Dosing Phyto for nutrients and biodiversity

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Hello fellow R2Rers

I wanted to get opinions on dosing Phyto for increasing nutrients and biodiversity.

A little background. My tank is 9 months old and I've been having issues with SPS polyp extension (as in none). See this thread...


Basic feedback was that my tank just needs more nutrients, more biodiversity, and given more time to mature.

I was fighting ULN and with heavier feedings I've gotten NO3 > 3ppm and PO4 > 0.03ppm for the last couple of weeks.

After reading several successful threads on Phyto dosing, I decided to take a shot and see how it could benefit my tank.

I have 105gal total volume.

Nutrient input consists of feeding dry foods 3x a day (a pinch), frozen foods 1-2 times a day (2 cubes), and Masstick 3 x a day (1/2 a cube).

I dose Reef Energy AB+ (16ml) daily

I dose Reef Actif carbon every 3 days.

For heavy out, I have a roller mat and an intermittent oversized skimmer (6-18hrs a day depending on pH).

I'm going to start with 20ml of phyto dosed every other day and see how that impacts the tank.

I'm curious to hear about dosing recommendations and what benefits if any I should expect. Is 20ml a good starting dose? How does one decide to increase or decrease dosage?

Does phyto:
1. Help with maintaining nutrients?
2. Increase microfauna and zooplankton?
3. Help SPS thrive?
 
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Does phyto:
1. Help with maintaining nutrients?
2. Increase microfauna and zooplankton?
3. Help SPS thrive?
despite not keeping SPS, it will feed some of them as they require small food. It will definitely increase microfauna like pods, amphipods, and whatever creatures are in the water. Not sure but assuming that phyto is growing in your tank it won't alter your nutrients too much
 
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despite not keeping SPS, it will feed some of them as they require small food. It will definitely increase microfauna like pods, amphipods, and whatever creatures are in the water. Not sure but assuming that phyto is growing in your tank it won't alter your nutrients too much

I sort of figured and read that since phyto is basically fertilizer fed microalgae that it would tend to increase NO3/PO4 in a tank. I always thought that doesn't "live" long on a tank as it's a food that gets consumed and skimmed out.
 

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From reading your post i would first suggest taking the roller mat offline or using it less. Not sure how it works totally :p Also maybe go to a really dry skim or no skim at all.

Onto my experience with dosing phyto....

I typically dose about 3ml per gallon, so 150ml per day in each system. I do not see much increase in PO4 or NO3. I do believe it helps boost my reefs overall health.

I dont think this is going to get your PO4 and NO3 up as much as you like but it will likely boost the overall health of your reef. Starting with a small dose is a good idea and work up. I started at 50ml per day and now im at 150ml and experimenting with more.

You can check out my phyto and pod culturing journey on the instagram. @ doubleadeejay
 
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I think it's an interesting experiment. What source of phyto are you planning to use?

I tried dried phyto from ESV at one point, but didn't see any effects.

It's live phyto from a local reefer. I can ask what strains are being used...
 

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It's live phyto from a local reefer. I can ask what strains are being used...
I dosed 1 cup of live nano per day in my 75 mixed reef for several weeks and didn't notice any significant effects other than more skimmer waste and increased sponge growth.
In hindsight, I should have dosed at night and turned the skimmer off. Oops...
 

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I think it's an interesting experiment. What source of phyto are you planning to use?

I tried dried phyto from ESV at one point, but didn't see any effects.
So I assume that some or most of the algal exudates are somehow filtered out, during whatever drying process is used?
 

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So I assume that some or most of the algal exudates are somehow filtered out, during whatever drying process is used?

I have no idea how they made it. It look like a spray dried material, but I do not know.
 

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Does phyto:
1. Help with maintaining nutrients?
2. Increase microfauna and zooplankton?
3. Help SPS thrive?
In my experience:
1) No
2) Yes
3) Unknown

I grow tetraselmis, nannochloropsus and tIsochrysis. I started a new 100gal tank about 6 months ago and initially dosed large amounts of phyto just to see what would happen. By large amounts I mean 4 to 5 gallons at a time. The tank was initially setup with dry rock and live sand.

The tank water turned green for a days 0 to ~3, then cloudy white which looked like a bacteria bloom. Measurable nitrate/phosphate levels stayed very low, 0 to 1 ppm nitrate and 0 to a few ppb on the hanna phosphorus tester. Subsequent additions had similar effect but with much less time looking green. Checking the water under a microscope I found a large variety of microorganisms but the predominant organism of the water columm (other than bacteria) appeared to be ciliates. Ciliates consume phyto and can apparently reproduce very rapidly. I've experienced this in ciliate- contaminated copepod cultures as well - the ciliates can clear even very dense green water in just a day.

So, ime phyto does not affect nitrate/phosphate very much - I'm sure they can increase levels from f/2 media but even this seems less impactful than other foods.

I eventually got the phosphate levels up by heavy feedings - frozen seems to increase nitrate and pellets increase phosphate. There's a considerable delay between feeding and onset of measureable nutrients so I overshot a bit but this was manageable. I also seeded the tank with a single rock covered in soft coral. This seemed to blunt the ugly phase timeframe substantially.

As for the SPS question, there's somethong about mature live rock that seems to be required for sps to thrive. I dunno why but in my last tank I tried a tester sps after about 9 months with 100% dry rock start and it never showed significant polyp extension and just withered away. Maybe 6 months later I tried again and sps did great. In the new tank even though it's only been about 6 months I added 2 tester frags: a stylo and a digi. The stylo looked happy day 1, the digi took about a day but now appears happy with good polyp extension. I credit this with the use of the one mature live rock but dunno if other factors such as phyto make a difference.

So my suggestion is to get a mature rock from your LFS or a fellow reefer and use it to seed your tank.

You can add phyto too and I don't expect 20ml will have much risk (or effect). But you gotta start somewhere and going slow is a good idea. I don't recommend dumping 5 gallons of phyto in your display.
 
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In my experience:
1) No
2) Yes
3) Unknown

I grow tetraselmis, nannochloropsus and tIsochrysis. I started a new 100gal tank about 6 months ago and initially dosed large amounts of phyto just to see what would happen. By large amounts I mean 4 to 5 gallons at a time. The tank was initially setup with dry rock and live sand.

The tank water turned green for a days 0 to ~3, then cloudy white which looked like a bacteria bloom. Measurable nitrate/phosphate levels stayed very low, 0 to 1 ppm nitrate and 0 to a few ppb on the hanna phosphorus tester. Subsequent additions had similar effect but with much less time looking green. Checking the water under a microscope I found a large variety of microorganisms but the predominant organism of the water columm (other than bacteria) appeared to be ciliates. Ciliates consume phyto and can apparently reproduce very rapidly. I've experienced this in ciliate- contaminated copepod cultures as well - the ciliates can clear even very dense green water in just a day.

So, ime phyto does not affect nitrate/phosphate very much - I'm sure they can increase levels from f/2 media but even this seems less impactful than other foods.

I eventually got the phosphate levels up by heavy feedings - frozen seems to increase nitrate and pellets increase phosphate. There's a considerable delay between feeding and onset of measureable nutrients so I overshot a bit but this was manageable. I also seeded the tank with a single rock covered in soft coral. This seemed to blunt the ugly phase timeframe substantially.

As for the SPS question, there's somethong about mature live rock that seems to be required for sps to thrive. I dunno why but in my last tank I tried a tester sps after about 9 months with 100% dry rock start and it never showed significant polyp extension and just withered away. Maybe 6 months later I tried again and sps did great. In the new tank even though it's only been about 6 months I added 2 tester frags: a stylo and a digi. The stylo looked happy day 1, the digi took about a day but now appears happy with good polyp extension. I credit this with the use of the one mature live rock but dunno if other factors such as phyto make a difference.

So my suggestion is to get a mature rock from your LFS or a fellow reefer and use it to seed your tank.

You can add phyto too and I don't expect 20ml will have much risk (or effect). But you gotta start somewhere and going slow is a good idea. I don't recommend dumping 5 gallons of phyto in your display.

Thanks for your insights.

My tank was started with dry rock/substrate and a small rock from my old mature tank. Additionally, several weeks ago more I added another mature rock from a fellow reefer to my sump to augment biodiversity.

I'm doing heavy in/out now and feel like I'm good with nutrients.

I think the tank is on the edge of being mature enough. Coraline algae is really taking off and I'm not losing any SPS. So just waiting would probably be sufficient.

I figured with nothing else going on I'd see how Phyto could benefit the tank.
 
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Just a quick follow-up. I've been doing phyto for about a month now and slowly increasing the dosage. I'm up to 30ml every other day. My NO3 has been slowly climbing, but I wouldn't attribute that to phyto at this time. Also, my minor cyano has been even more minor. However, I think I attribute that to higher more stable nitrates. Coral health seems slightly better...but again, I attribute that to elevated and more stable NO3/PO4.

So it may be helping slightly with nutrient stability.

I haven't noticed an increase in microfauna yet.

Have some anecdotal evidence that the SPS are doing a little better.
 

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