How to fix my nitrate and phosphate levels?

Hannah2024

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Hi everyone I’m new to saltwater aquarium and I recently tested my nitrate and phos. Nitrate-20 ppm and phosphate- .5 ppm I am told this is a little high I am currently having an issue with cyano being on my rocks even though I brush and clean my rocks and tank every week. I bought some tropic Marin elimi phos but I haven’t used it yet because I wanted to know how you figure out how much you’re supposed to dose every day or week to keep your phosphate in control after you lower it (plus I don’t want to add too many chemicals and cause Dino’s because I’m so new to saltwater) any help is greatly appreciated!
 

EricR

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More info on your tank, like size/age/livestock, would help others to respond, I think.

My personal quick thoughts are:
- GFO is a reasonable way to lower phosphate as long as you test and don't get too low (0.5 ppm is up there but not unheard of)
- Water change on small/medium tanks is useful to lower nitrate (20 ppm isn't all that high anyway to me)
 
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Hannah2024

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More info on your tank, like size/age/livestock, would help others to respond, I think.

My personal quick thoughts are:
- GFO is a reasonable way to lower phosphates as long as you test and don't get too low (0.5 ppm is up there but not unheard of)
- Water change on small/medium tanks is useful to lower nitrates (20 ppm isn't ridiculously high anyway)
Yes of course- I have a fifteen gallon tank one clownfish. - turbo snail and a shrimp and an urchins I do wager changes every week 2 or three gallons maybe I should do bigger ones or is that a good amount?
 
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Hannah2024

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- GFO is a reasonable way to lower phosphate as long as you test and don't get too low (0.5 ppm is up there but not unheard of)
I have a question thought if you add the gfo how do you figure out how much to use so it does not get to zero. I also wonder the same with the elimi phos like how do you know how much to keep dosing for level maintenance?
 

EricR

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I have a question thought if you add the gfo how do you figure out how much to use so it does not get to zero. I also wonder the same with the elimi phos like how do you know how much to keep dosing for level maintenance?
Personally, I've only run it a couple of times in a simple 40 gallon tank with HOB equipment:
Throw a bag of Chemi-Pure Elite (which has GFO) in HOB filter and test periodically,,, then pull it out when phosphate levels get where you want them.
*I never had extremely excessive phosphate levels and when I used it (more as a tuning tool, which was stupid), PO4 plummeted much more quickly than I expected

Most with more sophisticated setups would use GFO in a reactor, I think.
 
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Hannah2024

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Personally, I've only run it a couple of times in a simple 40 gallon tank with HOB equipment:
Throw a bag of Chemi-Pure Elite (which has GFO) in HOB filter and test periodically,,, then pull it out when phosphate levels get where you want them.
*I never had extremely excessive phosphate levels and when I used it (more as a tuning tool, which was stupid), PO4 plummeted much more quickly than I expected

Most with more sophisticated setups would use GFO in a reactor, I think.
Ok how often would you recommend to test? Like every week or more often. I will pick some of that up from the fish store.
 

EricR

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Ok how often would you recommend to test? Like every week or more often. I will pick some of that up from the fish store.
Depends on lots of variables and I'm no expert but, since I guess I'm the only one responding, I'd go with:
First test 2-3 days after you add GFO to get an idea of what impact (if any) it's having.
Scale out your testing based on that.

*my experience with GFO is very limited when my tank was younger -- I've had the opposite problem for much longer since
 
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Hannah2024

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Depends on lots of variables and I'm no expert but, since I guess I'm the only one responding, I'd go with:
First test 2-3 days after you add GFO to get an idea of what impact (if any) it's having.
Scale out your testing based on that.

*my experience with GFO is very limited when my tank was younger -- I've had the opposite problem for much longer since
Ok I will do that I appreciate you taking your time to answer me! What do you think about using the products like nopox or similar? Or should I just stick to the gfo? My tank is pretty small so either would probably last me awhile.
 

JefeL00

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Check how much your are feeding. A lot of times phosphates come from things we add to the tank. There is a website that allows you to input tank volume and it tells you how much gfo you’ll need
 
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Hannah2024

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Check how much your are feeding. A lot of times phosphates come from things we add to the tank. There is a website that allows you to input tank volume and it tells you how much gfo you’ll need
Ok I didn’t think I fed too much. But I feed pellet food to my fish. It is bulk reef supply brand if it makes a difference.
 

EricR

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Ok I will do that I appreciate you taking your time to answer me! What do you think about using the products like nopox or similar? Or should I just stick to the gfo? My tank is pretty small so either would probably last me awhile.
NOPOX -- no experience but seems like many use it.
I think it's basically a form of carbon dosing but no idea what's in it.
Sorry,,, bowing out
 

apb03

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I would just ramp up water changes until the cyano goes away. No need to worry about the nutrients too much, the tank will eventually sort itself out. If you really want to remove some try tossing a couple pouches of Chemi pure blue nano in your filtration section.
 
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Hannah2024

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I would just ramp up water changes until the cyano goes away. No need to worry about the nutrients too much, the tank will eventually sort itself out. If you really want to remove some try tossing a couple pouches of Chemi pure blue nano in your filtration section.
How much you think I should be doing them? I do three gallons every week right now
 

MrWellington

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Food (and residual organic waste) are the likely culprits. A simple and cheap way to reduce NO3/PO4, is to filter out the organic waste before it decomposes into nutrients. Most folks use 200 micron filter socks as this is the most common, plus a protein skimmer. However, they also make 100, 50, 25,10,5, and even 1 micron filter socks that capture significantly more organics. I've lowered both nutrients by swapping the filter socks for tighter spun felt at 10 micron and added simple vinegar carbon dosing to boost the bio filter.

This will likely mean you need to change out the socks more frequently - like daily - until your values are back to where you'd like. Don't wait until the socks are overflowing. Make it a daily, or at the very least, an every 3 day habit. Then, find the balance of feeding and filter micron that meets your needs.
 
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Hannah2024

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Food (and residual organic waste) are the likely culprits. A simple and cheap way to reduce NO3/PO4, is to filter out the organic waste before it decomposes into nutrients. Most folks use 200 micron filter socks as this is the most common, plus a protein skimmer. However, they also make 100, 50, 25,10,5, and even 1 micron filter socks that capture significantly more organics. I've lowered both nutrients by swapping the filter socks for tighter spun felt at 10 micron and added simple vinegar carbon dosing to boost the bio filter.

This will likely mean you need to change out the socks more frequently - like daily - until your values are back to where you'd like. Don't wait until the socks are overflowing. Make it a daily, or at the very least, an every 3 day habit. Then, find the balance of feeding and filter micron that meets your needs.
Thanks I actuly need to get a new filter sock so I’ll be buying a smaller micron one . I try to change every three days but I only have one right now so it makes it a little harder to squeeze cleaning my sock in the washer with all the laundry
 

MrWellington

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Don't bother with laundering. Turn the sock inside out, rinse, and put it into a bucket with about 1/8 cup of bleach to 1 gallon of tap water. After about 2 hours (or just overnight), pull it out, rinse VERY thoroughly, and let it completely dry. (hint: a cheap vertical paper towel holder is perfect!) Don't worry about residual chlorine as that will gas off completely as it dries. You should always have at least 3. One in the sump and two others (one ready to install, the other on the drying rack).

Hope it helps!
 
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Hannah2024

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Don't bother with laundering. Turn the sock inside out, rinse, and put it into a bucket with about 1/8 cup of bleach to 1 gallon of tap water. After about 2 hours (or just overnight), pull it out, rinse VERY thoroughly, and let it completely dry. (hint: a cheap vertical paper towel holder is perfect!) Don't worry about residual chlorine as that will gas off completely as it dries. You should always have at least 3. One in the sump and two others (one ready to install, the other on the drying rack).

Hope it helps!
Yes it does help! I’m going to be ordering more for this exact reason so I do t have to wait to put another in my tank.
 

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