My Journey Dosing Nitrates/Phosphates

https://www.triton.de/en/

beesnreefs

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Sep 23, 2020
Messages
110
Reaction score
91
Location
Firestone
TL;DR - My young (almost 5 months old) primarily LPS reef hit zero nitrates and phosphates. Noticed some corals beginning to struggle and alkalinity begin to rise. Started dosing nitrates and phosphates using Brightwell’s NeoNitro and NeoPhos.

Full Version - Startef a 65g JBJ AIO about five months ago. Dry rock and sand, cycled with Turbo Start and dosed ammonia to 5 ppm. After cycle added first fish (ocellaris clown). From there added a coral (almost exclusively LPS varieties) or fish roughly once a week. Was testing alk, calcium, mag, nitrates, pH weekly and performing 10% water change weekly.

I now have three fish (the clown, a large royal gramma, and a Pygmy wrasse). I feed frozen mysis and reef frenzy twice daily along with several sinking pellets.

About two months ago I noticed the Alk slowly declining so I calculated usage over three days and began dosing Balling method using Aquaforest Components 1+, 2+, and 3+. Kept Alk stable at around 8.5 for a few weeks.

About 3 weeks ago some of my corals began struggling a bit. Specifically, three of the seven acans, one of two hammers, and my candy cane/trumpet colony.

Testing showed two things - nitrates & phosphates had bottomed out at zero AND Alk had began going up (to over 9) even though I had added more LPS.

Spent the next week researching nitrates/phosphates and dosing. Ordered a Hanna phosphate checker and an Aquaforest phosphate test kit to confirm tests with. Also ordered Brightwell NeoNitro and NeoPhos.

That week my gold hammer died. :(

Decided to try and dose nitrates to get to around 5 ppm and dose phosphates to get to around 0.05. Started dosing last week:

89196B19-8BA3-448B-BC9F-DE724F380E7B.png


So this is where I’m at as of this morning.

As you can see I dosed nitrates ONCE and got it right to where I wanted it. Have not had to dose again since.

Of interest, it took four days of dosing phosphates before I saw what appears to be a small reduction in nitrates.

I’ve dosed phosphates six times now with no discernible increase in phosphate levels.

Anecdotally, some of my corals do appear to be improving. Some of the acans have really puffed up and several have feeder tentacles out almost all day now. My trachy has colored up a bit more, the torches look wonderful, and the candy cane is a bit puffier (though still looks quite sad).

I’ll continue dosing NeoPhos and testing 24 hours later until I see a measurable amount and get to my target of 0.05.

Anyway, I thought it might be fun to track things here (I’m not expert and definitely still learning)...maybe some of you will find it interesting???

Always open to comments/thoughts as well. Thanks R2R community!
 
Budmans

Dr. Jim

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Nov 30, 2019
Messages
913
Reaction score
642
Location
Farmingdale, NJ
Its not uncommon to have to dose lots of phosphates in a relatively new tank. You are probably aware that substrate (rocks and sand) are most likely adsorbing most of it. You may hear lots of opinions about dosing. I hate to have to add phosphates because there is a good chance that someday they will be released back into the water, but when you note improvement in the corals when you dose, it is hard to say you should not do that.
This might be a good time to add more fish so you can feed more. This more "natural" way of adding phosphates is certainly preferable over dosing chemicals. Also, if you have a doser, it might be beneficial to spread out the doses throughout the course of the day and night.
Sounds like you are moving in the right direction.
 
OP
beesnreefs

beesnreefs

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Sep 23, 2020
Messages
110
Reaction score
91
Location
Firestone
Its not uncommon to have to dose lots of phosphates in a relatively new tank. You are probably aware that substrate (rocks and sand) are most likely adsorbing most of it. You may hear lots of opinions about dosing. I hate to have to add phosphates because there is a good chance that someday they will be released back into the water, but when you note improvement in the corals when you dose, it is hard to say you should not do that.
This might be a good time to add more fish so you can feed more. This more "natural" way of adding phosphates is certainly preferable over dosing chemicals. Also, if you have a doser, it might be beneficial to spread out the doses throughout the course of the day and night.
Sounds like you are moving in the right direction.
Thanks for the comments and perspective - much appreciated!

I was not aware the rocks and sand may be absorbing the phosphates. That's interesting. On the one hand, I can understand potential concern about adding so much to the system that one day could be released back into the water column. I think I'll continue to test and dose (in small amounts) daily until I see measurable amounts in the water column. I do routine weekly tests outside of what I'm doing now so, once I get things dialed in, I'm confident I'll see any big changes relatively quickly.

I agree this is a good time to add more fish and am working on adding 1-2 more fish in the coming weeks. I like to get my fish from reputable vendors who QT their fish so it might be a bit before I get them.

I love the idea of using a doser to spread out the doses! I may try that.

Thanks!
 
OP
beesnreefs

beesnreefs

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Sep 23, 2020
Messages
110
Reaction score
91
Location
Firestone
UPDATE:

12-28-2020: Nitrates continued to decline and tested at 1-2 ppm today. Phosphates still testing at ZERO despite adding 2 capfuls NeoPhos daily. Added 1/2 capful NeoNitro today and 2 capfuls NeoPhos.

NOTE - I do add a capful of Microbacter7 every Saturday and a capful of Dr Tim's Eco-Balance every Sunday so it's possible this explains the reduction of Nitrates over the past few days.
 

PatW

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Feb 14, 2013
Messages
1,988
Reaction score
1,438
Location
Orlando, FL
I have found that my coral seem to do fine with phosphorous at 0 on the Hanna ULR phosphorous detector. I test In the morning. I feed twice: pellets and nori in the morning and frozen enriched brine and mysis in the afternoon. I find if I am heavy handed with the pellets, I will get a low phosphorous reading the next morning. I also run Chaeto in the refugium. I think that after feeding, there i a pulse of phosphorous. I have an SPS dominant system: montipora, acropora and birds nests. But I have some favia, a can, and several large euphyla which do just fine.

I have read that World Wide Corals does not feed their corals. They just have fish and feed fairly freely and let fish poo do the rest.

I don’t know if it will work for you or not. I have come to the conclusion that each aquarium becomes its own little system with its microbial flora. So two aquarists can do exactly the same thing and get entirely different results.
 
Budmans

((FORDTECH))

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Jan 23, 2020
Messages
1,293
Reaction score
807
TL;DR - My young (almost 5 months old) primarily LPS reef hit zero nitrates and phosphates. Noticed some corals beginning to struggle and alkalinity begin to rise. Started dosing nitrates and phosphates using Brightwell’s NeoNitro and NeoPhos.

Full Version - Startef a 65g JBJ AIO about five months ago. Dry rock and sand, cycled with Turbo Start and dosed ammonia to 5 ppm. After cycle added first fish (ocellaris clown). From there added a coral (almost exclusively LPS varieties) or fish roughly once a week. Was testing alk, calcium, mag, nitrates, pH weekly and performing 10% water change weekly.

I now have three fish (the clown, a large royal gramma, and a Pygmy wrasse). I feed frozen mysis and reef frenzy twice daily along with several sinking pellets.

About two months ago I noticed the Alk slowly declining so I calculated usage over three days and began dosing Balling method using Aquaforest Components 1+, 2+, and 3+. Kept Alk stable at around 8.5 for a few weeks.

About 3 weeks ago some of my corals began struggling a bit. Specifically, three of the seven acans, one of two hammers, and my candy cane/trumpet colony.

Testing showed two things - nitrates & phosphates had bottomed out at zero AND Alk had began going up (to over 9) even though I had added more LPS.

Spent the next week researching nitrates/phosphates and dosing. Ordered a Hanna phosphate checker and an Aquaforest phosphate test kit to confirm tests with. Also ordered Brightwell NeoNitro and NeoPhos.

That week my gold hammer died. :(

Decided to try and dose nitrates to get to around 5 ppm and dose phosphates to get to around 0.05. Started dosing last week:

89196B19-8BA3-448B-BC9F-DE724F380E7B.png


So this is where I’m at as of this morning.

As you can see I dosed nitrates ONCE and got it right to where I wanted it. Have not had to dose again since.

Of interest, it took four days of dosing phosphates before I saw what appears to be a small reduction in nitrates.

I’ve dosed phosphates six times now with no discernible increase in phosphate levels.

Anecdotally, some of my corals do appear to be improving. Some of the acans have really puffed up and several have feeder tentacles out almost all day now. My trachy has colored up a bit more, the torches look wonderful, and the candy cane is a bit puffier (though still looks quite sad).

I’ll continue dosing NeoPhos and testing 24 hours later until I see a measurable amount and get to my target of 0.05.

Anyway, I thought it might be fun to track things here (I’m not expert and definitely still learning)...maybe some of you will find it interesting???

Always open to comments/thoughts as well. Thanks R2R community!
If you logged this readings into apex then would create cool graphs that make it nice to the eyes to see trends and the such. I’ve found it very easy and useful to use
 
OP
beesnreefs

beesnreefs

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Sep 23, 2020
Messages
110
Reaction score
91
Location
Firestone
I have found that my coral seem to do fine with phosphorous at 0 on the Hanna ULR phosphorous detector. I test In the morning. I feed twice: pellets and nori in the morning and frozen enriched brine and mysis in the afternoon. I find if I am heavy handed with the pellets, I will get a low phosphorous reading the next morning. I also run Chaeto in the refugium. I think that after feeding, there i a pulse of phosphorous. I have an SPS dominant system: montipora, acropora and birds nests. But I have some favia, a can, and several large euphyla which do just fine.

I have read that World Wide Corals does not feed their corals. They just have fish and feed fairly freely and let fish poo do the rest.

I don’t know if it will work for you or not. I have come to the conclusion that each aquarium becomes its own little system with its microbial flora. So two aquarists can do exactly the same thing and get entirely different results.
Thanks for sharing! It sounds like you've found yourself a very nice balance in your system. Seems between what you feed and what the fish are exporting your corals are getting all the nutrients they need. I find it interesting that even just one day of heavy feeding spikes (albeit a small spike) your phosphates.

I also feed twice daily, a combination of pellets, frozen mysis, and Reef Frenzy. In addition to this I've been dosing the NeoPhos, two capfuls daily, for over a week now and still read zero phosphates 24 hours later. My guess (uneducated, amateur guess no doubt) is that my coral's nutrient demands exceeds what is being put into the system. Or, at the very least, the rock/sand are soaking up the phosphates faster than my corals can use them.

A few of my acans have been quite unhappy for a few weeks now. One of them puffed up nicely today for the first time in a while. Curious to see if the phosphates still read at zero today.
 
OP
beesnreefs

beesnreefs

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Sep 23, 2020
Messages
110
Reaction score
91
Location
Firestone
UPDATE: Finally got a phosphate reading today!

To recap, every day for the past 16 days I've been dosing two capfuls of NeoPhos and testing phosphates 24 hours later. Every day I use a Hanna checker to test the phosphates and every other day I confirm the results with Aquaforest's phosphate test kit.

Every day, until today, the test showed 0.00 ppm.

Yesterday, at the gentle urging of my wife, I dosed THREE capfuls instead of the typical two. I had been nervous to do so as the bottle's instructions said 2 capfuls should get me to around 0.04-0.05 and, as we all know, good things happen slowly in our reef tanks. But she convinced me.

This morning a few of my acans that had been struggling looked puffier than I have seen them in a month. Just tested with the Hanna and it showed I have 0.03 ppm phosphates!

FWIW, I've also been testing (and dosing, when necessary) nitrates. On 12/18/20 I tested 0 nitrates and dosed 1 capful of NeoNitro. 24 hours later it tested at 4-5 ppm with a Salifert kit. Nitrates seem to hold steady for a good 7-10 days. On 12/28/20 they tested at 2 ppm so I dosed a 1/2 capful of NeoNitro. Have not had to re-dose since. Today they tested at around 3 ppm.

EDIT: Originaly I thought I would not dose today but on further thought, I'd like the phosphates to be between 0.03 and 0.1 so I dosed 1 capful of NeoPhos this morning - will continue feeding the tank as I normally do and will test again tomorrow morning.
 
Last edited:

JMetaxas

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Oct 30, 2017
Messages
789
Reaction score
427
Location
Old Saybrook, CT - Dec 2017
Following myself. My 180 gal Mixed reef is testing Nitrate and Phosphate at Zero. It's going through a partial cycle as I transferred most of the rock from an existing tank, but not the sand.

I ordered both products from BRS and will report on my readings.
 
Lazys Coral House
OP
beesnreefs

beesnreefs

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Sep 23, 2020
Messages
110
Reaction score
91
Location
Firestone
Following myself. My 180 gal Mixed reef is testing Nitrate and Phosphate at Zero. It's going through a partial cycle as I transferred most of the rock from an existing tank, but not the sand.

I ordered both products from BRS and will report on my readings.
Thanks for following! And yes, please do share your experience and readings here. I'd love to learn more about your experience with this.
 
OP
beesnreefs

beesnreefs

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Sep 23, 2020
Messages
110
Reaction score
91
Location
Firestone
UPDATE: After dosing an additional capful of NeoPhos yesterday, phosphates tested at 0.05 ppm on my Hanna LR checker. Please note I do NOT have the Hanna ULR Phosphate checker yet. I then ran an Aquaforest phosphate kit test and it showed in the 0.01-0.02 range.

I dosed one more capful of phosphate today.

Nitrates tested in the 2-3 ppm range so I also dosed a half capful of NeoNitro.

This morning, one of my acans that has looked very unhappy for about a month is starting to actually puff up! I'm hopeful this is all starting to help.
 

ScottB

2500 Club Member
View Badges
Joined
Mar 5, 2018
Messages
4,038
Reaction score
5,846
Location
Fairfield County, CT
UPDATE: After dosing an additional capful of NeoPhos yesterday, phosphates tested at 0.05 ppm on my Hanna LR checker. Please note I do NOT have the Hanna ULR Phosphate checker yet. I then ran an Aquaforest phosphate kit test and it showed in the 0.01-0.02 range.

I dosed one more capful of phosphate today.

Nitrates tested in the 2-3 ppm range so I also dosed a half capful of NeoNitro.

This morning, one of my acans that has looked very unhappy for about a month is starting to actually puff up! I'm hopeful this is all starting to help.
I dosed a full liter of trisodium phosphate solution before I could keep a >0 reading. This was on a 300G system. Once the rock was saturated though -- and dinos vanquished -- I've not had to dose again.
 
OP
beesnreefs

beesnreefs

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Sep 23, 2020
Messages
110
Reaction score
91
Location
Firestone
I dosed a full liter of trisodium phosphate solution before I could keep a >0 reading. This was on a 300G system. Once the rock was saturated though -- and dinos vanquished -- I've not had to dose again.
Thanks for sharing that - I did kind of wonder if I'd be able to stop dosing once I got to the level I wanted in the water column. My hope is my regular feeding keeps the phosphates/nitrates where I want them and won't have to dose anymore after this.
 
Corals.com
OP
beesnreefs

beesnreefs

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Sep 23, 2020
Messages
110
Reaction score
91
Location
Firestone
Following, glad to see your acans are responding well, hoping mine do the same.

Out of curiosity, how would you consider your bio load (light, medium, heavy)?
I hope your acans respond well too! FWIW, at least two of my acans still seem unhappy so it remains to be seen if this solves that problem or not.

Right now I have a low bioload, I think. 65 gallon AIO with only 3 fish - a medium sized clown, a large royal gramma, and a pygmy wrasse. I do feed twice daily and I have been feeding rather heavily given my ultra low nutrients. Might back off on that as I get the numbers stabilized where I want them.
 

reef_ninja

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Sep 14, 2014
Messages
291
Reaction score
220
Location
Carson City, NV
I hope your acans respond well too! FWIW, at least two of my acans still seem unhappy so it remains to be seen if this solves that problem or not.

Right now I have a low bioload, I think. 65 gallon AIO with only 3 fish - a medium sized clown, a large royal gramma, and a pygmy wrasse. I do feed twice daily and I have been feeding rather heavily given my ultra low nutrients. Might back off on that as I get the numbers stabilized where I want them.
I started dosing n and p last week, but based on some reputable advice, I’m going to increase my bio load as well, as mine is low too and I struggle with low n and p, and about half my corals are showing it. Might be something for you to consider as well
 
OP
beesnreefs

beesnreefs

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Sep 23, 2020
Messages
110
Reaction score
91
Location
Firestone
I started dosing n and p last week, but based on some reputable advice, I’m going to increase my bio load as well, as mine is low too and I struggle with low n and p, and about half my corals are showing it. Might be something for you to consider as well
Thanks! I have been given similar advice and am working on that as well.

Since I don't have the ability or motivation to set up a QT system in my home, I only buy fish from reputable sources that perform extensive QT's (such as TSM Aquatics or Dr. Reef's Quarantined Fish). I've placed order requests for another wrasse, tang, and basslet to bring up the bio load for that very reason....but it might be some time before I can get them.

What's your bio load? What are you increasing it to?
 

reef_ninja

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Sep 14, 2014
Messages
291
Reaction score
220
Location
Carson City, NV
Thanks! I have been given similar advice and am working on that as well.

Since I don't have the ability or motivation to set up a QT system in my home, I only buy fish from reputable sources that perform extensive QT's (such as TSM Aquatics or Dr. Reef's Quarantined Fish). I've placed order requests for another wrasse, tang, and basslet to bring up the bio load for that very reason....but it might be some time before I can get them.

What's your bio load? What are you increasing it to?
I have a 40 breeder and my bio load is on the lowing side, 4 fish but 3 are on the smaller side. I’m going to add 3 more, depending on if I can reasonably provide the space they need.

We’ve had a decent discussion here that I posted recently. Really clarified a lot for me, maybe it’ll help you too :)

 
OP
beesnreefs

beesnreefs

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Sep 23, 2020
Messages
110
Reaction score
91
Location
Firestone
I have a 40 breeder and my bio load is on the lowing side, 4 fish but 3 are on the smaller side. I’m going to add 3 more, depending on if I can reasonably provide the space they need.

We’ve had a decent discussion here that I posted recently. Really clarified a lot for me, maybe it’ll help you too :)

Thanks for sharing that link - a great conversation. I'll follow it!

A bit off-topic but I love that you mentioned how, in your work, you tend to think "up river". Maybe you're familiar with Dan Heath's book, "Upstream"? May I ask what you do for work?
 
https://www.triton.de/en/

What are you most excited to read about in our REEF OF THE MONTH articles?

  • I love reading about reef equipment!

    Votes: 9 4.7%
  • For me, it's all about the CORALS!!

    Votes: 19 9.9%
  • Seeing and reading about cool fish that I wish I could keep!

    Votes: 5 2.6%
  • Looking for neat innovations and creative solutions they're using!

    Votes: 40 20.9%
  • Looking mostly for stuff I can try on my tank!

    Votes: 17 8.9%
  • Are you kidding?? I'm excited about ALL OF IT!!

    Votes: 101 52.9%

Online statistics

Members online
2,558
Guests online
6,989
Total visitors
9,547
CoralVue HYDROS Control
Top