QUESTION OF THE DAY Phosphates: Do you even EXPORT bro?

What method do you use to export phosphates? Choose all that apply

  • Chemically

    Votes: 299 46.3%
  • Naturally

    Votes: 399 61.8%
  • Mechanically

    Votes: 283 43.8%
  • Nothing

    Votes: 76 11.8%

  • Total voters
    646

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Pphtt. No. I let my macroalgae and pulsing Xenia do that for me. Since my tank balanced itself and matured I don’t worry about testing really at all.
 

Drewbacca

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Just tested today 0.07 in 90gal mixed reef.
Chaeto only fuge
Located 1st in drain section
⅓ of 40b sump with chunk of spliced aquamesh over baffle.
Kessil 160 f on 10 hr night cycle
Acts as mechanical as well as bilogical & tecnically its a chemical process right?
Wasnt going to have fuge until brs reported results right during my setup. Thank you.

20191214_123817.jpg
 

AquamanE

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GFO and Brightwell Phosphate E for me.

I run the gfo in a small BRS canister, but when it is exhausted and I get lazy to change, I do the Phosphate E, Lanthenum ChloridE. I also run a fuge but dont really know if its doing anything for PHO4.

##brightwellaquatics#miamireefkeepers#eatsleepreef#reeftankofinstagram#allmymoneygoestocoral
 

Lasse

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Let us kill a huge reefing myth once for all - High PO4 levels do not cause algae overtake by itself. The truth is that all levels of measurable PO4 can cause algae overtake if the competition and the grazing not are large enough. Low PO4 and no flux of PO4 will cause corals that not will thrive. The measured PO4 level in the water column do not reflect how much PO4 that´s in its move in the system - its only reflect the left over - the amount not used for the moment.

The thing that´s most interesting with measure the left over level of PO4 in the water column is that you will have a picture if it is the production or the consumption of PO4 that´s most important at the moment. If the concentration is rising - production is higher than consumption - if the concentration decrease - consumption is higher than the production.

For me it does not so important what the actual figure is (I want to have around 0.04 - 0.1 as a left over concentration in the water column. For the moment - in order to have it stable - I have to add around 0.06 ppm PO4 every day. Because I´m adding - i could go lower in the left over concentration but if I´m above 0.04 - I know that I´m for sure have some PO4 in my system. I use Hanna ULR phosphate meter (ppm PO4) - but I do not really relay on it. For three months I read 0.1 ppm - my corals look awful. No growth whatever. I try with GFO to bring it down - I could not get it lower than 0.08 ppm. Send in a Triton test and the result show 0.018 ppm. I check with another Hanna that for long time has been showing the same as Triton and -my real figure was below 0.02. Start to dose PO4 every day. The corals start to grow again and look fine. My ULR still show 0.08 - 0.12. Have sent in another Triton test - will see what that show.

What I want to say - you will have a risk for algae take over regardless your PO4 level - in reality - in very low PO4 concentrations for a prolonged time - algae will win because they are often better to utilize low PO4 concentrations in the water than the coral - especially the brown diatoms. The only way to handle this, especially in the start - is to use grazers like snails, hermits, urchins, tangs, lawnmower blennys and so on. And to put them in the same moment you put on the light. Decide which left over concentration of PO4 you want to have with your measuring set - use GFO if it rise - dose if it decline. If you have huge problem to get the PO4 level down with using GFO - probably you are near 0 and your test equipment is not optimal. Measure the same time when you want to compare. I use to measure in the morning - the left over concentration is normally at its highest point before your light goes on. I dose during daytime.

Sincerely Lasse
 
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Scrubber_steve

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Some interesting points you've made.
It’s just a feeling, but I think if it is added at a wrong time and/or wrong amount / photoperiod, it can outcompete beneficial bacteria for ammonia and nitrite
Recent tests suggest that aquariums effectively utilising algae filtration have lower counts of nitrifying bacteria. But out compete isn’t a suitable description in the sense that these specific bacteria are not wiped out, just less in number than in a system solely utilising nitrification/de-nitrification for inorganic nutrient export. This isn’t a negative, or unexpected. Algae assimilate NH3/4, NO3, NO2, & PO4 as a result of photosynthesis.

and push/keep the tank in an imbalanced state, which might lead to dinos/cyanos ultimately.
By “imbalance” do you mean some specific NP ratio figure, or zero readings of NO3/PO4?

This scenario, whether guilty of causing “dinos/cyanos” or not, can be an occurrence no matter what export method is used. I myself have had no “dinos/cyano” problems at all, in all the time I have solely used algae filtration.

I also think it competes for trace elements with corals, and in some cases this could lead to growth/coral color issues.
If true, wouldn’t other corals be a greater concern than algae, considering the corals are competing for the same specific trace elements other corals use?

I think if you add more corals, for example, you increase your trace element dosing volume.

Or it competes with some type of bacteria that’s present in the system and corals feed on those.
I don’t know of algae consuming bacteria?

Might be a coincidence, but I’ve pulled mine after 3 years, and the skimmate is lighter now & corals have a deeper color.
Could be coincidence, anecdotal all the same, but skimmers collect organics. Algae exude some organics (exudates). Take away the exudates & the color of the skimmate may change. This in itself is neither good nor bad. Your corals may have colored up because your inorganics levels were previously too low? which means you were over filtering.

I’ve tried dosing no3/po4 before, but I think I still was mainly feeding the algae in the fuge with that approach.
Feeding the algae, the corals, & whatever else is in your tank. :)

cheers
 

ReeferCrabness

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reduce the length of the photo-period
Thanks for the input. Currently here is what I run on my 55G (4ft)

(2) 110W T12 VHO Super Actinic Aquarium Bulb - 11hrs/day
(2) 110W T12 VHO Aquasun Aquarium Bulbs - 9hrs/Day

I do have new LED lighting, just have not switched out
yet. I have heard some not-so-good things about these,
So I am still on the fence about swapping out.
 

Scrubber_steve

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Thanks for the input. Currently here is what I run on my 55G (4ft)

(2) 110W T12 VHO Super Actinic Aquarium Bulb - 11hrs/day
(2) 110W T12 VHO Aquasun Aquarium Bulbs - 9hrs/Day

I do have new LED lighting, just have not switched out
yet. I have heard some not-so-good things about these,
So I am still on the fence about swapping out.
Just to confirm, I was talking about the photo-period for the lights running your refugium.
 

Daniel76

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I *just* made a video all about Phosphate/Phosphorus. How timely hah.

I export these chemicals in my tank using a strong skimmer, as well as a chaeto reactor. This actually reminds me - time to prune some chaeto tonight..

I've tried Lanthanum chloride in the past, it works great, but fish and their gills are _very_ sensative to the fine particulate that it creates - and even dripping it right into my skimmer or through a fine filter sock I lost some fish. Particularly, it seems like yellow tangs are super sensative to it. I wouldn't risk it again myself..

Great video @inktomi
I think there can be some confusion for beginner reefers like myself in these areas. Especially when about half of the responses in this post list "skimming" as a the way that people "Export phosphate" and that there is an option in the question listing "Mechanically" in the poll. I know a lot of this hobby comes down to semantics and assumed knowledge.
Maybe saying something like the below statement will wrap it up? How would you edit this:
"Most (the majority of??) organophophates will eventually break down into (inorganic) phosphate within a XXX hour period in a marine aquarium environment. So the best way to prevent phosphates from occurring in the first place is to remove excess organophophates. If you detect phosphates, you can only export them by chemical and biological means"?
 
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Daniel76

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Phosphates can be a pain the ole sump! Zero phosphates are no good but too much and you have a problem! Ewww algae! So let's talk today about how the masses are keeping phosphates under control!

1. Do you keep a steady eye on your phosphate levels?

2. What plan do you have in place, chemically, naturally or mechanically to export phosphates?

export phosphates.jpg
Maybe a rewording of the question for noobs (me) could be:

Chemically (GFO / Aluminium Oxide)
Naturally (I have no excess organophosphate, and never detect a level of phosphate that bothers me)
Mechanically (I filter out excess organophosphates before it turns into phosphate)
Nothing (What's phosphate?)
 

Scrubber_steve

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Maybe a rewording of the question for noobs (me) could be:

Chemically (GFO / Aluminium Oxide)
Naturally (I have no excess organophosphate, and never detect a level of phosphate that bothers me)
Mechanically (I filter out excess organophosphates before it turns into phosphate)
Nothing (What's phosphate?)
Mention phosphate to a reefkeeper and the images that come to mind are often those of a tank overrun with algae. In truth, phosphate can be a difficult nutrient to limit in a closed reef system. But what exactly is phosphate, where does it come from and how can one deal with it?

Inorganic Phosphate
Let’s start with the “simplest” form of phosphate: inorganic orthophosphate (sometimes called Pi by biologists). Figure 1 shows the various forms of orthophosphate that exist in water. In more acid solutions (low pH), those on the left predominate, and in more basic solutions, those on the right predominate.

================================

The phosphorus atom is one of living matter’s basic building blocks. It is present in every living creature and in the water of every reef aquarium. Unfortunately, it is often present in excess in reef aquaria and that excess has the potential to cause at least two substantial problems for reefkeepers.
 

tdlawdo

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Let us kill a huge reefing myth once for all - High PO4 levels do not cause algae overtake by itself. The truth is that all levels of measurable PO4 can cause algae overtake if the competition and the grazing not are large enough. Low PO4 and no flux of PO4 will cause corals that not will thrive. The measured PO4 level in the water column do not reflect how much PO4 that´s in its move in the system - its only reflect the left over - the amount not used for the moment.

The thing that´s most interesting with measure the left over level of PO4 in the water column is that you will have a picture if it is the production or the consumption of PO4 that´s most important at the moment. If the concentration is rising - production is higher than consumption - if the concentration decrease - consumption is higher than the production.

For me it does not so important what the actual figure is (I want to have around 0.04 - 0.1 as a left over concentration in the water column. For the moment - in order to have it stable - I have to add around 0.06 ppm PO4 every day. Because I´m adding - i could go lower in the left over concentration but if I´m above 0.04 - I know that I´m for sure have some PO4 in my system. I use Hanna ULR phosphate meter (ppm PO4) - but I do not really relay on it. For three months I read 0.1 ppm - my corals look awful. No growth whatever. I try with GFO to bring it down - I could not get it lower than 0.08 ppm. Send in a Triton test and the result show 0.018 ppm. I check with another Hanna that for long time has been showing the same as Triton and -my real figure was below 0.02. Start to dose PO4 every day. The corals start to grow again and look fine. My ULR still show 0.08 - 0.12. Have sent in another Triton test - will see what that show.

What I want to say - you will have a risk for algae take over regardless your PO4 level - in reality - in very low PO4 concentrations for a prolonged time - algae will win because they are often better to utilize low PO4 concentrations in the water than the coral - especially the brown diatoms. The only way to handle this, especially in the start - is to use grazers like snails, hermits, urchins, tangs, lawnmower blennys and so on. And to put them in the same moment you put on the light. Decide which left over concentration of PO4 you want to have with your measuring set - use GFO if it rise - dose if it decline. If you have huge problem to get the PO4 level down with using GFO - probably you are near 0 and your test equipment is not optimal. Measure the same time when you want to compare. I use to measure in the morning - the left over concentration is normally at its highest point before your light goes on. I dose during daytime.

Sincerely Lasse
Always appreciate your take on things. Thanks
 

Miguel Pxt

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I’m sure you came across the new optimal phosphate level thread judging by this post.

To answer your questions, and I hope this doesn’t cause any confrontation, is nothing really.

I test phosphates daily ensuring they are at the approximate range I want which is always ~5x N/P. In absolute terms, I maintain nitrate at .5 and phosphate at .1. I only use chaeto to ensure phosphates don’t go too high.

I primarily use carbon dosing to attack nitrates and end up having to dose about .01-.02 phosphate a day.

So no one gets upset at me referring research on the impact of phosphate deficiency on corals, other people have success at other ranges*

I’ve found the research to indeed be very impactful in my reef and maintaining a low N/P has led to much faster growth than I witnessed before.

Check out info about the Redfield Ratio. You should have 106:16:1 C/N/P.
 
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