I’m Controlling Phosphates by Just Carbon Dosing. Is anyone else doing this?

BRS

MrNYCeGuy

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Phosphates have long confounded me and I struggled to keep them from ever increasing in my tank. Skeptical of GFO and Lanthanum Chloride, I wanted to find a more suitable (natural?) way of reducing my phosphates without any unintended consequences from these products. Enter Carbon Dosing.

Now before I get into how I am effectively reducing my phosphates by carbon dosing it’s important that I point out how I run my tanks. My set ups are designed to maximize bacterial counts in the water and allow my corals to “uptake nutrients” via bacterial consumption rather than relying on skimmers to remove them. I do NOT have a skimmer as skimmers have shown to reduce the population of bacteria in the water column. I am running a small cheto refugium, have a sand-bed, live rock, and a heavier coral load and 5 fish in a 29 gallon Biocube. Added to that I feed 4x per day Avast Marine’s freeze dried Reef Jerky on an automatic timer. (Amazing product and game changer IMO)

When I started Carbon Dosing vinegar my tank was sitting around 25 Nitrates and .3 Phosphates. I began adding vinegar daily and watched my nitrates dive to around 10 and my phosphates levels fall to around .25. Not amazing, so I kept increasing vinegar until my nitrates bottomed out at 0 (not smart). My phosphates were still sitting at around .17, which seemed higher than I wanted to maintain. I read a few articles and posts that stated that nitrifying bacterial will reproduce faster than than the bacteria that reduce phosphates. At this point I began dosing nitrates back into the tank and low and behold the phosphates began to come down! What I stumbled upon is the ability to ratchet up the amount of vinegar (Carbon) and Nitrates in order to reduce the amount of phosphate in the tank. Today I maintain my nitrate (10 ppm) and more importantly phosphate (0.05) levels by dosing vinegar and nitrates via a jebao doser.

While this is in no way a scientific study it may provide enough intrigue for some of those who are more scientifically versed to take a deeper look into this method of phosphate reduction. After learning so much from this site and others, I figure it was time to share what I have found has worked for me. More than happy to answer any questions anyone may have about this method.

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Tamberav

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yea, C, N, P are taking up one ratios. It’s the same with macro or phyto or whatever.

A more known one is the Redfield ratio.

It’s not uncommon to have to dose N to bring down P since N is taking up in a larger ratio.
 
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ReefChasers

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Controlling nutrients with carbon/bacteria is definitely a great option for reduction as well as strict feeding regimens.

I wouldnt be afraid of Lanthanum though, it can be used carefully and in emergency situations to have an immediate impact. I dont think its something you should depend on as a daily dose, but rather just a tool in the belt.
 
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MrNYCeGuy

MrNYCeGuy

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Controlling nutrients with carbon/bacteria is definitely a great option for reduction as well as strict feeding regimens.

I wouldnt be afraid of Lanthanum though, it can be used carefully and in emergency situations to have an immediate impact. I dont think its something you should depend on as a daily dose, but rather just a tool in the belt.
Thanks for the comment. My goal was to be able to reduce phosphates on a daily basis along with those strict feeding regimens.
 

90's reefer

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After about 1.5 years of running my 120 no3 was running 25ish and po4 was .3.
I feed heavy at 8-10 cubes a day for 15 fish.
I upgraded my skimmer from a 9410dc to a 9430dc, which is very oversized, and no3 now runs 3ish.
I run gfo to keep po4 at <0.1.
I do dose ez carbon at 5ml a day but only to feed the corals and bacteria.
Personally I would not run a system without a skimmer but I have been doing that since the 80's.
Other than that I run a 7" filter sock and thats it.
My system is 95% sps.
20210809_135326.jpg
 

Groovyg

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After about 1.5 years of running my 120 no3 was running 25ish and po4 was .3.
I feed heavy at 8-10 cubes a day for 15 fish.
I upgraded my skimmer from a 9410dc to a 9430dc, which is very oversized, and no3 now runs 3ish.
I run gfo to keep po4 at <0.1.
I do dose ez carbon at 5ml a day but only to feed the corals and bacteria.
Personally I would not run a system without a skimmer but I have been doing that since the 80's.
Other than that I run a 7" filter sock and thats it.
My system is 95% sps.
20210809_135326.jpg
beautiful setup brother so can you clarify your nutrient export processes
 

90's reefer

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beautiful setup brother so can you clarify your nutrient export processes
Pretty much what I said above, filter sock and over size skimmer.
Also only 12 gal,10%, WC every 2 months.
I run 1 cup rox carbon changed every 2-3 weeks.
Gfo to keep po4 @<.1.
 
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