Phosphates zero after a year of high phosphates

Kobooi

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My tank is 480 days old. I've been running Phosguard for the last 300 days to keep my phosphates in check. I measure with the Hanna Phosphate ULR. It's 0.02 - 0.04ppm for 3 or 4 weeks of running Phosguard, then goes up to 0.10-0.12ppm which is a sign to replace the Phosguard (75 gr for 80 gallon tank), next day it's back at 0.02ppm, all good.
Approx. 4 weeks ago it completely changed. I measured 0.00pm for the first time. I added Reefroids - this brings the phosphates up and removed the Phosguard. After 3 days it's back to 0 ppm, so I keep feeding Reefroids every 3 days, to avoid zero phosphates.
My nitrates are stable at 6-8ppm (Hanna Nitrate HR) dosing RedSea Nopox.
I don't do anything different otherwise in the tank, other than dosing some API Marine AlgaeFix to fight dictyota - but this is only since the last week. The phosphates bottoming out started happening a few weeks before that.
What could be the cause - have my live rock or substrate stopped leaching phosphates, have my corals suddenly decided to start consuming phosphates,...?
I'm not unhappy with this, as two ICP tests showed a high amount of aluminium in the water, but I'd like to understand the reason.
 
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landlubber

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a lot depends on the condition of your liverock when you filled the tank.
if it was genuine, uncleaned, ocean-born liverock then yes, it is likely a case of exhausting the nutrients the rock was carrying. if it was man-made rock like marco then it could be just the time it took for the tank to stabilize and effectively build biological filtration.
either way, i'm sure you're aware but avoid letting the nutrients bottom out or you'll be dealing with dinos which can be a complete nightmare.
 
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Kobooi

Kobooi

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It was definitely genuine, uncleaned, ocean-born liverock, from Indonesia.
Here's how it was the first day in the tank:
Screenshot 2022-01-17 at 18.14.18.png
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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My tank is 480 days old. I've been running Phosguard for the last 300 days to keep my phosphates in check. I measure with the Hanna Phosphate ULR. It's 0.02 - 0.04ppm for 3 or 4 weeks of running Phosguard, then goes up to 0.10-0.12ppm which is a sign to replace the Phosguard (75 gr for 80 gallon tank), next day it's back at 0.02ppm, all good.
Approx. 4 weeks ago it completely changed. I measured 0.00pm for the first time. I added Reefroids - this brings the phosphates up and removed the Phosguard. After 3 days it's back to 0 ppm, so I keep feeding Reefroids every 3 days, to avoid zero phosphates.
My nitrates are stable at 6-8ppm (Hanna Nitrate HR) dosing RedSea Nopox.

IMO, all of those non-zero readings are OK, and you'll likely not ever find an exact explanation of why the levels are what they were, but it can take a long time to fully remove phosphate from rock to which it has become attached.
 
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2una

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as two ICP tests showed a high amount of aluminium in the water, but I'd like to understand the reason.

In regard that its probably from the Phosguard your using as its an aluminum based product.
If you switch occasionally to an iron based one it will pull the Al down
 

iamahab

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I've been running phosguard in both of my tanks for months now. I replace it every four days. I can't remember where I read this but I am pretty sure it will start to leak aluminum if left in there longer than four days. How often are you replacing the phosguard?
 
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Kobooi

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I've been running phosguard in both of my tanks for months now. I replace it every four days. I can't remember where I read this but I am pretty sure it will start to leak aluminum if left in there longer than four days. How often are you replacing the phosguard?
I'm confident the aluminium comes from the Phosguard - I was leaving it in for 3 weeks before replacing it, as that's when my Phosphates were going up again. And hence why I'm not unhappy I don't seem to need phosphate extraction media anymore.
Nevertheless I have a delivery of Maxspect Phosphree on its way, which I had ordered before - if I need to reduce phosphates again at some point in time, I'll use that one.
 
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Have you used Maxspect Phosphree yet?
Impressions?
I started using it a week ago, as since my previous post on Jan 18, my phosphates first stopped going to 0 and then went up to 0.12ppm without feeding Reef Roids.
First impression: it makes a mess, it's a thin light coffee ground substance that is difficult to handle. I can't use the media bags that I used for Phosguard, only a very thin weaved bag like the black mesh bags that come with Red Sea carbon works.
The instructions (which you find by peeling away the labeling) are very short; it basically tells you to put the stuff in a mesh bag in the sump, but it doesn't specify recommended volumes. I used 75 gram for my 300 liter (80 gallon) tank.
Within 24 hours the phosphates went from 0.12 to 0.03ppm. To me that doesn't look like a slower rate than with Phosguard, but of course I never measured every few hours; maybe the Phosguard reduced in a couple of hours what Phosphree does in 24 hours.
So the last 6 days the phosphates remained at 0.03ppm.
I'll need more time to figure out when to replace and how much to use, but if my next ICP test shows much reduced aluminium in the water, I'm happy.
Note the instructions say to keep the remaining Phosphree in the container moist by spraying it with RO water (again here, no indication on how frequent one should do so), so it's a bit more work than Phosguard.
 

bandando

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Thank you for your indications.
I started yesterday evening to use it, 100 ml for 180 litres, maybe a little bit much.
I put the product in a mesh bag in the sump.
The phosphates was 0,25 , today I will check them.
I haven't ever used other stuffs iron or aluminium based for don't have metal in the water.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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Hi everyone, a little update.
In one month with Phosphree, in my tank PO4 are decreased from 0,3 mg/l to 0,07 mg/l.
I'm very satisfied, in my opinion is a good product.

I do not believe it's claims about not releasing iron, but what looks to be a type of GFO inside a polymer matrix, it is a fine product to use for phosphate binding (like like normal GFO is a fine product to use).
 

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