I'm dying on this hill - Phosphate is more important than alkalinity

Cory

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Honestly I’m a strong believer if your tank looks good let it ride regardless of the numbers. If you chase numbers you can find yourself dosing this and that to meet the “recommended levels” and run into other problems. I test once a week and yes sometimes I find things out of the relative norm. But if things look good I leave it alone and stick to my normal water change maintenance
Models look great until they die of starvation too.
 
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Jax15

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I agree. But so many people seem obsessed with their numbers I'm just wondering if they enjoy that aspect or if it's more out of fear?
Not really enjoyable, but can be. Mostly it's preventative. A little bit experimental, to see if dialing up feeding is a good idea, etc. There is some pleasure however when all the tests come out in acceptable ranges. Helps me know that I'm doing things right. True, I can look in the tank and see that also, but it's not a bad thing to test. I don't dislike it necessarily, it's just another part of overall care. CA testing I do dislike though. Way too many steps involved.
 

living_tribunal

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Not really enjoyable, but can be. Mostly it's preventative. A little bit experimental, to see if dialing up feeding is a good idea, etc. There is some pleasure however when all the tests come out in acceptable ranges. Helps me know that I'm doing things right. True, I can look in the tank and see that also, but it's not a bad thing to test. I don't dislike it necessarily, it's just another part of overall care. CA testing I do dislike though. Way too many steps involved.
+1 I find satisfaction from dialing in a export system coupled with feeding sizes to get really tight nutrient levels every time I test.
 

Dennis Cartier

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It’s so good to see the phosphate love here.

This conversation was brought up in another thread, I simply posted the science I did above, thought others might be interested in it.

Was met by a squad of aggressively passionate individuals who said science is useless and proceeded to insult anyone who questioned their narrative.

Seems like there are some flat earthers into reefing.
I seem to recall that the push back was in relation to how you were intrpreting an article, or perhaps the applicabilty of the article to reefing. I believe you were suggesting that a ratio of 5:1 for Nitrogen: Phosphate was the most desireable. This exact issue, Nutrient´s ratio - of importance or not? is being discussed in another thread for anyone who might have missed it.
 
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living_tribunal

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I seem to recall that the push back was in relation to how you were intrpreting an article, or perhaps the applicabilty of the article to reefing. I believe you were suggesting that a ratio of 5:1 for Nitrogen:phosphate was the most desireable. This exact issue, Nutrient´s ratio - of importance or not? is being discussed in another thread for anyone who might have missed it.
I didn’t interpret the articles, I merely cited what they said. Conclusions of white papers aren’t subjective in science as they can be in psychology or other fields. It’s this is what we did, here were the outcomes.

My whole take was that there are benefits to having elevated phosphate levels and lower nitrate levels. Some how, that got misconstrued into me saying “nitrate is bad” which is not what I said.

And yes, the 5:1-10:1 range I answered seems to be the rough consensus among everything I cited. That is an opinion but one generated by the sound logic and science I cited.

Regarding applicability in reefing, most of these studies were conducted in closed aquarium environments. So of course they are repeatable in our tanks.

I’m always up to debate that as well. In fact, I’d love to know If that’s wrong because that’s how you increase understanding. However, saying it’s wrong, the science is wrong, without any kind of substantive data and then hurling personal attacks does absolutely nothing to advance this hobby.
 
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Ben Pedersen

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I have a question... Last year I lost many of the corals in my tank that I have had for 10 + years. They receded slowely over the course of 3 months starting from the bottom. I assumed it was a bacterial infection (white band disease) caused by contamination (dirty hands). Eventually it burned out and everything started growing again. Sadly the same thing started about a month ago. Could this be caused by low phosphates?

I keep my KH around 8.5 and Ca around 425 using kalk powder and vinegar. I have many large fish and I auto feed 5 times a day not including frozen cubes and nori which I do often. I have a large fish load. The system is about 100 gallons total.

I have never checked Nitrates, Nitrites, nor Phosphates. Daily I have a smudge of algae on the glass of my tank and my refugium grows algae. Does this growth indicate that enough Phosphates are in the system? Can algae grow without phosphates? I have been keeping coral for 35+ years. I have never had these types of problems before.
 

Barks

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Trisodium phosphate. 1.88 grams dissolved into 1L of water will make 0.01 ppm in 100L (26 gallons) of water per 1 ml dosed.

In terms of chasing numbers, I've never really tried to do it. My tank just simply settled where it did in terms of nutrients, and for some reason it uses a lot of phosphate. I would always test between about 2 and 8 on the Hanna ULR which I tested maybe 2-3 times a month. As I said in the OP everything was OK, but not thriving. I could see it, I wasn't going off numbers.

This is a little embarrassing to admit, but where I went wrong (which is what Brandon was alluding to earlier) is I have literally been dealing with dinos in my sand for over two years. Because they are red, I always thought it was cyano. So I thought my phosphate was low because the cyano was using it up, so I spent like two years trying various things to beat this apocalyptic cyano. So if the cyano was using the phosphate, I never considered actually dosing phosphate because that would just make cyano worse, right? It wasn't until I read the dinos thread that everything changed. I must have skipped past that thread every day for eighteen months or more. Dinos are brown snotty bubbly thing right? Well I don't have that... What a maroon.

That was about four or five weeks ago and today my tank is very different, for the better. Everything is healthier, growing faster, colored better, and about 2/3 of the dinos to this point are gone.
Hi,
I was looking at dosing phosphate, this is very interesting.
trisodium phosphate is listed as paint stripper degreaser? Is this correct?
many thanks
 

living_tribunal

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I have a question... Last year I lost many of the corals in my tank that I have had for 10 + years. They receded slowely over the course of 3 months starting from the bottom. I assumed it was a bacterial infection (white band disease) caused by contamination (dirty hands). Eventually it burned out and everything started growing again. Sadly the same thing started about a month ago. Could this be caused by low phosphates?

I keep my KH around 8.5 and Ca around 425 using kalk powder and vinegar. I have many large fish and I auto feed 5 times a day not including frozen cubes and nori which I do often. I have a large fish load. The system is about 100 gallons total.

I have never checked Nitrates, Nitrites, nor Phosphates. Daily I have a smudge of algae on the glass of my tank and my refugium grows algae. Does this growth indicate that enough Phosphates are in the system? Can algae grow without phosphates? I have been keeping coral for 35+ years. I have never had these types of problems before.
Phosphate isn’t always a limiting factor to some algae types and algae can grow without it.

It’s possible that it was phosphate deficiency but not enough data was provided to say conclusively that it was.

Phosphate deficiency causes corals to be significantly more susceptible to light and temperatures. So you’ll typically see corals bleach when they are phosphate deficient.

I’d start testing it of course, if phosphate levels are near or at 0, raise them and see if it helps. If not, then it’s something else. Can’t guess to find problems in the tank.
 
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Potatohead

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Hi,
I was looking at dosing phosphate, this is very interesting.
trisodium phosphate is listed as paint stripper degreaser? Is this correct?
many thanks
Yeah, it is commonly sold as a cleaning agent. You can also buy food grade, if you want something more pure. It's such a small amount to dose though I believe that any impurities are probably irrelevant.
 
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Scrubber_steve

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@Scrubber_steve seems like there are more anecdotal reports of users seeing happier corals with elevated phosphate levels.

What do you think of this?
"elevated phosphate levels" ?
What has been written here -

"my phosphate was always .01-.02 range. I started dosing phosphate. Four weeks later maintaining about .06 "

"I now shoot for phosphates anywhere between .07 and .12."

"Obviously everyone’s system is different for me personally my tank is at its best at 0.2 – 3 "

"Po4 stays around .03 and my mixed reef is happy, growing, and clean."

"I have 0 phos in my tank according to my hanna checker but my mixed reef seems to be doing well..."

"Honestly I’m a strong believer if your tank looks good let it ride regardless of the numbers. "
" I agree. But so many people seem obsessed with their numbers I'm just wondering if they enjoy that aspect or if it's more out of fear? "

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
I think you are obsessed T

Now, What do I recommended for phosphate levels ?
"0.03 to 0.07 is typically recommended"

What does Hans Werner recommend?
In my opinion 0.05 to 0.1 ppm of phosphate is the safest range. You have at least 0.04 ppm range before it is really getting bad.

What does Randy Holmes-Farley recommend?
"the easy answer is that the optimal phosphate level is above 0.006 uM (0.0006 ppm) and that ~ 0.3 μM (0.03 ppm) is adequate >>> regardless of The nitrate level."<<<<

Now Living Tribunal, what sort of advice do you give out?

"With nitrate at .6 and phosphate at .29, you're at a very excellent N/P range."
According to Hans Werner phosphate at .29 is "really bad"!

And your persistence of recommending a P/N ratio no higher than 10 - 14:1, even when Po4 is above the starvation threshold, & suggesting a P/N ratio above this is detrimental to corals -

Randy Holmes-Farley quote -"Just to keep beating a dead horse, there’s no good rationale for targeting a ratio of N to P as opposed to targeting both values to a desirable level."

And can you, T, & your chum, M, stop trolling me.
 

90's reefer

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I feel its a balance with number of fish vs amount you feed which is very different in all tanks.
Po4 runs .01 to .04 most of the time with no3 1-2ish.
I have 11 fish in my 120 and feed 1.5 frozen cubes with larrys 4 times a day.
Small amount of hair algae and green growth on glass every couple of days.
Alk runs 8 ish depending on hanna vs salifert test but is stable.
Bare bottom with filter sock and skimmer.
For me keeping things stable wins the race.
 

Scrubber_steve

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It’s so good to see the phosphate love here.

This conversation was brought up in another thread, I simply posted the science I did above, thought others might be interested in it.

Was met by a squad of aggressively passionate individuals who said science is useless and proceeded to insult anyone who questioned their narrative.

Seems like there are some flat earthers into reefing.
The above statement is simply untrue, misleading, & just simply trolling to be honest.

I am more than happy for anyone to go & read what I & others have actually said on that thread.

This is the thread referred to by Living T - Optimal phosphate level? (Mixed Reef)
https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/optimal-phosphate-level-mixed-reef.678080/


And another thread referring to this P/N ratio nonsense - Is this considered low nutrient levels ? https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/is-this-considered-low-nutrient-levels.682075/


And another - Nutrient´s ratio - of importance or not?
https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/nutrient´s-ratio-of-importance-or-not.688786/#post-7050129
 

living_tribunal

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"elevated phosphate levels" ?
What has been written here -

"my phosphate was always .01-.02 range. I started dosing phosphate. Four weeks later maintaining about .06 "

"I now shoot for phosphates anywhere between .07 and .12."

"Obviously everyone’s system is different for me personally my tank is at its best at 0.2 – 3 "

"Po4 stays around .03 and my mixed reef is happy, growing, and clean."

"I have 0 phos in my tank according to my hanna checker but my mixed reef seems to be doing well..."

"Honestly I’m a strong believer if your tank looks good let it ride regardless of the numbers. "
" I agree. But so many people seem obsessed with their numbers I'm just wondering if they enjoy that aspect or if it's more out of fear? "

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
I think you are obsessed T

Now, What do I recommended for phosphate levels ?
"0.03 to 0.07 is typically recommended"

What does Hans Werner recommend?
In my opinion 0.05 to 0.1 ppm of phosphate is the safest range. You have at least 0.04 ppm range before it is really getting bad.

What does Randy Holmes-Farley recommend?
"the easy answer is that the optimal phosphate level is above 0.006 uM (0.0006 ppm) and that ~ 0.3 μM (0.03 ppm) is adequate >>> regardless of The nitrate level."<<<<

Now Living Tribunal, what sort of advice do you give out?

"With nitrate at .6 and phosphate at .29, you're at a very excellent N/P range."
According to Hans Werner phosphate at .29 is "really bad"!

And your persistence of recommending a P/N ratio no higher than 10 - 14:1, even when Po4 is above the starvation threshold, & suggesting a P/N ratio above this is detrimental to corals -

Randy Holmes-Farley quote -"Just to keep beating a dead horse, there’s no good rationale for targeting a ratio of N to P as opposed to targeting both values to a desirable level."

And can you, T, & your chum, M, stop trolling me.
I never once cited a phosphate level of .29, you are making stuff up out of thin air. In that thread, as well as this one, I very clearly stated I keep nitrate at .5 and phosphate at .1-.15.

There is obviously a wide range of acceptable nutrient levels, millions in fact. That’s all common knowledge. Since you nearly cited the same level I recommended, what are you against?
 
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Potatohead

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Guys can we please not turn this into a peeing match...

Whether or not .3 or .15 or .1 is relevant, who knows. All I am trying to say in this thread is that for me, the last month has been totally eye opening and I hope this will help some others. So many people still believe the lower the phosphate the better.
 

Scrubber_steve

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I never once cited a phosphate level of .29, you are making stuff up out of thin air.
Yes you did T, & I provided the link

at bottom of your post.

Caught out changing your opinion again, hey, like with alk T ?

You first said - Quote"
I don’t believe the absolute level of alk has an impact on the efficacy of coral symbiosis utilization of phosphate.

The processes for alk consumption are different for phosphate consumption."


Then after someone pointed out Werner's post saying "Obviously phosphate plays a crucial role in skeletal growth. Especially the fast growing SPS need a lot of phosphate and now it also gets clear why raising alkalinity at low phosphate concentrations has such a detrimental effect.

You changed tact to - quote "Just wanted to note, I believe any kind of indirect interaction between the two will of course impose on the efficacy of the other if there is a deficiency, just for the sticklers out there."

And this gem "Hans-Werner had a better explanation breaking this down" Gee, ya reckon?

LOL mate. Stick to software development
 

living_tribunal

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Yes you did T, & I provided the link

at bottom of your post.

Caught out changing your opinion again, hey, like with alk T ?

You first said - Quote"
I don’t believe the absolute level of alk has an impact on the efficacy of coral symbiosis utilization of phosphate.

The processes for alk consumption are different for phosphate consumption."


Then after someone pointed out Werner's post saying "Obviously phosphate plays a crucial role in skeletal growth. Especially the fast growing SPS need a lot of phosphate and now it also gets clear why raising alkalinity at low phosphate concentrations has such a detrimental effect.

You changed tact to - quote "Just wanted to note, I believe any kind of indirect interaction between the two will of course impose on the efficacy of the other if there is a deficiency, just for the sticklers out there."

And this gem "Hans-Werner had a better explanation breaking this down" Gee, ya reckon?

LOL mate. Stick to software development

Well you should have looked at the name before attributing it to me... My name isn’t Wisconsin reefing.
1C12353C-FF70-480A-8B35-1787716D2025.png



Let’s cut the personal attacks and stick to figuring out what optimal is in this hobby.
 

Kevan Sharp

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just FYI...
I just purchased and installed a Pax Bellum algae reactor. In their user manual, they indicate a need maintain a recommended ratio of NO3 to PO4 between 20:1 and 200:1.
 
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