Red Sea Max 130D Nitrates and Mods

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Evening,

Hope everyone had a great Christmas. First time posting and I was after some advice and any tips on a few of the following bits.

I've got a second hand Red Sea Max 130D , it's missing a few pieces i.e hood and lights, but I've put a AI Prime over the top and used some plastic to create a lip to reduce evaporation and stop any jumpers.

The tanks been up and running around 3-4 months now, iv'e got the following livestock:

-2 Emerald Crabs
-3 Orange Hermits
-2 Clowns one normal and one black
-2 Purple Dartfish
-snails, couple of nassarius, cerith and trochus.

This have gone really will without any issues and I'm keen to introduce a Coral to the tank ideally a torch coral.

The one constant issue I have is that my Nitrates are always above 20, I've tried everything, (reduced feeding, adding biological booster, a number of 20% water changes) and I've managed to get it 15 for perhaps a couple of days. Will this level of Nitrate detrimentally affect the coral?

All my other test are perfect;
-Nitrite =0
-Amonia = 0
-DKH=9
-Calcium=510
-Magnesium=1500

My second query was there any recommendations for modifying the tank, ideally I've like to have a place to grow some chaeto as I believe this can help reduce nitrates, I was thinking about putting in a drawstring bag and placing just after the skimmer but before the heater in the back of the tank, any opinions.



I've attached some pictures.


Many Thanks for any recommendations

Radiation91

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Reply #1

And a Merry Christmas to you too Colin!

That's a funky looking scape you've got there! (In a good way :) ) I can see why you want the torch.... it would really suit the tank.

A few things to check...
1) is your nitrate test accurate?
If so...
2) is the water you're adding clear of all nitrates? If im not mistaken 0TDS doesn't necessarily mean 0 nitrate.
If those are both in check then...
3) has the protein skimmer broken in and now producing skimmate?
If so...
4) is your circulation good enough to pick up the debris on the sand bed up into the overflow, to be filtered out of the system?

I wouldn't be concerned about 8ppm nitrate if you've currently got only fish. Don't start massive water changes because you'll just stress the fish out. Focus on finding the root of the problem.

Good luck!

Asco1104

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Reply #2

Hi

20ppm isn’t that high, as said test a fresh salt mix first.
How much are you feeding?

It’s looking very good for 3 months, you could try a tour here but I fear you might loose it as they can be a bit sensitive. A good first coral would be a Duncan, candy cane, blasto, acan, zoas, mushrooms.

What salt are you using? As that cal and mag are very high. You want cal around 420 and mag around 1320.

What are your phosphate? You could try Nopox if you have a skimmer to reduce nitrate.


Tim

Colin Owen

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Reply #3

Hi Radiation91,

Thanks for your suggestions, I believe the Nitrate test is accurate,it's a Red Sea although when the reagents run out I'm going to swap to the Salifert (Which I use for Calcium and Magnesium) as they seem a lot more precise, my eyesight is shocking and trying to pick a shade of pink out is a nightmare.

I checked the "Raw RODI" I'm using to mix the salt and I think this is the problem, the Nitrates were reading around 10 this was when I tested within 5 minutes of buying from the LFS, I'm going to go to buy some water from a different store on Tuesday and double check but I think this is the cause.

Out of interest if I set up an RODI unit at home should I get a TDS meter and would you expect to get completely nitrate free water from this.

The skimmer seems fine although it's not a great skimmer being a built in one and certainly one of the first things I'll look to upgrade in the future.

Circulation seems good to me, my only concern is that both the return jets are in the same place so once I start adding coral I may add a wave-maker on the opposite side.


Hi Tim,

Feeding wise I'm giving around half a block of frozen Mysis a day over two feeds, I would say all the food is gone within a matter of minutes with the clowns gulping it down. Do you think this is too much?

With the Torch, do you think it's just the age of the tank that's the issue or are they also not recommended from a beginners POV. I must say I like the look of the Candy Cane and the Acan, what's your view on a war coral?

The salt I'm using is Red Sea Coral Pro Salt, I think the high levels of calcium and mag are just down to not having anything in tank that's "using" them, is there any risk is having too high levels?

Phosphate is the only test I've still to buy and is on my list for January.

Thank you for you advice.

Cheers
Colin

 

Asco1104

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Reply #4

Hi nitrate tests on ro are not reliable at all, you need to mix some salt with it then test it to get a true reading, but your correct that getting your own ro unit is the best way to go.

That amount of food sounds fine.

Age of the tank, war coral would be ok.

Levels that high might irritate corals, try doing some water changes with Red Sea blue to see if they come back in line.

Phosphate is very important more so than nitrate imo.


Tim

Colin Owen

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Reply #5

Hi Tim

Thanks for the advice. out of interest what is it about plain ro water that's unreliable? I'll make 5 litres of salt water up in the morning and test to see if that gives a different result.

Glad to hear my own ro unit is the way to go, don't expect my partner to be as happy though :) I've tried googling but can't find any mention of red sea blue. what is this?

with the phosphates do they typically rise in line with other chemicals which I was use as a market?

Thanks again

colin

Hai

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Reply #6

Nice tank Colin :)

Asco1104

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Reply #7

It’s because of the lack of minerals, o2 wich effects ph giving you a false reading.

http://www.marineaquatics.co.uk/shop/red-sea-salt-7kg-22kg.html

It has much better levels that are nearer to natural sea water levels.

Phosphate is produced by organic mater breaking down, it’s the main cause of algae problems and coral deaths. You want to aim for around 0.03ppm. Have a look at the nyos test kit or the Hannah checker.


Tim

Radiation91

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Reply #8



Hi Radiation91,

Thanks for your suggestions, I believe the Nitrate test is accurate,it's a Red Sea although when the reagents run out I'm going to swap to the Salifert (Which I use for Calcium and Magnesium) as they seem a lot more precise, my eyesight is shocking and trying to pick a shade of pink out is a nightmare.

I checked the "Raw RODI" I'm using to mix the salt and I think this is the problem, the Nitrates were reading around 10 this was when I tested within 5 minutes of buying from the LFS, I'm going to go to buy some water from a different store on Tuesday and double check but I think this is the cause.

Out of interest if I set up an RODI unit at home should I get a TDS meter and would you expect to get completely nitrate free water from this.

The skimmer seems fine although it's not a great skimmer being a built in one and certainly one of the first things I'll look to upgrade in the future.

Circulation seems good to me, my only concern is that both the return jets are in the same place so once I start adding coral I may add a wave-maker on the opposite side.


Hi Tim,

Feeding wise I'm giving around half a block of frozen Mysis a day over two feeds, I would say all the food is gone within a matter of minutes with the clowns gulping it down. Do you think this is too much?

With the Torch, do you think it's just the age of the tank that's the issue or are they also not recommended from a beginners POV. I must say I like the look of the Candy Cane and the Acan, what's your view on a war coral?

The salt I'm using is Red Sea Coral Pro Salt, I think the high levels of calcium and mag are just down to not having anything in tank that's "using" them, is there any risk is having too high levels?

Phosphate is the only test I've still to buy and is on my list for January.

Thank you for you advice.

Cheers
Colin

Haha i agree with the "shades of pink". That's the worst!

Yes, your own RODI unit should remove the nitrates. If not, I've come across membranes specifically for nitrates online before. RODI units are quite pricey but pay themselves off in the long run. And you know exactly what you're putting in the tank too then.

HK_Fuey

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Reply #9

Is that liverock?  Looks like some other type to me? - maybe aimed at freshwater.  It needs to be very porous for a marine tank.

Colin Owen

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Reply #10

Hi,

Correct it's not live rock but it is suitable for marine tanks and is very porous and now is "live" due to the amount of bacteria that as inhabited it.

I need to order more salt soon so I will go with the Red Sea Blue Salt and see how this performs.

Thanks

Colin

Colin Owen

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Reply #11

Hi Everyone,

Just to update where I am, I brought and tested with a Salifert Phosphate kit, Initial reading on Wednesday was 0.1. With nitrates still around 25.

I made up some salt water yesterday using RODI from my LFS and tested this to find the water was after around 10 ppm for nitrates which is disappointing as I've always had a good relationship with them and brought the majority of my stuff from them.

I started dosing NOPOX yesterday, 2ml and tested my water this morning and the Phosphates were clear, with nitrates around 20. Would you expect to see an improvement this quickly on the Phosphate levels?

Also I've read from a number of forums around NOPOX having an adverse effect on livestock due to the reduction in oxygen, I've got my skimmer working well so not overly worried but wanted to see what other peoples stories were.

Lastly the green algae is intensifying (See image below) I think this was due to the program I was running my lights on, so I've pulled this back a bit, are there any recommendations for any livestock to take care of the algae?

Many Thanks

Colin

Asco1104

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Reply #12

I’m afraid to say a lfs hasn’t got the time to keep as tight a control on water quality as you can making your own.

No normally Nopox has a limited effect on phosphate.

As long as you are skimming very wet then it will be fine, when I say wet you want to fill the cup with in 2 days.


Tim

HK_Fuey

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Reply #13

Carbon dosing takes time.  You essentially building a bacteria population, and that doesn't happen overnight.

The bacteria uses nitrate:phosphate at a 6:1 ratio, but then you have to consider how much nitrate and phosphate are being added.  Often people require additional phosphate reduction.

I'm still suspicious about the rock.  What kind is it? It doesn't look like any I recognize.

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