Nutrients - What nutrients ?

vetteguy53081

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Often we hear the term nutrients or others saying " need more nutrients " or " check your nutrients". For newbies and those entering the concept of keeping coral, just what are we talking about when we refer to nutrients?
For starters, we must make every attempt to meet nutrient needs for both corals and fish to sustain them and keep them healthy. Fish and some inverts require fats, proteins and carbs and corals through aminos, vitamins, minerals and macronutrients.
So, what are nutrients? There are Organic and inorganic nutrients. Some of us recognize these terms by the use of skimming. Most inorganics are based on plants and algae responsible for the familiar nitrate and phos as well as carbon dioxide levels. When elevated, these can cause issues such as cyano, algae and other algae such as bryopsis.
Organic which are rich in fats and fatty acids. Examples are Vitamin B12 for blood cells and vitamin c for infection control.
For nutrient requirements, corals need light, fish need food and algae as well as sponge and meats like mysis shrimp nori and other natural material.
Corals convert light into energy and chemical energy. They have inner algae which need this light as well as ability to catch plankton .

What are your tank needs for both fish and coral?
What can you decribe How you provide nutrients such as phyto, calcium, magnesium, etc)?


I achieve my needs and control through algae scrubber, skimming, dosing and lighting.
 
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Doctorgori

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…not a bad topic and honestly maybe we could use a article as well as a thread… Reason I say this is because “nutrients”, organic, food, waste, and biological needs from major elements all got tossed around, misused and confused…..
related to this is the now popular thing of dosing nitrate and phosphate as its the new badge of honor….
 

blecki

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Removing nitrate and phosphate is easier than adding and IMO too many people with new tanks are scared of 'uglies' and start dosing to try to avoid bottoming out, only ensuring they get a nice difficult case of GHA instead of dino that goes away on it's own. I'm a firm believer that nitrate and phosphate at 0 is perfectly fine. The key to a healthy long term reef isn't dosing something or the perfect water change schedule or the best lights; it's letting the eco system work. That includes algae. That's why I think the single best piece of equipment for long term success is a refugium. Mine is absolutely packed with chaeto and GHA and the constant break down of old algae is what provides the coral with the nutrients it needs while I continue to measure 0.
 
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vetteguy53081

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Removing nitrate and phosphate is easier than adding and IMO too many people with new tanks are scared of 'uglies' and start dosing to try to avoid bottoming out, only ensuring they get a nice difficult case of GHA instead of dino that goes away on it's own. I'm a firm believer that nitrate and phosphate at 0 is perfectly fine. The key to a healthy long term reef isn't dosing something or the perfect water change schedule or the best lights; it's letting the eco system work. That includes algae. That's why I think the single best piece of equipment for long term success is a refugium. Mine is absolutely packed with chaeto and GHA and the constant break down of old algae is what provides the coral with the nutrients it needs while I continue to measure 0.
I run low myself and have No issues with coral color and growth.
 

Uncle99

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From input perspective:
-Water, the single most important “nutrient” to all life.
-twice daily feedings of Krill, PE Mysis, Brine, Herbivore Frenzy and 1 sheet Nori for my friends.
-once bimonthly dose of live phyto, amino acids, and some clouds of Reef Roids over those corals who enjoy that.
-Alk and CA dosed every hour, but separated by 30 minutes.
-MG dosed every 6 hours.
-top off every hour. (An input item but not adding load)

So that’s what’s going into my system. Fish, corals, everything is going to use that to varying degrees.

Then, there’s the whats left over, the excess.

I control that with intermediate and final processing options like:
-seasoned rock work.
-mature sand bed.
-bimonthly 10% water change.
-24-7 skimming.
-sump with bio bricks, but dark.
-refugium, lit 12 hours, macro algae, bio bricks, flow running slow
-socks changed every 4 days.

For me, these methods, (introduced separately and when needed) resulted in a very stable nitrate of 10ppm and phosphate of .15ppm, week to week over many years.

I am a firm believer that nitrate and phosphate feed stuff we can’t see, and it is those guys which do a ton of work to further process and feed our fish and corals.
 

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I use nutrients because I keep forgetting what comes first, nitrates or nitrites and can't spell phosphate half the time! I guess I better get m straight........
 

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I run low myself and have No issues with coral color and growth.
I really like to hear more on the system. Is it live rock/ dry rock, lot of fish or few fish etc…

I can say with 100% certainty in my system any time PO4 goes below 0.05 I get dead acros. My system just did that, PO4 went down on its own this time and I just tossed 4 acros in the trash bin. They all died from bottom up and number of others are loosing colour and show same signs.

Done it about 4 times in the life of my reef tank and I get the same results. At this point it is definition of insanity (try same thing hoping for different result).
It is small system 64 gal total, not as many fish and was started with dry rock and substrate.
The good news for me, after each of these episodes the tank does get better. When I had scrubber, GFO etc… the decline was rapid, at least this time it is gradual. Also I did allow it to drop just to see what would happen, obviously I needed to re-learn my lesson.

As you can see the fish are fed well:
1689607651129.jpeg

But the acro right behind is holding for dear life, going brown and the underside is on it’s way out. Two months ago it was growing like a weed and PO4 was in the 0.2 range.
 
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vetteguy53081

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I really like to hear more on the system. Is it live rock/ dry rock, lot of fish or few fish etc…

I can say with 100% certainty in my system any time PO4 goes below 0.05 I get dead acros. My system just did that, PO4 went down on its own this time and I just tossed 4 acros in the trash bin. They all died from bottom up and number of others are loosing colour and show same signs.

Done it about 4 times in the life of my reef tank and I get the same results. At this point it is definition of insanity (try same thing hoping for different result).
It is small system 64 gal total, not as many fish and was started with dry rock and substrate.
The good news for me, after each of these episodes the tank does get better. When I had scrubber, GFO etc… the decline was rapid, at least this time it is gradual. Also I did allow it to drop just to see what would happen, obviously I needed to re-learn my lesson.

As you can see the fish are fed well:
1689607651129.jpeg

But the acro right behind is holding for dear life, going brown and the underside is on it’s way out. Two months ago it was growing like a weed and PO4 was in the 0.2 range.
My acros do best when i do 8 minute 1-2 gallon daily water changes which keep nutrient levels in check and restored traces needed by the. I also add a few drops of amino and trace elements daily.

1689608520558.png
1689608537580.png
 
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Pod_01

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My acros do best when i do 8 minute daily water changes which keep nutrient levels in check and restored traces needed by the. I also add a few drops of amino and trace elements daily.

1689608520558.png
1689608537580.png
Beautiful pictures, large tank and lot of fish. I am sure they produce lot of coral food.
Does it have live rock?

I dose Amino and trace element levels are maintained with monthly ICP. I also do weekly 10% water change.
Every time PO4 drops my acros just perish.
My NO3 has been in the 0-1 range for better part of year so that has no impact that I can observe.
 
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vetteguy53081

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Beautiful pictures, large tank and lot of fish. I am sure they produce lot of coral food.
Does it have live rock?

I dose Amino and trace element levels are maintained with monthly ICP. I also do weekly 10% water change.
Every time PO4 drops my acros just perish.
My NO3 has been in the 0-1 range for better part of year so that has no impact that I can observe.
Lots of live rock- most serve as base for my coral
 

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dumb as it may sound, the type of algae on your glass and how fast it grows is a decent indicator of tank health and good “nutrient” levels
- you can almost make a chart on the “stages” of tank maturity/nutrient health :
—-that brownish-red sheet stuff being worst
and the hard to remove green speck stuff & daily removal of purple coraline being ideal …. again my totally unscientific opinion
(edited)
 

Pod_01

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That is the one 'caveat' in my hypothesis. I do not keep any acros myself and have never had them survive when I ran ULNS.
So my experience with ULNS was wonderful in that I had no algae. The problem I had dead corals!!!

I still remember my kids saying, daddy are the corals supposed to be white? :)

Don't get me wrong, some reefers make it work. Not me though.
 
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vetteguy53081

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So my experience with ULNS was wonderful in that I had no algae. The problem I had dead corals!!!

I still remember my kids saying, daddy are the corals supposed to be white? :)

Don't get me wrong, some reefers make it work. Not me though.
I tried the uln method and not for me also
Like any program- you have to follow it precisely and stick with it
 

blecki

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I did ULNS for years and eventually stopped because my zoas started dying back. Now I just run... whatever? My refugium is packed and I feed way too much. Unfortunately my big tank never grows purple coraline in any large amounts because the urchin is hungry and I have some kind of green calcerous algae that out competes it. The best the tank ever did was before I moved when it got 4 hours a day of direct sunlight and I had GHA all over the equipment and never on the rocks.

Nitrate and phosphate always at 0 tho.
 

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My 3 systems are kept at
Po4 <.1
No3<5
I only adjust if these values are exceeded.
My 80g runs a carx and has a remote 3+" sandbed Nem system.
I have to dose 3ml of po4 daily to hold .05.
No3 reads 1 most of the time.
My other 2 systems run esv 2 part and the nano runs A4R.

In all my systems I feed the fish heavy and not the corals.

I use live rock and coralline grows heavily.

I also dose dsr trace daily but not in the A4R nano.

All 3 systems run a skimmer.
The 80's skimmer is way oversize but skims well and alows me to feed heavy.
 

TWYOUNG

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Removing nitrate and phosphate is easier than adding and IMO too many people with new tanks are scared of 'uglies' and start dosing to try to avoid bottoming out, only ensuring they get a nice difficult case of GHA instead of dino that goes away on it's own. I'm a firm believer that nitrate and phosphate at 0 is perfectly fine. The key to a healthy long term reef isn't dosing something or the perfect water change schedule or the best lights; it's letting the eco system work. That includes algae. That's why I think the single best piece of equipment for long term success is a refugium. Mine is absolutely packed with chaeto and GHA and the constant break down of old algae is what provides the coral with the nutrients it needs while I continue to measure 0.
I've had issues with gha overgrowing chaeto and choking it out. Any advice?
 

TWYOUNG

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dumb as it may sound, the type of algae on your glass and how fast it grows is a decent indicator of tank health and good “nutrient” levels
- you can almost make a chart on the “stages” of tank maturity/nutrient health :
—-that brownish-red sheet stuff being worst
and the hard to remove green speck stuff & daily removal of purple coraline being ideal …. again my totally unscientific opinion
(edited)
What about the "dusty" easy to remove green stuff? I do dose a lot of phyto if that's relevent.
 

Cichlid Dad

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I've had issues with gha overgrowing chaeto and choking it out. Any advice?
Keep on top of it by removing it before it becomes an issue. Over time it will become less and less of an issue
 
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vetteguy53081

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What about the "dusty" easy to remove green stuff? I do dose a lot of phyto if that's relevent.
Dusty is likely film algae caused by light and organics. Directing flow towards glass often helps as will snails such as astrea and cerith.
Hair algae- bright light intensity, elevated phos and nitrate from overfeeding, low magnesium levels and even lack of maintenance.
 

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