Extremely high nitrates

AlanR917

Blue Ring
Registered
#1
Hello everyone, I have had an octopus for the past few months, but the little guy kept hiding in the live rock. Now, 4 months later, My nitrates went from being at 0-5 to being 80-160 within a week, could this be because of a decaying octopus? I dont have any other explanations, as we always clean the filters and skimmer regularly, and do routine water changes. If that IS what it is, how do I remove the body from the live rock so that I can still use the tank for other fish? Right now we are taking each rock out, letting it soak in brand new water, then testing the nitrates to see which is the highest, but are not having much luck. Does anyone else have any ideas besides breaking each rock open? That would really ruin my tank and make it look bad, but if there is no other way, I will do that. Thank you for your help!
 

DWhatley

Cthulhu
Staff member
Moderator
#2
IF the octopus has expired, it could spike your nitrates, however, I am constantly fighting high nitrates because of the bioload and the messy eating habits of an octopus. I would not worry too much if you do not find the remains (again, this assumes it expired). They decompose rapidly and often do not (depending upon the tank and octopus size and the cleanup crew) register on the nitrate scale. If you did not see an ammonia spike and the octo was eating, your nitrates may be from food left under and around rocks.

Other than getting your nitrates back down for fish (large and frequent water changes) AND being sure there is no live octo (many times the octopus surprises even an experienced keeper and is simply well hidden and very shy OR brooding inside a rock), nothing will keep you from using the aquarium for fish or corals as octopuses do not poison a tank like many cucumbers or certain fish.
 

sirreal

Vampyroteuthis
Registered
#4
You have not said how large the tank is? The simple way to fight nitrates is water changes. If your tank is say 40 gal I would do 5g per day until you get your nitrates down. Remember nothing good ever happens fast in a salt water tank. slow and steady wins the race
 

gjbarord

Sepia elegans
Staff member
Moderator
#5
The thing to remember with nitrates is that it is not a 1:1 ratio of removing water and removing nitrates. Meaning, that you can't expect to do a 50% water change and reduce nitrates by 50%. I remember having this problem at the NRCC because there are so many other places in a marine system that nitrates can be sequestered. I think the 5g option, or 10% water changes everyday are a good bet to slowly take the nitrates down. After all, if you remove all of the nitrates right away, that won't be good for the system either.

Greg
 

DWhatley

Cthulhu
Staff member
Moderator
#6
Another point with nitrates is to remember that they are not simply water pollution. The end result of ammonia->nitrite->nitrate conversion is a settling in the substrate so before changing water, blowing off rock (turkey baster is helpful) and stirring the bottom will place more in the water column for removal.
 

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