Bouncing PO4

AFHokie

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About a week or two ago I did some testing after several coral didn’t look quite right. I found that my NO3 had bottomed to zero (salifert, no perceptible color at all) but my PO4 was still up around 0.1 (Hannah ULR).

I got some clear max to reduce the PO4 and Neonitro to bring up the NO3. I was worried about stripping nutrients so tested each day and after about 36 hours my PO4 read .05 and I pulled the clear max. Over those same two days I slowly dosed NO3 up to 5ppm.

All the coral looked happy and better, but after work today I noticed my alveopora had almost no polyp extension. I can’t rule out a snail or my hawk fish but retested my nutrients to be sure.

As expected my NO3 was still at 5 but my PO4 read 0.09. That is a jump from .05 on the 8th to .09 today. Did a salifert PO4 in high-res double mode yesterday and it appeared to be about .06.

I feed mainly Xtreme pellets to my fish (LN hawk, 2 clowns) and a small piece of Rod’s food every other or couple days. Also 3-4ml of AB+ a few times a week.

Could some pellets a couple times a day or a dime size piece of Rod’s throw my PO4 up that fast? And, I’m not really sure I even fed Rod’s in between those two tests.

So, if not the food, what is driving my PO4 up like that? I’m okay running clearmax/GFO but testing PO4 constantly is time and cost prohibitive.

Tank is a Lifegard 24 (est 20 gal H2O), no skimmer, 6 months old from dry rock.
 
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About a week or two ago I did some testing after several coral didn’t look quite right. I found that my NO3 had bottomed to zero (salifert, no perceptible color at all) but my PO4 was still up around 0.1 (Hannah ULR).

I got some clear max to reduce the PO4 and Neonitro to bring up the NO3. I was worried about stripping nutrients so tested each day and after about 36 hours my PO4 read .05 and I pulled the clear max. Over those same two days I slowly dosed NO3 up to 5ppm.

All the coral looked happy and better, but after work today I noticed my alveopora had almost no polyp extension. I can’t rule out a snail or my hawk fish but retested my nutrients to be sure.

As expected my NO3 was still at 5 but my PO4 read 0.09. That is a jump from .05 on the 8th to .09 today. Did a salifert PO4 in high-res double mode yesterday and it appeared to be about .06.

I feed mainly Xtreme pellets to my fish (LN hawk, 2 clowns) and a small piece of Rod’s food every other or couple days. Also 3-4ml of AB+ a few times a week.

Could some pellets a couple times a day or a dime size piece of Rod’s throw my PO4 up that fast? And, I’m not really sure I even fed Rod’s in between those two tests.

So, if not the food, what is driving my PO4 up like that? I’m okay running clearmax/GFO but testing PO4 constantly is time and cost prohibitive.

Tank is a Lifegard 24 (est 20 gal H2O), no skimmer, 6 months old from dry rock.
One possibility is that the aragonite in your system adsorbed PO4 when it was 0.1 ppm and now that you lowered the water PO4 level, the PO4 is desorbing from the aragonite and increasing the amount in the water. If this is true, desorption will continue for awhile.
 
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AFHokie

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One possibility is that the aragonite in your system adsorbed PO4 when it was 0.1 ppm and now that you lowered the water PO4 level, the PO4 is desorbing from the aragonite and increasing the amount in the water. If this is true, desorption will continue for awhile.
So keep using the gfo until I no longer see rebounds? i.e. until the rock is no longer desorbing?

How do I manage the swings? I can’t say with certainty the alveopora reacted the way it did due to the swing but I can’t imagine a .04-.05 swing every few days will do anything any good.
 
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Dan_P

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So keep using the gfo until I no longer see rebounds? i.e. until the rock is no longer desorbing?

How do I manage the swings? I can’t say with certainty the alveopora reacted the way it did due to the swing but I can’t imagine a .04-.05 swing every few days will do anything any good.
Yes, if the idea is correct, it will take time. Using a smaller amount of GFO could be an approach to minimize the bounce while bringing down the PO4 level. Might take a bit longer though

Are you convinced those small changes in PO4 are being felt by the coral?
 
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AFHokie

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Yes, if the idea is correct, it will take time. Using a smaller amount of GFO could be an approach to minimize the bounce while bringing down the PO4 level. Might take a bit longer though

Are you convinced those small changes in PO4 are being felt by the coral?
No, not at all. Could be several things, some as simple as before I got home a snail parked on the coral or the hawk fish was perching on it. Even when it’s a physical disturbance the alveopora stays clammed up for quite a while.

It could also be lighting. I had a modified AB+ schedule that I was running lower and shorter due to a past Dino outbreak. I ramped up over about 45 days or so but then swapped to a standard AB+ schedule with a longer full period and didn’t realize how much it was actually changing. Many of my corals didn’t like the extra light….at least that’s my interpretation. I think this may have been compounded by the 0 nitrates.

We’ll see what tomorrow holds after lights are back on and everyone wakes up.

My favia/favites, leptoseris, cyphastrea and one chalice are doing great. Hollywood stunner that had started losing tissue is now recovering well. Sunset Montipora that had greyed out seems to be getting some color back (greying time coincided with my nitrates dropping; need to test potassium). Zoas are mostly good with the exception of my rastas that open about 85% and my bam bam and radioactive dragon eyes that are great for most of the day then the upper most few polyps close up in the late afternoon (also leads me down the lighting path).

I’m running an XR15G5 Pro, AB+, right now about 59% schedule. It’s set to a final 68% but still has 22 days of acclimation ramp left. Tank is 24x16x15.

Other params as of yesterday:
78.5F
1.026
9.3 dKH
Ca: 430
Mg: 1350
NO3: 5
PO4: .06 (.09 today)
 

nomad6

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No, not at all. Could be several things, some as simple as before I got home a snail parked on the coral or the hawk fish was perching on it. Even when it’s a physical disturbance the alveopora stays clammed up for quite a while.

It could also be lighting. I had a modified AB+ schedule that I was running lower and shorter due to a past Dino outbreak. I ramped up over about 45 days or so but then swapped to a standard AB+ schedule with a longer full period and didn’t realize how much it was actually changing. Many of my corals didn’t like the extra light….at least that’s my interpretation. I think this may have been compounded by the 0 nitrates.

We’ll see what tomorrow holds after lights are back on and everyone wakes up.

My favia/favites, leptoseris, cyphastrea and one chalice are doing great. Hollywood stunner that had started losing tissue is now recovering well. Sunset Montipora that had greyed out seems to be getting some color back (greying time coincided with my nitrates dropping; need to test potassium). Zoas are mostly good with the exception of my rastas that open about 85% and my bam bam and radioactive dragon eyes that are great for most of the day then the upper most few polyps close up in the late afternoon (also leads me down the lighting path).

I’m running an XR15G5 Pro, AB+, right now about 59% schedule. It’s set to a final 68% but still has 22 days of acclimation ramp left. Tank is 24x16x15.

Other params as of yesterday:
78.5F
1.026
9.3 dKH
Ca: 430
Mg: 1350
NO3: 5
PO4: .06 (.09 today)
As far as po4 WCs are your best friend start small. Do you measure ph and alk? Too much co2 in the room could fluctuate these wildly throughout the day(learned this the hard way) my alveopora was always bright and puffy and one day it closed up and for almost 2 weeks it didn’t open and looked like it was dying. I pulled it dipped it in 10ml/ gal seachem reef dip placed it back in a lower light and flow area(frag rack) and the next morning saw minimal polyp extension. It’s been about 1.5 weeks and it’s out and color coming back keeping my nutrients po4 < .1 ppm no3 <15 ppm. I use clearmax (rarely) as well as its readily available but like any GFO it’s really aggressive and it will also deplete no3. If I was you I’d conduct a 15-20% WC and test the next morning to establish a baseline and go from there. Also, do you monitor parameters on an app? I highly recommend it here’s my Aquarimate app I’m using to watch trends and monitor parameters. Hope it helps! And hope your alveopora bounces back!
 

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nomad6

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IME live phyto will drop po4 quick, I dosed at night and the next morning my po4 was .05 pts lower (this was a 6 gal pico but you can scale up)and you will need an export system after as they die they’ll release back in the water (skimmer, 100 micron or lower filter floss or socks 12-24 hrs after you dose)
 

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About a week or two ago I did some testing after several coral didn’t look quite right. I found that my NO3 had bottomed to zero (salifert, no perceptible color at all) but my PO4 was still up around 0.1 (Hannah ULR).

I got some clear max to reduce the PO4 and Neonitro to bring up the NO3. I was worried about stripping nutrients so tested each day and after about 36 hours my PO4 read .05 and I pulled the clear max. Over those same two days I slowly dosed NO3 up to 5ppm.

All the coral looked happy and better, but after work today I noticed my alveopora had almost no polyp extension. I can’t rule out a snail or my hawk fish but retested my nutrients to be sure.

As expected my NO3 was still at 5 but my PO4 read 0.09. That is a jump from .05 on the 8th to .09 today. Did a salifert PO4 in high-res double mode yesterday and it appeared to be about .06.

I feed mainly Xtreme pellets to my fish (LN hawk, 2 clowns) and a small piece of Rod’s food every other or couple days. Also 3-4ml of AB+ a few times a week.

Could some pellets a couple times a day or a dime size piece of Rod’s throw my PO4 up that fast? And, I’m not really sure I even fed Rod’s in between those two tests.

So, if not the food, what is driving my PO4 up like that? I’m okay running clearmax/GFO but testing PO4 constantly is time and cost prohibitive.

Tank is a Lifegard 24 (est 20 gal H2O), no skimmer, 6 months old from dry rock.
You will more than likely need to test N&P for the first couple of years if it is getting used up or disappearing until it is built up in this new system, depending on the corals you are trying to keep. It is annoying to need to test all the time, also another reason people keep easier corals and have simpler systems
 

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IME live phyto will drop po4 quick, I dosed at night and the next morning my po4 was .05 pts lower (this was a 6 gal pico but you can scale up)and you will need an export system after as they die they’ll release back in the water (skimmer, 100 micron or lower filter floss or socks 12-24 hrs after you dose)
So live phyto lowers phosphates how? And then "they"need skimmed out? This sounds like bacteria not phyto plankton. Phyto plankton itself doesn't do anything to lower nitrates or phosphates.
 
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As far as po4 WCs are your best friend start small. Do you measure ph and alk? Too much co2 in the room could fluctuate these wildly throughout the day(learned this the hard way) my alveopora was always bright and puffy and one day it closed up and for almost 2 weeks it didn’t open and looked like it was dying. I pulled it dipped it in 10ml/ gal seachem reef dip placed it back in a lower light and flow area(frag rack) and the next morning saw minimal polyp extension. It’s been about 1.5 weeks and it’s out and color coming back keeping my nutrients po4 < .1 ppm no3 <15 ppm. I use clearmax (rarely) as well as its readily available but like any GFO it’s really aggressive and it will also deplete no3. If I was you I’d conduct a 15-20% WC and test the next morning to establish a baseline and go from there. Also, do you monitor parameters on an app? I highly recommend it here’s my Aquarimate app I’m using to watch trends and monitor parameters. Hope it helps! And hope your alveopora bounces back!
Thanks for all the tips. I do measure alk regularly but ph infrequently. Every time I've measured (can't recall time of day) it's been around 8.

I do keep all my parameters on a log....don't have my phone with me but I think it's called Reef Log. I'm good about logging every time I test but I need to be better about noting observations and changes. I always end up looking at a parameter chart and thinking "hmm...how many weeks ago did X happen? I see my whatever dropped 4 weeks ago, was that about the time?"

Agree I am due for a water change as it's been a couple weeks and in general I have been undisciplined on regular changes. Part of that was driven by my dino episode when I purposely wasn't changing and part due to just some discipline slack and overconfidence because everything was doing great. This tank is 6 months old. It's not my first reef but it's been a decade since my last one so I sometimes get too comfortable.

Will check on the alveopora today and if it's the same I'll likely pop it from the rock and put it down low. That nearly always seems to help any coral issues.
 
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You will more than likely need to test N&P for the first couple of years if it is getting used up or disappearing until it is built up in this new system, depending on the corals you are trying to keep. It is annoying to need to test all the time, also another reason people keep easier corals and have simpler systems
Completely agree and I do test N&P at minimum weekly, most often 2x a week. What I was getting at was having to test P daily if using GFO. I don't want to strip my system of nutrients and I don't have that much confidence discerning my Salifert P test kit. Using Hannah reagent everyday will get costly. Now, I have only done the double, high-res, salifert test once the other day. Guess I never realized it was an option. If I can do that and get results I'm confident in I'm much more willing to do it daily for a while.
 

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So live phyto lowers phosphates how? And then "they"need skimmed out? This sounds like bacteria not phyto plankton. Phyto plankton itself doesn't do anything to lower nitrates or phosphates.
Do some research man you’ll find your answer and how do you think they’re cultivated ‍♂️ But here’s an article to shed some light. The skimming part would be to avoid the nutrients from getting back in the water column after they die as they do not live long in reef tanks. Yes bacteria do the same but by mass phytoplankton consume more po4 no3

 
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Do some research man you’ll find your answer and how do you think they’re cultivated ‍♂️ But here’s an article to shed some light. The skimming part would be to avoid the nutrients from getting back in the water column after they die as they do not live long in reef tanks. Yes bacteria do the same but by mass phytoplankton consume more po4 no3

Have you used that brand of phyto? What's a good "live" phyto?
 

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If you’re being serious, You can start w @AlgaeBarn but any that isn’t older than 2 weeks has worked for me.
I've done algae barn a few times, way to $ and very light colored green water, I didn't know if you had tried the link you posted (why wouldn't I be serious) :( :)
 
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So live phyto lowers phosphates how? And then "they"need skimmed out? This sounds like bacteria not phyto plankton. Phyto plankton itself doesn't do anything to lower nitrates or phosphates.

I would respectfully disagree. Live phyto is a fantastic option for lowering nutrients. It uses nutrients as food. That phyto is then recycled as food by other organisms in tank or removed via skimmer. I use about 1 liter of phyto daily in my ~250g system. My struggle with nutrients is keeping them above 0.0(especially nitrates). When I miss phyto for a few days when out of town or whatever is the only time I see a bump in nutrients(which in itself I like but in my opinion heavy dosing of phyto is more than worth it for other reasons so I put up with the challenges it creates in keeping my nutrients up a bit)
 

nomad6

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I've done algae barn a few times, way to $ and very light colored green water, I didn't know if you had tried the link you posted (why wouldn't I be serious) :( :)
Look on eBay $20 shipped for 4 x 16 oz bottles but keep them in the fridge. I do 10ml/ 10 gals seems a bit much but my skimming is 12-16 hrs per day depending on nutrients so it levels out.
 

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I've done algae barn a few times, way to $ and very light colored green water, I didn't know if you had tried the link you posted (why wouldn't I be serious) :( :)
 
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I've done algae barn a few times, way to $ and very light colored green water, I didn't know if you had tried the link you posted (why wouldn't I be serious) :( :)

If you want good fresh phyto cheap and willing to spend a few minutes a week on it then it is very easy to grow your own. I grow two types rather than the blend of 5 or 6 I could get buying commercially, but in my experience the results are the same....and I use so much I would not be able to justify the cost of buying it
 

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IME live phyto will drop po4 quick, I dosed at night and the next morning my po4 was .05 pts lower (this was a 6 gal pico but you can scale up)and you will need an export system after as they die they’ll release back in the water (skimmer, 100 micron or lower filter floss or socks 12-24 hrs after you dose)
Are you saying the phytoplankton dies within 12hours after you dose it?
 

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