how do i keep nitrates low


I like to do bad things.
i set up my 30 gal salt tank 2 1/2 months ago and my nitrates are high and rise fast in the tank i have two damsels a med size chacolate chip star 1 feather duster 5 hermit crabs 2 nassurias snails and a clam or oyster i dont know what it is it came on a piece of rock and now moves all over the tank so idont think its heavly stocked but a week ago my nitrates were at about 40ppm and all the livestock seemed fine but now i bought 2 corals a open brain and a tonga mushroom i will be adding tommarow so i did 2 10gal water changes wich brought it down to 20-25 ppm then whated 3or 4days and did a 20gal change and now the nitrates are at about15 ppm what could be making the nitrates climb soo fast the only filtraion i have i hob filter and i clean both the pads when i do a water change one in salt water and the other in fresh to kill some of the bacteria that cause the nitrate but nothing seems to be helping could anybody give me ideas to lower the nitrates maybe some easy nnr tip also would a skimmer help i have a seaclone i just havnt put it on any imformation would be awsome i want my corals to ok when i put in my tank and not just die:frustrat:
How much live rock is in the tank? Yes a skimmer will help alot I am not sure how much the seaclone will help but it should help some.
there is about 20 pounds tonga base rock and a very small piece of live rock just to get the coraline spread withch in about 2 weeks has spread in little patches on almsot every rock do i need to buy more? doesnt the base rock turn to live rock on its own?or do you you need live rock to turn it to live rock?also i thoght seaclone was one of the better skimmers form what i read, is it not that good of a brand?
Now seeing as i'm a newbie with salt water take this with a grain of salt. I have seaclone 100 on my 30gal,,which works great for me. And as far as live rock goes,,,,to my thinking the more live rock you got the faster your base rock will become live. I got 15lbs of base rock and 15lbs of live rock. another cause of high nitrates might be over feeding. Hope this helps some.
thank for the info but i feed my fishes very sparingly they finish the food within about 5 sec of me feeding them and i feed them two to three times a day and the star i feed about every other day and make sure he gets all of it under him to make sure he eats it all also will base rock turn live by it self or do you need to add live rock to make the base rock because isnt live rock just rock with bacteria in it and wont bacteria grow by it self when you cycle a tank
actually what makes live rock live,,,is all the lil critters you get in it. I spend more time looking for new things on my rock than I do watching my fish or corals. thats just my oppenion though,,,,hopfully somebody with more experience will jump in
well thanks for the info ill go out tomarrow and buy some live rock then and add it my tank and add my skimmer hopfully this will help
A few things to mention. If you can return the seaclone I would do so. Depending on where you got it from and how much you spent. The seaclones are not and I repeat not good skimmers. What type of price range were in on the seaclone? If you give us a price range we should be able to suggest a better choice for your skimmer. Second the LR questions yes you do need some LR in the tank in order for the other base rock to become live. True you can use almost all base rock and then just seed with a decent size piece of LR and let nature do the work, this takes a long time though, as all the animals bacteria and algae (including coraline) need to reproduce and take over the base rock as you can imagine this does not happen over night but takes quite a while, as in months. I would recommend that you add some more LR to the system which should help with your water quality. Feeding sparingly is also a good idea!!! Fish do not get fed everyday in the ocean they have to either catch or scavenge all the food they would normally get keep this in mind when feeding. What kind of substrate are you using?

I also would not run filter media in the filter. Filter media should only be used when there is particulate matter in the water that needs to be removed. A good rule of thumb is to only run media for about a week at most then not to run any media for about 2-4 weeks. I very rarely use any filter media in my tanks. The media tends to build up to much bacteria of certain types and this will also limit the build up of bacteria on the rock. This can have disastrous effects on a smaller tank when the media is removed thereby removing most of the bacteria from the tank and can cause a mini cycle or in extreme cases a full on cycle, both of which would be bad.

OK I think this post is getting a little to long so let me know if this helps. I am sure John or Brandon or one of the other real gurus will be along shortly.
the seaclone i cant return i bought it used and it only cost 10.00 fii spend another 100. or 200.00 on a new skimmer i think my wife just might kill me lol i will go out tomarrow and buy about ten puonds live rock to get the critters the coraline is already spreading very quickly since i added a very small piece covered in it about 2 weeks ago besides my lfs has a nice piece ive been eyeing with alot of life on it and looks like it might have a sponge too ill just have to make sure they bag it under water as to the fiter media i havnt used any since i set it up and the water looks crystal clear except the top has a thin film but to fix that i will be adding a wet dry in the next couple of weeks hopefully and should i feed the fish less i feed them very small amounts about 2 to3 times daily and they eat it all in about 5 seconds well anyway i do appreciate all of your advice aslo is there any chance anybody knows the max nitrates that can be in the tank for tonga mushroom or a open brain coral i probably should have waited to buy any corals but i thought i could fix them with massive water changes and to do 20% every 4 days and also i couldnt pass on the deal 5.50 for a open brain 4inchby 6in and 5.00 for the tonga 2in by 4in agian thank you for the imfo and any more you or anybody else can give me
Most people will say that nitrates should be less then 5 for any coral. I would agree that nitrates are a lot worse for coral then they are for fish that being said the mushroom will probibly have less of a problem then the brain I would not want to have them in anything more then 20 at the most (I know I am going to get slammed for that one). I would set up the seaclone tonight if you can just to get some skimming going on that will also help with the film on the top. I only feed my fish and corals once a day and sometimes skip a day.
oh and on the substarte i have 2in argonite sugar grain sand and 1/2 to1in argonite live sand on top and i will try feeding them once a day ya i have heard 5 or less is best and will try my hardest to keep it low through more water changes untill i can figure it out and incorperate the skimmer and wet dry i canat put the skimmer on yet ill have to do it tomarrow because it says i need a maxi jet 1200 i have alot of power heads just no of them are maxi jet 1200s and thats what the directions say to use so ill just buy one tomarrow thanks again for the imfo
I agree with Squibley, if you think the SeaClone is doing a good job, it's only because you haven't seen what a good-quality protein skimmer can do. I too started off with a Sea Clone (which I paid about $100 for) and after much insight from people in this forum, I bought a higher quality one, which easily takes out 10 times as much gunk from the water daily.
ok ill probably look into a new skimmer in the future it just might take some time to get my wife to say ok but i do have some good news i checked my nitrates again right before i left to pick the corals and its down to 10ppm how it went down from 15 to 10 by itself i dont know and the guy i got the corals from says his nitrates have always been at 20ppm and he had all kinds of corals fish and 2 anenomes wich he has had for a while and there all fine so if i cant get mine down to 5 or under ill atleast know theyll be ok and thanks for everybodys responses:bowdown:
Just remember that a lfs is most of the time after your money. They will tell you anything to sell you something. I feed every other day a small amount. What type of water are you using? Tap water might be the problem if that is what you are using. I had a problem with amm. when using tap water till I tested it and found out where it was comming from ( was new in fish keeping). I now use ro/di that I get from lfs for $.25 a gallon. I have a 20 gallon reef tank that I change the water in about 20% a week give or take a little. I hope this helps. This is only my :twocents:
no its not the water i buy ro water form (and i do hate to say this but wallmart) and to make sure i tested it after i mixed it and it showed up 0ppm nitrates ya i figured that out about the lfs a while ago when i went into one and was talking to my wife and said i wanted oscars but need to buy a bigger tank and the lady heard me and said oh no you can put oscars in (and get this) a 10 gal tank what she didnt mention was (which i already knew) was theyll have prolmes with growth and become deformed needless to say i dont shop there however i have found one dee,s pets in marion ill she is very honest it seemes anyway when i told her i was wanting to start a salt water she told me they can be hard and that she would sell me the stuff but shed rather me go home and find as may books and web pages i could for about 6 months before i stared so thats were i go most the time and who i trust if i dont know somthing
I have only tested the new ro water for nitrate,ph,and calcium the results were nitrate-0,ph-7.9,and calcium-280 so i add marine buffer which brings it to 8.3 and add calcium.I have tested the in tank water for everthing and the results for that are amonia-0,nitrites-0,nitates-10,and calcium-380 ,so should I test the new ro water to for everything else.
I would test the water you are putting into the system for everything you want in the system or in this case anything you don't wan't in the system. Also the calc is a little low. What is your Mag at?
I dont know, I dont have a test for mag.I just konw when i mix my I/O salt with ro it comes out at 280 then i add calcium, however the tank does raise itself because before i stared adding calium i did a test and the calcium was at 340 by itself.I dont think ive seen a test for magnisium, or stortium bu,but just have assumed they were fine becuase I thaought thats the main things you needed for coral line to grow and its spreading quite quickly through out the tank.
Two things come to mind that might help you. I would recommend you try the following:
1. Treat all ro water with OSMO Prep Marine by Kent to reconstitute the ro water before adding your salt. This will set up a balanced base for the salt addition and help provide a more stable environment at the proper levels.

2. Use a two part additive such as C-balance or Kent Tech-CB. Stop all other additives. This will bring up your calcium and alkalinity and help stabilize the water parameters.

Good luck. keep us posted on your progress.