!!!!PHOSPHATE THAT IS EVIL:FEAR THAT IS REAL!!!?

LadAShark

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Jun 5, 2016
Messages
370
Reaction score
131
Being its a shark tank you wont have to be so concerned if the scrubber removes most of the phos... now if you go with coral. Ive found my tank has done sonmuch better, lps and sps now that the gfo is gone and i only skim and change water.on the note of a skimmer, in a tank like that thats the one thing i wouldnt skimp on
Thing is, I might eventually throw in a mushroom or two eventually. Or rather, some type of not too fragile coral. I guess I'll have to think about it then ;P
Having worked with biochemistry so long I honestly found it surprising that people are so eager to remove phosphates in tanks. I had just assumed that the only reason they did so was because they didn't want algae. Otherwise I can't see why people wouldn't want phosphate in the water, it's food for a lot of things.
 

Bob Escher

Welcome to Saltwatef
View Badges
Joined
Aug 8, 2015
Messages
2,734
Reaction score
1,452
Location
Nashotah Wisconsin
I'm thinking of a refugium where I keep a variety of algae, to maximize my species coverage instead of just having chaeto dominate it.
And other than cheato what would you grow? And why I believe that less is better meaning why have different algae in the sump over having just one? You also run the chance of causing more issues having more than one kind would you not
 

LadAShark

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Jun 5, 2016
Messages
370
Reaction score
131
And other than cheato what would you grow? And why I believe that less is better meaning why have different algae in the sump over having just one? You also run the chance of causing more issues having more than one kind would you not
A variety of algae provides natural competition, preventing any one algae from taking over, while at the same time providing the benefits of varied filtration. Well that and I'm planning to grow edible algaes like red nori ;P
Nom nom
 

Tankr75

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
May 2, 2016
Messages
104
Reaction score
22
Great write up. I am new to SW fishtanks and I will admit I have always been told that phos was the reason for all my troubles. But it's also good to know that your rock doesn't have to be perfectly clear of algae. I kinda like the look of it looks more natural like you would pick up out of the ocean.
 

Bob Escher

Welcome to Saltwatef
View Badges
Joined
Aug 8, 2015
Messages
2,734
Reaction score
1,452
Location
Nashotah Wisconsin
A variety of algae provides natural competition, preventing any one algae from taking over, while at the same time providing the benefits of varied filtration. Well that and I'm planning to grow edible algaes like red nori ;P
Nom nom
Yum yum then, my worry is that they might go " what's the term? Asexual) and my tank will be more of a mess than before
 

LadAShark

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Jun 5, 2016
Messages
370
Reaction score
131
Yum yum then, my worry is that they might go " what's the term? Asexual) and my tank will be more of a mess than before
I'm still confused by that term. Shouldn't it be sexual?
Yeah I am slightly worried about that too, but I think I'd just set it up before my sand/bead filter so even if they do, I can deal with it.
Plus, if they do escape into my main tank, they will only end up as a snack for the abalone there ;P
 

Fercho

Member
View Badges
Joined
Dec 17, 2015
Messages
89
Reaction score
97
Below is a short write up that I have sent to countless friends and customers of mine who are experiencing some kind of issue and feel that it’s related in some way to phosphate levels. I have decided not to have my faithful grammar pro “fix” it, as it's more of a raw outpouring than any sort of academic prose. I have no factual data to back up my sentiments, but can share just one pic taken in 2014, which was the last time I really measured phosphate with any amount of seriousness. Still super low by comparison to Richard Ross's much more eloquently written example, coincidently published the same month and year detailed here. The results serve only to reaffirm my initial endorsement of the entire idea. A lot of you have seen this already, and I hope it offered some relief from the clutches of the phosphate crazies. But for anyone else desperately trying to fix something that's not broken, I offer these ramblings

Messy, scattered and super unpolished. It’s my "blanket phosphate issues and concerns" response/rant.





I hate to start anything by saying "there was a time when” but...

I am not what I’d consider an “old school” reefer at all, but indeed about 10-15 years ago now around the early part of the 2000’s, and before, somehow those of us that could, and were able to, had thriving sps tanks. Yet, few of us had any idea about phosphate, respectively or saw it as something of little concern or consequence. We skimmed our tanks well, maintained proper alk and calcium levels, and may have employed more natural methods of nutrient reduction like a refugium and/or the ever controversial Deep sand bed. And still, with little or no regard at all for the presence of phosphate in our reefs, our sps grew and thrived. Blissfully, we were none the wiser. Or maybe it was just me, but regardless of wheather I was alone in my efforts, it wasn’t till the middle of the decade that I ever picked up a phosphate test kit.

This sentiment is reverberating a little more, and there’s plenty of skeptics that have always felt this way, but somewhere along the lines, perhaps coincidentally about the same time that methods to control it hit the market, I think we were led to believe that eliminating phosphate has some integral part in keeping sps successfully. And suddenly everyone began trying to rid there tanks of it. The primary mechanism was Granular Ferric Oxide. I don’t want to blame the GFO companies directly, but the phosphate fear spread like an epidemic and that ubiquitous .03 number was engrained in the minds of legions of reefers that now had a solution to a problem that didn’t exist.

Not surprisingly fast forward a few years and you see thread upon thread about people with faded looking sps and other odd low nutrient anomalies. And among the easy to blame, lighting, salt, params and stray voltage, nowhere on the list of usual suspects, in fact not even on the radar, were the low phosphate levels. And more troubling, the common regurgitation to solve these issues was to add more "stuff" that may or may not do the trick from wonder vitamins to amino acids. I'll venture to say that none of them did.

I realize I am oversimplifying this tremendously but its true. There’s a mass of newer hobbyist that don’t know any better because all they have read from day one, is about how they need to control phosphate by any means necessary!

Still, I have always been skeptical of the whole phosphate craze and like many other skeptics before me, feel that new comers who are led to believe that ultra low phos or nitrate for that matter will promote healthy sps are being miss guided. In my experiences the opposite is closer to the truth. I don’t have charts and graphs and bounds of research to back any of this up, just a sense of how things were, and where they are, and a keen interpretation of the dichotomy.

Does this apply to any and all tanks? Of course not. Some people will have success with ultra low phosphate levels and others systems will thrive with elevated phosphate. But I do wish people would put there Hanna checkers in the drawer and relax a little when they discover phosphate in their system. Consider a Fox face or even hermits if you are terrified by a little algae on your rocks. I don't like the look of a tank without a touch or green to be honest, and I really just consider it Rabbit food.:) Free Rabbit food at that!

So maybe more of a confusion on my part than a mistake on others part, but I think that there are way more important factors for thriving sps than practically ambiguous phosphate levels.




Open to any and all further discussion and input.
Hi,
As a new reefer (roughly 4 yrs into the hobby) i've had my good share of success and failures in reef keeping. I read and read to soak my brain with lots of info. I do know for a fact that phosphates and nitrates is probably the second, if not the first, most talked about topic after water parameters and stability. As i read, im constantly in the search for the "key secret" on how to achieve that vibrant coral coloration for sps.

To be honest, i have never tested for phosphates and nitrate levels. In fact. I have no idea where those levels are right now. Strangely, i have learned to somehow gauge those phosphate and nitrate levels by touch if you will. By closely observing and reading my coral's behavior.

My only question to all successful sps masters out there:
What would you say is the "key secret" for achieving amazing coral coloration?

Here's a bit of info about my 90 gal reef.

Mostly sps, all healthy. Great polip extn and decent sign of growth.

Cal 430
Dkh 7.7 (this stable for the past several months)
Mg 1335
Salinity 1.025

15 gal water change with red sea blue bucket byweekly.
Run gfo all the time and replace every two weeks
Also run ROX carbon every once in a long while.

I do not feed the corals or use any type of aminos.
Last time i tried docing one cap full of acropower (i have acros) every weekend and a purple monti rtn halfway and a purple stylopora didnt like it and got real upset for about a month and a half after the 4th cap of docing.
My guess is the one cap every weekend was too much and stoped using it. And im scared of using it again.

Any direction on achieving amazing coral coloration will be greatly appreciated.
 

Macdaddynick1

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
May 20, 2014
Messages
1,122
Reaction score
1,164
Location
Reseda, California
Below is a short write up that I have sent to countless friends and customers of mine who are experiencing some kind of issue and feel that it’s related in some way to phosphate levels. I have decided not to have my faithful grammar pro “fix” it, as it's more of a raw outpouring than any sort of academic prose. I have no factual data to back up my sentiments, but can share just one pic taken in 2014, which was the last time I really measured phosphate with any amount of seriousness. Still super low by comparison to Richard Ross's much more eloquently written example, coincidently published the same month and year detailed here. The results serve only to reaffirm my initial endorsement of the entire idea. A lot of you have seen this already, and I hope it offered some relief from the clutches of the phosphate crazies. But for anyone else desperately trying to fix something that's not broken, I offer these ramblings

Messy, scattered and super unpolished. It’s my "blanket phosphate issues and concerns" response/rant.





I hate to start anything by saying "there was a time when” but...

I am not what I’d consider an “old school” reefer at all, but indeed about 10-15 years ago now around the early part of the 2000’s, and before, somehow those of us that could, and were able to, had thriving sps tanks. Yet, few of us had any idea about phosphate, respectively or saw it as something of little concern or consequence. We skimmed our tanks well, maintained proper alk and calcium levels, and may have employed more natural methods of nutrient reduction like a refugium and/or the ever controversial Deep sand bed. And still, with little or no regard at all for the presence of phosphate in our reefs, our sps grew and thrived. Blissfully, we were none the wiser. Or maybe it was just me, but regardless of wheather I was alone in my efforts, it wasn’t till the middle of the decade that I ever picked up a phosphate test kit.

This sentiment is reverberating a little more, and there’s plenty of skeptics that have always felt this way, but somewhere along the lines, perhaps coincidentally about the same time that methods to control it hit the market, I think we were led to believe that eliminating phosphate has some integral part in keeping sps successfully. And suddenly everyone began trying to rid there tanks of it. The primary mechanism was Granular Ferric Oxide. I don’t want to blame the GFO companies directly, but the phosphate fear spread like an epidemic and that ubiquitous .03 number was engrained in the minds of legions of reefers that now had a solution to a problem that didn’t exist.

Not surprisingly fast forward a few years and you see thread upon thread about people with faded looking sps and other odd low nutrient anomalies. And among the easy to blame, lighting, salt, params and stray voltage, nowhere on the list of usual suspects, in fact not even on the radar, were the low phosphate levels. And more troubling, the common regurgitation to solve these issues was to add more "stuff" that may or may not do the trick from wonder vitamins to amino acids. I'll venture to say that none of them did.

I realize I am oversimplifying this tremendously but its true. There’s a mass of newer hobbyist that don’t know any better because all they have read from day one, is about how they need to control phosphate by any means necessary!

Still, I have always been skeptical of the whole phosphate craze and like many other skeptics before me, feel that new comers who are led to believe that ultra low phos or nitrate for that matter will promote healthy sps are being miss guided. In my experiences the opposite is closer to the truth. I don’t have charts and graphs and bounds of research to back any of this up, just a sense of how things were, and where they are, and a keen interpretation of the dichotomy.

Does this apply to any and all tanks? Of course not. Some people will have success with ultra low phosphate levels and others systems will thrive with elevated phosphate. But I do wish people would put there Hanna checkers in the drawer and relax a little when they discover phosphate in their system. Consider a Fox face or even hermits if you are terrified by a little algae on your rocks. I don't like the look of a tank without a touch or green to be honest, and I really just consider it Rabbit food.:) Free Rabbit food at that!

So maybe more of a confusion on my part than a mistake on others part, but I think that there are way more important factors for thriving sps than practically ambiguous phosphate levels.




Open to any and all further discussion and input.
Just my opinion for the sake of being Devil's advocate.

Here are some other variables to consider , the light, flow intensity and a health of the coral itself (mainly does it have the boring algae ) . (And this is just my experience/observation ) .
Are the corals in the tank healthy to begin with?
Do they get enough light ?
Is the flow adequate ?
Basically are the other parameters on point, are there any swings?
I like to compare the high levels of phosphates to ick in a way. If your fish is healthy and not stressed out by any other factors while you have ick in the system, they will shrug it off with no problem.
Now if one day you start stressing the same fish to the point where you start seeing bunch of dots on them, then ick really becomes a problem and further hinders the recovery of the stressed fish. If the system does not have ick and the same fish is stressed out in a similar manner, after you remove the stressor it will eventually recover to its normal state.

Similarly , if someone keeps acros, that are super healthy, and receive enough light, super solid parameters, large water volume enough food, having high phosphates probably won't affect them . Now in reality most tanks are smaller and sometimes we get a calcium swing or alkalinity or salinity or we tinker with the light , or the light is too low , bam there are phosphates causing acros to brown out , stunt growth, fueling the boring algae, you name it. System with lower phosphates .03-.04 on the other hand is somewhat more forgiving since a stressed coral doesnt have phosphates to further limit its calcification/growth and the recovery process.

My system is lower light and believe me getting my phosphates above .1 stunts all the growth , 0 PE, STN, you name it . After adding gfo everything comes back to normal, visible daily growth, no STN.

I know of a reef tank (LFS tank) that has .22 phosphates with great success, the tank is also infested with flatworms and red bugs. I think that the tank is 400 gal and around 25 years old, the tank is old school so it has 6 MH and 6 t8 bulbs . If I'm not wrong I think they told me that it's about 1000 par at the surface (I might be wrong) . Their colonies grow like crazy and look amazing too, one problem though a lot of their acroporas have boring algae in them. They seem to outcompete it with no problem in their tank, here's a problem though not everyone has MH T5s or even (radions*) to provide the corals with ton of light. Some people have mixed reefs and higher light tends to bleach lps and shrooms so that becomes a limiting factor also. Moreover, if you have LEDs often one side of the acro gets the light and the shaded side just Browns out or loses the color. When you move a coral from an old school tank like that into a tank with lower light and high phosphates acros don't tend to grow as fast but the boring algae doesn't care and eventually outcompetes the coral.


So finally
I think there is more than just 1 variable,
Just like the higher alkalinity causes the problem in a low nutrient systems . I wonder if there is a similar relationship between the light intensity and phosphates or the flow and the calcification rate. Etc .

PS: don't mind my terrible grammar it's 4:30 am no time to fix it . :)
 
OP
Battlecorals

Battlecorals

Aquaculturist
View Badges
Joined
Oct 15, 2009
Messages
4,384
Reaction score
6,191
Location
Wisconsin
Just my opinion for the sake of being Devil's advocate.

Here are some other variables to consider , the light, flow intensity and a health of the coral itself (mainly does it have the boring algae ) . (And this is just my experience/observation ) .
Are the corals in the tank healthy to begin with?
Do they get enough light ?
Is the flow adequate ?
Basically are the other parameters on point, are there any swings?
I like to compare the high levels of phosphates to ick in a way. If your fish is healthy and not stressed out by any other factors while you have ick in the system, they will shrug it off with no problem.
Now if one day you start stressing the same fish to the point where you start seeing bunch of dots on them, then ick really becomes a problem and further hinders the recovery of the stressed fish. If the system does not have ick and the same fish is stressed out in a similar manner, after you remove the stressor it will eventually recover to its normal state.

Similarly , if someone keeps acros, that are super healthy, and receive enough light, super solid parameters, large water volume enough food, having high phosphates probably won't affect them . Now in reality most tanks are smaller and sometimes we get a calcium swing or alkalinity or salinity or we tinker with the light , or the light is too low , bam there are phosphates causing acros to brown out , stunt growth, fueling the boring algae, you name it. System with lower phosphates .03-.04 on the other hand is somewhat more forgiving since a stressed coral doesnt have phosphates to further limit its calcification/growth and the recovery process.

My system is lower light and believe me getting my phosphates above .1 stunts all the growth , 0 PE, STN, you name it . After adding gfo everything comes back to normal, visible daily growth, no STN.

I know of a reef tank (LFS tank) that has .22 phosphates with great success, the tank is also infested with flatworms and red bugs. I think that the tank is 400 gal and around 25 years old, the tank is old school so it has 6 MH and 6 t8 bulbs . If I'm not wrong I think they told me that it's about 1000 par at the surface (I might be wrong) . Their colonies grow like crazy and look amazing too, one problem though a lot of their acroporas have boring algae in them. They seem to outcompete it with no problem in their tank, here's a problem though not everyone has MH T5s or even (radions*) to provide the corals with ton of light. Some people have mixed reefs and higher light tends to bleach lps and shrooms so that becomes a limiting factor also. Moreover, if you have LEDs often one side of the acro gets the light and the shaded side just Browns out or loses the color. When you move a coral from an old school tank like that into a tank with lower light and high phosphates acros don't tend to grow as fast but the boring algae doesn't care and eventually outcompetes the coral.


So finally
I think there is more than just 1 variable,
Just like the higher alkalinity causes the problem in a low nutrient systems . I wonder if there is a similar relationship between the light intensity and phosphates or the flow and the calcification rate. Etc .

PS: don't mind my terrible grammar it's 4:30 am no time to fix it . :)

I absolutely agree with that point. Its hard to let the bulk of problems in reef tanks fall on one poor element. In fact that was ultimately the general thrust of the write up. And clearly from what you've experienced, elevated phosphate has served as a detriment if anything. I really appreciate all the input and comments!
 

Diesel

String Stalker.
View Badges
Joined
Apr 14, 2012
Messages
13,614
Reaction score
15,851
Location
Katy
Adam always wakes up the reefer community.
Few years back we needed all kinds of reactors to keep Po4 and No3 low.... lower...... lowest!
Now days we dose No3 and for that matter if you want to do it right fish poop back in the tank when your corals starting to look like ghost sticks and yet having some kind of PE that IMO only tells you that they screaming for food in the form of Po4 and No3.
Turning your skimmer off for a few hours will work to but who wants to turn a Deltec off.......... those are music makers in the sump.
 
OP
Battlecorals

Battlecorals

Aquaculturist
View Badges
Joined
Oct 15, 2009
Messages
4,384
Reaction score
6,191
Location
Wisconsin
Adam always wakes up the reefer community.
Few years back we needed all kinds of reactors to keep Po4 and No3 low.... lower...... lowest!
Now days we dose No3 and for that matter if you want to do it right fish poop back in the tank when your corals starting to look like ghost sticks and yet having some kind of PE that IMO only tells you that they screaming for food in the form of Po4 and No3.
Turning your skimmer off for a few hours will work to but who wants to turn a Deltec off.......... those are music makers in the sump.

LOL if by music makers you mean beautifully silent, then yes sir! Thanks for the post Ben! But yeah I'm not really into shutting the skimmer down personally. Especially internals where the water will just sit and foul a little. I'll skim a little dryer if i think I'm overdoing it.
 

Boston reefer

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
May 4, 2015
Messages
110
Reaction score
117
Location
Boston
I run high nitrates and phosphates and have seen no major downside to it. My live rock has been with me for over 3 years now and my tangs and hermits keep all algae trimmed.
Im in the same boat as you. I notice no negative affects or delayed growth because of it. Glad to know I'm not the only one :)
 

Diesel

String Stalker.
View Badges
Joined
Apr 14, 2012
Messages
13,614
Reaction score
15,851
Location
Katy
LOL if by music makers you mean beautifully silent, then yes sir! Thanks for the post Ben! But yeah I'm not really into shutting the skimmer down personally. Especially internals where the water will just sit and foul a little. I'll skim a little dryer if i think I'm overdoing it.

Music to my ears........... music to my ears, my friend.
 

nitro

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Aug 6, 2014
Messages
718
Reaction score
594
Location
Las Vegas
Adam,
I love reading your posts and I am fairly new to this, so what is your recipe to get your stuff looking great and thriving?
Thanks, Nitro
 

knukles55

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Dec 7, 2013
Messages
379
Reaction score
236
Location
pembroke pines Florida
You know a lot of things about this hobby are confusing me but one thing I've learned about is that things take time to dial in. What I mean by this is I've been running leds for 6 months now and still my corals aren't were I would want them to look like it's hard to play the blame game on water chemistry or lighting since I still think my corals aren't used to my lighting. This is just an example of what I'm dealing with I'm in no means looking for a spotlight here.

20160524_171739.jpg
 
Last edited:
OP
Battlecorals

Battlecorals

Aquaculturist
View Badges
Joined
Oct 15, 2009
Messages
4,384
Reaction score
6,191
Location
Wisconsin
Adam,
I love reading your posts and I am fairly new to this, so what is your recipe to get your stuff looking great and thriving?
Thanks, Nitro
Hi there,

Thanks lot for the post! No real tricks at all. My best kept secret, that's really no secret at all, is simplicity. I just like to keep my methods and external apparatuses and such to a minimum. I focus heavily on purification of my source water and pay very strict attention to alk. Other than that, I think it's all about being tuned into your system well and responding and reacting when necessary, and not when its unnecessary. I suppose there's a bit of a curve on learning to distinguish the two, but it comes with time and experience to be sure.
 
Last edited:

rovster

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 12, 2012
Messages
967
Reaction score
420
Location
Miramar, FL
You know a lot of things about this hobby are confusing me but one thing I've learned about is that things take time to dial in. What I mean by this is I've been running leds for 6 months now and still my corals aren't were I would want them to look like it's hard to play the blame game on water chemistry or lighting since I still think my corals aren't used to my lighting. This is just an example of what I'm dealing with I'm in no means looking for a spotlight here.

20160524_171739.jpg
I told you what to do about that!



In my limited experience the three keys to SPS assuming lighting and flow are adequate are:
1. Stable alk
2. Relatively stable everything else
3. Good 0 TDS chloramine free RO

ALL my issues ever have been traced to one of the above.....just sayin'.....
 

Any special reefing plans for this week?

  • Yes

    Votes: 44 43.6%
  • No

    Votes: 45 44.6%
  • Maybe

    Votes: 12 11.9%

Online statistics

Members online
1,505
Guests online
3,592
Total visitors
5,097
MAXSPECT
Top