New Hobbyist - Nitrate Question

#1
Greetings all,

I've had a 25 gallon saltwater tank for roughly 6 months now and it's been a pretty smooth experience so far. I have nearly shell-less snails?/slugs?, live rock, aiptasia polyps, a long spine sea urchin, a neon dottyback, and a blue damselfish. Chemically speaking, the numbers for the usual tests are all pretty good, besides nitrates being a bit high. The highest it got was 60 ppm several months ago, but getting a skimmer lowered that to an average 40 ppm. It's still a bit higher than I want since I'd obviously rather not have much algae, but didn't know what the safest way to reduce it would be besides water changes and vacuuming. I got a bottle of Instant Ocean's Natural Nitrate Reducer and just didn't know if it was A) safe for the contents of the tank and B) worth taking the risk to use for that nitrate level. The website nor any other searches implied reason to be worried about the safety, but I'd rather not do any damage. Any suggestions or help is appreciated!
 

beaslbob

Well-Known Member
#2
like everything else nitrates are created and consumed. the key IMHO is to get the consumers equaling the creators. I do that be using macro algae in a refugium (can be just a simply tank partition). Some use algae turf scrubbers which grow algae on screens. Both rely in algae to balance out and stabilize operations so that nitrates are consumed as they are created.

oh yes, algae actually prefers to consume ammonia first then nitrates, plus phosphates and carbon dioxide while returning oxygen and fish food.

So say something goes bump in the night and ammonia increases. The algae will consume that ammonia preventing dangers spikes and possible tank crashes.


my .02
 
#3
like everything else nitrates are created and consumed. the key IMHO is to get the consumers equaling the creators. I do that be using macro algae in a refugium (can be just a simply tank partition). Some use algae turf scrubbers which grow algae on screens. Both rely in algae to balance out and stabilize operations so that nitrates are consumed as they are created.

oh yes, algae actually prefers to consume ammonia first then nitrates, plus phosphates and carbon dioxide while returning oxygen and fish food.

So say something goes bump in the night and ammonia increases. The algae will consume that ammonia preventing dangers spikes and possible tank crashes.


my .02
Thanks for the follow up! Would you say that 40 ppm is too high a level for the mentioned inhabitants in a 25 gallon tank?
 

beaslbob

Well-Known Member
#4
Thanks for the follow up! Would you say that 40 ppm is too high a level for the mentioned inhabitants in a 25 gallon tank?
No.

In fact I have seen reports where one was keeping corals with nitrates at the 80ppm level. the main effect is the corals look ugly as they consume the nitrates.

Plus if the algae in the system is consuming ammonia, then elevated nitrates is normal. As bacteria expand and consume ammonia nitrates will drop.

And cyano blooms when the tank becomes "nitrate starved" and the cyano uses nitrogen gas for its nitrogen.

One of the most frustrating things is when after a few month things are going really really well and nitrates finally drop to unmeasureable levels. then all the sudden here comes the cyano and it just covers everything.

my .02
 
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#5
No.

In fact I have seen reports where one was keeping corals with nitrates at the 80ppm level. the main effect is the corals look ugly as they consume the nitrates.

Plus if the algae in the system is consuming ammonia, then elevated nitrates is normal. As bacteria expand and consume ammonia nitrates will drop.

And cyano blooms when the tank becomes "nitrate starved" and the cyano uses nitrogen gas for its nitrogen.

One of the most frustrating things is when after a few month things are going really really well and nitrates finally drop to unmeasureable levels. then all the sudden here comes the cyano and it just covers everything.

my .02
Agree with the nitrate comment. I used to run a 125 FOWLR and my nitrates hovered in the 80-120 PPM and my fish never showed signs of stress. Would I like them lower? Sure, but I had a very large S&S Puffer that made it a challenge. I'm also on board with algae scrubbers - they can definitely knock out some of that algae and keep things stable.
 
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