 30ppm. You are using a HOB skimmer. Any filter floss? Any Purigen? What are your phosphate levels at?

Another thing you can look into is carbon dosing. This is different than running a bag of carbon. Nitrifying bacteria break down your wastes (ammonia and nitrites) and denitrifying bacteria convert nitrates to nitrogen gas. The growth cycle of denitrifying bacteria takes longer than nitrifying bacteria. What carbon dosing does is provide a liquid food source to "spur" denitrifying bacterial growth. Vodka is one approach. I am currently using NO3-PO4-x because I had elevated nitrates and phosphates (40ppm and 1.85ppm respectively). Using NO3-PO4-x, you will see a quick reduction of your nitrates (phosphates take longer to pull out). Using this along with small, daily WCs will bring your nitrates quickly under control (1 to 2 weeks tops).

Taking care of the nutrients will help with your GHA issue as well as help perk up your coral. As far as what else is stressing your fish will require more looking into.

Well said +1

Campbell
01-15-2015, 03:22 PM
Also, just to add here as that last post was great, in a small tank, depending on how bad the hair algae is, the oxygen levels may be depleted enough to kill or stress your fish. Without a sump to aid in surface air/water exchange and with the algae depleting the ambient O2 you may need to take steps to maintain appropriate oxygen levels... This could be as simple as pointing a powerhead at the surface of the tank water. Just a thought though and you may already be doing this but just trying to help...


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Murfman
01-15-2015, 03:41 PM
sea hare will eat the existing hair algae. I dose Lanthanum Chloride in my 300, to get rid of old phosphate that is embedded in my rock work.

Balz3352
01-15-2015, 04:20 PM
I'd be wary of using carbon dosing in any new tank unless you have years of experience in tank husbandry and carbon dosing just my opinion

Joe
01-15-2015, 04:48 PM
It seems like a few more water changes over the next couple of days would be a good idea. Randy Holmes Farley did a great article on water changes that covered the impact of large or very frequent small ones. You can search Google for it, but the main point was that there wasn't a huge difference between really frequent small ones and big ones as long as you were doing them - meaning you don't have to do huge ones to get benefits. The main point was to do them one way or the other.

Joeys Tank
01-15-2015, 05:06 PM
Here is a link to take you to the ReefKeeping site where you can read through Randy Holmes-Farley articles (and many others).

http://reefkeeping.com/issues/author/rhf.php

charleshardy5
01-15-2015, 05:43 PM
I'd be wary of using carbon dosing in any new tank unless you have years of experience in tank husbandry and carbon dosing just my opinion
Was just about to say the same then I saw this! opinion yes, sound advice none the less, I was going to start either cabin dosing or a biopellet reactor on my 180 from day one once I get it up, have since thru research decided to let the rank establish first

Prepare Yourself! http://tinyurl.com/nsxj9k3

scrumpto
01-15-2015, 07:18 PM
The solution to pollution is dilution. Hence a larger tank or a sump delays the problem you're experiencing. Additionally, filtration such as a skimmer is doing the exact same thing -- simply delaying the next water change. More on this in a minute.

What you have is a nutrient problem which is being compounded by a few other things. As someone mentioned, oxygen could be part of the problem though the skimmer should be helping with this. Powerheads are known fish killers which is one of the reasons everyone has moved to propeller style circulation pumps.

Regardless of the cause of the problem, removing the toxins from the tank is the solution. I suggest the following:

I'm assuming you're either using an RO/DI system and a good quality salt like Instant Ocean for your makeup water or you're buying saltwater from a local fish store. If that's not the case, start there and get that fixed first.

1. Prepare a fresh batch of 25 gallons of salt water and get it to the same temperature as your tank.

2. Remove the live rock, dip it in standard 3% hydrogen peroxide, wait five minutes, spray it off with a pressure sprayer and place in a five gallon bucket of fresh salt water until you're ready to put it back in. This water should be different than the water in #1. This will remove/kill most of the green hair algae.

3. If you can, remove your fish (and any other critters) at this point and place them in a five gallon bucket of water from the fish tank. You only need to fill it about one quarter of the way.

4. Clean anything else off the glass of your tank with a scraper. Then vacuum your gravel and drain the tank of all the yucky water. I don't give this advice gently as I never recommend gravel vacuuming but you most likely have nutrient build up in your sand bed and live rock and this is the fastest way to remove it.

5. Get as much algae off your live rock as possible and place back into your tank.

6. Refill the tank with new salt water without stirring up the sand bed.

7. Add your fish and critters back in.

I don't have time to argue all the points for why I recommend the above so let me put it this way. New salt water "can" be stressful to your tank inhabitants but it will be much less stressful than the soup they're currently living in. Your skimmer can't keep up with your nutrient load especially when the green hair algae releases more nutrients as it dies.

Going forward you need to be using carbon and some other media like seachem purigen in a reactor to better filter your water as a skimmer can't remove everything. Additionally, massive water changes done less frequently remove more toxins and nasty stuff than small ones more frequently which are always removing some of the good stuff you just put back in.

By and large, larger water changes of 50% or more will remove the majority of the problems you're facing. You'll also need to consider what and how much you're feeding. Lastly, I wouldn't add one more critter to the tank until it's more stable.

As for something which eats hair algae, this is hit or miss and in my experience, if you're not removing the pollutants then just getting rid of the hair algae isn't solving the problem (and you'll probably just replace it with cyno).

For what it's worth.

duprst
01-18-2015, 12:28 PM
Ok so I just checked the water salinity in my tank and it is currently at 1.30-1.31 I am thinking this has a lot to do with the problems I am having. Does that sound like something that would cause these issues?

Murfman
01-18-2015, 01:01 PM
Ok so I just checked the water salinity in my tank and it is currently at 1.30-1.31 I am thinking this has a lot to do with the problems I am having. Does that sound like something that would cause these issues?

How are you testing your salinity? High salinity can kill livestock, yes.

howard24
01-18-2015, 04:07 PM
If you are looking unload some stock let me know. I'd be interest in some stuff.

labinc02
01-18-2015, 06:21 PM
Ok so I just checked the water salinity in my tank and it is currently at 1.30-1.31 I am thinking this has a lot to do with the problems I am having. Does that sound like something that would cause these issues?

Yes. When you top off your tank do you add salt or fresh? Or do you only do water changes? I made that mistake with my first saltwater. I always topped off with salt, and little did I realize I was slowly concentrating the water.

Sharkboy99999
01-18-2015, 08:03 PM
Yes. When you top off your tank do you add salt or fresh? Or do you only do water changes? I made that mistake with my first saltwater. I always topped off with salt, and little did I realize I was slowly concentrating the water.

Yeah when I set up my first tank I thought there was a leak .


Sent by me
Tb

duprst
01-20-2015, 09:42 PM
Ok so I am currently upgrading to a 75 Gal tank with a sump. First off I have no idea what is needed in the sump. Right now I just have the inlet and a pump to the outlet. What else do I need for the sump part of the tank. Next I am transferring livestock from the 25 gal to the 75 gal. I did as scrumpto suggested and soaked the live rocks in 3% HP for 5 mins. But my next question is can I transfer the water and sand in to the new tank or not?

charleshardy5
01-20-2015, 10:34 PM
You can yes, but if you transfer rhe sand be ready for a cycle, you'll be stirring up and releasing all the buildup in the sand now and it could make a mess of things, I would at least wash the sand before you transfer it if you're going that route

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