High nitrares and not low phosphates

JediCruz

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Ok, so I’ve prevented asking this question for months as I tried solving it on my own. The age old question if high nitrates. So, my nitrates have been at 80 ppm for almost a month now and are slowly rising. Now my phosphates, though not low, are consistently at 0.25 ppm. So I recently started researching Carbon Dosing, as I’ve tried a refugium and increasing bacteria which do not seem to be working. The Chaeto in the fuge just gets brittle and wastes away and the bacteria I dose (currently Aquaforest Pro Bio S and -NP Pro as well as the ocasional PNS Probio) just seems to go to waste. With Carbon Dosing being my next attempt to reduce nitrates, I did more research. I came upon the Redfield Ratio. I read this months ago but didn’t have the right test kit to test Phosphates so I skipped it. Well now I can and I’ve tested it but I forgot about the ratio. After finding the ratio again, I realize that my ratio is way off, right now. I’m at 320:1 ratio when it should be 16:1. To put that in perspective, with nitrates at 80 ppm, my Phosphates should be at super high 5 ppm. Or with Phosphates at 0.25 ppm, Nitrates should be at 4 ppm. Being that the ratio is off, I guess that could be why my Chaeto isn’t growing or bacteria not working? So my question is this. Should I bring my phosphates up to that crazy level then Carbon dose? If not, what other suggestions are there that don’t include buying new equipment? But why isn’t the phosphates low? Are the phosphates in a state that can’t be utilized but still detectable in tests so the organisms can’t utilize them?
 
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blasterman

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Redfield ratio is kind of a theoretical thing and I've never had my chaeto dent phosphates anyways. Chaeto melting is kind of an unfortunate event that happens to a lot of us.

I have found carbon dosing or vinegar dosing combined with chaeto a bad combination almost always resulting in chaeto melting. Likely the bacteria produced by carbon dosing competes with chaeto and starves it.

I'm assuming you have a skimmer.

I've had good luck with stubborn nitrates by just plain biopellets. I dont bother with a reactor and just put them in a media bag and toss them in my sump. Takes a few weeks to colonize but when they ramp up it does eat a lot of nitrate with zero maintenance. With your nitrate level I would start with at least a pound.
 

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Hello so my tank has been running high nitrates for several years. I started carbon dosing last year and after 3 month my nitrates went to 0!!! It was over 100 for years. Nothing ever worked including a large refugium loaded with cheato. Do research on dosing and start out very slow don’t rush it and they will drop. I used only vinegar.
 

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JediCruz

JediCruz

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Redfield ratio is kind of a theoretical thing and I've never had my chaeto dent phosphates anyways. Chaeto melting is kind of an unfortunate event that happens to a lot of us.

I have found carbon dosing or vinegar dosing combined with chaeto a bad combination almost always resulting in chaeto melting. Likely the bacteria produced by carbon dosing competes with chaeto and starves it.

I'm assuming you have a skimmer.

I've had good luck with stubborn nitrates by just plain biopellets. I dont bother with a reactor and just put them in a media bag and toss them in my sump. Takes a few weeks to colonize but when they ramp up it does eat a lot of nitrate with zero maintenance. With your nitrate level I would start with at least a pound.
Yes, I do have a skimmer but it went nuts on me recently, I shut it off and it’s been off for a few weeks now (probably a mistake now that I think of it?). What kind of bio pellets do you recommend?
 
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JediCruz

JediCruz

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Hello so my tank has been running high nitrates for several years. I started carbon dosing last year and after 3 month my nitrates went to 0!!! It was over 100 for years. Nothing ever worked including a large refugium loaded with cheato. Do research on dosing and start out very slow don’t rush it and they will drop. I used only vinegar.
What were your phosphates levels before you started dosing?
 
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mdb_talon

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I would personally never intentionally increase my phosphates that are already high just to hit a magic ratio(that most of us dont run at and do just fine). My phosphates are usually around .06 and nitrates between 15-20 right now(they go between 5 and 20 for the most part and phosphates between .05 and .1) So basically the same ratio as you at the moment. My cheato grows like mad(about a gallon ziplock bag each week). Coral is growing well and no algae issues(i feed extremely heavy and heavy export via skimmer and refuge). I dont normally carbon dose but with nitrates at 80ppm that would be what i do.

I would only dose phosphates if they are near zero and nitrates still high.
 

Dan_P

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Ok, so I’ve prevented asking this question for months as I tried solving it on my own. The age old question if high nitrates. So, my nitrates have been at 80 ppm for almost a month now and are slowly rising. Now my phosphates, though not low, are consistently at 0.25 ppm. So I recently started researching Carbon Dosing, as I’ve tried a refugium and increasing bacteria which do not seem to be working. The Chaeto in the fuge just gets brittle and wastes away and the bacteria I dose (currently Aquaforest Pro Bio S and -NP Pro as well as the ocasional PNS Probio) just seems to go to waste. With Carbon Dosing being my next attempt to reduce nitrates, I did more research. I came upon the Redfield Ratio. I read this months ago but didn’t have the right test kit to test Phosphates so I skipped it. Well now I can and I’ve tested it but I forgot about the ratio. After finding the ratio again, I realize that my ratio is way off, right now. I’m at 320:1 ratio when it should be 16:1. To put that in perspective, with nitrates at 80 ppm, my Phosphates should be at super high 5 ppm. Or with Phosphates at 0.25 ppm, Nitrates should be at 4 ppm. Being that the ratio is off, I guess that could be why my Chaeto isn’t growing or bacteria not working? So my question is this. Should I bring my phosphates up to that crazy level then Carbon dose? If not, what other suggestions are there that don’t include buying new equipment? But why isn’t the phosphates low? Are the phosphates in a state that can’t be utilized but still detectable in tests so the organisms can’t utilize them?
For starters forget about the Redfield ratio. It is irrelevant to aquarium water maintenance.

Successfully growing macro algae requires the correct light level, water flow, PO4, NO3,and sufficient levels of micro nutrients (iron, manganese, etc.). By the way there are two types of Chaeto being sold that behave differently. When macro algae is growing well, nitrate uptake will exceed PO4 uptake, but it is still possible for your system to become depleted in PO4. Pay attention to the level and dose PO4 when needed.

The level of PO4 in your system represents the difference between what you are putting in and how much is being removed from the water. If you were to establish vigorous macro algae growth, you would likely see it drop.
 

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All of my tanks in the past ended up where you are. Okay phosphates and high nitrates, .2 and 25 and climbing. I always did large water changes as necessary to keep them down.
But this time with 400 gallons I didn't want to do that. A new tank with no phosphates and nitrates 25 and climbing.
I have a big skimmer. SRO-5000

So I started Nopox. 3ml per 25 gallons
At first I had to dose phosphates after a short period of time but after the tank matured a bit I stopped.
I got them back down to .2 and 25

Then I added more fish and the ones I had got bigger and the nitrates started climbing again.
So I added a biopellet reactor. A big one running 1000-1500ml of pellets.
I got them down to .2 and 5

Then I added some eels and lions and the nitrates started climbing again.
So I started Ulva and chaeto in a fuge. It wouldn't grow. The fuge is a 29 gallon tank added to the system
The trick was adding iron. Brightwell Ferrion 40ml a week for me. This is the default recommended dose on the bottle but I only do it once a week and not every few days like it says. I started throwing large amounts of chaeto and ulva away every week.
I got them back down to .2 and 5 and they are staying there

Now I am doing some things to work on getting the phosphates below 0.2. 800 ml of GFO in a reactor to start.
I got some Elimi-Phos Rapid - Tropic Marin sitting in the fish room. It came yesterday. I havent used it yet.

I feed between 1/4 - 1/2 a measuring cup of food every day to large crabs, eels, lions, large angels and all the other fish. I think it is important to be able to do that to keep them healthy.

I have never had the magic oops it went to zero happen to me. Every time I decrease the Nopox dose I get cyano.
That one is a head scratcher because the opposite is supposed to happen.

I am hoping to get phosphates and nitrates to .05 and 5 and keep them there. I have not found one system to do that that has enough capacity so I am doing them all.
 
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JediCruz

JediCruz

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So I did a little more research and found that the Redfield ratio is for Nitrogen and Phosphorus. According to BRS, the ratio for Nitrates to Phosphates should actually be 10:1 which I think may be insane. Anyway, I think some of are right and I need to throw that ratio out the window and start the carbon dosing. I was just afraid that it wouldn’t work it there wasn’t enough available in Phosphates but it sounds that many of you have found success with that not being the case. I did forget about dosing Iron. I may be low in that. I should probably take an ICP test to be sure, but I’ll buy something anyway and dose weekly like I do with iodine. If there are any other suggestions, I’m still watching the thread. Your more than welcome to chime in.
 

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I had similar happen ,
Water changes will lower nitrate levels but phosphates are bound to the rocks and sand .
needing some sort of media to absorb it .


I dosed a nitrifying bacteria along with rowaphos in a reactor and a week later I was needing to increase feedings as both nitrate and phosphates dropped .
I’m currently sitting at 5ppm nitrate and .04 phosphates
 
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I use Brightwell Ferrion and Iodion. I have for a long time
Those levels come up way red on an ICP test but it works for me. I have been using them for a year.
My macros and inverts are huge
Have you met my crab

IMG_3578_HEIC-M.jpg
I have 3 stone crabs
IMG_3440_HEIC-M.jpg
 
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JediCruz

JediCruz

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I use Brightwell Ferrion and Iodion. I have for a long time
Those levels come up way red on an ICP test but it works for me. I have been using them for a year.
My macros and inverts are huge
Have you met my crab

IMG_3578_HEIC-M.jpg
I have 3 stone crabs
IMG_3440_HEIC-M.jpg
Wow, yes, your crabs are huge! I’m going to be buying that now then
 

WVNed

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It took a lot of successful molts to get crabs from the size of quarters hiding in my live rock shipment to monsters.
i-6ggK9Dt-M.jpg

i-7rw7NjD-L.jpg

Dosing iodine for inverts has fallen out of favor but it works for me.

And I repeat. I only use the recommended dose once a week. Not every few days like it says.
 
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JediCruz

JediCruz

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It took a lot of successful molts to get crabs from the size of quarters hiding in my live rock shipment to monsters.
i-6ggK9Dt-M.jpg

i-7rw7NjD-L.jpg

Dosing iodine for inverts has fallen out of favor but it works for me.

And I repeat. I only use the recommended dose once a week. Not every few days like it says.
Wow!!!! Those guys are big!
 
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I could only think of 3 reasons why chaeto is not growing.

1. Lack of nitrates and phosphates. You need BOTH to grow.
2. Iron deficiency. When I dose iron my chaeto will grow FAST!
3. Your light is the wrong wave lenghth or not strong enough to get NO3 / PO4 lower. I use a 75W LED.

Try dosing some iron and use stronger lights and report back.
 
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JediCruz

JediCruz

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I could only think of 3 reasons why chaeto is not growing.

1. Lack of nitrates and phosphates. You need BOTH to grow.
2. Iron deficiency. When I dose iron my chaeto will grow FAST!
3. Your light is the wrong wave lenghth or not strong enough to get NO3 / PO4 lower. I use a 75W LED.

Try dosing some iron and use stronger lights and report back.
So, as you saw in the original post, my Nitrates are 80ppm and Phosphates are 0.25ppm so that’s not it. In my build thread, it states that my light is a Kessil H80 Fuge light at Max intensity and on the grow setting so that’s also not it. Iron was also what I thought it might be. I ordered a test kit for iron that should arrive tomorrow so I’ll be able to see where I’m at and dose accordingly. I do want to add that the pieces of dragon’s breath that came with the Chaeto, is starting to grow and get fuller.
 

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