Phosphate: How much is too much and do you even worry about it?

BRS

Do you try to keep your phosphates at a certain level besides zero?

  • Yes (please tell us what in the thread)

    Votes: 274 57.0%
  • No I try to keep mine at zero

    Votes: 46 9.6%
  • I don't worry about phosphate levels

    Votes: 144 29.9%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 17 3.5%

  • Total voters
    481

schooncw

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PO4 between .03 and.1 using GFO and Lanthanum CL
nitrates between 2 and 5 using Nopox and Biopellets.
I have had a bottle of PhosBan-L for some time but never used it-120 fish, softies-reef, overstocked and over fed. Do you think I could add it undiluted-very slowly-drop by drop into a filter sock? My PO has always been high and the tank looks spectacular but I would really like to bring it down. One technicality is the large amount of rock in the tank that is 20-30 years old that is leeching PO, besides my heavy stock levels and over feeding.
 

schooncw

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Phosphates matter as much as alk and calcium in my opinion. I had a large 12 inch colony of stylaphora die off. Then a birdsnest. Things weren't looking right. My Chalice that grew like a weed had flesh stripping off all over. I decided to do an ICP test thinking that I had dropped something in the sump. A screw or penny or something. Who knows. . . got the results. No hard metals at all, the only issue was no trace elements (they all were 0) I was using regular IO salt and my phosphates were .56. I got a hanna tester and a week later, they were up to .66. My chalice continued dieing other corals were looking bad. No growth, signs of recession or outright death.

I dosed phosphate-e daily to get them down, set my algae turf scrubber lights to be on 22 hours a day instead of the 14 hours a day they were on and started doing water changes with Reef Crystals every 2 weeks at 30-40%. (130 gallons each time).

It took me 2 months to reduce phosphates from .66 to .07 ppm. Since then my Acros have tripled in Size, my Stunner chalice healed up and is back to growing like a weed. My Hammers have since added additional heads. My RBTA that was looking horrible and shriveled up is now open everyday and happy everyday. My superman monti is spreading for the first time!

Frags are growing. I have an alveopora that is looking amazing and growing relatively rapidly.

I can honestly say I haven't been happier with my tank since getting phosphates under control. I'm no longer dosing phosphate-e. Instead I'm vodka dosing 3 ml of vodka per day and that is keeping phosphates less than .1 ppm. I still test every 2-3 days to see what's happening but they're managed.

My Turf scrubber is full of a large 8-10" ball of hair algae within 3-4 days now. It used to be 7-8 days until I cranked the lights to be on longer each day.

With vodka dosing and having done several major water changes with reef crystals, considering reducing or eliminating water changes and dosing trace elements and continuing my 2-part dosing.
Do you think I can "dose" PhosBan-L (LC) very slowly undiluted into a filter sock? The PO levels in my 120 are always sky high, due to overstocking, overfeeding and lots of 20-30 year old rock that leeches PO. Tank looks great but I really want to bring down the PO.
 

WVNed

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I have had a bottle of PhosBan-L for some time but never used it-120 fish, softies-reef, overstocked and over fed. Do you think I could add it undiluted-very slowly-drop by drop into a filter sock? My PO has always been high and the tank looks spectacular but I would really like to bring it down. One technicality is the large amount of rock in the tank that is 20-30 years old that is leeching PO, besides my heavy stock levels and over feeding.
I am putting it a 400 gallon system where the phosphates aren't high to start with. I just shoot 30ml in and let it go. The skimmer takes it out.
I can tell you it works. My tank goes down .1 every time I do this.

Lots of people do it the way you are asking though in a 5 micron filter sock I think.
 

schooncw

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Worry doesn't help. My levels are higher than most, but everything is happy so if it's not broke, why fix it?

I believe I'm at .9 or 1.3 between t

I am putting it a 400 gallon system where the phosphates aren't high to start with. I just shoot 30ml in and let it go. The skimmer takes it out.
I can tell you it works. My tank goes down .1 every time I do this.

Lots of people do it the way you are asking though in a 5 micron filter sock I think.
Thank you for your response. To be clear, you add it undiluted into the tank, via a filter sock?
 

McPuff

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My phosphate is apparently at 0.42 right now... but my nitrate is 217!!! Truthfully, I'm stumped how that's even possible as I have such little algae growth. Regardless, I'm adding an algae scrubber this week. Some of my corals grow just fine yet some grow very little if at all. Still, everything has great color. Very strange thing going on. I'm pretty sure that when I used Razor a few months ago it threw my nutrients way out of whack. While there wasn't a drastic change, it did seem to set off a series of events that has progressed slowly. I do seem to be pulling out of it though (also slowly).
 

LateStageReefer

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Do you think I can "dose" PhosBan-L (LC) very slowly undiluted into a filter sock? The PO levels in my 120 are always sky high, due to overstocking, overfeeding and lots of 20-30 year old rock that leeches PO. Tank looks great but I really want to bring down the PO.
TBH when I was using Phosban I just added directly to the display never had any clouding. Worked wonders one of if the only red sea product I recommend. Carful though cause its like a shotgun to the system and if you miss dose you could run smack into a cyano explosion cause you sucked all the nitrates and phosphates out of your tank
 

Screwgunner

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120 gallon total in a 125 with a 30 gallon sump running algae turf scrubber and bare bottom . Got the hanna low range phosphate checker. Should have saved my money have not been over .00 since the ats kicked in.
 

bluebird-hgm

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Today let's talk about Phosphate! Sounds exciting huh?! We know that zero phosphates are no good but too much and you have an algae problem! So where do you draw the line or do you even measure where the line is?

1. Do you worry about the phosphate levels in your reef tank?

2. What is your target level of phosphates in your tank?


image via @Reefer350Lighting
IMG_0247.JPG
.02 to .04
 

Treefer32

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I had gotten a 10 micron filter sock to run it through. I mixed the phosphate-e (LC) in a glass with some aquarium water to allow it to precipitate. Then dosed through the filter sock in my skimmer chamber. I've read of it getting in the gills of tangs and killing them. Suffocating them to death. I have not experienced this and do not want to. So, I did it safely. I would dose 10ml 2-3 times a day. This would reduce my phosphates by around .05 ppm. I think I had it leach from rocks for a month because it took a month of daily dosing and increasing the dose each day, for it to cut phosphates in half.. So, more were being added as I was dosing.. By end of month 3... with my scrubber ramped up, the water changes, and skimmer, something changed chemically, because the phosphates stopped climbing. Maybe it gained equilibrium or something, I don't know, but, I had achieved management of the phosphates. And no phosphate-e. :)
 

JCM

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I dont own a phosphate test and don't worry about it. Good live rock, good skimmer, good water movement, and lots of macroalgae keeps everything looking nice.

Every now and then I'll have my LFS test it (and nitrate) but I don't do anything with the information, just curiosity I guess.
 

OR20

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For me, as long as its above zero the absolut level is not that important as its been the balance between PO4 and NO3 that has been critical for me. It also depends on the age of my tanks as well as what corals I keep. Best results I would say I have had when PO4 has been between 0,03-0,1 and NO3 between 2,5 and 10. At this level I can grow softies as well as Acros.
 

Tmrvstyle

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My target is to be able to read it on a Hanna checker, haven't made it yet, watered down samples lead to about 2.4 to 2.7 would love to get under 1, but don't sweat it much.
 

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