Help--My nitrate levels are too high

Discussion in 'Fish and Invertebrates' started by picassoclown, Dec 10, 2010.

  1. picassoclown

    picassoclown Guest

    Does anyone have any suggestions about how to safely reduce my nitrate levels? One of my clowns died earlier this week and the other one is showing obvious signs of distress. I've been doing water changes for the last two days (10%) but, it's still staying at the same high level. Any suggestions?

  2. GDawson

    GDawson Guest

    I'm in the same boat. I've been doing 15% to 20% WCs DAILY on 100 gal total vol tank for the last two weeks and just got it down to 40ppm. See for all the gory details......


    P.S. You have my sympathy
  3. GDawson

    GDawson Guest

    BTW - While doing the water changes review:

    1) feeding schedule and amount
    2) your skimmer efficiency
    3) appropriate stocking levels for the tank
    4) substrate cleanliness
    5) dead zones with no flow
    6) Original WC schedule and amount
    7) If not using sea water check your make-up water for nitrates if not using RO/DI

    I'm sure others will have suggestions....

  4. picassoclown

    picassoclown Guest

    o man. When I saw the nitrate reading yesterday I totally freaked. I hope my other clown makes it :( Glad to hear things are stablizing for you :)

    there are so many different opinions on this topic. Do you think it's safe to do daily water changes of 15-20% on a 34 gallon tank?
  5. picassoclown

    picassoclown Guest

    i was doing wc's approx. every 3 weeks (not so good...i know) some people said this was too much though???
    might be that I gravel vac'd like crazy on sunday so maybe that did it
  6. seminolecpa

    seminolecpa Past President

    First and most important thing is finding the source of the problem. WCs will help but unless you figure out what is causing it you will revert right back to the same problem again.
  7. Gonzo

    Gonzo Guest

    What is your nitrate level?
  8. GDawson

    GDawson Guest

    Do you know anyone to take the clown for awhile?

    6 or 7 gal WC on a 34 sounds ok to me..........see what others say......

  9. r0ck0

    r0ck0 Guest

    At this point your nitrates are so high the only option is large frequent water changes. After you have your nitrates under control weekly 10% water changes would be recommended.
  10. picassoclown

    picassoclown Guest

    my levels are 80ppm
  11. Tumbleweed

    Tumbleweed Guest

    Finding the cause of the problem is defently step 1, step 2 is to do large daily water changes to bring the level down. Personaly on a 34g tank I would be doing 7-8gal water changes 2 times a day, morning and night. This depends on how high the level is and your time and resorces to do this. The biggest thing is not to panic and rush into doing something that can cause even more of a problem then what you currently have.
  12. tuberider

    tuberider Guest

    80ppm will not stress fish out, some corals, yes, fish not unless you're dealing with a super duper sensitive species. Not to say that you shouldn't strive to keep your levels optimal, just sayin' you may be barking up the wrong tree regarding the loss of your little finny friend.
  13. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    An Algae Turf Scrubber, done right, will get your nitrates and phosphates from 80 to zero in 3-5 weeks and keep them there.
    But they are tricky to get right, and bring their own set of issues, so not something to jump into blindly.
    Seriously - They can be amazing, but are more often total failures.
    On the plus side, if you have a spare pump, you can DIY a test setup for $20 or so.

    Mine is "pretty good". I can keep zero nitrates/phosphates, with large feeding, and without skimmer and water changes,
    but things are a whole lot happier when I do it all.

    Details (beware of hype), and a place to buy one, (diy is cheaper) are here:

    One of these days after my new tank is done I will take a bunch of all the spare parts and make a loaner test system.
  14. picassoclown

    picassoclown Guest

    that's a good idea but, i don't have anyone to take the clown for me :(
  15. picassoclown

    picassoclown Guest

    thanks everyone for your help! going to do another water change now :)
  16. ryanjiang

    ryanjiang Guest

    Do you run a skimmer? If so does it skim well?
  17. picassoclown

    picassoclown Guest

    I do have a protein skimmer but, i always seem to have a thin film floating on the surface of the water. i have a red sea max and have had numerous problems with it so who knows if the skimmer is effective enough. i can only run one of the filter pumps at a time (otherwise the water level in the pump chamber drops so low it fills the tank with microbubbles) so i put one of those pumps that circulates water attached to the side of the tank with a magnet.
  18. ryanjiang

    ryanjiang Guest

    1st as Jeremy mentioned the nitrate level should not be the cause of your fish loss, maybe the fish was not healthy on first hand.

    The nitrate number itself tells your skimmer is not effective, the whole purpose of skimmer is to remove dissolved organic before the nitrification. I would fine-tune the skimmer or replace with a better skimmer. There are certainly many methods of nutrient export like Algae Turf Scrubber mentioned above, but IMO skimming is still the most proven and reliable method, plus the side benefit of adding more oxygen into water.
  19. BigMac

    BigMac Guest

    How deep is your sand and do you regularly turn it or do you normally leave it alone?

    Messing w/ the sand eather needs to be done regularly or not at all.
  20. JRocha

    JRocha Supporting Member

    i use a euroreef skimmer and a sh!tload of seachem pond matrix and I overfeed like crazy. the seachem pond matrix takes a little while to cycle but works great. I have 4 litres of it in my sump right before my return pumps which is seperated by egg crate so the water passes through it all the time. regular matrix is small but the pond matrix is about a inch in size so you don't need any filter bags or anything. just submerge it and you have another filter that removes nitrate, nitrite, and ammonia and it never needs to be removed or replaced. great product but you have to order it online since no LFS in our area carries it.

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