Low Nitrates and Phosphates

Pkunk35

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Thought I’d post some advice given to me on phosphate dosing by someone who runs a small coral farm.
he said that he tests weekly for phosphate and yes sometimes his system runs to 0.00 bc of coral load. He will dose neophos at the appropriate dose to the level he wants, he will increase feed a bit throughout week, notate these changes in habit, and then test again in a week. He keeps this cadence to basically give him a workable and progressive schedule to getting where he wants.
now my system is about 1000 times smaller so waiting a week between tests was not working for me when phosphate was at 0.00, so I would test every other day while dosing until I got a reading and I would then try to maintain through elevated feeding of reef roids at night. I then test once a week when I am reading some phosphate (and you should do this because I find that sometimes with my feeding habit and filtration and coral growth I run to 0.00 now and then). This method has worked very well for me.
Also my tank is 1.5yrs old and I do use mostly Marco rock but I think all live rock will absorb phosphate, I think even sand beds will too, but @Randy Holmes-Farley would know much better than me.

Hope it helps and keep at it, it will work!
 
Lazy's Coral House

fushi

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When I was dosing I ran them separate. It is easy and quick to get a nitrate reading and keep it. If your rock/sand is PO4 depleted, it can require a liter or more of phosphate solution. My experience anyway.

If pressed, I would use the doser with PO4 and manually dose nitrates.
Thanks for the help, Ill give that brand you recommend a try.
 

gd1985

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I just think most people just dump it in a reactor and see what happens and that there are better solutions for most situations. But I guess dumping anything in and hoping for the best is more of the issue lol
After going fallow a few weeks after the tank going live I was terrified of high nutrients/algae problems so I got the reactor & started running GFO.

Now I've never got a reading for Phosphate so I guess I never needed to do it in the 1st place.

I dont want the reactor just sat empty, running carbon wouldn't bring the nitrate/Phosphate down would it?
 

fushi

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After going fallow a few weeks after the tank going live I was terrified of high nutrients/algae problems so I got the reactor & started running GFO.

Now I've never got a reading for Phosphate so I guess I never needed to do it in the 1st place.

I dont want the reactor just sat empty, running carbon wouldn't bring the nitrate/Phosphate down would it?
From my understanding carbon can not absorb a detectable amount NO3 or PO4, so for all intensive purposes no. But I wouldn't dump a bunch of carbon in it just because you have an empty reactor. For most situations you don't really need to run a lot activated carbon.

There will always be algae in an aquarium so don't be terrified of it. Sometimes it will be more difficult to manage than others but it will always be something you manage.

Don't fix what ain't broke. Deal with parameter issues as they come, preemptively fixing them usually creates another problem. Slow and steady wins the race.
 

Saltyanimals

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Good discussion here. I have a strange observation in my 180G with BioFuel. It's suppose to provide a carbon source (food) for the biological process. i.e. Increase microbial growth and population which will consume and thus *reduce* NO3 & PO4. <- This was my observation that it really dropped my No3/PO4 levels.

Yet this discussion says people are using this as part of the No3/Po4 dosing to raise it. Isn't this carbon dosing counterproductive to the goals of raising if you're feeding the microprobes to consume it?

Maybe I'm getting this all twisted up. =)
 
Aquarium Specialty - dry goods & marine livestock

Randy Holmes-Farley

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Good discussion here. I have a strange observation in my 180G with BioFuel. It's suppose to provide a carbon source (food) for the biological process. i.e. Increase microbial growth and population which will consume and thus *reduce* NO3 & PO4. <- This was my observation that it really dropped my No3/PO4 levels.

Yet this discussion says people are using this as part of the No3/Po4 dosing to raise it. Isn't this carbon dosing counterproductive to the goals of raising if you're feeding the microprobes to consume it?

Maybe I'm getting this all twisted up. =)

Correct. it is not appropriate to dose Biofuel or any organic carbon for purposes of raising N and P.
 

Saltyanimals

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Correct. it is not appropriate to dose Biofuel or any organic carbon for purposes of raising N and P.

Thanks, Randy. I thought I was Iosing my mind. Someone shared the following explanation from ATI. The table is simple and easy to understand, but does suggest for example to raise N to dose N + carbon. Logic makes sense since you're feeding for the N that you just added, but at the same time??




 

ScottB

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Thanks, Randy. I thought I was Iosing my mind. Someone shared the following explanation from ATI. The table is simple and easy to understand, but does suggest for example to raise N to dose N + carbon. Logic makes sense since you're feeding for the N that you just added, but at the same time??




Good point. I see what you referencing in the 3rd case. They are suggesting using Carbon to reduce phosphate. In doing so, it will reduce Nitrate, so they recommend dosing that back.

I understand what they are suggesting, but IME carbon doesn't reduce PO4 very much while it really hammers NO3. Maybe they have a special flavor of carbon, that feeds a special PO4 consuming bacteria. Maybe.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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Thanks, Randy. I thought I was Iosing my mind. Someone shared the following explanation from ATI. The table is simple and easy to understand, but does suggest for example to raise N to dose N + carbon. Logic makes sense since you're feeding for the N that you just added, but at the same time??

They appear to have a misunderstanding what the ratio of C:N: P really means or what adding C will accomplish when N is low. I would not follow that guidance.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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Good point. I see what you referencing in the 3rd case. They are suggesting using Carbon to reduce phosphate. In doing so, it will reduce Nitrate, so they recommend dosing that back.

I understand what they are suggesting, but IME carbon doesn't reduce PO4 very much while it really hammers NO3. Maybe they have a special flavor of carbon, that feeds a special PO4 consuming bacteria. Maybe.

Maybe. Maybe pigs can fly?
 
REEFTIDE

Saltyanimals

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Good point. I see what you referencing in the 3rd case. They are suggesting using Carbon to reduce phosphate. In doing so, it will reduce Nitrate, so they recommend dosing that back.

I understand what they are suggesting, but IME carbon doesn't reduce PO4 very much while it really hammers NO3. Maybe they have a special flavor of carbon, that feeds a special PO4 consuming bacteria. Maybe.
I was stoked to see N in the 5-6 because I’ve been close to zero for years. Then saw it tank again, but I’ve been doing way too many N P C plus bacteria buffet lately to know what dropped it so aggressively. Likely Bacterclean if the carbon didn’t just give my N bacteria a huge boost juiced up that tanked it. I didn’t see much movement in P.
 

ScottB

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I was stoked to see N in the 5-6 because I’ve been close to zero for years. Then saw it tank again, but I’ve been doing way too many N P C plus bacteria buffet lately to know what dropped it so aggressively. Likely Bacterclean if the carbon didn’t just give my N bacteria a huge boost juiced up that tanked it. I didn’t see much movement in P.
IME, any carbon source (vinegar, vodka, sugar) can chew through nitrates as long as your skimmer is sized and tuned well.
 

Saltyanimals

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IME, any carbon source (vinegar, vodka, sugar) can chew through nitrates as long as your skimmer is sized and tuned well.

So could be that carbon and/or the Bacterclean. Problem with doing too many things at the same time to narrow down cause-effect. =)

Anyone have a link to share dosing comparison between the carbon source options? I imagine going through the commercial brightwell Bio-Fuel pretty fast and probably want to try the DIY options vinegar or vodka since those are both readily available around my house. I do like the measurements for Biofuel is simple to follow thus administer without much measurement precision. Simple enough to say 4 x cap full for my 180 and done. I don't see myself doing regular carbon dosing as well. Seems like once you dose to make sure your tank is not carbon-limited, then it should fairly stable so not a full weekly maintenance addition.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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Anyone have a link to share dosing comparison between the carbon source options?

I've never seen any comparative testing of the effects of different carbon sources against each other in the same setting.
 
Fritz

Saltyanimals

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I've never seen any comparative testing of the effects of different carbon sources against each other in the same setting.

If that’s the case then no need on buying the commercial products… no need in wasting good vodka… vinegar it is! Thanks!
 

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