To skim or not to skim...

Discussion in 'New to Reefing' started by Mikek, May 27, 2013.

  1. Mikek

    Mikek

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    OK, so my 20 gallon long LFR tank has been successful since I started it 3 months ago (so much so I don't want to go back to a 55). All the levels, including calcium are perfect EXCEPT for Nitrate. My nitrate is currently between 40 and 60.

    My question(s) is, do I need a protein skimmer? Because I can't seem to find one small enough to fit. OR Is there another way to reduce the nitrate? i.e. Should I use "Nitrate removers" from my local Petco? Noone is looking stressed or ill yet, even the coral seems OK, but I don't want it to get to a difficult level for them.

    Thanks in advance for any feedback.
     
    Mikek, May 27, 2013
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  2. Mikek

    kbuser92 Breeder

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    Holy crap. You need to do some major water changes. And find out why your nitrates are so high. Any chance you disturbed the sand bed? What kind of substrate do you have? What kind of filter (if any) do you have? What's your bioload and CUC like?
     
    kbuser92, May 27, 2013
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  3. Mikek

    Mikek

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    I've done a couple of water changes over the last 2 months, my ammonia and nitrite are zero. My substrate is sand, and my filter is a HOB Topfin 75. My CUC consists of 10-12 hermits, a scarlet skunk shrimp, and 2 very large Mexican turbo snails. In addition to the CUC I have 2 clowns, a damsel, a goby, and a feather duster as well as a small mushroom, a small poly zoanthid, and a giant zoanthid.
     
    Mikek, May 28, 2013
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  4. Mikek

    kbuser92 Breeder

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    I would strongly suggest a variety of snails. Ceriths, dwarf ceriths, nassarius, merited, address, etc...how much rock do you have? You should have at least 1 lb per gallon. I eouldnt have anything in that filter other than rubble rock if you must keep it, or turn it to a refugium. The rock and some powerheads are all you need.

    Fir water changes, "a couple in the last 2 months" probably isn't enough. On a 20 gallon, you should be topping off with RO/DI daily, and doing a weekly water change of 10% or no-weekly of 25% or so. For now, I would do about 20% every 2-3 days until you get those nitrates down.
     
    kbuser92, May 28, 2013
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  5. Mikek

    kbuser92 Breeder

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    And I never really answered your question: on a small tank, you don't really need a skimmer. Any excessive nutrients should be removed in frequent water changes, but it wouldn't hurt to have one if you feel like you want and/or need one.
     
    kbuser92, May 28, 2013
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  6. Mikek

    mariobrothersleeve squirrel

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    To skim
     
    mariobrothersleeve, May 28, 2013
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  7. Mikek

    JohnVH Reefer Madness VIP Member

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    If possible Skim
     
    JohnVH, May 28, 2013
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  8. Mikek

    BL1 ............. Moderator

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    Nano tanks under 30g or so don't need to be skimmed and can still be kept well maintained. Your tank is pretty overstocked and that's why you're having these issues with nitrates. Because of that you might have to add the skimmer to help, also up the frequency of your water changes.
     
    BL1, May 28, 2013
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  9. Mikek

    Ryan708

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    I like the idea of skimming. The Skimmers for bio-cubes are pretty small and cheap. Search Amazon for the BioCube skimmer
     
    Ryan708, May 29, 2013
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  10. Mikek

    Greenman

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    I'd def. add a skimmer.. My old 29g my nitrates stayed around 60-80 and i couldn't get them down for the life of me. I added a skimmer and they stayed around 20. Depending what you have in your tank 40-60 Nitrates isn't that bad.. There has been studies done where fish would sustain just fine in 120+ nitrates without showing problems. If you're really worried look for a 1 gallon HOB refugium and get some plants into it to eat the nitrates. That could solve your problem right there.
     
    Greenman, May 29, 2013
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