Nitrate and Phosphorus Control via Phytoplankton Additions?

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Dana Riddle

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Any updates on this ? I'm very curious about this as I would like to a create greater food web and bio-diversity in my mixed reef and wonder if this could help with that. My end goal would be to keep scleractinian (?) corals and sea fans long term.
I continue to add phytoplankton daily, but haven't started any testing (Total N, Total P, etc.) - I'm having some issues with tank pH (nothing to do with phytoplankton additions) - I suspect it is the new pH probe (not ATC.)
 
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skimjim

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@Dana Riddle

Forgive me if this is buried in a past post.

What is your target for NO3/PO4? 0/0? 2/0.03?

Very curious what the goal is.....
 

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I guess I should clarify my interest in your thread. I'm following along for your noted effect of having a large amount of protozoa, etc. in the tank. I think the N and P control are super interesting but give me that along with a way of increasing the food web/biodiversity and now we have a major advancement towards my goals. Thanks for sharing your research freely, it's appreciated.
 

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I've been dosing about 100mL per day for the last week and I'm liking what I see so far. My gorgonians have far better polyp extension and I'm seeing greater PE at night from them as well. I haven't tested N or P yet, so I don't know if they have gone up or down, but my main goal for dosing phyto is to increase the food diversity offered to the tank. I've also noticed the leathers in my tank have better PE and my recovering scleronephthea is really coming back. I'm seeing polyps pop up all over the rock it is on. I've ordered a second kit from Mercer and planning to alternate between jars every week. As for hard corals, all of my hard corals have been suffering for unknown reasons to me, but the gonioporas are showing better PE in the last couple days. Could be phyto could be I solved whatever was bothering them.
 
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@Dana Riddle

Forgive me if this is buried in a past post.

What is your target for NO3/PO4? 0/0? 2/0.03?

Very curious what the goal is.....
Since phytoplankton additions began, nitrate as N has dropped from 1 ppm to 0.5 ppm. Phosphorus as P has fallen from a high of 0.17 to as low as 0.01 (the detection limit of the instrument) but was 0.02 ppm yesterday.
 
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I guess I should clarify my interest in your thread. I'm following along for your noted effect of having a large amount of protozoa, etc. in the tank. I think the N and P control are super interesting but give me that along with a way of increasing the food web/biodiversity and now we have a major advancement towards my goals. Thanks for sharing your research freely, it's appreciated.
My initial reason for phytoplankton addition was feeding Goniopora specimens (always had a soft spot for those) but I started seeing side effects (swarming zooplankton) and, contrary to what I expected since the phytoplankton since the culture water is fertilized, a drop in N and P. Corals are happy, I'm happy.
 

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Continues to be a fantastic thread.
I wonder if the phytoplankton release algal exudates like macro algae do. In that case your tank would have shifted strongly towards a higher ratio of organic/inorganic nutrients.
Most of the current hypotheses in the hobby right now are pointing in the opposite direction as low organic/inorganic ratio of nutrients in the water being desirable. (Triton N-DOC etc...)

Some people have mentioned dead phyto products, and it's not really comparable, because it has zero potential to uptake nutrients, and is guaranteed to raise nutrients in the tank as it decays.

On the dinos issue, I've seen more go poorly - more cases of phytoplankton addition causing an intensification of a dino outbreak, and fewer instances of people saying it made it better. This is kind of counterintuitive because one would think biodiversity wards off dinos. But Dinos, especially the toxic types are mixotrophic and use mucus mats to trap food. Phyto and copepods can become trapped, die and directly feed the dino bloom. (Personally observed this in a test tank). In low toxin dino types, it may be more likely to go the other way.
 
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Continues to be a fantastic thread.
I wonder if the phytoplankton release algal exudates like macro algae do. In that case your tank would have shifted strongly towards a higher ratio of organic/inorganic nutrients.
Most of the current hypotheses in the hobby right now are pointing in the opposite direction as low organic/inorganic ratio of nutrients in the water being desirable. (Triton N-DOC etc...)

Some people have mentioned dead phyto products, and it's not really comparable, because it has zero potential to uptake nutrients, and is guaranteed to raise nutrients in the tank as it decays.

On the dinos issue, I've seen more go poorly - more cases of phytoplankton addition causing an intensification of a dino outbreak, and fewer instances of people saying it made it better. This is kind of counterintuitive because one would think biodiversity wards off dinos. But Dino's, especially the toxic types are mixotrophic and use mucus mats to trap food. Phyto and copepods can become trapped, die and directly fed the dino bloom. (Personally observed this in a test tank). In low toxin dino types, it may be more likely to go the other way.
You've got me thinking, as usual. I bought a block heater in order to digest samples for total nitrogen and hydrolyzable/total phosphorus but your post about dissolved organic material made me realize I can check - crudely - for DOC. I can filter out the microalgae through use of Pall glass filters and a vacuum pump, and then test filtrate for organics through the Biochemical Oxygen Demand test. I'll have to be careful and watch vacuum so I don't rupture the cells.
 

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You've got me thinking, as usual. I bought a block heater in order to digest samples for total nitrogen and hydrolyzable/total phosphorus but your post about dissolved organic material made me realize I can check - crudely - for DOC. I can filter out the microalgae through use of Pall glass filters and a vacuum pump, and then test filtrate for organics through the Biochemical Oxygen Demand test. I'll have to be careful and watch vacuum so I don't rupture the cells.
oh, wow.
so your very low N and P numbers you reported here...
Since phytoplankton additions began, nitrate as N has dropped from 1 ppm to 0.5 ppm. Phosphorus as P has fallen from a high of 0.17 to as low as 0.01 (the detection limit of the instrument) but was 0.02 ppm yesterday.
...are the inorganic NO3 and PO4 that the rest of us can measure? Or are they the the more complete N and P that the heating block etc lets you detect?
@Dan_P will love this thread's latest turns.
 
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oh, wow.
so your very low N and P numbers you reported here...

...are the inorganic NO3 and PO4 that the rest of us can measure? Or are they the the more complete N and P that the heating block etc lets you detect?
@Dan_P will love this thread's latest turns.
The 0.5 ppm Nitrate (as NO3-N) and 0.01 ppm Phosphorus ( as P) are numbers hobbyist test kits can report, although I use the cadmium-reduction method for nitrate, which is inhibited by chloride content. Hence, that number is low. I have a nitrate standard and will look at absorbance to arrive at corrections. As for heat/acid digestion of samples, I suspect most phosphorus is in the ortho- form which hobby test kits can detect. No idea on organic/inorganic nitrogen ratios - good thing. Justifies spending a grand on equipment/reagents. ;)
 

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oh, wow.
so your very low N and P numbers you reported here...

...are the inorganic NO3 and PO4 that the rest of us can measure? Or are they the the more complete N and P that the heating block etc lets you detect?
@Dan_P will love this thread's latest turns.
I am indeed lurking, and waiting for the total nitrogen and phosphorous numbers. Just this year I obtained total nitrogen and carbon numbers from Triton. I posted a summary of numbers from users who posted their numbers. I will repost here to compare with @Dana Riddle.
 
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I am indeed lurking, and waiting for the total nitrogen and phosphorous numbers. Just this year I obtained total nitrogen and carbon numbers from Triton. I posted a summary of numbers from users who posted their numbers. I will repost here to compare with @Dana Riddle.
@Dan_P Would love to see your numbers.
 
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I have not come across any more NDOC reports since April. First plot is everyone’s TOC number, the second is total nitrogen vs TOC.

779DA514-BC93-4983-9E61-E07BA2342DCD.png


2BF24B91-B582-45D1-8B7C-34278FB87F80.png
Which company did these analyses? Just curious, and thanks for sharing!
 

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Which company did these analyses? Just curious, and thanks for sharing!
Feldman did his own analyses and summarized literature values on reef studies (Advanced Aquarist article on TOC) . The rest are Triton N-DOC analyses.
 
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Feldman did his own analyses and summarized literature values on reef studies (Advanced Aquarist article on TOC) . The rest are Triton N-DOC analyses.
OK, thanks! I'd like to go back and look at Feldman's work but the Advanced Aquarist site is down.
 

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They had that at MACNA. does any one know a release date?
 
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You can’t post a pic without no link to product info!

I’ve been working on a diy version of this, lol, but it’s getting expensive!! Might be better to buy
I think CoralVue is the US distributor for this product but I don't see any info on their website. Let me investigate.
 
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