Nitrates and what to do to get them right?

kevin318

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25 plus years salt water aquarist, one year plus a couple months working with corals. For the past few months I thought I was struggling with High Nitrates and it turns out that my test were being altered by not using RODI. It turns out after trying everything from large water changes to dosing NoPoX 3ml per day, that my Nitrates were actually sitting at zero. I added a DI canister to my system last week and stopped dosing NoPoX. I also started to feed my tank Reef Energy A+B and Reef Roids again (I had stopped for a few months). Here are my current parameters.
dKH: 9.8, Ca: 420, MG: 1425, NO3: 0.00, PH: 8.1, PO4: 0.03, Salinity: 35 ppt, Temp: 77.8

I know that the NoPoX has my tank at zero Nitrates, how long do you think it will take to get my Nitrates to start registering? Is it possible to have Phosphate at 0.03 and Nitrates at 0.00?
 
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DDenny

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Yes it’s possible do you have algae growth in your tank? Mine would sit about that same thing until I finally broke down and bought a small goby for my pico tank. Now I am more like .05-.07 PO4 and about 5-10 NO3. Corals seem much happier and opening up fully.
 
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kevin318

kevin318

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Yes it’s possible do you have algae growth in your tank? Mine would sit about that same thing until I finally broke down and bought a small goby for my pico tank. Now I am more like .05-.07 PO4 and about 5-10 NO3. Corals seem much happier and opening up fully.
I really don't have any algae to speak of. I'm waiting until the effects of the NoPoX are gone and was wondering if anyone else had a similar experience.
 

blasterman

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I prefer to do extra feeding to bring nitrate up, but if it's flat out not moving you can get a bag of sodium nitrate from Amazon for $10. Used this a lot to fix persistent nitrate deficiency in my tanks.

Remember to bring it up slow..SPS doesn't care for going from 0 to 10 over night.
 
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kevin318

kevin318

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How were your tests being altered by not using RODI?
I use the Hanna LR Nitrate checker and in the instructions it spoke about dilution process. I assumed that my Nitrates were on the higher side because I was getting some algae. You take 1ml of tank water and dilute it with 9 ml of freshly made sea water. When you have completed your test, you take the results and multiply by 10. My reading was 2.14 which would mean 21.4, not the desired results. After many months of fighting higher Nitrate readings with zero success or some odd test results, I decided to check my RO water and the fresh sea water. I was at 1.8 using the Hanna checker with not diluting the fresh sea water. That is when I decided to check my tank that has been undergoing NoPoX treatments without using the dilution process and to my surprise, I was at zero Nitrates. I realized my mistake was that my fresh sea water that had a 1.8 Nitrate reading and multiply by 10, so I was technically starting with a reading 18.0. The dilution process assumes that the dilution fluid is at zero.

I added a DI unit to my system and started feeding more.
 

Reef and Dive

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25 plus years salt water aquarist, one year plus a couple months working with corals. For the past few months I thought I was struggling with High Nitrates and it turns out that my test were being altered by not using RODI. It turns out after trying everything from large water changes to dosing NoPoX 3ml per day, that my Nitrates were actually sitting at zero. I added a DI canister to my system last week and stopped dosing NoPoX. I also started to feed my tank Reef Energy A+B and Reef Roids again (I had stopped for a few months). Here are my current parameters.
dKH: 9.8, Ca: 420, MG: 1425, NO3: 0.00, PH: 8.1, PO4: 0.03, Salinity: 35 ppt, Temp: 77.8

I know that the NoPoX has my tank at zero Nitrates, how long do you think it will take to get my Nitrates to start registering? Is it possible to have Phosphate at 0.03 and Nitrates at 0.00?

I would say it is best to have some nitrates while keeping phos around 0.03.

Reason for that is a good nit : phos ratio to keep most of the wanted organisms for a usually stable environment.

Having some phos with very low nit greatly favors ciano growth.

This discussion is very debatable but there’s a good amount of scientific studies to help us for a better insight in this subject.

Check this discussion:

https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/redfield-ratio-revisited-–-what-are-we-doing-wrong.742503/
 
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kevin318

kevin318

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I would say it is best to have some nitrates while keeping phos around 0.03.

Reason for that is a good nit : phos ratio to keep most of the wanted organisms for a usually stable environment.

Having some phos with very low nit greatly favors ciano growth.

This discussion is very debatable but there’s a good amount of scientific studies to help us for a better insight in this subject.

Check this discussion:

https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/redfield-ratio-revisited-–-what-are-we-doing-wrong.742503/
Thank you. I am trying to get my Nitrate/Phosphate ratio in line now.
 

WereAllNegan

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So if my Phosphates sit at .02 with an LPS only tank (no fish). Whats a good number to keep my Nitrogen at? I know this such a kindergarten question compared to the information being discussed here but I'd rather ask you guys than the folks at my LFS. My alk is 8.5 if that matters.
 
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Randy Holmes-Farley

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So if my Phosphates sit at .02 with an LPS only tank (no fish). Whats a good number to keep my Nitrogen at? I know this such a kindergarten question compared to the information being discussed here but I'd rather ask you guys than the folks at my LFS. My alk is 8.5 if that matters.

Regardless of phosphate level, I'd aim for 2-10 ppm nitrate, with higher than 10 being better than lower than 2.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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Thank you. I am trying to get my Nitrate/Phosphate ratio in line now.
IMO, a ratio is an almost meaningless way to look at it.

Target both nitrate and phosphate , independently, to appropriate levels.

Just because one is too low or too high is not a good reason for the other to be.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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Reason for that is a good nit : phos ratio to keep most of the wanted organisms for a usually stable environment.

Having some phos with very low nit greatly favors ciano growth.

So don't keep "very low nitrate", regardless of the phosphate level. Problem solved without messing with ratios. :)
 

Reef and Dive

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So don't keep "very low nitrate", regardless of the phosphate level. Problem solved without messing with ratios. :)
I know mr Randy you hate the ratio thing… But, respectfully, you know I’ve provided a pretty solid ammount of scientific articles on the topic…

But ok I agree, if the person just understands some nitrates would be healthy in this case, no problems…

My discussion just helps understand the reasons without trying to push a specific “ideal” ratio…
 
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WereAllNegan

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Regardless of phosphate level, I'd aim for 2-10 ppm

Regardless of phosphate level, I'd aim for 2-10 ppm nitrate, with higher than 10 being better than lower than 2.
Got it Randy thanks. I'm trying to raise my nitrates man but its a challenge. I feed PE mysys, reef riods, reef chilli and Aminos (Reef Energy AB+). Still no Nitrates. All it does is give me algae and raise phosphates. I don't want to dose Potassium Nitrate in such a small tank but its been 8 months and still reading 0 on the Salifert. What now? Corals seem happy
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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Got it Randy thanks. I'm trying to raise my nitrates man but its a challenge. I feed PE mysys, reef riods, reef chilli and Aminos (Reef Energy AB+). Still no Nitrates. All it does is give me algae and raise phosphates. I don't want to dose Potassium Nitrate in such a small tank but its been 8 months and still reading 0 on the Salifert. What now? Corals seem happy

Dosing sodium nitrate is cheap and easy. Having zero risks dinos, which are way worse than algae.
 
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