Ever seen Phosphates this high? Woah!

MickeysFins

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If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Your tank looks beautiful and if it's true you don't have problems with nuisance algae then you have the balance you need. I too have always had high nitrates and phosphates (over 1.0) and it's a real battle to get them to lowered and stay there. I finally gave up.
 
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MnFish1

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First - did you by chance feed the tank with your various supplements shortly before sending in the test? Second - I wouldn't do anything - except a water change - perhaps. I would also verify the test with a separate manual test - as several others have said. My guess is that you're overfeeding - I do not use any coral or supplements - except what I feed the fish - but many people do use these products.
 
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I’m in a tricky situation - decided to buy a Biota Mandarin pair, which I adore, but comes with feeding challenges that need to be figured out. Before I got the mandarins I only fed mysis and had nitrates around 10ppm and very low phos. This was in January, roughly 7 months ago. My fish were also way less healthy, the pellets have been huge for their healthy bellies.

The mandarins are good eaters and will eat mysis, reef frenzy, tdo pellets and pods. I add pods once a month as a safety net as well. I have 7 other fish who will also consume the pellets like there’s no tomorrow, so I end up needing to throw in a few more because of that.

I’m starting to think that its probably not a good idea to do AB+ and Reef Frenzy if I’m already needing to feed pellets. The corals probably have all the nutrients they need in the water.
Have you seen @Paul B 's Mandrine feeder? Might help minimize food inputs?

ripped from: https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/mandarin-goby-thread.900025/page-3#post-10047652
 

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High phosphates are not in and of themselves bad for coral. High nutrients (including nitrates) AND high dissolved C02 in tandem can be. This has been shown with several studies on Pocillopora and Acropora. Corals can still grow with high phosphorus, but with less dense skeletal structure. My guess is that you either have a high enough bioload that the available nutrients are being consumed at a steady rate, or test error.
5 is higher than I'd feel comfortable at, but if your tank looks happy don't fix what isn't broken.
 
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I am skeptical of the test result. I wouldn’t do anything without another test. I monitor nitrates and phosphates monthly with my Hanna checkers and recommend them.
I trust these Triton ATI tests but nothing is perfect so I’ll agree there. I also may have fed AB+ too recently before I did the test. I do have Hanna checkers for phos and nitrate - the nitrate lines up - I’ll do a batch of tests tomorrow and report back. I have stopped Reef Frenzy Nano and AB+ and did a 30% water change today. Not going to fret it, I was overfeeding before introducing those two haha
 
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Update - after almost 2 weeks of stopping AB+ and Reef Frenzy with a couple weekly 20% water changes in between , here are my numbers:

salinity: 1.025
alk: 8.6
temp: 78
ph: 8.3
nitrate: 37
phos: 2.1

Nitrates are down a bit - phosphates seem higher although this test was done with Hanna checker and original was ATI. No signs of algae - everything is happy. Didn’t expect to see the phosphate number climb.
 
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My phos skyrocketed when I was feeding pellets
Yeah I think its the TDO Pellets but who knows at this point - Im a little scared to run phosguard since everything seems super happy but I think if I go a few weeks at 2.0 phosphates Im gonna start getting algae in a bad way.

Is there any world where I wait it out or would you knock down 2.0ppm asap?
 

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I think the balance with the high phos and higher nitrates is what is holding off the algae. I would try and lower both evenly. Are you running filter socks? I cut mine back by feeding every other day and changing my filter socks every other day as well so the stuff stuck in the socks doesn’t have time to break down.
 
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I think the balance with the high phos and higher nitrates is what is holding off the algae. I would try and lower both evenly. Are you running filter socks? I cut mine back by feeding every other day and changing my filter socks every other day as well so the stuff stuck in the socks doesn’t have time to break down.
I also wonder if it has anything to do with the abundance of copepods I have in the tank - also a solid cleanup crew of nessarius, cerith and trochus snails, fighting conch, tuxedo urchin, 2 emerald crabs and a couple sea stars.

I typically rinse the sock daily although have been forgetting more often lately. I have 9 fish and about 18 coral - mostly lps, a couple sps and a couple gorgs. All doing well. Hard to feed less with my fish species - 2 mandarins, 2 barnacle blennies, 2 bluestreak cardinals, citron goby, purple firefish, pinkbar goby.
 
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Derrick0580

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I also wonder if it has anything to do with the abundance of copepods I have in the tank - also a solid cleanup crew of nessarius, cerith and trochus snails, fighting conch, tuxedo urchin, 2 emerald crabs and a couple sea stars.

I typically rinse the sock daily although have been forgetting more often lately. I have 9 fish and about 18 coral - mostly lps, a couple sps and a couple gorgs. All doing well. Hard to feed less with my fish species - 2 mandarins, 2 barnacle blennies, 2 bluestreak cardinals, citron goby, purple firefish, pinkbar goby.
Well with the copepods the only thing dirtying up the water is the poop from being eaten. Where as feeding frozen anything that doesn’t get eaten is breaking down adding to it. I have a male dispar anthia that is said to need to feed multiple times daily but he makes it just fine going every other day.
 
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Update - after almost 2 weeks of stopping AB+ and Reef Frenzy with a couple weekly 20% water changes in between , here are my numbers:

salinity: 1.025
alk: 8.6
temp: 78
ph: 8.3
nitrate: 37
phos: 2.1

Nitrates are down a bit - phosphates seem higher although this test was done with Hanna checker and original was ATI. No signs of algae - everything is happy. Didn’t expect to see the phosphate number climb.
Another update - did another water change and cleaned all my pumps. Also threw some phosguard into the back chamber.

phos is now reading 1.6 after about 24 hours (they say 4 days to get to 0.2 but I dont have it in a high flow area so might take mine longer), nitrates are 36 so haven’t budged much.

Most importantly everything in tank is still happy and healthy and no algae to speak of. Anything anybody might do differently in my situation?
 
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Another update - did another water change and cleaned all my pumps. Also threw some phosguard into the back chamber.

phos is now reading 1.6 after about 24 hours (they say 4 days to get to 0.2 but I dont have it in a high flow area so might take mine longer), nitrates are 36 so haven’t budged much.

Most importantly everything in tank is still happy and healthy and no algae to speak of. Anything anybody might do differently in my situation?
My advice is to go real slow. Any time I have removed phosphates or nitrates fast, bad things (like dinos or coral death) happened. I would try to achieve goals in months not days.
 

gbru316

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The crazy part in all of this is I do weekly 20-30% water changes.

Why is this crazy? You're only reducing your PO4 by 20-30% a week. Which might not even be detectable depending on how you test.

It'd take four 20% water changes to cut your Po4 by half. Rephrased, you'd replace 80% of your tank's volume in order to remove 50% of your nutrients. And that's assuming you're not adding any more Po4 to your tank during that time.


If your goal is nutrient reduction, large volume water changes are the way to go. Small volume water changes (<50%) are one of the most inefficient means of nutrient control.
 
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My advice is to go real slow. Any time I have removed phosphates or nitrates fast, bad things (like dinos or coral death) happened. I would try to achieve goals in months not days.
I’m hoping the fact Im keeping the phosguard in the chamber and not in a super high flow spot will keep it moving slow. That’s also why Im measuring every day right now just to be sure it doesn’t drop too fast. Im not going for low nutrients by any means - I just want to have phosphate at a level that is more 0.5-1 instead of 1+. Is that a good direction?
 
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Why is this crazy? You're only reducing your PO4 by 20-30% a week. Which might not even be detectable depending on how you test.

It'd take four 20% water changes to cut your Po4 by half. Rephrased, you'd replace 80% of your tank's volume in order to remove 50% of your nutrients. And that's assuming you're not adding any more Po4 to your tank during that time.


If your goal is nutrient reduction, large volume water changes are the way to go. Small volume water changes (<50%) are one of the most inefficient means of nutrient control.
My fear with large volume changes is I don’t want my parameters like alk to swing like crazy. All of my inhabitants are happy and healthy right now so I have a hard time justifying anything too drastic in order to chase a number. With phosphates at 2.0 I think its a matter of time at that point before I get nuisance algae, but since I dont have any I feel like I can keep moving slow. If algae becomes an issue I will definitely be changing my tune.
 
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Day 2 of phosguard - we’re now at 1.48ppm - dropped about .11 from yesterday which is around 0.5 total from where it started at 2.1ppm. Does this feel like a healthy enough cadence to avoid issues with corals not reacting well to the drop?

i think the main thing I notice with phosphates this high is coraline algae has stopped - thats probably a good way to tell huh?

Also curious what makes sense to target (if I have that luxury) - should I shoot for 0.5 before calling it good? I dont want to starve tank.
 

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