Can BIOPELLETS reduce PO4 and NO3 holistically?

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Saltyanimals

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You can try the NoPox, but do a bit more reading to see if anyone else has NoPox benefitting PO4. Things in this hobby are antidocal and often vary by tank. Just didn't work for me which was why I even when down this BP route over the past 2 months hoping to get carbon dosing to address both my PO4 and NO3 issues. Liquid first now BP. Doesn't appear so and my tang gang is a no go for the LaCI if I can maintain with BP and GFO. I just wish there was a single solution. Will be interested to see your DVH benefits with the PO4 adsorber.

Ironically all this after I struggled with having detectible nutrients for most of my reefing life. 4 months ago I was dosing NO3 and overfeeding reef roids for the PO4. And my numbers aren't event that high, but of course we all tinker and chase numbers into the "optimum range" when we know we shouldn't. =) lol.
 
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No sure what’s happening here… both my NO3 and PO4 rise after added the extra biopellets. Let’s see in a week or two. I have relocated all my my corals and live rocks over the last couple of weeks, its a Fish Only With PVC tank; in preparation for medication (COPPER+METRO follow by PRAZI) in display while planning for my next aquascape. So these numbers are not worrying to me for a start.

Today’s readings…
EC6A603E-F285-4BC1-8601-9A9493AF0F8F.jpeg


Last week’s readings…
A1F84B27-AB94-454F-9A26-11D193EE5A66.jpeg
 
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Testing error? Retest again same time tomorrow. The PO4 isn’t that much off so within the device tolerance however the NO3 is dramatic. I’ve had my share of testing errors over the past 2 months of frequent testing. Can’t pinpoint the problem since I test the same way every time. I end up just calling it an error deleting that data point if my retest is back on the curve trend the next day.
 
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You can try the NoPox, but do a bit more reading to see if anyone else has NoPox benefitting PO4. Things in this hobby are antidocal and often vary by tank. Just didn't work for me which was why I even when down this BP route over the past 2 months hoping to get carbon dosing to address both my PO4 and NO3 issues. Liquid first now BP. Doesn't appear so and my tang gang is a no go for the LaCI if I can maintain with BP and GFO. I just wish there was a single solution. Will be interested to see your DVH benefits with the PO4 adsorber.

Ironically all this after I struggled with having detectible nutrients for most of my reefing life. 4 months ago I was dosing NO3 and overfeeding reef roids for the PO4. And my numbers aren't event that high, but of course we all tinker and chase numbers into the "optimum range" when we know we shouldn't. =) lol.
Thanks for the heads up. I'm also looking for the single solution, and I hope BP is the one.

Insofar as tangs and LACL go, I have no issues with the following tangs I have or had in the past...Achilles, Power Blue, Powder Brown, Gem, Yellow, Purple, White Tail Bristletooth, Blond Naso and Desjardin Sailfin. I used to pour 5ml-10ml daily of TM ELIMI PHOS RAPID (LACL) into the skimmer neck and see it foam almost immediately, I have stop doing that since because my ICP came back with a marginal higher Lanthanum. Now if I do require LACL I just pour directly into a 5 micron sock or split the 5-10ml into smaller dose into skimmer neck over 24hrs.

At no point did the tangs and/or other fishes behave differently.
 
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Testing error? Retest again same time tomorrow. The PO4 isn’t that much off so within the device tolerance however the NO3 is dramatic. I’ve had my share of testing errors over the past 2 months of frequent testing. Can’t pinpoint the problem since I test the same way every time. I end up just calling it an error deleting that data point if my retest is back on the curve trend the next day.
Will do!
 

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I don't know about you, but my Nitrate deduction is almost a perfect downward line trending about 1ppm NO3 every 5-6 days. And still not dosing NoPox so this is all BP which is now exactly 30 days since coming online. PO4 creeping up which aligns with my passive GFO bag getting exhausted (3 weeks) suggesting BP seems to do nothing for PO4.

At this rate, I will assume my NO3 will continue downwards to a point where the curve will flatten out to where my tank "likes" the NO3. My BP experiment seems to be close to wrapping up as I wait for this plateau. My only other experiment once this level is stable for 1-2 weeks is to dose a little No3 to see if I can lift the NO3 line ~3-5 ppm up and maintain it. Or if my tank will bring it back to the levels that it "likes".

Interesting experiment.
 
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No sure what’s happening here… both my NO3 and PO4 rise after added the extra biopellets. Let’s see in a week or two. I have relocated all my my corals and live rocks over the last couple of weeks, its a Fish Only With PVC tank; in preparation for medication (COPPER+METRO follow by PRAZI) in display while planning for my next aquascape. So these numbers are not worrying to me for a start.

Today’s readings…
EC6A603E-F285-4BC1-8601-9A9493AF0F8F.jpeg


Last week’s readings…
A1F84B27-AB94-454F-9A26-11D193EE5A66.jpeg
In my nutrient struggle I've found that small issues with the skimmer can have a big impact on efficiency, which is very integral to nutrient export. These things showed up with a change in the foam being generated, or maybe not foaming as much to the cup.

Examples: I've had a small bristle worm find its way into the needle wheel, a small bend in the air tubing, my co2 scrubber being exhausted, the BP reactor not pointing to the skimmer input.

Another thing is that the bacteria populating the biopellets need good oxygen to thrive, and in winter months when the windows can't be opened as much, the oxygen level drops, and my co2 media has to work overtime, so it's important to keep it refreshed.
 
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In my nutrient struggle I've found that small issues with the skimmer can have a big impact on efficiency, which is very integral to nutrient export. These things showed up with a change in the foam being generated, or maybe not foaming as much to the cup.

Examples: I've had a small bristle worm find its way into the needle wheel, a small bend in the air tubing, my co2 scrubber being exhausted, the BP reactor not pointing to the skimmer input.

Another thing is that the bacteria populating the biopellets need good oxygen to thrive, and in winter months when the windows can't be opened as much, the oxygen level drops, and my co2 media has to work overtime, so it's important to keep it refreshed.
Nice observation!

What I am doing now, is to running the skimmer very wet once or twice a week displacing about 5% of tank volume each time, and replacing the shortfall water with freshly mixed salt water, thus effecting my weekly 5-10% water change.

I get about 1/4 cup full of skimmate daily if i'm not doing the above.
 

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Nice observation!

What I am doing now, is to running the skimmer very wet once or twice a week displacing about 5% of tank volume each time, and replacing the shortfall water with freshly mixed salt water, thus effecting my weekly 5-10% water change.

I get about 1/4 cup full of skimmate daily if i'm not doing the above.
Your daily pull sounds similar to mine, and it gets quite nasty and stinky. The below picture is after 1.5 days. I have a neck cleaner, but have it unattached for now until things settle down. But I take the squeegee to it manually once a day and twist it around a couple times. This pulls nice gunk from the neck too.
tempImageHWWlDN.png
 
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It sounds like your system and mine are very similar from filtration perspective.

I have an ATS, Red Sea Reef mat, 25 micron cannister filter (cleaned every 3 weeks to polish water), Bathshea pellet reactor, and skimmer running 24/7 as well as vodka dosing 20 ml per day on 340 gallon display with 15 fish most of the fish larger (as in 9-14 inches in size) and they easily eat 2-3 ounces of frozen food a day, plus a sheet of nori, and some flake substitution at times.

I feed heavy and in two minutes all the food is gone.

With all that my scrubber used to be full to the point the emergency drain was nearly clogged with hair algae in 10 days. This past summer Phosphates rose to .55 ppm. I started losing corals. Nitrates were up to 50 ppm.

I started dosing Phosphate-E (Lanthinum chloride) From May to August. This took careful dosing. I'd test before, dose, then test the next day and in 24 hours it would go from .55 to .4 or less, then I'd slow on dosing and test the following day and it would be back up to .6. In checking with Randy and others, I realized, it was all the crap bound up in rocks. The lanthinum bound the phosphates up, the skimmer exported them, but then more would release the next day to balance the chemistry. I used lanthinum Chloride to essentially pull everything out of my rocks. I could tell this as my daily dosing for 4 months went from 25 ml per day down to 12 ml per day and the phosphates were stabilizing under 2. It took 4 months to pull everything out.

After that finished I rode a wave of my scrubber and skimmer maintaining things. However, my scrubber recently stopped producing hair algae, and my phosphates rose to .25. Nitrates rose from the mid 20s to 50s within a couple weeks of no hair algae. . . I had switched to all for reef in place of red sea trace elements in this time as well. And something wasn't right. I did an ICP test, someone recommended Chaeto grow from BRS.

I compared what Chaeto grow claimed it had to my ICP test. All 9 elements in Chaeto grow showed up as non existent in my ICP test.

I since started dosing Chaeto grow based on recommended dosing on the container and my hair algae in my ATS took off! My Phosphates went from .25 to .03 in a week. My nitrates went from 50 to 40. I do think now I'm phosphate limited that nitrates will stay around the 40 range unless I start dosing phosphates. . .

That said, what i'm finding is corals don't seem to mind the higher nitrates. However, I had some corals dye off or recede when phosphates hit .55. I also have corals get angry when phosphates are 0. So, my target range is anywhere from .05 to .2 ppm. If they stay there I think my corals will be happy.

That said, I don't know if the pellet reactor does anything for me. I have to adjust vodka dosing weekly as phosphates decrease in order to maintain some phosphates for my corals.

Essentially my scrubber is removing more phosphates than nitrates, and the pellet reactor and vodka dosing are removing some phosphates along with more nitrates. They both require phosphates to be present to work.

In summary, phosphates need to be present to remove nitrates (based on my own findings). That said, lots of phosphates can be bound in rocks, but once removed, maintaining some phosphates to reduce nitrates can become an issue.

I may accept that my tank will do best at ranging phosphates and nitrates staying stable around 40-50. I don't know how people maintain ULN Systems and have fish without massive water changes and multiple turf scrubbers and remote denitrators.

I'm to the point I can't fit more filtration in my sump other than maybe doubling the size of my scrubber. heh.
 

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Somewhat familiar, I do not run an ATS though or canister filters though. I run all of my drain water to a Clarisea SK-5000 G3 roller mat. Also in the sump is a RO Regal 200SSS, fed by a CO2 scrubber, and an AquaMaxx BioMaxx BP reactor, which is almost maxed out at 9-10 cups of pellets. I only turn off the skimmer for 10 minutes every 3 days to clean the cup. I run a Red Sea 750XXL display, 200G, bare bottom, just a few coral at the moment, and 12 fish.

I have a large Emperor Angel and a 6 Bar Angel (which luckily get along), both about 8in. I also have a large blue tang, and powder blue tang, both about 6in, 4 Bimac Anthias, and several clowns. They eat very well and leave nothing behind. Frozen mysis/krill in the morning which I soak in Selcon, 1/2 sheet of Nori in the early afternoon, then a blend of Ocean Nutrition formula 1/2 medium pellets before lights out, one turn of the feeder.

I did not have any luck with reducing PO4 with Nopox alone, pre-BP. I was maxing out my Hanna Phosphorous ULR checker (blinking 200), even when running 18ml Nopox. My coral did not like this much Nopox, and I lost several as a result before dropping to 9ml.

As I've posted in this thread, after starting the BP reactor, and seeing little effect on PO4, I started running GFO to bring down the PO4. This was quite effective, and got my PO4 under 0.1, so I turned off the 9ml Nopox dose.

I then removed the GFO to test how the BP alone worked on my newly lowered PO4. I found the PO4 slowly rising on BP alone, going from 0.07 to 0.3 in a few weeks.

I just resumed 9ml Nopox a couple weeks ago to test the BP / Nopox combination without GFO. Since starting the 9ml Nopox dose a couple weeks ago, my PO4 is declining. As I know from the above that my PO4 does not decline on Nopox alone, I believe BP in conjunction with Nopox is a key recipe, at least on my system. I'll post my test results later. So far I like what I'm seeing with this combination.
 
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Your daily pull sounds similar to mine, and it gets quite nasty and stinky. The below picture is after 1.5 days. I have a neck cleaner, but have it unattached for now until things settle down. But I take the squeegee to it manually once a day and twist it around a couple times. This pulls nice gunk from the neck too.
tempImageHWWlDN.png
Yes, very much consistent in volume and colour with your skim mate pulled, and oh... don't remind me of the smell! BTW I'm unable to run the outlet of TORQ reactor to the skimmer inlet, it just resides in the skimmer chamber.

I had the avast marine skimmer neck cleaner too, but had it removed cos I find it easier just to remove the cup for a through clean every week or 2. I will be reconnecting the ozone to skimmer after my whole tank medication (copper follow by prazi) starting in a week for the next 60 days. With ozone I see cleaner skimmer neck.

As of now, I'm running purely on BP as a control, let's see how is your's with NOPOX in a month.
 
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Could it be that you had a test error? It's too significant of a variation if you look at the rest of the graph. Personally for me, I retest a couple hours later when ever I see a odd dip and usually find it's a test error. This keeps me from taking unnecessary action. This assumes that you've done nothing out of the norm. You said feed. Did you feed more? Change feed types? ...

I looked back at your original post and yes you have a big bioload from the photo. Awesome BTW. I like lots of fish too in a tank. We look to have about the same amount of fish, but I'm in 180g system. Looking again I can see why you have high nutrients, but maybe that's really where your tank "likes it". As long as the coral is doing okay unless your going down the fancy SPS route and need the extra clean water.
 
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Could it be that you had a test error? It's too significant of a variation if you look at the rest of the graph. Personally for me, I retest a couple hours later when ever I see a odd dip and usually find it's a test error. This keeps me from taking unnecessary action. This assumes that you've done nothing out of the norm. You said feed. Did you feed more? Change feed types? ...

I looked back at your original post and yes you have a big bioload from the photo. Awesome BTW. I like lots of fish too in a tank. We look to have about the same amount of fish, but I'm in 180g system. Looking again I can see why you have high nutrients, but maybe that's really where your tank "likes it". As long as the coral is doing okay unless you’re going down the fancy SPS route and need the extra clean water.
You’re spot on! I’m planning to go heavy SPS (eventually), but not with such numbers. I had SPS colonies before, but PO4 was kept low with GFO, tons of GFO. Even then ATS and Chaeto grew like weeds, double it’s volume in a week!

Therefore I’m experimenting with various nutrient exports methods, since I’m prepping the display tank for QT and re-scape. Didn’t like the “STAX” scape with too many inaccessible space, resulting in an overrun of nuisance feather dusters and aiptasia, to the extend that even my carpet of GSP was overwhelmed.

6A0F085E-2808-4FBF-AE06-965277143525.jpeg


D5A9626F-2D90-4398-8E3C-8069B06E1B7B.jpeg


I am hoping to drill down to an effective nutrient export mix, given this period I don’t have the concern of corals in tank; before my new scape and reintroducing current corals mainly LPS and inverts lying fallow in my holding tank.

I’ll be testing weekly to see the trend of these pesky nutrients. And yes I do feed heavy, especially prior QT (30 days COPPER POWER followed by 14days PRAZIPRO).
 
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You’re spot on! I’m planning to go heavy SPS (eventually), but not with such numbers. I had SPS colonies before, but PO4 was kept low with GFO, tons of GFO. Even then ATS and Chaeto grew like weeds, double it’s volume in a week!

Therefore I’m experimenting with various nutrient exports methods, since I’m prepping the display tank for QT and re-scape. Didn’t like the “STAX” scape with too many inaccessible space, resulting in an overrun of nuisance feather dusters and aiptasia, to the extend that even my carpet of GSP was overwhelmed.

6A0F085E-2808-4FBF-AE06-965277143525.jpeg


D5A9626F-2D90-4398-8E3C-8069B06E1B7B.jpeg


I am hoping to drill down to an effective nutrient export mix, given this period I don’t have the concern of corals in tank; before my new scape and reintroducing current corals mainly LPS and inverts lying fallow in my holding tank.

I’ll be testing weekly to see the trend of these pesky nutrients. And yes I do feed heavy, especially prior QT (30 days COPPER POWER followed by 14days PRAZIPRO).
Sounds like you have a lot of fun ahead of you, best of luck! QT has been a pain in my experience, and that was with only a few fish at a time. I would like SPS someday as well, but my nutrient level would probably feel like poison to them. We are kind of in the same boat. Well except for your DT medication project :grimacing-face:

I did test today, and my NO3 (25) and PO4 (0.3) are staying about the same, which is kind of a letdown. But I realized I hadn't topped off the pellets for a while, and the BP level in the reactor seemed low. So I did some maintenance today, and added another 1.5 cups of BP. I'll be sure to keep the BP level at the AquaMaxx label going forward, which is about a half cup per month. I'm definitely maxed out now, so hoping to see better numbers going forward.

Screen Shot 2022-12-08 at 10.58.50 AM.png
 

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You’re spot on! I’m planning to go heavy SPS (eventually), but not with such numbers. I had SPS colonies before, but PO4 was kept low with GFO, tons of GFO. Even then ATS and Chaeto grew like weeds, double it’s volume in a week!

Therefore I’m experimenting with various nutrient exports methods, since I’m prepping the display tank for QT and re-scape. Didn’t like the “STAX” scape with too many inaccessible space, resulting in an overrun of nuisance feather dusters and aiptasia, to the extend that even my carpet of GSP was overwhelmed.

6A0F085E-2808-4FBF-AE06-965277143525.jpeg


D5A9626F-2D90-4398-8E3C-8069B06E1B7B.jpeg


I am hoping to drill down to an effective nutrient export mix, given this period I don’t have the concern of corals in tank; before my new scape and reintroducing current corals mainly LPS and inverts lying fallow in my holding tank.

I’ll be testing weekly to see the trend of these pesky nutrients. And yes I do feed heavy, especially prior QT (30 days COPPER POWER followed by 14days PRAZIPRO).


Now that's a QT! Largest QT I've run was a 40B for about 6 fish. Now that is a challenge with that many keeping up with the bioload. You said QT in DT??? Any concerns of the copper staying in the DT system after you completely clean? I ask this because a good buddy of mine QTed in his DT. And it took years before his system would support SPS again because of residual copper.
 
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Sounds like you have a lot of fun ahead of you, best of luck! QT has been a pain in my experience, and that was with only a few fish at a time. I would like SPS someday as well, but my nutrient level would probably feel like poison to them. We are kind of in the same boat. Well except for your DT medication project :grimacing-face:

I did test today, and my NO3 (25) and PO4 (0.3) are staying about the same, which is kind of a letdown. But I realized I hadn't topped off the pellets for a while, and the BP level in the reactor seemed low. So I did some maintenance today, and added another 1.5 cups of BP. I'll be sure to keep the BP level at the AquaMaxx label going forward, which is about a half cup per month. I'm definitely maxed out now, so hoping to see better numbers going forward.

Screen Shot 2022-12-08 at 10.58.50 AM.png
Thanks for your very encouraging words!

Therefore BP nutrient reduction capability shall be evaluated solely on fishes’ waste and feed, without any absorption and leachate from corals/substrate to skew the numbers.

My NYOS TORQ is at its max tumbling capacity. The pellets at the lower third are not moving much. I had also placed the separator mesh at top to prevent any pellets from escaping from time to time.

673B41D8-B680-43FA-8109-195588DC1916.jpeg
 
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Now that's a QT! Largest QT I've run was a 40B for about 6 fish. Now that is a challenge with that many keeping up with the bioload. You said QT in DT??? Any concerns of the copper staying in the DT system after you completely clean? I ask this because a good buddy of mine QTed in his DT. And it took years before his system would support SPS again because of residual copper.
I made the conscious decision to QT the display, because I’m through with ICH management, which I had been practicing for over a year with success. But once only once, I turned off the 24/7 UV for a month in favor of bacteria seeding of the biopellets, I lost 2/3 of my resident fishes that’s with me for coming 2 years in a month or so. With H2O2 dosing + UV round the clock, I managed to halt fish fatalities. I have a thread on this unfortunate episode.


During the above episode, the Feather dusters and Aiptasia reached plague proportion, overwhelming my scape.

I took the decision to rescape. QT of fishes in display without substrate and rocks come in timely. Also in tank QT, the existing nitrifiers are keeping up with the process, given my rising nitrates. My biomedia SEACHEM MATRIX according to humble.fish, don’t absorb COPPER. Besides 100% water change thereafter, I will run POLYFILTER and SEACHEM CUPRISORB concurrently followed by ICP, prior introduction of new scape and corals.
 

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I feel ya. I went through something similar myself after having a full tank wipeout from velvet. I went through a fallow period myself while QTing fish only to have it return in QT weeks later. I personally went through the H2O2 experiment myself multiple times and feel like it is successful. I still do in tank H2O2 dosing proactively when I add batches of fish even if they're QTed. Just a bit of prevention, but it does impact tank balance and bacteria is something to get a handle of. I get it. Good luck with the QT.

Now back to BP discussions. =)

@Saltees commented that his BP doesn't move much on his lower 1/3. I'm in the same boat now. BP movement tends to slow down with the build up. I wonder how much of this is important and requires action. I would think as long as there is some movement to knock off the BP stuff and water flows through the reactor, that it should be enough. If I think about it, I think the slower flow is probably from a population growth perspective vs a hurricane in the reactor.
 
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