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Guest Jim D

DE (diatomaceous earth)

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same way it picks up oil off a driveway.  basically it's structure is such that it has a tremendous amount of void space making it absorb well like a paper towel.  it works on properties of physics and not chemically.  DE filtration is a mechanical removal of solids from water. 

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20 minutes ago, Guest Jim D said:

How does diatomatios earth (DE) work to keep water clear ??

Would you say that it works as well as a UV sterilzer ? The DE would be in a canister filer.. Thanks !

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It was my understanding that DE was the skeletons of diatoms, which have glass like skeletons. Therefore they're like tiny shards of glass and as things (algae cells etc) pass through them they're lacerated at a microscopic level and die.DE is found in, or was originally used in toothpaste because it abrade the surface of the tooth to remove the stains on the outer layer of teeth.  DE is also used to keep insects away from your house because it cuts up the bottom of their insect feet and bellies. 

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DE used in a canister filter with a pleated filter cartridge is able to filter out very, very small particles even bacteria.  Because it's so efficient it clogs very fast and is not practical using long term.   It's not going to remove nitrates.   Can you give a little more info on what you are trying to do or fix?

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Has it occurred to you proceeding might be the best way to reduce nitrates?  I stopped worrying about nitrates years and years ago and in my experience there's not an association between high nitrates and algae.  And when some kind of disruption does cause high nitrates they drop on their own as corals recover, start growing and start removing more ammonia.   Here's a good video by one of the curators at the Steinhart Aquarium who has nitrates in his stony reef tank comparable to yours:

 

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Yea, Ive been waiting, my death ratio was just too high, corals, fish all of it. The only thing I can blame it on is high nitrates, everything else is acceptable. I think the problem here is the size of the tank, 60g, the nitrates spiked at 180ppm.

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Yikes, that is high for sure!  A big water change would probably help

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3 hours ago, jolt said:

Yikes, that is high for sure!  A big water change would probably help

Ive done like a 70% water change already, nothing seems to be helping...

Edited by JimD

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It seems like (1) your fish load is too high for your tank, or (2) there is something in your tank that is leaching nitrate (rock, sand, detritus in sump), (3) your replacement water has high nitrates.  Have you checked your replacement water?

 

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I have, its at zero ppm,  my fish load cant be to high, I only have 2 choris and 2 pj cardinals, I cant imagine what could be leaching anything Im real good at syphoning the  stuff out.. But Ill check,,, thanks !

Edited by JimD

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I'm scratching my head here.    Here's what I think I understand:

- you have a 60 gallon with 2 coris wrasses and 2 pj cardinals

- you did a 70% water change

- your replacement water had 0ppm nitrates  (this means immediately after the 70% water change you should read much lower nitrates than before: (0.3 * 180) + (0.7 * 0) = 54ppm)

- you don't have any detritus or leaching problems (and I assume no algae growing like crazy)

Have you tried a different nitrate test kit?  Are you sure you are using your current one correctly?

Do you think you have ammonia in your replacement water?  This could translate to nitrates as it is broken down

How much do you feed?

 

 

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Thats one thing I havent done, check my replacement water for anything...  I did the water change over a period of one week... I just figured being new it was good, Ill check it tonight...  I do however have an algae issue, I figured the algae and the elevated nitrates were related... Ammonia is at zero and I feed very lightly once a day... Ive tried 2 different test kits, both the same...

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I realize this is heretical but I would stop worrying about nitrates.  I would continue with weekly ~10% water changes and manual algae removal.  If you are using GFO I would remove it.  I don't know what corals you have but I would add some easy soft corals and easy mushroom polyps.  Be patient, I would expect it to take several months to fix this problem.  Can you post some pictures?  I'm curious how much algae you have and what corals yo have look like.  I've seen nitrate numbers off the scale when remediating algae problems and they typically start falling after corals start growing again. 

 

(My reasoning for removing GFO if you are using it is phosphate is essential for corals and algae to utilize ammonia and nitrate.  You are not feeding very much and if you have an algae problem not only is the algae competing for phosphate but algae is also releasing types of DOC that have a negative impact on corals giving algae the upper hand.  Along with increasing the available phosphate if it's been dropped below natural levels (.13 mg/l is average on reefs) you will need to add herbivores and increase your manual removal of the algae.  For herbivores I would add two or three Royal urchins, they don't bother corals (Diadem species might nibble on some corals if they can't get enough algae) and they feeding removes the" holdfast" algae has making it harder for it to regrow.)  

 

 

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I have to worry about nitrates because its the only thing thats out of whack !  Im using very little gfo so that shouldnt be an issue, plus I havnt changed out in quite a while.. Im going to continue with the weekly water changes and hope for the best.. You can see the algae in the last pic...

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Water changes are your best friend.  Continued changes will get you to your mark soon enough.

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Your corals look healthy and you don't have what I would consider an algae issue but it it bothers you, you can use a syringe with H2O2.  Hold the end of the syringe against the rock where the algae attaches to kill the "holdfast" at the base.   You need to be careful not to use more than 1 or 2 cc's at a time and wait a day or two before continuing treatment.  I am curious what your PO4 level is.  Do you feel you're corals growth has slowed down recently?

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H2O2 is hydrogen peroxide.  Phosphate is a limiting nutrient for corals to utilize nitrate.  Are you happy with your tank as is?  I ask because I would be trying to raise phosphate so the corals can do a better job of using up the nitrates.  But the best way is to add more fish (qt first) and start feeding more.   But algae will respond faster than the corals so it's critical to add a couple urchins and keep removing algae manually along with water changes.  But if your happy with your tank you can stick with just periodic water changes.

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I think Tim makes a great point about raising phosphates.  I use Brightwell Neophos to keep my phosphates up.

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This is  a problem that occured suddenly in a tank thats been set up for 15 years, so I dont think its phosphates,..

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I'd say I disagree with adding phosphates if your primary goal is running an SPS-dominant tank.

As long as you are feeding fish daily, you shouldn't have a lack of phosphate issue... You will most likely have remove phosphate from your system.

Removing nitrates is as simple as water changes.  Change 50% of your water, and your nitrate level will drop 50%.  

I keep a concentration of 5-10ppm of nitrates for best coloration in an SPS dominant tank.

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