Organics vs inorganics. Skimmers vs test kits

Miami Reef

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Here’s a quote from @taricha
Dinos are good at uptaking complex (organic) forms of N, and less good - relatively at taking in simple (inorganic) forms. Green algae is the reverse - better at taking the simple stuff, and worse at the complex organic forms of N. And it looks like the story may be similar with P.
Question: do skimmers and filter socks remove organic or inorganic N & P?

Do test kits (PO4 & NO3) test for organic or inorganic?

I want to shift the majority of my available nutrients to inorganic forms and I want to filter out most of the organic forms.

@Randy Holmes-Farley
 
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Randy Holmes-Farley

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Skimmers and filter socks do not directly remove ANY individual dissolved inorganic compounds, except those randomly carried in the water that is removed, or those that are inside of whole organisms such as bacteria.

Nitrate and phosphate cannot be skimmed out.

Nitrate is never organic in a reef tank.

Phosphate can be organic (like in DNA, phospholipids, etc. ) or inorganic such as PO4---. Unless it is a tedious test kit with lots of steps to break down organics (there's a Hach kit for this), only inorganic phosphate is measured.

ICP measures all forms of P, even things besides phosphate, although they would be exceedingly rare in a reef tank.

I think it is speculative that this will help with dinos, and it may hurt other things that feed on dissolved and particulate organics.
 
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Miami Reef

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Skimmers and filter socks do not directly remove ANY individual dissolved inorganic compounds, except those randomly carried in the water that is removed, or those that are inside of whole organisms such as bacteria.

Nitrate and phosphate cannot be skimmed out.

Nitrate is never organic in a reef tank.

Phosphate can be organic (like in DNA, phospholipids, etc. ) or inorganic such as PO4---. Unless it is a tedious test kit with lots of steps to break down organics (there's a Hach kit for this), only inorganic phosphate is measured.

ICP measures all forms of P, even things besides phosphate, although they would be exceedingly rare in a reef tank.

I think it is speculative that this will help with dinos, and it may hurt other things that feed on dissolved and particulate organics.
Very interesting. So dosing KNO3 vs dosing fish pellets have the same outcome: Inorganic nitrate. It just means the latter has to break down to ammonia > nitrites > nitrate first.

Seems like that speculation is debunked. Especially since algae is good at utilizing ammonia.

Thank you for answering.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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Very interesting. So dosing KNO3 vs dosing fish pellets have the same outcome: Inorganic nitrate. It just means the latter has to break down to ammonia > nitrites > nitrate first.

Seems like that speculation is debunked. Especially since algae is good at utilizing ammonia.

Thank you for answering.

What speculation?
 
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Fwiw i used to see a correlation between lots of organics and dinos. When i noticed significant organics settling dinos got worse or appeared. Sometimes when i cleaned my sump detritus they'd dissapear. Now i use a uv sterilizer 24/7 365 days a year.
 
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Miami Reef

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Fwiw i used to see a correlation between lots of organics and dinos. When i noticed significant organics settling dinos got worse or appeared. Sometimes when i cleaned my sump detritus they'd dissapear. Now i use a uv sterilizer 24/7 365 days a year.
Do you put it in your sump? Or in DT?
 

Cory

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Do you put it in your sump? Or in DT?
The uv? Its on my return pump. Its a 90w lifegard pro max. Return pump is pushing probably 1000 gph through it and also the skimmer. I got it split between skimmer and uv. Works amazing for dinos.
 

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Skimmers and filter socks do not directly remove ANY individual dissolved inorganic compounds, except those randomly carried in the water that is removed, or those that are inside of whole organisms such as bacteria.

Nitrate and phosphate cannot be skimmed out.

Nitrate is never organic in a reef tank.

Phosphate can be organic (like in DNA, phospholipids, etc. ) or inorganic such as PO4---. Unless it is a tedious test kit with lots of steps to break down organics (there's a Hach kit for this), only inorganic phosphate is measured.

ICP measures all forms of P, even things besides phosphate, although they would be exceedingly rare in a reef tank.

I think it is speculative that this will help with dinos, and it may hurt other things that feed on dissolved and particulate organics.

Does activated carbon/charcoal media remove dissolved inorganic and/organic compounds? Both?
 
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Does activated carbon/charcoal media remove dissolved inorganic and/organic compounds? Both?
Just dissolved organics. Inorganics like po4 and no3 are too small and pass through the pores iirc.
 

Dan_P

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Here’s a quote from @taricha

Question: do skimmers and filter socks remove organic or inorganic N & P?

Do test kits (PO4 & NO3) test for organic or inorganic?

I want to shift the majority of my available nutrients to inorganic forms and I want to filter out most of the organic forms.

@Randy Holmes-Farley
I saw Randy’s answer so that just leaves speculation:)

A system cycled with NH3 is a predominantly inorganic nutrient regime: CO2, NH3, and PO4. The minute the system is stocked, the system enters a mixed organic inorganic nutrient regime. Shifting it back towards inorganic means removing as much suspended and dissolved organic material as possible. Mechanical filtration, wet skimming and a large GAC reactor would help. Large water changes would also help. The big unknown is the amount of organic matter locked up in living biomass and the organic material in biofilms, where the dinoflagellates live. Stripping ofg organics in the water would have unknown effects on the biofilm.
 
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Randy Holmes-Farley

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ceaver

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Nitrate is never organic in a reef tank.
So does this statement mean that, from the coral's perspective, it doesn't matter how the nitrate it grabs from the water column got there, and that dosing sodium nitrate vs feeding more fish food to provide that nitrate makes no difference, from the coral's point of view? Is it all just the same?
Thanks!
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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So does this statement mean that, from the coral's perspective, it doesn't matter how the nitrate it grabs from the water column got there, and that dosing sodium nitrate vs feeding more fish food to provide that nitrate makes no difference, from the coral's point of view? Is it all just the same?
Thanks!

If the organism is using nitrate, it cannot know where the nitrate came from. Nitrate is nitrate wherever it came from.

That said, many photosynthetic organisms prefer ammonia, and if you dose ammonia or fish food, they may get some of that N via ammonia.
 

ceaver

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If the organism is using nitrate, it cannot know where the nitrate came from. Nitrate is nitrate wherever it came from.

That said, many photosynthetic organisms prefer ammonia, and if you dose ammonia or fish food, they may get some of that N via ammonia.
Interesting, thanks. I've only just recently started seeing this notion that they prefer ammonia. I personally would be worried about dosing ammonia, so I can see where organic nitrates could provide that as a benefit and inorganics wouldn't.
 
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