My Plan to Reduce PO4 & NO3

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esther

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So, we've been trying to reduce PO4 slowly (started the whole process with 0.8) to get more coloration out of our SPS. We actually have a lot of great growth and no algae in our system, which we've been very happy about. We are currently running ROWAphos and Triton Carbon (2 cups each) in our NYOS Reactor. It has done a good job of maintaining the PO4 around 0.2 to 0.25 (Hanna ULR) . I'd ideally like it to be about 0.05 to 0.08. Also, I should mention that our Nitrates have been hovering about 25ppm (Salifert).

So, we have a pretty stocked system with corals and have about 14 fish (including 3 Borbonius Anthias -- who eat a lot!). We feed 10g of food at both 9am and 5pm of the @Bulk Reef Supply Reef Chili Frozen Food Recipe (We used all of the ingredients listed in the recipe). So, with that said I thought I would start dosing Red Sea NO3 PO4-X to see if we can maintain optimal levels for both NO3 & PO4.

Tank is Waterbox 220.6 Reef Pro

Regular Dosing to Tank
Daily
- Triton Core7 ~13ml
- 30ml Microbacter 7
- 2ml Triton Biobase (10x Diluted with RODI)
- 1.4ml Manganese
- 3.2ml Iodine (10x Diluted with RODI)
Weekly
- 0.35ml Zinc
- 0.5ml Vanadium

Parameters on 6/10
- Temp @ 79.5º F
- pH @ 8.13
- Salinity @ 1.0254
- Calcium @ 478
- Magnesium @ 1400
- 8.8 dKH
- NO3 @ 25
- PO4 @ .15

It's all about being slow & steady, so I added only 3ml of the NO3 PO4-X today @ noon. My plan is to test NO3 and PO4 every day and slowly increase the daily dose of NO3 PO4-X until we're stable between 0.05 and 0.08 PO4 and 1 to 2ppm NO3. Stay tuned as I'll be posting every day with data and observations.

Wish me luck!
 
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esther

esther

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I have had good luck with NOPOX. But I have found that I needed only a 1/3 or less of the recommended dose.

This seems like the norm for a lot of products out there. Which is why I’m starting with 3ml. Their recommended dose is 3ml per 25g and we have a 220g system. Needless to say, I’m being super cautious. lol
 
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Day 2 - Parameters on 6/11
- Temp @ 79º F
- pH @ 8.12
- Salinity @ 1.0258
- 8.7 dKH
- NO3 @ 25
- PO4 @ 0.11

So, NO3 hasn't changed but PO4 has gone down a little bit to 0.11ppm. That is well within margin of error on testing kit, so take that with a grain of salt. I added another 3ml of NOPOX this morning. I've decided to up the dosage by 1ml every three days. I'll also be doing a 32g water change today around noon, so hopefully that will help reduce the Nitrate.
 
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esther

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Day 3 - Parameters on 6/12
- Temp @ 79º F
- pH @ 8.17
- Salinity @ 1.0257
- 8.6 dKH
- NO3 @ 25
- PO4 @ 0.11

Saw no Nitrate reduction from the water change. Bummed about that. Both NO3 & PO4 have been stable for the last two days. Today I will be adding 6ml of NOPOX at noon. I decided to dose at noon because I dose Microbacter7 @ 6.30am every morning and turn the skimmer off for 4 hours.
 

Dkeller_nc

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I'm guessing from the date of your first post to your build thread that your tank has been up and running for about 8 months. Based on this, here are a few comments:

Adding microbacter7 is unlikely to have any effect on your tank at all. That's because at 8 months, your system has a massive amount of bacteria in it (that's a good thing). Adding more (and it's doubtful that MB7 really has all that much in it) is like adding a teaspoon of water to a lake. Your choice, and all of us do things to our tanks that don't really make logical sense because we want to. That's OK, it's a hobby.

As Randy notes, carbon dosing is unlikely to have a significant effect on the phosphate levels of your tank water. There's several reasons for that, but one of them is that bacteria (that are encouraged by carbon dosing) don't use all that much phosphate in the construction of their cell walls compared to carbon. Another reason is that it's likely that your rocks and sand have a fair amount of bound phosphate. That will slowly be released as your remove it from the water by using chemical absorbants (rowaphos), but may take a month or two to really start coming down as you deplete the reservoir of abiotically-precipitated phosphate.

Finally, note that a phosphate level of 200 ppb is nothing to be concerned about in a reef tank with SPS and without a lot of algae. In fact, that, coupled with the presence of a significant concentration of nitrate in the water will encourage the growth of stony corals.
 
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esther

esther

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I'm guessing from the date of your first post to your build thread that your tank has been up and running for about 8 months. Based on this, here are a few comments:

Adding microbacter7 is unlikely to have any effect on your tank at all. That's because at 8 months, your system has a massive amount of bacteria in it (that's a good thing). Adding more (and it's doubtful that MB7 really has all that much in it) is like adding a teaspoon of water to a lake. Your choice, and all of us do things to our tanks that don't really make logical sense because we want to. That's OK, it's a hobby.

As Randy notes, carbon dosing is unlikely to have a significant effect on the phosphate levels of your tank water. There's several reasons for that, but one of them is that bacteria (that are encouraged by carbon dosing) don't use all that much phosphate in the construction of their cell walls compared to carbon. Another reason is that it's likely that your rocks and sand have a fair amount of bound phosphate. That will slowly be released as your remove it from the water by using chemical absorbants (rowaphos), but may take a month or two to really start coming down as you deplete the reservoir of abiotically-precipitated phosphate.

Finally, note that a phosphate level of 200 ppb is nothing to be concerned about in a reef tank with SPS and without a lot of algae. In fact, that, coupled with the presence of a significant concentration of nitrate in the water will encourage the growth of stony corals.

Thanks for the note.. A couple of things. I started adding MB7 when we started to get some Cyano on the rocks. I've read a lot about MB7 not really doing much, but I have to say, that since adding it daily, the Cyano is completely gone. I'm terrified to stop dosing it now. lol

I'm adding NOPOX more for Nitrate reduction than PO4. I'm currently running ROWAphos in a reactor and it's keeping the PO4 stable. I'm thinking my issue was using dry rock and it's just been leaching PO4 into the tank. Hopefully we'll be rid of that soon.

I know that the PO4 level isn't anything to worry about (we had it at .8 for a while and everything in our tank was doing well). I'm doing this more to see if reducing it a little more has any effect on the coloration of our SPS corals in the long term.

Again, really appreciate your insight and feedback. :)
 
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Also, I should mention that I chose NOPOX for Nitrate reduction because I read the least amount of horror stories about it. Which is why I'm dosing in such small amounts to begin with. :)
 

Dkeller_nc

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Also, I should mention that I chose NOPOX for Nitrate reduction because I read the least amount of horror stories about it. Which is why I'm dosing in such small amounts to begin with. :)

That's wise (starting slow). Carbon dosing is effective, but will wipe a tank out if it's done to excess. Regarding the bacterial dosing question, I'd guess that no more than 5% or so of SPS keepers do it. It's just not necessary, though perhaps helpful when initially cycling a tank. That said, this is a hobby, and if it relieves angst to do it, there's not much risk with most of the bacterial formulas out there.

Happy Reefing. :)
 

Crustaceon

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So if you’re getting great growth and no nuisance algae with elevated P04, then why again are you trying to reduce it?
 

Crustaceon

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I’m curious if it’ll help with the coloration. Not seeing the best colors from them.
I’m running mine at .08ppm and have awesome reds and greens. Let us know if you see an improvement in coloration under that if you choose to push it that far.
 
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I’m running mine at .08ppm and have awesome reds and greens. Let us know if you see an improvement in coloration under that if you choose to push it that far.

I'm going to push it a little further, which is why I'm doing this super slow. Don't want to bottom out. Will keep everyone updated! Wish me luck. lol
 

Crustaceon

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That’s always my concern. I went through a period where I had my P04 bouncing off of zero and dosed seachem phosphorus daily to compensate. Once you get down to .03ppm anything below is razors-edge stn territory.
 
Top Shelf Aquatics

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Going slow is always good advice.
I got better colors when I dropped my alk from 8.5 to 7-7.3.
Po4 .02-.04.
No3 1-2.
I do run 3 liters of eheim substrate pro in a mesh bag in the sump which may keep my nitrates low.
If you run low po4 and no3 you need to feed your fish alot.
I feed a 2 cube volume 3-4 times a day.
 
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esther

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Day 4 - Parameters on 6/13
- Temp @ 79.1º F
- pH @ 8.08
- Salinity @ 1.0258
- 8.9 dKH
- NO3 @ 25
- PO4 @ 0.11

NO3 & PO4 are still the same. Today I will be adding another 6ml of NOPOX at noon. Was thinking of trimming back macro algae in the refugium to help with NO3 reduction. Thoughts?
 
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Day 5 - Parameters on 6/14
- Temp @ 79.1º F
- pH @ 8.05
- Salinity @ 1.0258
- 8.5 dKH
- NO3 @ 25
- PO4 @ 0.11

NO3 & PO4 are still the same. Today I will be increasing NOPOX to 8ml and adding at noon. Going to clean out sump today, trim back algae and remove the marine pure blocks we have in the sump to give way for more macro algae growth.
 

Joedubyk

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.08 is completely fine for po4, i HIGHLY doubt it's going to change color at all. Some of the BEST color I have seen on acros come from tanks with high nitrates 20-25 and po5 in the .04-.1 range. My friend runs super high po4 on his tank (.4 ) and gets great color, too..... You're WAY more likely to pale your corals out and kill them trying to get them lower than just maintain a reasonable level of po4

I personally dose nitrates to get to 20-25 ppm in an SPS dom tank. I also export a lot as well.

IMG_20200611_150807.jpg IMG_20200604_151733.jpg IMG_20200611_150744.jpg
 
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esther

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.08 is completely fine for po4, i HIGHLY doubt it's going to change color at all. Some of the BEST color I have seen on acros come from tanks with high nitrates 20-25 and po5 in the .04-.1 range. My friend runs super high po4 on his tank (.4 ) and gets great color, too..... You're WAY more likely to pale your corals out and kill them trying to get them lower than just maintain a reasonable level of po4

I personally dose nitrates to get to 20-25 ppm in an SPS dom tank. I also export a lot as well.

IMG_20200611_150807.jpg IMG_20200604_151733.jpg IMG_20200611_150744.jpg

Thanks for the comments. And your corals are beautiful! Thanks for sharing. :) We were running the tank at 10ppm and I feel like the corals were doing much better then, but I could be kidding myself. We'll see how everything goes.
 
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