Nitrate and Phosphate questions

nth1126

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So currently I am having an issue with my nitrates and phosphates. My tank has been up for a little over a year now and ever since the beginning my nitrates hovered around 15-20ppm and phosphates a little over .3. This is my first saltwater tank and it’s a 20 gallon so I am still a beginner.
Now at the start of the new year I decided to put a fluval canister filter on my tank instead of the HOB I had. and over the course of the first month my nitrates and phosphates hadn’t changed. But due to the reputation of canister filters, I was expecting this. So I had researched a ton on canister filters and people who had success with them on saltwater tanks and what filter media they used. This included- Purigen, Rowaphos, Chemipure elite, and some carbon. So after my first month of my canister filter running, I decided to add this filter media into my canister filter. It has been three weeks now since then and My nitrates are reading at 0.0 and phosphates reading at 0.11-0.17. When I saw the 0 nitrates i couldn’t believe my eyes so I bought a salifert test kit and it read 0.0 again. And once again I thought I was doing something wrong so I just caved and bought the expensive hanna nitrate tester and it has read 0.0 now for three days.
This is a concern for me because I want my nitrates around 3-4 and phosphate around .1. And I do not know what plan of action to take because I’ve read a ton on this website and there are so many different options. I landed on a Neophos and Neonitro dosing plan and I think I wanna try it. However if anyone has any recommendations or any questions I would love to answer as I’ve been doing this all on my own and feel like I’m doing everything wrong constantly but I am also a perfectionist. I currently have 2 clowns and a royal gramma
along with a aiptasia infestation (lol) that i’m trying to get rid of. I have Gsp, xenia which have both grown a ton, 3 zoas which are doing alright, and a duncan and candy cane frag that I just added 2 weeks ago.
Thanks
Tank Parameters as of today
Alk-8.7
Ca-440
Mg-1290
Nitrate-0.0
Phos- 0.17
Temp- 79
Salinity-1.026
 

Dan_P

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So currently I am having an issue with my nitrates and phosphates. My tank has been up for a little over a year now and ever since the beginning my nitrates hovered around 15-20ppm and phosphates a little over .3. This is my first saltwater tank and it’s a 20 gallon so I am still a beginner.
Now at the start of the new year I decided to put a fluval canister filter on my tank instead of the HOB I had. and over the course of the first month my nitrates and phosphates hadn’t changed. But due to the reputation of canister filters, I was expecting this. So I had researched a ton on canister filters and people who had success with them on saltwater tanks and what filter media they used. This included- Purigen, Rowaphos, Chemipure elite, and some carbon. So after my first month of my canister filter running, I decided to add this filter media into my canister filter. It has been three weeks now since then and My nitrates are reading at 0.0 and phosphates reading at 0.11-0.17. When I saw the 0 nitrates i couldn’t believe my eyes so I bought a salifert test kit and it read 0.0 again. And once again I thought I was doing something wrong so I just caved and bought the expensive hanna nitrate tester and it has read 0.0 now for three days.
This is a concern for me because I want my nitrates around 3-4 and phosphate around .1. And I do not know what plan of action to take because I’ve read a ton on this website and there are so many different options. I landed on a Neophos and Neonitro dosing plan and I think I wanna try it. However if anyone has any recommendations or any questions I would love to answer as I’ve been doing this all on my own and feel like I’m doing everything wrong constantly but I am also a perfectionist. I currently have 2 clowns and a royal gramma
along with a aiptasia infestation (lol) that i’m trying to get rid of. I have Gsp, xenia which have both grown a ton, 3 zoas which are doing alright, and a duncan and candy cane frag that I just added 2 weeks ago.
Thanks
Tank Parameters as of today
Alk-8.7
Ca-440
Mg-1290
Nitrate-0.0
Phos- 0.17
Temp- 79
Salinity-1.026
One thing you might try is to start removing portions of the media every week or so to see if you can get back some nitrate. Don’t decrease the phosphate remover if you are happy with the level, though the stuff might be depleted already if the phosphate level is no longer decreading.

I see no issues with dosing but it is counterproductive and a waste of money to feed an over active filter.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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One thing you might try is to start removing portions of the media every week or so to see if you can get back some nitrate. Don’t decrease the phosphate remover if you are happy with the level, though the stuff might be depleted already if the phosphate level is no longer decreading.

I see no issues with dosing but it is counterproductive and a waste of money to feed an over active filter.

Which media of his do you think is contributing most to low nitrate? None seem to be denitrifying media, unless I missed it.
 
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nth1126

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One thing you might try is to start removing portions of the media every week or so to see if you can get back some nitrate. Don’t decrease the phosphate remover if you are happy with the level, though the stuff might be depleted already if the phosphate level is no longer decreading.

I see no issues with dosing but it is counterproductive and a waste of money to feed an over active filter.
That was what I was thinking of doing. So I will give that a try. I’m thinking it’s the chemipure and purigen that is sucking up my nitrates because I never had this issue before adding them. Thank you for the reply!
 
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nth1126

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Which media of his do you think is contributing most to low nitrate? None seem to be denitrifying media, unless I missed it.
I was under the impression that both purigen and chemipure elite both are denitrifying media. When I added the canister filter I did a bunch of reading on using them with reef tanks and they have mixed opinions. A lot of the opinions are that they are nitrate factories. But I found people had success using them while using this media as well. But I think it did way more than I needed for my 20 gallon tank. So maybe I should try removing those two medias little by little to see if I get some nitrates?
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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I was under the impression that both purigen and chemipure elite both are denitrifying media. When I added the canister filter I did a bunch of reading on using them with reef tanks and they have mixed opinions. A lot of the opinions are that they are nitrate factories. But I found people had success using them while using this media as well. But I think it did way more than I needed for my 20 gallon tank. So maybe I should try removing those two medias little by little to see if I get some nitrates?

Neither one is a denitrifying media, which are things with a low O2 region deep inside them. Marine Pure spheres, etc.

Neither purigen nor chemipure elite will directly bind or lower nitrate. Only effect in that regard is binding organic matter and removing it before it degrades.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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Does ammonium bicarbonate contribute to alkalinity?


Ammonium Bicarbonate
Ammonium bicarbonate, also known as baking ammonia, NH4 HCO3 is essentially ammonia (NH3) plus CO2 and water.

As mentioned above, dosing NH3 followed by consumption by organisms to form tissue in a net alkalinity neutral process. The CO2 and water also do not impact alkalinity. Thus, ammonium bicarbonate is a net alk neutral way to dose ammonia.

High quality ammonium bicarbonate is also available from Amazon as baking ammonia. It is readily available and inexpensive. One brand sells 11 ounces for $15, so it's cost is similar to the Loudwolf ammonium chloride per unit of ammonia added (one needs to use more of the ammonium bicarbonate than the ammonium chloride, evening out the cost).
 

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