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  1. #1
    Senior Member tiffany's Avatar
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    Nitrates keep rising

    The past 3 months or so my nitrates have been on the incline.
    A little history.
    I have a skimmer and Bio-wheel, and in last 3 years the nitrates have been at 5 or undetectable, and I feed a lot.
    Added Anthia about 10 months ago, and increased the food for him, and considered the increased nitrates the result and assumed that they would go away. The nitrates never went above 10, and settled to normal and didn't test after.
    Then about 3 months ago started to get red algae, (ignored it) and it went away. Then came back.
    Added 130watt PC to the existing NO's.
    Introduced it slowly over about 3 weeks.
    Decided the red algae was from the NO's and changed the tube of the actinic and removed the other 50/50's (2), to see if the algae and nitrates would reduce, about 2 1/2 weeks ago, I also reduced feeding to a pinch a day for the last 2 1/2 weeks.
    The Nitrates are now at 30, a week ago they were 20.
    I thought that with the algae that the nitrates would be consumed by it, thus the reading low or undetectable.
    I did a 50% water change 2 weeks ago and another today.
    Water changes are fortnightly and min of 25%.
    I have massive amounts a coralline algae that covers everything in sheets. Is this effecting the nitrates by reducing the L/R's ability?

    The parameters
    Ph-8.2
    Alk-8
    Calcium- 375
    Phosphates-0.5 (lowest reading on kit)
    Nitrates 30 (
    SG-1.026
    I use R/O (if needed run it through the DI chamber) and NSW.

    Any ideas??
    "The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them."
    - Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

  2. #2
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    Many people will tell you that your bio-wheel will cause your nitrates to rise so maybe you can try taking that out along with any other sponges etc.

  3. #3
    Senior Member volitan's Avatar
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    well ive had a bio wheel since i started and never had any nitrates at all
    Derik...

  4. #4
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    Someone with more experience then myself or who is better read should respond if I am wrong here. I have read that to truly reduce nitrates with plant life and or algae one MUST harvest the plant life and or algae. perhaps it is time to do some cleaning of the Coraline so newer younger growths will consume more nitrates.
    Rob

  5. #5
    Senior Member volitan's Avatar
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    If i had a nitrate problem i would make a refugium with mangoove and saltwater plant.The dealer around here has been using the biowheel since they came out.The guy doesnt even use a skimmer and i can tell you that his livestock and coral are EXTREMELLY healthy.
    Derik...

  6. #6
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    This is just what I have been told. Most people here will tell you that bio-wheels are not good for reef tanks. Obviously there are exceptions but this is the general consensus. And the bio-wheel definitely isn't the only cause for the rising nitrates, but it MAY play a factor.

  7. #7
    Senior Member volitan's Avatar
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    do you run only biowheel tiffiany or you also have filter catrigdes in there.Because if you dont i would suspect that too because the food or algea that breaks off in the tank doesnt get filtered and it stucks to the biowheel.
    Derik...

  8. #8
    Senior Member reefmutt's Avatar
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    Tiffany, I don't think that corraline algea really affects the rock's ability to reduce no3 as the corraline only really grows on the light exposed surfaces- the other 2/3 of the rock is still breathing- so to speak.
    A biowheel or any other type of wet/dry filter is not necessarily bad for a reef, but it will artificially raise no3 AND they are absolutely NOT needed in a reef.
    Now, I do not like wet/dry filters on a reef- I believe they will produce no3, this is why: w/d filters are more efficient at converting ammonia into nitrate than live rock, but will do nothing to the nitrate. Live rock and sand will reduce the nitrate, but if the w/d is producing no3 faster than the rock and sand can reduce them, the balance between nutrient input and reduction is lost and the no3 will climb. If the tank is getting lots of food, the balance will get further and further out of whack.
    If the tank is getting more food than it can handle you will get a buildup of no3 even without a w/d. Any system has finite capabilities and it seems that you have reached the limit of your tanks capabilities. If the tank has been doing just fine until now it is because the rock and sand have been handling the extra no3- obviously they aren't now. If you have reduced the nutrient input, it will take some time for the system to respond and equalize.
    I think you should remove the biowheel. A refugium and or sump with lit algea will help remove no3 when, as Salty says, the algea is harvested. But any tank with a buidup of any thing will take some time for that buildup to decline. Water changes are a very effective method or reducing no3, too.
    Red algea or cyano bacteria love no3- when I see it in a tank I immediately test for no3. Tap water and its other pollutants will also cause it, but this doesn't apply in your case.
    Just to be sure test your r.o. water for no3...as well as the nsw.
    Bad stuff ALWAYS happens faster than the good stuff in a reef so be patient, remove that biowheel, watch the nutrient input and keep doing the w.c.s
    Matt.

    Old system torn down to make a playroom.. planning a 62x42x28 high

  9. #9
    Senior Member volitan's Avatar
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    I think you should invest in a refugium
    Derik...

  10. #10
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    Great answer Reefmutt.

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