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Old 01-27-2006, 08:56 PM   #1
cheseboy
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Default Nitrate Reduction

Ok so this is what I want to do.
I am attempting to setup a FOWLR aquarium that will evolve into a reef aquarium once I get the right experience (and Knowledge). Right now I have crushed coral (20 pounds) a Wet/Dry filter and a 55 gallon Protein Skimmer and a tiny spare powerhead to spread out the heat from the heater I have. I was talking to one of my uncles (he's giving me wet/dry and Skimmer) and he was saying I won't be able to support corals in my tank even eventually because I'll have a nitrate problem. He said putting a deep sand bed will displace alot of my water but will make all the difference in nitrates. He said I would be fine in a Mini-reef with only corals because I won't have anything that will really cause a problem with high nitrates. How do mini-reefers keep nitrates down in an aquarium with corals and fish
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Old 01-28-2006, 09:30 AM   #2
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Live rock, live sand helps, but not necessary, over-skimming, lots of water movement, and refugiums. The wet-dry will produce alot of nitrates.


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Old 01-28-2006, 10:52 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by LittlePuff
Live rock, live sand helps, but not necessary, over-skimming, lots of water movement, and refugiums. The wet-dry will produce alot of nitrates.
Kim
May I ask, how and why you say that a wet/dry filter system will generate more Nitrates than other filtration system? If you could produce links to texts that supports this, I would be more than happy to consult them.

Curious...

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Old 01-28-2006, 11:09 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by cheseboy
Ok so this is what I want to do.
I am attempting to setup a FOWLR aquarium that will evolve into a reef aquarium once I get the right experience (and Knowledge). Right now I have crushed coral (20 pounds) a Wet/Dry filter and a 55 gallon Protein Skimmer and a tiny spare powerhead to spread out the heat from the heater I have. I was talking to one of my uncles (he's giving me wet/dry and Skimmer) and he was saying I won't be able to support corals in my tank even eventually because I'll have a nitrate problem. He said putting a deep sand bed will displace alot of my water but will make all the difference in nitrates. He said I would be fine in a Mini-reef with only corals because I won't have anything that will really cause a problem with high nitrates. How do mini-reefers keep nitrates down in an aquarium with corals and fish
You kind of have the whole thing in reverse my friend. First, you won't be able to have any corals if you have Nitrates. You will always have Nitrates in your tank unless you put a live sand bed in there with at least 1 pound of Live Rocks per gal of water. Just cyclling your tank with the live rocks will take you about 2 to 3 months. The skimmer will also help reduce the Nitrates and is a MUST. But your skimmer will take about a month to break in and work properly. In the mean time, the only thing you can do to reduce your Nitrates is to change water. 10-15% at a time and test every 2 days. If you have NO FISH in there, then let it be. Let the tank cycle by itself and don't change water. You would slow down the process. If you have fish, then you must change water in order to protect your fish.

In order to keep corals, you will need to have your nitrates down to less than 0.5ppm. Of course, zero is the target. In marine aquaria, the word of order is PATIENCE. So don't rush to your LFS to buy corals the day you find your Nitrates at zero. Wait at least a week and monitor each day. If it's stable, than you have a chance of success. Start with ONE hardy coral with little requirement. Also... don't forget that you will need a LOT of lighting in there to sustain coral life. At least 2 watts per gal... and that's a bare minimum. You should target over 4W per gal. Some corals require up to 10W per gal.

A reef is cool but it costs a BUNDLE and then some.

Good luck and PATIENCE,

Sponge
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Old 01-28-2006, 05:57 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by SpongeBob
May I ask, how and why you say that a wet/dry filter system will generate more Nitrates than other filtration system?Sponge
This is a well known fact! The Bio media (Balls or ??) with trap detritus and other "crap" that will produce nitrates! This is why 95% of people will tell you to take out the Bio Balls from a Wet/Dry. My reef is proof of this fact because I had nitrate problems until I replaced the Wet/Dry with my refugium and now....No problems.
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Old 01-28-2006, 07:46 PM   #6
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HOB, cannister, wet-dry, none contain the bacteria that breaks nitrates in saltwater into harmless gases. Their cycle stops at nitrates and creates more for your live rock/live sand to deal with. The skimmer takes the waste out of the water before it goes through the cycle.


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Old 01-28-2006, 07:50 PM   #7
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sorry, double post.
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Old 01-28-2006, 08:23 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by SpongeBob
You kind of have the whole thing in reverse my friend. First, you won't be able to have any corals if you have Nitrates. You will always have Nitrates in your tank unless you put a live sand bed in there with at least 1 pound of Live Rocks per gal of water. Just cyclling your tank with the live rocks will take you about 2 to 3 months. The skimmer will also help reduce the Nitrates and is a MUST. But your skimmer will take about a month to break in and work properly. In the mean time, the only thing you can do to reduce your Nitrates is to change water. 10-15% at a time and test every 2 days. If you have NO FISH in there, then let it be. Let the tank cycle by itself and don't change water. You would slow down the process. If you have fish, then you must change water in order to protect your fish.

In order to keep corals, you will need to have your nitrates down to less than 0.5ppm. Of course, zero is the target. In marine aquaria, the word of order is PATIENCE. So don't rush to your LFS to buy corals the day you find your Nitrates at zero. Wait at least a week and monitor each day. If it's stable, than you have a chance of success. Start with ONE hardy coral with little requirement. Also... don't forget that you will need a LOT of lighting in there to sustain coral life. At least 2 watts per gal... and that's a bare minimum. You should target over 4W per gal. Some corals require up to 10W per gal.

A reef is cool but it costs a BUNDLE and then some.

Good luck and PATIENCE,

Sponge
How am I supose to put a live sand bed and live rock in there? I would have like no water left. It may be fine in big tanks but in smaller nano-tanks you'd have not much water. Actually I have Marine bio-Spira also.
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Last edited by cheseboy; 01-28-2006 at 08:26 PM.
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Old 01-28-2006, 08:42 PM   #9
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YES!
Congratulations! By Jove, I think you've got it! Nanos are nothing but trouble for this and many other reasons.

So, how to get rid of nitrate?
First get rid of the crushed coral and wet/dry filter .
Both = nitrate city, baby! The crushed coral lets too much oxygen through it and traps too much junk, and the wet/dry works too well as a nitrifier, producing more than your tank can hope to eliminate.

Live sand and live rock, coupled with heavy skimming, can go a long way toward retarding nitrate buildup & elimination. Denitrator units, aggravating little anaerobic coil thingies, can also get rid of it.
As for the live sand, instead of a DSB (deep sand bed) you could use just one inch of sand over a plenum.

The best way is to use an ecosystem filtration system, which uses macroalgae to remove all nitrogenous waste while also doing a lot of other stuff. This is done in a separate sump. You won't need any live rock or sand at all with one of those, but you would need an extra set of lights which would be on 24/7. A ten gallon tank, with some modification, would work fine as the algal sump for a 20gal tank.

Your current setup will not be able to sustain any but the hardiest corals, and even then it won't make them happy.

Last edited by TheOldSalt; 01-28-2006 at 08:49 PM.
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Old 01-29-2006, 07:15 AM   #10
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So you guys are really "Berlin types". I tend to be as well. But still fail to see how a wet/dry filter will produce more Nitrates than other filters. I mean, you say that they trap detritus that result in Nitrates at the end of the nitrifying cycle. Ok, that is true. But, the only thing that will reduce the amount of detritus is by extration. Now, wether you extract them with a canister/HOB/wet/dry doesn't really matter now, does it? On the other hand, like it was said, a skimmer will remove those organic BEFORE degradation begins. Now, that is another story. But if I recall right, I did say that a skimmer is a MUST in order to reduce Nitrates. LR will use the Nitrates and get rid of them. That's why we need so much of them.

Now don't get me wrong here. I fully agree with what was said about the process leading to Nitrates. What I don't agree with is the dismissal of a filter instead of simply saying that maintenance is a must to remove the detritus trapped in the filter. Of course, after the tank is cycled, stable and well established, you could recycle the canister filter into a small office trash can and use the motor and impeller as a micro-cooling fan. LOL Your LR + Skimmer will take care of your tank.

And yes, nano tanks are not really a viable solution... certainly not for coral keeping. FOWLR maybe... but even then. It will be and probably always will be unstable and can crash on you any time for any reason.

My 2

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Old 01-29-2006, 07:56 AM   #11
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The wet/dry is a nitrification machine. It's made to be a nitrification machine.
It's very, very good at it's job.

Alas, it's not made to be a de-nitrification machine.

Even worse, while nitrification is a fairly rapid process, de-nitrification isn't. A tank with a wet/dry in use will invariably produce far more nitrate in a given time than it will be able to eliminate, with nitrate buildup the inevitable result.

That said, the relative sizes of the nitrification & de-nitrification systems make a huge difference in the way the balance tips. Sure, it's possible to de-nitrify faster than you nitrify, but considering how the liverock & livesand also nitrify anyway, why bother with a wet/dry? The oxygen consumption of a wet/dry is enormous, ( even though it also brings some in ) and that oxygen would be better spent on the rock & sand for a better balance.

I don't even know why they still make wet/drys. Oh, right..because people still buy them. That'll change someday, I predict. I haven't used one in over a decade, and I've never looked back since.
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Old 01-29-2006, 09:26 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by TheOldSalt
YES!
Congratulations! By Jove, I think you've got it! Nanos are nothing but trouble for this and many other reasons.

So, how to get rid of nitrate?
First get rid of the crushed coral and wet/dry filter .
Both = nitrate city, baby! The crushed coral lets too much oxygen through it and traps too much junk, and the wet/dry works too well as a nitrifier, producing more than your tank can hope to eliminate.

Live sand and live rock, coupled with heavy skimming, can go a long way toward retarding nitrate buildup & elimination. Denitrator units, aggravating little anaerobic coil thingies, can also get rid of it.
As for the live sand, instead of a DSB (deep sand bed) you could use just one inch of sand over a plenum.

The best way is to use an ecosystem filtration system, which uses macroalgae to remove all nitrogenous waste while also doing a lot of other stuff. This is done in a separate sump. You won't need any live rock or sand at all with one of those, but you would need an extra set of lights which would be on 24/7. A ten gallon tank, with some modification, would work fine as the algal sump for a 20gal tank.

Your current setup will not be able to sustain any but the hardiest corals, and even then it won't make them happy.
I understand but how would 1 inch of live sand over a plenum do anything to nitrates. I thought all that would do is convert nitrite into nitrate because it is not deep enugph causing the right conditions for de-nitrifying bacteria to grow.
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Old 01-29-2006, 12:23 PM   #13
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O.T.

Sorry to go off topic but I now understand my teenage daughter a little better and understand that she knows everything and I know nothing. From now on, I will bow to her greatness.
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Old 01-29-2006, 01:39 PM   #14
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Don't want to burst anyone's balloun here but since when do we have bacteria that denitrify NITRATES??? That's a new one to me.

The point I am trying to make is that no mater what you do, Nitrates will be produced in your tank wether you like it or not. Now, live rock will consume that Nitrate IF you have it in enough quantity and IF you monitor your tank, and IF you do water changes on a regular basis, and IF you have a good protein skimmer and IF you have a good clean up crew ( snails, cucumbers and such detritus hungry critters )...

Now, in order to produce Nitrates, you need Nitrites to begin with. Nitrates do not generate themselves.

Oldy : Please explain to me HOW a wet/dry can PRODUCE more nitrate than another FILTER given BOTH are well maintained and cleaned on a regular basis? I'm not arguing with you bro... I just want to make sure I get what you really mean. Now you already told me that bioballs and whatnot trap detritus which in turn, lead to Nitrates. Of course, I totally agree with you. But between you and me, that is a lack of maintenance. Not really a FAULT in the filter or media by itself.

Waiting for your thoughts guys. I really like this topic. Kudos to all!!!

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Old 01-29-2006, 02:04 PM   #15
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Don't want to burst anyone's balloun here but since when do we have bacteria that denitrify NITRATES??? That's a new one to me.
Anaerobic Bacteria
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