Are low Phosphates killing my coral?

Fotocha

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When I did some research I remember reading that corals use 16/1 ratio of Nitrates/Phosphates. I'm not sure if this true or maybe I misread it. But if one is steadily rising then it might imply the ratio is off and your aquarium inhabitants are using up all of one the available components. I'm having the same issue btw with Phosphates.
 

infinite0180

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So the ATI ICP tests for nitrates? And is pretty accurate? That may be the kit I go with next. My NO3 and P04 was about where yours is. I know all tanks are different but I seem to need a bit higher P04 than 0.02. I got up to 0.04 P04 and about 5 ppm for N03 and things seemed better but not great. Hopefully you can get there by feeding. I've had an Eheim auto feeder for a while dropping food at 10am and manually feeding LRS at 6-7pm and couldn't get my P04 up. So I started dosing Brightwell's Neophos. I'm seeing where that takes me and I'll shoot for 0.06 Phosphates. That's the plan anyways.
Ya ATI does nitrates and it was right where i expected it to be based off my own testing so i assume its accurate. Awhile back i was dosing PO4 and things looked good when i got up to 0.06 but then i got sick of testing PO4 everyday and i stopped dosing. Before i was dosing i was locked in at 0ppm PO4. Atleast now things have stabilized at 0.02ppm without dosing it. I figured id try upping my feeding before i start down the dosing road again.
 

Hans-Werner

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By the end of the medicating period, they'd gotten to about 30. Nitrates are decreasing at about the same rate they rose. It's tedious, bc I'm not willing to dose P up to .3 and just hope the chaeto does its job faster than GHA can take hold and Nitrate and Phosphate testing is painful
That is not what I would recommend. Enough is enough and 0.1 to 0.2 ppm PO4 is enough for sure, I would not recommend higher concentrations. But increasing nitrate at low phosphate concentrations may be harmful to some corals, in my experience especially to Montipora plates and other corals sensitive to bleaching.
 
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DirtMcGurt

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It seems that when my P04 starts to drop, the nitrates start to rise. Since I got back from vacation Sunday my BTA was fully closed and most other LPS were retracted too. My P04 tested at 0.01. Barely visible with the Redsea test. So yesterday morning I dosed P04 and yesterday after I got home the BTA was open again with my clowns inside it. Some Duncans looked better too so I dosed another 10 mil of Brightwell's Neophos. Retested, and got 0.02 ppm of P04. Idk if it's the hair algae or the reaction between the P04 and N03 but my tank seems to be drinking my Neophos. I'm hoping when N03 gets low enough (below 5ppm) that I wont have to dose as much P04. I'm really nervous about over dosing.
 

Fotocha

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It seems that when my P04 starts to drop, the nitrates start to rise. Since I got back from vacation Sunday my BTA was fully closed and most other LPS were retracted too. My P04 tested at 0.01. Barely visible with the Redsea test. So yesterday morning I dosed P04 and yesterday after I got home the BTA was open again with my clowns inside it. Some Duncans looked better too so I dosed another 10 mil of Brightwell's Neophos. Retested, and got 0.02 ppm of P04. Idk if it's the hair algae or the reaction between the P04 and N03 but my tank seems to be drinking my Neophos. I'm hoping when N03 gets low enough (below 5ppm) that I wont have to dose as much P04. I'm really nervous about over dosing.
Yeah, I think that has to do with the red field ratio. But I’ve observed that as well. For me it’s my fuge it sucks up any phosphorus I put into the tank. I’m dosing 5mls a day and I’m also worried.


I found this at BRS (fairly new video) was very helpful on the topic.

https://www.bulkreefsupply.com/video/view/filter-excess-nitrate-and-phosphate-for-a-healthy-reef-tank-the-brs-wwc-system-ep9-brstv/
 
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DirtMcGurt

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It's good to hear that someone has seen similar results with dosing it. Thanks for the video link! I'll definitely check it out. I've heard/read about the redfield ratio too. I think I've heard that our tanks follow the ratio but that it may not be exactly 16:1 and that carbon has a part in the ratio but we cant really test for carbon so it's hard to find if the ratio is correct. From testing anyways.
 

Subsea

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Redfield Ratio 116:16:1 < C:N:p> relates to phytoplankton. In general, macroalgae as well as coral has a higher carbon & nitrogen ratio 560;30:1
 

Subsea

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It's good to hear that someone has seen similar results with dosing it. Thanks for the video link! I'll definitely check it out. I've heard/read about the redfield ratio too. I think I've heard that our tanks follow the ratio but that it may not be exactly 16:1 and that carbon has a part in the ratio but we cant really test for carbon so it's hard to find if the ratio is correct. From testing anyways.
I send macroalgae to Ward Labs, an agriculture lab. At $5 for each test, I get dry analysis. For Gracilaria Parvispora, Red Ogo, they confirmed 30:1 ratio of N:p. Carbon is more complicated with a higher cost associated with the testing.
 
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DirtMcGurt

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Do what?? You send off your macro to get tested? Lol. That's awesome! I had no idea you could do that. Is this Ward Labs local or can anyone send it from anywhere? I'd like to eventually keep a diverse and pretty refugium. I like the look of a clean fuge with different types of macro.
I send macroalgae to Ward Labs, an agriculture lab. At $5 for each test, I get dry analysis. For Gracilaria Parvispora, Red Ogo, they confirmed 30:1 ratio of N:p. Carbon is more complicated with a higher cost associated with the testing.
 
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DirtMcGurt

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From the link Fotocha sent me, my phosphates are and have been too low for a while. I use to focus on keeping N03 and P04 as low as possible. Since I always heard they cause algae. Only recently did I learn that you need both present in certain ratio. I'm gonna keep dosing P04 and testing everyday. This weekend I need to do a water change. Maybe that will help get N03 down enough for the P04 to balance out.
 

Fotocha

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From what I’ve seen WWC runs there tanks without a fuge and deals with nitrogen by adjusting their feedings. For Phosphate they use Phosphat -e. I guess it makes sense.

Problem is if your running a fuge you’d do more harm removing the chaeto.

A lot depends on the age of the tank. An older tank can handle nitrates > 5 up to 25
Mine is only about 9 months old so I’m going to limit it to 5ppm.

The question of solution is really do I dose or up my feedings. I’m not closed out on either. I just want phosphorus to read on something lol. Makes me wonder if the test kit is actually doing anything. I’ve seriously considered getting a Hannah checker for this very reason.
 

Fotocha

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From the link Fotocha sent me, my phosphates are and have been too low for a while. I use to focus on keeping N03 and P04 as low as possible. Since I always heard they cause algae. Only recently did I learn that you need both present in certain ratio. I'm gonna keep dosing P04 and testing everyday. This weekend I need to do a water change. Maybe that will help get N03 down enough for the P04 to balance out.
If your dosing phosphorus the nitrogen will drop because there are more molecules being converted to proteins. 16/1
 

William DeCoursey

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If your dosing phosphorus the nitrogen will drop because there are more molecules being converted to proteins. 16/1
My phosphates ran out last night. Hadn't noticed. Nitrate north of 50! Come on Amazon Prime :)

Fotocha , I've been dying to ask you (before you change your photo). Are you the really pretty one or the really lucky one ;)?
 

Subsea

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From the link Fotocha sent me, my phosphates are and have been too low for a while. I use to focus on keeping N03 and P04 as low as possible. Since I always heard they cause algae. Only recently did I learn that you need both present in certain ratio. I'm gonna keep dosing P04 and testing everyday. This weekend I need to do a water change. Maybe that will help get N03 down enough for the P04 to balance out.

It is not necessary to run those ratios. It is only necessary for the nutrients to be available. Growth is not determined by the most abundant nutrient, but it is limited by the least abundant nutrient.
 

Fotocha

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It is not necessary to run those ratios. It is only necessary for the nutrients to be available. Growth is not determined by the most abundant nutrient, but it is limited by the least abundant nutrient.
Agreed, It’s kind a like making Smore‘s . Or buying hotdogs to fit hotdog buns. You just want to eat you don’t care that there’s gonna be extra one(s) left over.

Sorry hadn’t had lunch here! Maybe a better way to describe it is ...your coral consumes phosphorus and nitrogen in different amounts ( to make proteins )... not exact amounts
 

Fotocha

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My phosphates ran out last night. Hadn't noticed. Nitrate north of 50! Come on Amazon Prime :)

Fotocha , I've been dying to ask you (before you change your photo). Are you the really pretty one or the really lucky one ;)?
I like to think I’m both! Lol
B19F9E8B-E7FD-4CB6-AE77-F3A58A2CA6D8.jpeg
 
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DirtMcGurt

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Thanks for the link @Subsea . I'll definitely keep that little tool in my arsenal for when I start trying to grow macro algae again.

Also, @William DeCoursey my nitrates hit about 50ppm when things were at their worst. I believe a dead tang trapped under some rock work had caused that. I wasnt able to dig it out without tearing my tank apart and the cuc was all over it. What I could tell anyways. Are you sure something didnt die in there? Just a thought. Also, like you, I'm waiting on Amazon prime to deliver my goods too lol
 

William DeCoursey

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Thanks for the link @Subsea . I'll definitely keep that little tool in my arsenal for when I start trying to grow macro algae again.

Also, @William DeCoursey my nitrates hit about 50ppm when things were at their worst. I believe a dead tang trapped under some rock work had caused that. I wasnt able to dig it out without tearing my tank apart and the cuc was all over it. What I could tell anyways. Are you sure something didnt die in there? Just a thought. Also, like you, I'm waiting on Amazon prime to deliver my goods too lol
I'm really not sure. I feed a wide variety of frozen (3 types), flakes, and pellets and run a very typical chaeto fuge. It grows fast. I have had a lot of snails breeding in the tank. One night the wife and I counted 70 baby snails on the front glass alone. I'm sure some of them have died off. I think I've lost one or two of the seven hermits I put in. Nothing on the order of a dead tang. For the past month I've really been fighting to get back to stable after a nice run on auto-pilot. It was either a bad batch of salt or a massive snail spawn that has knocked me off stride.

That's actually my theory now that you've forced me to think about it. First it was an insatiable hunger for kalk and alk... like mature sps dominant demand. That led me to eventually overdo the dosing and start getting precipitation on rocks/glass. Then this nitrate spike. I'm thinking hundreds of baby snail shells depleted by calcium carbonate. Most didn't survive and now I'm battling nitrate from the die off?

Only thing I don't have a theory for is why I have so little phosphate, compared to nitrate
 
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