System overload

Guess I was too optimistic about how many fishes the aquarium could house. I have measured nitrate and phosphate a couple of times the last months and they were at a steady high despite using rowaphos  and reef pellets for removing nitrate. I have added a reactor chamber run by a small eheim pump (around 400  l/h), but it did not help much, nitrates where still around 2-4 mg/l and phosphate around 0,4 mg/l.

So last weekend I changed 600 liters of water and cleaned the sump and the upper filter aquarium. It also seems that the upper filter aquarium did acts as a filter as I hoped, so I removed some of the live rocks and placed them in the  sump. Now the upper aquariums acts as a crustacean zoo, with at least 4 species of crustaceans, to keep them from eating my snails and being eaten by the turbot.

The turbot by the way ate the  small lumpsucker after just one week. After the water change the nitrate  and phosphate is much lower, the big fishes are gone, so I hope that will help.

Here is a photo of the upper filter aquarium and one of the squatlobsters.

Full view of top filter aquarium 1,7 m longSquatlobsterReactor with quickphos phosphate remover
This entry was posted in Coldwater aquarium and tagged , , , .


  1. Marius 23. oktober 2015 at 11:34 #


    I just love that room you have with all your setup, its a dream.

    I would be too concerned about 2-4 mg/l nitrates? I think anything below 10 is just fine as it will feed filterfeeders and macros. I had up to 40 in the early days and nothing ever died. Only had Rockpool species and they are hardy. More worrying is the phosphates as they build up if not removed.
    I remember I used to have huge problems with phosphates, when I read into it I found out that only anaerobic bacteria can reduce phosphates (and macros of course) so I put my liverock in a low flow area of the sump where there will be an anaerobic situation for them to settle/thrive. since i did that in my sump my phosphates went straight down and never came up again even with heavy feeding.

    I dont think with the size of your tank plus upper level tank plus sump you should have a problem with the stock?

    How exactly does your upper tank work, I mean how does the water (and what rate) go in and out? What type of overflow? I would think from looking at the size and setup of it your system should be able to handle a fairly big bioload.

    Dont get me wrong I dont want to be lecturing, I am not an expert, just sharing my view/opinion 😉 and impressed by your setup. Would be cool to more technical detail how its setup.

    All the best

  2. mkielland 26. oktober 2015 at 10:49 #

    The special aquarium-room was one of the reasons we bought the house, who need three bathrooms 🙂

    You are right the nitrates aren´t that concerning, I meausured phosphate after the water change and now it is “0”, so I hope this will reduce the filamentous algaes overgrowing everything.

    I think heavy feeding with whole small herrings and lots of mysis may have tilted the system towards to much phosphate. And I have had a couple of unplanned death of crabs. One of the anemones died, but I fished it out before it started rotting.

    I will post a technical setup of the system soon – there will be lots of arrows on that drawing.

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