Don’t chase numbers but should I chase ratios?

Neil Cohen

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First big ah ha was understanding the role of stability over numbers. Things are steady now, so I’ve turned my attention to whether they are steady in the right ratios.

Parameters:
No3 7.5
Phos .47
Sal 1.025
Temp 78
Alk 10.2
Cal 450
Mag 1230
Ph 8.2
100g mixed(mostly softies) with sump

what I am wondering is, should I increase nopox to cut the phos a bit and improve the redfield ratio or just leave it alone? Currently using Donavan’s Nitrate Destroyer, dosed daily with 4ml of diy nopox. There is also a turf scrubber, skimmer and export plate.
 
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Tamberav

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My understanding of carbon dosing is it is more effective on nitrates than phosphates because it uses the ratio you are referencing. I don’t see this as a way to improve your ratio as it should drop both and pushed hard enough can make nitrate hit 0 before PO4 is more acceptable.

It’s not unusual for some people to have to run po4 media with carbon dosing.

Seems like you might be doing too much to nitrate as it is. I certainly would not want it lower and would not increase nopox unless you back off on nitrate export and increase nitrates first.

I think you may be mistaken and think nopox is for po4 only?
 
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ReefGeezer

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The ratio of nitrate to phosphate in the water column is does not determine the ratio at which the bacteria created by carbon dosing uses them. Once carbon is added to the water column, the only thing that matters is that there is enough nitrate and phosphate to be used. A lack of either will stop the process.

The carbon dosing process does not use phosphate as quickly as nitrate. Some of that has to do with the ratio at which the bacteria use N & P. That ratio may of may not be the same as Redfields, but it would be safe to assume that more N is used than P. Additionally, as I have recently found out, carbon dosing increases the denitrification process due to the extra organics created. This causes an addition use of N as compared to P.

All that said, in my opinion, phosphate levels above .1 are not optimal. Your nitrates are at a good level. Some use of GFO or another method of addressing the phosphate level might help.
 
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sixty_reefer

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First big ah ha was understanding the role of stability over numbers. Things are steady now, so I’ve turned my attention to whether they are steady in the right ratios.

Parameters:
No3 7.5
Phos .47
Sal 1.025
Temp 78
Alk 10.2
Cal 450
Mag 1230
Ph 8.2
100g mixed(mostly softies) with sump

what I am wondering is, should I increase nopox to cut the phos a bit and improve the redfield ratio or just leave it alone? Currently using Donavan’s Nitrate Destroyer, dosed daily with 4ml of diy nopox. There is also a turf scrubber, skimmer and export plate.
How did your raised po4? Did you dose phosphates? Wend you first installed the reactor I remember seeing that your phosphates did bottom out
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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First big ah ha was understanding the role of stability over numbers. Things are steady now, so I’ve turned my attention to whether they are steady in the right ratios.

Parameters:
No3 7.5
Phos .47
Sal 1.025
Temp 78
Alk 10.2
Cal 450
Mag 1230
Ph 8.2
100g mixed(mostly softies) with sump

what I am wondering is, should I increase nopox to cut the phos a bit and improve the redfield ratio or just leave it alone? Currently using Donavan’s Nitrate Destroyer, dosed daily with 4ml of diy nopox. There is also a turf scrubber, skimmer and export plate.

IMO, chasing numbers is fine if done appropriately. Chasing ratios is never better and often worse. I advise not pursuing ratios.
 
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Neil Cohen

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How did your raised po4? Did you dose phosphates? Wend you first installed the reactor I remember seeing that your phosphates did bottom out
Think it was a faulty test. Bought a new Hanna since I was getting mixed readings.

My concern was that it might limit nitrate consumption and had read that adding more carbon can get the bacteria consuming phos. Ie if I was phos limited, then. Iterate would also be limited. I can lower the phos with gfo or Seaklear.

of course I can, and prob should, just leave it alone since the corals seem happy.
Last few months this of testing below.

btw - goal was to feed heavier with frozen, which I started after 4/21. Tests every theee days till it was stable, just didn’t log it till it started to vary, so I could compare it to whatever else I was doing. E5C2D3CD-2738-4840-AEEF-AC249DB34017.jpeg
 
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Neil Cohen

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IMO, chasing numbers is fine if done appropriately. Chasing ratios is never better and often worse. I advise not pursuing ratios.
Thank you. Guess I was over thinking. I took the great advice about not chasing and rather looking for stability. Then I went down the redfield rabbit hole after I was told that my ratios are off and I should dose Seaklear to get them in line. But we discussed that and you cleared it up for me, thank you yet again. But that left me wondering if dosing Seaklear was a bad idea and my rocks are binding phosphate, then maybe bacteria are not consuming as much phos since my nitrates have dropped.

so, based on my parameters, would you just leave it, as long as corals are happy and it’s stable, or would you do something? And what may that be.
 

sixty_reefer

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Think it was a faulty test. Bought a new Hanna since I was getting mixed readings.

My concern was that it might limit nitrate consumption and had read that adding more carbon can get the bacteria consuming phos. Ie if I was phos limited, then. Iterate would also be limited. I can lower the phos with gfo or Seaklear.

of course I can, and prob should, just leave it alone since the corals seem happy.
Last few months this of testing below.

btw - goal was to feed heavier with frozen, which I started after 4/21. Tests every theee days till it was stable, just didn’t log it till it started to vary, so I could compare it to whatever else I was doing. E5C2D3CD-2738-4840-AEEF-AC249DB34017.jpeg
Personally I would just leave it alone for a wile and only take action if you see phosphates creeping up, if all is stable that’s more important in my opinion. In addition once the phosphates that are bound to your substrate start to deplete you may see your phosphates lowering eventually anyhow.
 
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damsels are not mean

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Somebody read about nutrient ratios in a paper somewhere and then spread it on the forum as secret sauce. It happens all the time in hobbies. People like easy answers. Unfortunately, lots of people misinterpret what the ratios actually are and what they mean. Trying to chase ratios really makes no sense because the ratio does not affect the amount of nutrient uptake or the efficiency of its usage by corals or anything like that.
 

ReefJonas

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IMO, chasing numbers is fine if done appropriately. Chasing ratios is never better and often worse. I advise not pursuing ratios.
I disagree to some extent.

according to my exp the ratio is important to avoid cyano and Dino. BUT we shall NOT aim for 16/1 as that ratio is not optimal in a closed system. The ideal ration AMI in a closed system is much higher like 100/1-300/1 (N/P). To get an easy overview I recalculated and use this :
1.54*NO3(ppm)/PO4(ppm).
But I DO agree we shall not chase number in all situations. If we exceed an extreme situation if the absolute numbers then the ratio is not so important until we get back to reasonable absolute numbers ofcourse.
I mean lest say nitrate is 50. Then we ofcourse shall not raise po4 to get a certain ratio. And if po4 is sky high , we shall not increase NO3 to get good ratio.
So my algorithm that I think works is this.
First priority is to get absolute number within these
1) po4 0.02-0.1 mg/l
2) no3 1-15 mg/l
When the both values are within those borders THEN ratio is my next priority and also higher priority than the absolute numbers.
So an example from my own tank :
My nitrate was 18-20. Too high so I did not increase PO4 to get a good ratio. My first priority was here to decrease no3 first and then fix the ratio. I did that first by increase carbon , avoided GFO ofcourse. And today my nitrate is 6 mg/l. Now ratio is interesting and I aim at 100/1-200/1 so po4 should be around 0.045. Po4 is 0.038 at the moment so I am satisfied.
Well. It’s not easy to manage this as N and P is not obeying so easy your action like Balling and dosing. But at least the N and P can give you a hint if you shall increase carbon. Add GFO. Remove GFO. Etc.

I measure N and P every day automatically with my Mastertronic.

Jonas Roman
 

sixty_reefer

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I disagree to some extent.

according to my exp the ratio is important to avoid cyano and Dino. BUT we shall NOT aim for 16/1 as that ratio is not optimal in a closed system. The ideal ration AMI in a closed system is much higher like 100/1-300/1 (N/P). To get an easy overview I recalculated and use this :
1.54*NO3(ppm)/PO4(ppm).
But I DO agree we shall not chase number in all situations. If we exceed an extreme situation if the absolute numbers then the ratio is not so important until we get back to reasonable absolute numbers ofcourse.
I mean lest say nitrate is 50. Then we ofcourse shall not raise po4 to get a certain ratio. And if po4 is sky high , we shall not increase NO3 to get good ratio.
So my algorithm that I think works is this.
First priority is to get absolute number within these
1) po4 0.02-0.1 mg/l
2) no3 1-15 mg/l
When the both values are within those borders THEN ratio is my next priority and also higher priority than the absolute numbers.
So an example from my own tank :
My nitrate was 18-20. Too high so I did not increase PO4 to get a good ratio. My first priority was here to decrease no3 first and then fix the ratio. I did that first by increase carbon , avoided GFO ofcourse. And today my nitrate is 6 mg/l. Now ratio is interesting and I aim at 100/1-200/1 so po4 should be around 0.045. Po4 is 0.038 at the moment so I am satisfied.
Well. It’s not easy to manage this as N and P is not obeying so easy your action like Balling and dosing. But at least the N and P can give you a hint if you shall increase carbon. Add GFO. Remove GFO. Etc.

I measure N and P every day automatically with my Mastertronic.

Jonas Roman
Would the reason for what you saying be that we can’t make ratios with residual? I believe there is useful information in nutrients interpretation although residual wouldn’t be a good guide line for that imo
 
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Stigigemla

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I think chasing numbers is good. The most important numbers to chase is those from Your last testing.
And as second slowly approach the values You want.
In the case of the OP I would run phosphate remover to get the value down to about 0.1.
But it is a trap here! If You are running Nopox at the same time as the phosphate remover it is a big risk that it will be clogged of the bacteria that nopox feed. That is for both Alu- based and GFO but if You use a Lanthanumbased You avoid that problem.
 

Cjeippert

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Nopox significantly reduced phosphate in my tank, but kept nitrates lower than I like. Plus carbon dosing in higher amounts can cause unwanted bacterial issues. Like make your acros skin bumpy. Higher carbon reduces PH and oxygen. Especially if you add more carbon unknowingly with red sea ab+. For me rowaphos gfo, weekly water change, vacuum detritus up from sump, 1/4 sand bed vacuum per week, keep filter floss or sock changed been the best option for keeping phosphates between .02 -.1 long term. I have learned to introduce gfo slowly with a bag, then a little more each time to a reactor. Too much at once makes my alk drop a bit and reduces phosphates way too fast.

I also avoid pellet and flake food. Easy to double phosphates in like 2 weeks with that stuff

this was my experience with carbon dosing.
 
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