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Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by 120galtank, Feb 20, 2012.

  1. 120galtank

    120galtank

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    I have a 120 gallon saltwater setup with live rock, two ocellaris clowns, roughly 6 itty bitty brand new hermit crabs, 5 turbo snails, 3 astrias, 2-3 ceriths, and 2 emerald crabs. I have a nitrate problem that weekly water changes do not seem to help and I do maintenance on the tank every day. The clowns are new, so I haven't even fed them in the tank yet other than the pellets I had to scoop out because I don't think they like them. The tank is cycled and nitrites are 0, pH is 8, temp is 78, but nitrates and phosphates are high and no amount of water changes seem to help. Life is booming inside, though. We see tonss of small brittle stars and bristle worms, along with another kind of star I'm unsure about and some random slug-looking snails. Lots of purple on the rock and everything seems happy.
     
    120galtank, Feb 20, 2012
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  2. 120galtank

    little_fish Moderator

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    Hello and Welcome!

    Did you use tap water to fill up your tank? Tap water contains lots of nitrates and phosphates. Also did you buy new sand and rocks or buy "old" stuff from someone else's tank.
     
    little_fish, Feb 20, 2012
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  3. 120galtank

    Smitty

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    Have you had your water tested by another test kit, or the fish store, because your rest kit may be bad or old. Also what type of filtration do you have?
     
    Smitty, Feb 20, 2012
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  4. 120galtank

    wontonflip I failed Kobayashi Maru

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    Welcome to the site! +1 fish and smitty

    I've had a bad "new" test kit. Gave me high readings.

    Test your new saltwater before putting it in and see what it tests. Also switch to frozen food...it's healthier.
     
    wontonflip, Feb 20, 2012
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  5. 120galtank

    120galtank

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    I bought an RO filter 5-stage to use. The filters are new and everything tests 0 with 2 different kids of test kits until I put it in the tank. Then, I test the tank water an the nitrates are still at 160. The place I buy my fish also tested my water with the same results. I have an aquatop cf-500uv canister filter with white and blue sponge pad things, carbon, bio-balls, and ceramic rings.
     
    120galtank, Feb 20, 2012
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  6. 120galtank

    120galtank

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    We have frozen mysis shrimp, too because that's what the store recommended but she said only twice a week and to use pellets otherwise. What do you suggest for the clowns?
     
    120galtank, Feb 20, 2012
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  7. 120galtank

    120galtank

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    Everything was bought new, too. A friend of ours had it for at least a year enforce it was passed on to us along with all of the rock, sand, filter, protein skimmer, fish, and even water that he had used. We have done a lot of water changes, and currently do 20% changes a week but nothing helps.
     
    120galtank, Feb 20, 2012
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  8. 120galtank

    wontonflip I failed Kobayashi Maru

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    What percent of water volume (including sump volume) are you doing? You might have to do more frequent water changes, maybe 20-25% to see if that lowers it. How long have you had the clowns in there?

    What kind of pellets are you feeding? I feed pellets, but rarely. I know flakes can cause phosphates to be high, and maybe some pellets, too.

    EDIT: OOOOOOH...I just saw it's used. How much of their water did you keep? When you moved the tank, kept the sand and rock, you stirred up the muck, which caused the levels to be so bad.
     
    wontonflip, Feb 20, 2012
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  9. 120galtank

    120galtank

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    That was over a year ago
     
    120galtank, Feb 20, 2012
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  10. 120galtank

    120galtank

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    The clowns have been in for 2 days
     
    120galtank, Feb 20, 2012
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  11. 120galtank

    wontonflip I failed Kobayashi Maru

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    Ah, ok....well, like i said, raise the frequency and volume of your water changes for a week and see if it makes a dent.

    So for a year, you've been feeding mostly pellets? What else are we missing here? We seem to be getting your info piecemeal. No new fish. What kind of substrate are you using? Sand/aragonite? Crushed coral? Do you have a sponge filter in your sump? Or anything with a sponge? Are you using bioballs? Canister filters? Just reaching here, thinking of things that would cause high nitrates.

    OK just saw your new post...new clowns, so pellets for just the past 2 days then. But please give us more details.
     
    wontonflip, Feb 20, 2012
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  12. 120galtank

    little_fish Moderator

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    I would take off the filter you are using, that could very likely be where the nitrates are coming from. We dont recommend their use on a saltwater tank for that same reason.

    I would also feed only frozen food, its better for your fish. The dried stuff has lots of nitrates and phosphates. But feeding only mysid shrimp can also lead to phosphate issues, so I would find a good mixed blend of food to feed. A really great food is Rod's food.
     
    little_fish, Feb 20, 2012
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  13. 120galtank

    120galtank

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    Ok here's everything one more time.
    120 gallons
    About 80 lbs live rock
    No coral
    Until 2 days ago, there was only a cleanup crew and a yellowhead moray eel. The eel is gone because he needs to be in a tank alone and we wanted a fish tank. Then 2 days ago we got 2 ocellaris clownfish after the eel has been gone more than a week.
    This is our cleanup crew:
    2 emerald crabs
    6 small hermit crabs
    3 cerith snails
    3 astria snails
    4 nassarius snails
    5 turbo snails
    Tons of brittle stars, bristle worms, and live rock inhabitants

    We run an aquatop cf-500uv canister filter with this media: white and blue sponge filters, carbon, bio-balls, and ceramic rings
    We also run two big power heads. Not sure of their size ecause they came with the tank and I have nothing to compare it to.

    We have what everyone calls live sand with some thicker chunks in it, but I don't know very much about it other than that.
     
    120galtank, Feb 20, 2012
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  14. 120galtank

    120galtank

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    Without the filter, there are severe algae problems.
     
    120galtank, Feb 20, 2012
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  15. 120galtank

    wontonflip I failed Kobayashi Maru

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    Hate to tell ya....that cannister filter, bioballs, and sponges might be the cause of your problems. Did you clean them out regularly?

    The problem with ditching the cannister now is you might get an ammonia spike. Try rinsing out all the filter media in old tank water....don't kill off the bacteria or you'll risk ammonia spikes.

    Is your substrate sand/aragonite or crushed coral?




    The algae problems are due to the phosphates and nitrates. Fix those issues, your algae problems will go away. The filtration media is the cause of your high levels.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2012
    wontonflip, Feb 20, 2012
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  16. 120galtank

    120galtank

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    It looks like sand and rocks. The filter is also new, but the levels were the same before it.
     
    120galtank, Feb 20, 2012
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  17. 120galtank

    little_fish Moderator

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    Also, I am confused. Have you had the tank for a year, or was the tank set up a year ago and recently moved to your house?
     
    little_fish, Feb 20, 2012
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  18. 120galtank

    wontonflip I failed Kobayashi Maru

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    Sorry, it's hard getting all the info piecemeal.

    ONLY the filter is new? How about the bioballs and sponges? Those are nitrate factories as well. Trying to help you here.
     
    wontonflip, Feb 20, 2012
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  19. 120galtank

    120galtank

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    I'm new to this, so I'm trying to get it all in but am apparently having trouble with that. All of it is new inside the canister filter. Everything in the tank is established.
     
    120galtank, Feb 20, 2012
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  20. 120galtank

    wontonflip I failed Kobayashi Maru

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    Well, I'd ditch the cannister. it is NOT going help your situation. There is no need for sponges and bioballs....unless you clean them regularly, they WILL cause more problems. Look up aragonite sand. See if that's what you have. Seeing as how you're new, I want to be sure you do NOT have crushed coral.

    I'm trying to understand your setup. You have the new canister filter....inside it is the sponge, bioballs, and ceramic media? Or you have the sponge and bioballs in addition to the canister?

    You should keep the canister around, though. Just not hooked up. It will be useful to run carbon in a pinch. Just store it somewhere.

    I stand by my first suggestion -- more frequent and larger water changes until you see a dent. Your test kit only tests up so high. It's possible that you are making a dent, but it's not low enough yet to register the dent.
     
    wontonflip, Feb 20, 2012
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