Are low Phosphates killing my coral?

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DirtMcGurt

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That is an interesting theory. There's so many variables to these tanks...and I'm not experienced enough to say if that's plausible or not. It could have something to do with it tho. I'd be interested to find out if those baby snails had any kind of impact on your system. Or is it a bad batch of salt.
 

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I was also very frustrated chasing numbers for the first year of my tank. Had lots of die off , some algae issues, and not much growth to speak of. Best thing i ever did was to stop testing parameters. Cut back water changes to 20% every 3 weeks and sometimes 4. Find a light setting and stick with it. Then boom. Growth, no die off, cheato and dragons breath growing like weeds in refugium. Im pretty sure its been at least 8 months or more since i tested my water parameters. I also dose......absolutely nothing. And only feed a mixture of Reef Frenzy and Rods original. ( 100gal Very few sps tank).
 
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DirtMcGurt

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I wish I had that luck lol. I tried letting mine go a few weeks without water changes. After about 3 weeks hair algae had over taken everything and I had cyano all over the sand bed (I have nasty pics to remind me of this). At that point my N03 was, and had been, undetectable and P04 was around 0.1. When I did do a water change, and scrubbed all the hair algae off, things balanced out for a while. Then I was seeing growth. Until N03 kept rising. I think manually removing all hair algae played a big part in getting it straight then.
 

Fotocha

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Well I started dosing 10mls of the Neophos last night. I bought a Hannah phosphate checker just to be sure. It read 0

My torch looks better but these diatoms still growing on the sand bed. The good news the algae on the glass isn’t nearly as bad before.

Still hesitant to go higher than 10mls (Dosing and waiting 24hrs checking and dosing again)
 
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Well I started dosing 10mls of the Neophos last night. I bought a Hannah phosphate checker just to be sure. It read 0

My torch looks better but these diatoms still growing on the sand bed. The good news the algae on the glass isn’t nearly as bad before.

Still hesitant to go higher than 10mls (Dosing and waiting 24hrs checking and dosing again)
Nice! I know when my P04 was super low I'd get diatoms on the sand and glass in a day. Do you have any hair algae in your tank? I have a little bit here and there and in wondering if its soaking up the P04 that I dose. It seemed like I had to dose 20 - 25 mils, split into an AM and PM dose, or else it wouldn't measure it when I retested. I'm still dosing btw. Idm curious on how your tank and coral respond. I really need one of those Hannah checkers too.
 

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Here’s what I’m trying to fix, bleached tips

9617673B-4B50-4595-AAB5-1B521F8C8A31.jpeg


My sand bed isn’t horrible atm
6196BF54-914A-48EB-8FC2-B1619EA70D9C.jpeg
FD2125CE-2260-4527-9E31-26E47B168197.jpeg


@DirtMcGurt no hair algae, however I did pull the top rock out and it’s mad green. I was having more issues with green film algae. The good news I have coraline starting to grow on the back wall. Hopefully everything settles.

The issue with chasing numbers is a valid point. At this point I just want it to read something. I’d be ok with any number.
 
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Here’s what I’m trying to fix, bleached tips

View attachment 1126978

My sand bed isn’t horrible atm
View attachment 1126980 View attachment 1126981

@DirtMcGurt no hair algae, however I did pull the top rock out and it’s mad green. I was having more issues with green film algae. The good news I have coraline starting to grow on the back wall. Hopefully everything settles.

The issue with chasing numbers is a valid point. At this point I just want it to read something. I’d be ok with any number.
My sand bed looks similar to yours and I also have a green slime algae but it's mostly in my sump. My tank looked a lot like yours earlier but I wasnt sure what was causing it. I didnt think a super low, or zero, reading of P04 was the cause so I didn't treat it. Sounds like we may have the same issue but only time and dosing P04 will tell. Keep us posted on your progress if you can. I'll do the same. Thanks for sharing!
 

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Following this as it hits my situation as well. Have a new 180 gal with a beefy skimmer & refugium. My NO3 & PO4 have also been zero since tank stabilized (ammonia, NO2 zero).
Cheeto in refug not growing, guessing since NO3=0. No GFO or carbon running. Seem to have at least moderate bioload.
Dont prince mysis prior to feeding feed 1-2 cubes of mysis and/or brine shrimp daily.
Other parameters; dkh=9, Ca 400, pH 8.0. Don't recall name of refug light. Don't want to spend $200.on a light (14x17 in refug).
Sorry if this should have been a new thread, but seemed to be on same issues. Thanks for any advice.
 
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DirtMcGurt

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Following this as it hits my situation as well. Have a new 180 gal with a beefy skimmer & refugium. My NO3 & PO4 have also been zero since tank stabilized (ammonia, NO2 zero).
Cheeto in refug not growing, guessing since NO3=0. No GFO or carbon running. Seem to have at least moderate bioload.
Dont prince mysis prior to feeding feed 1-2 cubes of mysis and/or brine shrimp daily.
Other parameters; dkh=9, Ca 400, pH 8.0. Don't recall name of refug light. Don't want to spend $200.on a light (14x17 in refug).
Sorry if this should have been a new thread, but seemed to be on same issues. Thanks for any advice.
I cant blame you for not wanting to spend $200 on a fuge light lol. I had the same situation with my fuge. From my experience, you need some measurable nutrients in your tank. That being said... everyone's tank if different. Some ppl claim that zero nitrates and phosphates makes their system happy. When I had zero nitrates I caused a dinoflagellates outbreak. I'll get hair algae, diatoms, and cyano. How does your tank look? Any coral?
 
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DirtMcGurt

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A quick update on my tank. My P04 is up to 0.06 ppm. One of my duncan colonies seems to be responding well, or it's a coincidence. I'll know for sure this afternoon and thru the weekend. I've been dosing for 5 days straight now. N03 is still up around 10ppm but I'm planning a large (30%) water change Saturday. I'll clean any bits of algae off my rocks too. That made a difference last time. When my N03 was undetectable and P04 was about 0.08 ppm. Hopefully it helps even tho my N03 to P04 balance is off in the other direction.
 

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A quick update on my tank. My P04 is up to 0.06 ppm. One of my duncan colonies seems to be responding well, or it's a coincidence. I'll know for sure this afternoon and thru the weekend. I've been dosing for 5 days straight now. N03 is still up around 10ppm but I'm planning a large (30%) water change Saturday. I'll clean any bits of algae off my rocks too. That made a difference last time. When my N03 was undetectable and P04 was about 0.08 ppm. Hopefully it helps even tho my N03 to P04 balance is off in the other direction.
Well if this was anything like Nitrogen dosing, when you get it going... slam on the breaks, because for some reason it kept going higher after I got it up. I had to stop for like a week and then re-dose. Like it breaks some unseen barrier. Now I haven't dosed it in over a month. It's maintaining.

Hopefully I hit something too with Phos dosing. I'm def going to stop once I hit 0.3ppm. My nitrates are holding at 2ppm. For the most part its now constant. 2-5ppm. I'd recommend keeping a reef log if you aren't already. Here is mine on Nitrates. (I'd show you my phosphate too, but its a straight line at "0" lol)

Update I've increased Phosphorus dosing to 20ml's!!! Crossing fingers

IMG_5146.PNG
 
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Well if this was anything like Nitrogen dosing, when you get it going... slam on the breaks, because for some reason it kept going higher after I got it up. I had to stop for like a week and then re-dose. Like it breaks some unseen barrier. Now I haven't dosed it in over a month. It's maintaining.

Hopefully I hit something too with Phos dosing. I'm def going to stop once I hit 0.3ppm. My nitrates are holding at 2ppm. For the most part its now constant. 2-5ppm. I'd recommend keeping a reef log if you aren't already. Here is mine on Nitrates. (I'd show you my phosphate too, but its a straight line at "0" lol)

Update I've increased Phosphorus dosing to 20ml's!!! Crossing fingers

View attachment 1127664
Interesting... when I dosed nitrates the same happened to me. I bought a 500 ml bottle and only used about 50 mils lol. Once N03 got up, it stuck. We've definitely had the same experiences so far @Fotocha . I also keep a reef log. I use Aquarium Note. It's ok for a free app. Seems to be fairly easy to use when I remember to use it lol. I gotta start logging every single test. Not just most of them. What reef keeping log are you using?
 

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Interesting... when I dosed nitrates the same happened to me. I bought a 500 ml bottle and only used about 50 mils lol. Once N03 got up, it stuck. We've definitely had the same experiences so far @Fotocha . I also keep a reef log. I use Aquarium Note. It's ok for a free app. Seems to be fairly easy to use when I remember to use it lol. I gotta start logging every single test. Not just most of them. What reef keeping log are you using?

I used reefminder as well, but I’ve since switched. I’m now using Aquarimate, it’s a $10 app but i believe to be worth it.

It has analytics and will show you histories keep a log for individual livestock it has a reef database. Reminders for tasks, the ability to load equipment and dosing bottles into it. It’s pretty slick. Totally worth it!
 

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I’ve begun to notice a few things and I think I have a Theory. I’m starting to really believe that algae outbreaks in aquariums is nothing more than just an imbalance of nitrates and phosphates. I should point out that this is an indirect relationship and not directly related.

It’s more based on a war of attrition. Since I’ve been dosing Green film algae on the glass is barely existent. Like algae in the wild maybe it’s just natures way of balancing the water. Or like types of algae thrive on imbalances corals thrives on balanced water.

I also think you have to have corals to make the system work. Without the presence of of corals to take the uptake I think algae would just over grow. In the oceans phosphates are zero, but that’s only partially true because their availability is everywhere.

I imagine with a more mature tank Coraline algae overtakes others as well as in the oceans. What’s been your observations ?

But there is a big difference between reading some phosphates and having Corals starving for it. More like 10% fact and 90% guess work.
 
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DirtMcGurt

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You make some good points and I've also noticed that I have zero algae growth when my N03 and P04 were at a balance. By "balance" I mean a balance specific to my tank. From all the reading I've done, everyone has a different balance of those two parameters. Luckily I recorded my N03 and P04 levels back when my tank was running smoothly. It was barely 10 months old then and I had zero algae for almost 4 months. Once that balance tipped... the brown and green diatoms showed up 1st, then slime and hair algae started before I knew what had really caused it. I'm still not 100% sure that's the cause but from what you and I have seen, @Fotocha, that seems to be the case.
 

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So I made some observations and my diatoms went crazy lol

@Randy Holmes-Farley sorry to put you on the spot. But your one of the most experienced with this topic. Should I continue dosing 20mls of NeoPhos even though I’m still not reading anything?
 
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DirtMcGurt

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Well crap... lol. Any idea what caused them to explode? I'm assuming that's what you mean?
 

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