NO3PO4X without a skimmer?

Earl Karl

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Soooo... I have a 100g (48x36x14) tank that has a bunch of fish in it (like 10 wrasses including, a tang, cbb, and a genicanthus angel) with a 40g sump, refugium is 25g. Gets fed 5-10x a day depending when I'm available. No skimmer or socks. I rely on refugium with powerful grow lights and dosing trace elements to compensate for no WC. Problem was I have 0 PO4 and 0 NO3. Then I got an opportunity to move my dream animal, the Japanese Dragon Eel, from QT. I thought it was the perfect opportunity since the eel would raise up my nutrients.

First 3 weeks having the eel and lowered feeding frequency to 2x a day, NO3 was 1 ppm and PO4 was 0.08 ppm. Perfect. The week after that, 30 ppm NO3 and 3 ppm PO4. Oops.

Chaeto stopped growing for some reason, which lead to the rise of nutrients. I dose Fe and I to help it grow faster. No acros died surprisingly.

I still have NO3PO4X leftover from a previous tank I took down recently. But the problem is, I don't have a skimmer. Just a refugium, ozone, and a UV sterilizer.

Is it possible to use NO3PO4X without a skimmer? I heard mixed reviews about this.

I plan to do a big WC soon to lower N and P levels, but I don't have an RODI unit so it's gonna be a while for me to get water. May have to adjust stock list as well, but all of the fish are a pain in the a to catch.
 
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No it will cause massive bacterial blooms. NOPOX is essentially carbon that becomes available for bacteria to use in order to help fuel their growth. This growth requires them to use nitrogen (nitrate) and phosphorus (phosphate) to build to DNA, amino acids, proteins, etc.. The skimmer then removes the bacteria from the tank, essentially removing the nitrate, phosphate, and carbon that they used to build their bodies. If you don't have a skimmer, nothing will remove them and they will consume much of the oxygen in the tank, causing fish to suffocate.
 

redfishbluefish

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Any carbon dosing (NOPOX, Vodka, vinegar, sugar, whatever), requires a skimmer to remove the excess bacteria that is growing/multiplying from the carbon food source. No skimmer....you're not exporting that excess nitrates and phosphates that the bacteria are consuming.
 
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The common narrative about carbon dosing is that the bacteria population of a system increases with carbon dosing and skimming removes these bacteria along with the nitrogen and phosphate they assimilated. The assumption is that free floating bacteria are the ones soaking up the nitrate and phosphate AND that these bacteria are removed by skimming.

isolated samples of aquarium water can rapidly consume a carbon dose, but at this point there is no data to indicate what portion of the carbon dose would be consumed by the surface and substrate bacteria and what is consumed by the free floating bacteria in an aquarium. Last year I studied the effect of carbon dosing on aquarium water chemistry (skimmer present). I ended the experiment when my nitrate level came down from about 30 ppm to 5 ppm and immediately stopped dosing. Over the next few weeks the nitrate level climbed to 50 ppm. I mention this as a point of interest. This is not proof that skimming is not necessary because skimming could have been removing bacteria AND the bacteria level on the surfaces could have been increasing and died after carbon dosing ended. There is much anecdotal evidence that the nature of the skimmate changes during dosing but this could be a result of a change in the dissolved organic carbon in the water from dosing.

So, it would be prudent to carbon dose in the presence of a skimmer, but it may not be a catastrophe if you don’t. If you carbon dose without a skimmer, double your vigilance monitoring coral health and water parameters.
 
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Earl Karl

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The common narrative about carbon dosing is that the bacteria population of a system increases with carbon dosing and skimming removes these bacteria along with the nitrogen and phosphate they assimilated. The assumption is that free floating bacteria are the ones soaking up the nitrate and phosphate AND that these bacteria are removed by skimming.

isolated samples of aquarium water can rapidly consume a carbon dose, but at this point there is no data to indicate what portion of the carbon dose would be consumed by the surface and substrate bacteria and what is consumed by the free floating bacteria in an aquarium. Last year I studied the effect of carbon dosing on aquarium water chemistry (skimmer present). I ended the experiment when my nitrate level came down from about 30 ppm to 5 ppm and immediately stopped dosing. Over the next few weeks the nitrate level climbed to 50 ppm. I mention this as a point of interest. This is not proof that skimming is not necessary because skimming could have been removing bacteria AND the bacteria level on the surfaces could have been increasing and died after carbon dosing ended. There is much anecdotal evidence that the nature of the skimmate changes during dosing but this could be a result of a change in the dissolved organic carbon in the water from dosing.

So, it would be prudent to carbon dose in the presence of a skimmer, but it may not be a catastrophe if you don’t. If you carbon dose without a skimmer, double your vigilance monitoring coral health and water parameters.
I'm not taking ANY risk in this hobby. I already have bad enough luck with this hobby from doser dumping kalk into my system to tubing from ozone generator disconnecting because of my cat.

I would rather just wait until I can perfrom a WC and find out why my chaeto stopped growing. I will also be adding an algae scrubber.
 

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Need a skimmer. Even the instructions and/or notes say you need one. It is a good product but one I'd start slow with. When in doubt check Read Sea's notes on it.
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Earl Karl

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My initial plan was to dose NO3PO4X until I can get my chaeto to start growing again. Still finding out why. Then once my chaeto starts growing again, I will lower dosage over time until all the bacteria that dies slowly releases the nutrients they absorb and my growing chaeto could absorb all of that. I know my chaeto has the capacity to take care of the bioload, it's just that for some reason it stopped growing.

The problem is that the NO3PO4X could very well kill the chaeto, I don't know why, but it's a possibility. So I'm not taking risks with that. My corals are doing well, except one of my torts rtned. PPT seems to go on its way out, but my other acros have nice PE. I think I can wait for the water change and it's not like NO3PO4X is instant results anyways.
 

Dennis Cartier

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For the chaeto growth side of your problem, Brightwell has a product called ChaetoGro that is supposed to address this very issue, supplying all the needed trace elements to keep chaeto flourishing. I have not used it yet myself, but am about to start, to try to maximize the rate of growth for my chaeto. I have high PO4 in my frag system and have been supplementing NO3 to keep my chaeto growing. I am hoping that the Brightwell product will remove the need to supplement Iron and Iodine and potentially fill in with some other trace elements that are needed but that I am not supplementing at this time, because I am not aware of their importance for chaeto. We will see if it works.

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Get a skimmer, even if it is HOB. You will work harder and spend more money trying to outflank not having a skimmer than just by going straight at getting one.

If you are changing water OR adding iron and the chaeto is not growing, then your poison levels are too high (N and P are poison to every living creature, but at different levels. First, growth slows, then stops, then stuff starts to die.
 
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Earl Karl

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For the chaeto growth side of your problem, Brightwell has a product called ChaetoGro that is supposed to address this very issue, supplying all the needed trace elements to keep chaeto flourishing. I have not used it yet myself, but am about to start, to try to maximize the rate of growth for my chaeto. I have high PO4 in my frag system and have been supplementing NO3 to keep my chaeto growing. I am hoping that the Brightwell product will remove the need to supplement Iron and Iodine and potentially fill in with some other trace elements that are needed but that I am not supplementing at this time, because I am not aware of their importance for chaeto. We will see if it works.

Dennis
I don't use that stuff, that's pretty much like Seachem Flourish. If you want to maximize growth, go with Iron and Iodine (Lugol's).
However, you would also have to dose trace elements and vitamins, like Aquavitro Fuel.

Get a skimmer, even if it is HOB. You will work harder and spend more money trying to outflank not having a skimmer than just by going straight at getting one.

If you are changing water OR adding iron and the chaeto is not growing, then your poison levels are too high (N and P are poison to every living creature, but at different levels. First, growth slows, then stops, then stuff starts to die.
I never change water. I'm a sit back and relax type of dude, never done one in 6 years. But I guess I should have gotten a skimmer in case things go wrong. I do run ozone though.

I found out the reason why my chaeto stopped growing. I completely forgot to check how much Aquavitro Fuel I have. Turns out it was empty for I'm guessing a while. The tank has been depleting on trace elements. Iron helps, but it is nothing without other elements.
 

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Get a skimmer, even if it is HOB. You will work harder and spend more money trying to outflank not having a skimmer than just by going straight at getting one.
Beat me to it! Get a skimmer. Others may have different opinions, but I always use a refugium as a supplement to a skimmer. Exactly due to the same kinds of issues you are having. They run great for a time, then something crashes the chaeto and the issues start.

A properly dialed in skimmer is going to remove nutrients at a steadier, more predictable rate over time. You can then come up with a steady feeding and/or carbon dosing regimen to stabilize PO4 and NO3 where you want them to be...
 
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Earl Karl

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I should run a skimmer, but the problem is I have never ran a skimmer in the 7 years I have been in the reefkeeping hobby, so I'm guessing I have to learn how to run one. I have found success doing this skimmerless method, as I have always believed skimmers also take out the good stuff. But it's maybe not a bad backup in case my refugium fails.

However, I am gonna supplement a refugium with my diy algae scrubber, just gonna keep the lighting period low. Maybe that would help in the future. Definitely will also pick up a skimmer with the non-existent money I have lol.
 

Gareth elliott

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Add more fast growing corals.

My thoughts would be
photosynthetic gorgs
And
Beginer Acroporas, like bonsai, green slimer, etc.
Ric mushrooms
hesitant on other mushrooms or pocilopora that can grow a little too fast.
 
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Earl Karl

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Add more fast growing corals.

My thoughts would be
photosynthetic gorgs
And
Beginer Acroporas, like bonsai, green slimer, etc.
Ric mushrooms
hesitant on other mushrooms or pocilopora that can grow a little too fast.
I would never put those type of corals in this tank lol. High end all the way. My corals do grow fast, until now.
 

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Any other way to reduce nitrates and phosphates besides WC? I plan to do WC soon but can't do it at the moment.

Any phosphate media or nitrate pad (and media from brightwell I think) works. I almost never rely on water changes for phosphate alone since so little can cause so much algae
 
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