Live rock question

I have a 55 gal that I am having trouble getting the nitrates to come down. It has been up for about 6 mos now. I discovered the nitrates was coming from my tap water (which I plan on buying an RO unit). LFS suggested I used this stuff called prime and these pads that I put in my filter. I used both of them and my nitrates were coming down. Last week I tested it and they were 40ppm(they were 160ppm+). I just retested and they have gone back up to at least 80ppm or more. I have not added anything to the tank. What could this be ? Also I want to add more live rock to the tank because I only have about 30lbs in it now. Should I put the rock in now or should I wait till the nitrates are where I need them to be?

How is your skimmer working? RO/DI would be a priority. Have your checked your PO4?

I dont have a skimmer on it yet. Not sure what is PO4? The only thing in the tank is 2 damsels and 30lbs of rock

i would recommend de nitrate from seachem my trates ran around 10 and wouldn’t come down any more i threw some de nitrate in and 0 in a couple months

Same issue here…filled my tank up with tap water before checking the nitrates. I used De-Nitrate (takes a few weeks for it to come online and start working) and LOTS of water changes, and large ones. I even ran bio-pellets for a few months.

If you’re running a fugue, I suggest some cheatomorpha. Nitrates are the last piece of the nitrogen cycle. You need anerobic bacteria (bacteria that exist is very low to zero levels of oxygen (deep inside the live rock, or within a deep sandbed) to convert the nitrates to nitrogen gas. What some of us do is run macroalgea in our fuge. Calurpa and Cheatomorpha seem to be the most popular, with cheatomorpha being the least risky. Cheato actually consumes the nitrates as it grows. Once it gets too big for your fuge you just cut a chunk off, throw it out or give it to a club member, and let it keep growing. Outside of my skimmer (removing leftover waste/food) and the cheatomorpha, I am doing nothing but regular water changes and my nitrates have been at 10ppm…I just added a BUNCH of rock to the system which should help get the rest of it down.

Goodluck, and keep at it. It’s a huge pain, but once you beat it, you’ll for sure have all the skills to keep it in check going forward.

I am sorry but I am very new at this and all of what you said is Greek to me. No clue what a fuge is or Calurpa and Cheatomorpha. And is De-Nitrates the actual name of the product?

Get your Google on, “Knowing is half the battle”. De-Nitrate by Seachem.

Ok I got my “google on” LOL … I do not have a fuge. I found the de-nitrate online. And looked up what Calurpa and Cheatomorpha is. My question now is since I dont have a fuge can I just put the Calurpa or Cheatomorpha directly in my tank?

I wouldn’t put any algae in your tank just denitrate it’s cheap and lasts forever

The purpose of the cheato in a fuge is to remove the nitrates from your main tank with the cheato in the fuge using all the nitrates to grow.

If I remember right, SeaChem Denitrate is basically a bio media, to grow anoxic bacteria inside the porous rock pebbles to consume nitrates. can do the same with a “Jaubert plenum sand bed”. theres another one for your google ears on. Natural denitrating plenum sand bed.

Which test kit are you using for nitrates? API? I started my tank 2 months ago and used tap water which is supplied from my well. When I tested for nitrates using API I was getting between 40-80. I figured just do water changes and it would drop after a few weeks it hadn’t changed so I tested my tap water and it read the same as the tank. I took it to a LFS and they got the same reading on both tap and tank water I was getting.

I called a well company to see if there was anything wrong. They came out and sent a sample to the lab to be checked and it came back at 4.7. I went and bought a red reef nitrate test kit and tested my tap water and it can back between 2.5-5 just like the lab. I then tested my tank and got the same reading. Then tested with the API right afterwards and got ~50 again. I still need to contact API and see if there was a problem with the lot.

I have read about the API test being off and the usual problem is people not shaking the second bottle enough. If you don’t shake the second bottle enough the chemical in the bottom doesn’t get mixed up and sits at the bottom. This usually causes a low reading then as you get to the bottom of the bottle it gets really high as the ratio of the two chemicals changes.

This was not the problem I was having. I made sure I shook the bottle for at least 5 min the first time and the test came out high from the first test.

I would try a second brand of test kit to double check the reading you are getting. you want to make sure they are high before you do anything else so you don’t spend money trying to drop the nitrates when you don’t need to.

Hobby reagent based test kits are notoriously unreliable.

That is the answer that I have seen several times while researching my problem. My question is why does everyone value a nitrate number if the test is so unreliable. My LFS tested one of there systems and the reading was 160+ dark red on the chart. The owner did a 90% water change on the system and tested again to get the same 160+ reading. Then took a new test kit off the shelf and tested again and got 5-10. The thing that told him the kit was wrong was it was a reef setup and everything was doing fine. If the reading was actually 160+ something would show it. Nems or clams or inverts would look bad but everything was fine.

[quote=“Typhoon, post:14, topic:6253”]
If the reading was actually 160+ something would show it. Nems or clams or inverts would look bad but everything was fine.[/quote]

And THAT is one of the keys to this hobby you will get to learn over time. Test kits are great, (notoriously unreliable but great for getting you to look a little closer) but your coral will tell you much more than a test kit ever will.

I think if you asked around you will find every experienced reefer has 1 coral that they rely on to tell them the over-all health of their tank. When that coral starts closing up, losing color, or behaving poorly then it’s time for a water change, a carbon change, a battery of tests, or just research in general. I probably didn’t test a thing in my tank for 3 years, but I had a mushroom colony that would react to the smallest parameter changes that let me know something was off.

I am using API. It was coming down but now is going back up again. I know the nitrates coming from the tap is high because when we bought the house the water test failed for that. I am getting frustrated with it. I am seriously thinking about taking it down and starting over. Not sure if that is a good idea or not.

There are two ways to get nitrate down one is the perfect balance of aerobic and anaerobic nitrifying bacteria, very hard to achieve but should be the goal, the other is to delute with water changes that are low to no Nitrates which is achieved with a good RODI system.