Sixty’s Understanding of Nutrient Ratios

Randy Holmes-Farley

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I don’t disagree that there are risks with high organic carbon for getting cyano, regardless of what N and P might be.

it also depends on the type of organic. Vodka seemed to spur cyano in my tank more so than vinegar did.
 
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sixty_reefer

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I don’t disagree that there are risks with high organic carbon for getting cyano, regardless of what N and P might be.

it also depends on the type of organic. Vodka seemed to spur cyano in my tank more so than vinegar did.
I wouldn’t know how to answer, I know they go mad for organic carbon from macro algae as I experienced it myself, on a personal note I feel that we should have more research on heterotrophic bacteria on R2R as it start to look that they are the main defenders in our system from dinoflagellates and Cyanobacteria it seems logic to me also as they normally occupy the same surfaces as heterotrophic bacteria. There is so much knowledge on nitrifying in comparison.
 

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To be honest it may be me, the subject it’s controversial and trying to explain my theory in words makes it harder
“No2 and po4” shifts means po4 going up or down and the same for no3.

if no3 and po4 are stable ( every day or week wend we test they stay at the same value) mean that the ratio is working

If po4 or no3 moves from stable and starts to rise or lower, then it means that the C N P nutrient available in the system are out of balance
Since different species of algae absorb different ratios of NO3/PO4, might it also mean a shift in the algae species ratio? And how does organic carbon affect the algae species distribution?
 
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Dan_P

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I don’t disagree that there are risks with high organic carbon for getting cyano, regardless of what N and P might be.

it also depends on the type of organic. Vodka seemed to spur cyano in my tank more so than vinegar did.
I wonder if the link is the heterotrophic bacteria associated with benthic filamentous cyanobacteria? Maybe these bacteria may provide more nutrients with ethanol than acetic acid.
 
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sixty_reefer

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Since different species of algae absorb different ratios of NO3/PO4, might it also mean a shift in the algae species ratio? And how does organic carbon affect the algae species distribution?
The variables for algae consumption would still be accountable in the formula. Theoretically speaking there would just be less nutrient available for microbes and it would only became a problem if the nutrients N and P were to be fully stripped out of the system
 
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Could you clarify what this means?
The theoretical formula that I’ve been speaking during the last couple weeks It’s a possible new way to interpret limitations in the availability of nutrients that differs from residual unused nutrients.
The theory is that the abundance or limitations of the nutrients C N P in reef aquaria can be interpreted by the movements in the residual unused nutrient.
the formula accounts for all tank inhabitants including bacteria as they are the main species fixing the availability of C N P.
The formula can be also helpful in a outbreak of Cyanobacteria bacteria or dinoflagellates As it can identify the reason they were able to bloom in a tank and the nutrient that they using to thrive in a system.
 
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oh man I kept reading the 12 pages. I should have stopped at page 2, and go to clean my skimmer as someone else sugggested.

On the other hand, I envy how other people such as OP approaches life. I would like to try to that on times for a change.

Have a nice day everyone
I salute you, it’s not an easy read :)
 
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Dan_P

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The theoretical formula that I’ve been speaking during the last couple weeks It’s a possible new way to interpret limitations in the availability of nutrients that differs from residual unused nutrients.
The theory is that the abundance or limitations of the nutrients C N P in reef aquaria can be interpreted by the movements in the residual unused nutrient.
the formula accounts for all tank inhabitants including bacteria as they are the main species fixing the availability of C N P.
The formula can be also helpful in a outbreak of Cyanobacteria bacteria or dinoflagellates As it can identify the reason they were able to bloom in a tank and the nutrient that they using to thrive in a system.
I am asking a bunch of questions because I would like to investigate the idea further in my mixed algae cultures if possible. If you prefer a PM let me know. I need to grasp the idea more firmly to design the right nutrient experiments.

Is the formula the C:N:p ratio or something like y = 120*C+10*N+P or is it more a differential equation in 3-D, the vector size and direction indicating what major elements are depleted? Would the origin or reference point be a fixed ratio or just the last set of measurements of C:N:p? How are you estimating C or are you using N and P to infer a C?

Thanks! More questions coming if you are willing?

Dan
 
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sixty_reefer

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I am asking a bunch of questions because I would like to investigate the idea further in my mixed algae cultures if possible. If you prefer a PM let me know. I need to grasp the idea more firmly to design the right nutrient experiments.

Is the formula the C:N:p ratio or something like y = 120*C+10*N+P or is it more a differential equation in 3-D, the vector size and direction indicating what major elements are depleted? Would the origin or reference point be a fixed ratio or just the last set of measurements of C:N:p? How are you estimating C or are you using N and P to infer a C?

Thanks! More questions coming if you are willing?

Dan
Im all in for public discourse as there may be more people watching and can interfere if something said it’s not right. Meaning that from my behalf am fine to carry out debating the theory.

the formula it’s based on the idea that most of the microbe in our system needs a C N P ratio of nutrients to sustain life. You take one and they can’t utilise the other two.

I’ve made this charts to try and illustrate how it could look like in a more comprehensive way.

Pic 1
represents a stable balanced systemthe top chart represents the available nutrients and the bottom chart represents the residual nutrients

13249148-0BC8-4A39-BC38-7090ADBAC3C2.jpeg


Pic 2

Top chart: represents the available nutrients wend carbon is added

bottom chart: represents the changes in residual nutrients

AC0AD6A4-8521-414E-8021-08D11CB29D59.jpeg


Pic 3

top chart: represents availability of Nutrients after being corrected
Bottom chart: represents the changes in residual nutrients

09631951-3D2C-42BA-ACCC-A4A4AC5C1DC3.jpeg


I’ve used a common method in this chart to represent the difference between the ratio of available nutrients and the residual unused nutrient.

it can be observed in pic 3 that over the full process we were able to reduce the overall residual unused nutrient without reducing the ratio of available nutrients.

Now the above is a know process and could be considered cheating.

the way that I’m interpreting the formula is this way:

Pic 5
Represents what we know, the top chart represents that a tank was stable and all the sudden there was a increase in the residual no3 and po4

1A723FA6-246A-4416-B429-8C7F1D933317.jpeg


pic 6:

implementation of the formula

In this particular exercise I’ve used the triton ratios for reef aquaria as a reference but other similar ratios can be used, like the ratio for marine detritus that is similar to the phytoplankton ratio.

if we add the known movement in the residual nutrients to the ratio we could observe a more clear picture.
In this exercise we can see that no3 and po4 are starting to rise, the absolute number is not important we just need to know that is rising to be able to make it work.

this gives us something like this
C:12400 N: 147 plus rising (X no3) P: 1 plus rising (Y po4)

we could conclude that the system is becoming to have less available carbon

1C538719-605D-47DB-A0D6-7536DB9A02BA.jpeg

F96C2222-BA69-4214-AB39-A75F24CEA74C.jpeg
 
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GARRIGA

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Perhaps with the ability to eventually test carbon in our systems that will bring more light to the discussion. For the time being, I just keep adding it and it's by no means scientific or precise in application. Have not seen adverse long-term affects from either overdosing in one application or adding more than recommended per tank volume on a daily basis. Worse I had was one event when i purposely overdose a single application and fish were seen breathing heavy. Lasted a few hours. No casualties. No signs it ever happened.

I don't run a skimmer so my system handles it naturally. Excess isn't mechanically removed by any means including socks or WCs.

I get the appetite to dissect something to it's finest components for a clear explanation but sometimes we might just be forced to accept something works and it's not fully understood, qualified or explained.
 
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sixty_reefer

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Perhaps with the ability to eventually test carbon in our systems that will bring more light to the discussion. For the time being, I just keep adding it and it's by no means scientific or precise in application. Have not seen adverse long-term affects from either overdosing in one application or adding more than recommended per tank volume on a daily basis. Worse I had was one event when i purposely overdose a single application and fish were seen breathing heavy. Lasted a few hours. No casualties. No signs it ever happened.

I don't run a skimmer so my system handles it naturally. Excess isn't mechanically removed by any means including socks or WCs.

I get the appetite to dissect something to it's finest components for a clear explanation but sometimes we might just be forced to accept something works and it's not fully understood, qualified or explained.
I am by no means trying to say that carbon dosing doesn’t work or that is detrimental for a system in any way.
I find Carbon dosing a natural method to reduce the residual unused nutrient N and P.

The above charts is more to illustrate that there is much more to nutrients that we normally don’t think of and it supports most methods that we use today in reef keeping aquaria.
the thread goal is to illustrate that there is a big difference in availability of the nutrients C N P and test for residual unused nitrate and phosphates.
With the above knowledge, we can in a way understand why stability is so important in our system and it allow the end user to do corrections to the ratio of available nutrients if stability is lost by natural means or by intentional means it also illustrates that it’s possible to have bacteria as a sole means of import and export of nutrients.
I strongly believe that understanding how the availability of nutrients works can improve our hobby massively and keep more people in the hobby as common mistakes that newcomers do could be cut by a astonishing number and keep them in the hobby that we all enjoy without having to spend months battling dinoflagellates or Cyanobacteria wend those situations could of being avoided, the current thinking that is found in the hobby regarding nutrient is what actually causes all this problems in the first place. Imo
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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I wonder if the link is the heterotrophic bacteria associated with benthic filamentous cyanobacteria? Maybe these bacteria may provide more nutrients with ethanol than acetic acid.

Could be. It might also just be that the cyano that I had already present were more efficient at oxidizing ethanol than acetic acid.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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The theoretical formula that I’ve been speaking during the last couple weeks It’s a possible new way to interpret limitations in the availability of nutrients that differs from residual unused nutrients.
The theory is that the abundance or limitations of the nutrients C N P in reef aquaria can be interpreted by the movements in the residual unused nutrient.
the formula accounts for all tank inhabitants including bacteria as they are the main species fixing the availability of C N P.
The formula can be also helpful in a outbreak of Cyanobacteria bacteria or dinoflagellates As it can identify the reason they were able to bloom in a tank and the nutrient that they using to thrive in a system.

I have to say I've not been able to detect anything revealing in this discussion, and it doesn't make sense to me. I've tried and just cannot connect the dots.

It is not even clear what it means for a tank to be limited by one element since every organism in the tank might be limited in a different way.

As I have said repeatedly, it is well established by dosing experiments in the scientific literature that different organisms in the same water can be growth limited by different nutrients since they have different abilities to take them up.

It is not even sensible to me to claim that a tank must be N or P or C limited based on simple measurements of those elements, or even tracking them over time.

It is also not a correct assumption , IMO, that "the formula accounts for all tank inhabitants including bacteria as they are the main species fixing the availability of C N P."
 
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sixty_reefer

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I have to say I've not been able to detect anything revealing in this discussion, and it doesn't make sense to me. I've tried and just cannot connect the dots.

It is not even clear what it means for a tank to be limited by one element since every organism in the tank might be limited in a different way.

As I have said repeatedly, it is well established by dosing experiments in the scientific literature that different organisms in the same water can be growth limited by different nutrients since they have different abilities to take them up.

It’s unfortunate, I’ve tried to explain it to the best of my abilities

It is not even sensible to me to claim that a tank must be N or P or C limited based on simple measurements of those elements, or even tracking them over time.
I’ve tried to show the connection, that’s all I can do.
It is also not a correct assumption , IMO, that "the formula accounts for all tank inhabitants including bacteria as they are the main species fixing the availability of C N P."

I can’t think of anything else I can do, in practice it seems that it may work

Day 3

4DE1BFEF-F4F6-413D-976C-675AA7C2A292.jpeg


Day 4

D5902EEA-25B2-42ED-BE09-BC8DF7A93C47.jpeg


day 5

025981C6-BB12-4043-87D5-CB5CF83D39F7.jpeg


Day 6

7ABB9485-7235-4334-9CC8-477EFC2E4EBF.jpeg


day 7

36F40499-4688-451C-9CC2-22F829CE79BF.jpeg


day 8

50B1C387-5EFB-4DFC-B86D-6A2A1DB84CF4.jpeg


I don’t have pics from day 1 and 2 it was much worse. In comparison to day 3 the tank doesn’t have any sorts of mechanical filtration and I’m not touching the Cyanobacteria day 7 and 8 activated carbon was added to remove any toxins from the Cyanobacteria die off.

day 7 to 8 there is a reduced improvement as I’m starting to struggle to keep up with N dosing, I’ve applied the formula and it coincides with what I’ve done to the tank to cause the bloom, I’ve understood what was happening and I’ve formulated a plan to reduce the issue, it’s not a miracle cure and it may take a few more weeks until the test is completed.
 
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Randy Holmes-Farley

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I can’t think of anything else I can do, in practice it seems that it may work

To do what, exactly?

If you make a prediction that is not otherwise tested, how is that evidence of working?
 

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It’s unfortunate, I’ve tried to explain it to the best of my abilities

Perhaps it is that there is nothing there to get?

I'm trying to be nice, but to put it more bluntly "Where's the beef?"
 
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Dan_P

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Im all in for public discourse as there may be more people watching and can interfere if something said it’s not right. Meaning that from my behalf am fine to carry out debating the theory.

the formula it’s based on the idea that most of the microbe in our system needs a C N P ratio of nutrients to sustain life. You take one and they can’t utilise the other two.

I’ve made this charts to try and illustrate how it could look like in a more comprehensive way.

Pic 1
represents a stable balanced systemthe top chart represents the available nutrients and the bottom chart represents the residual nutrients

13249148-0BC8-4A39-BC38-7090ADBAC3C2.jpeg


Pic 2

Top chart: represents the available nutrients wend carbon is added

bottom chart: represents the changes in residual nutrients

AC0AD6A4-8521-414E-8021-08D11CB29D59.jpeg


Pic 3

top chart: represents availability of Nutrients after being corrected
Bottom chart: represents the changes in residual nutrients

09631951-3D2C-42BA-ACCC-A4A4AC5C1DC3.jpeg


I’ve used a common method in this chart to represent the difference between the ratio of available nutrients and the residual unused nutrient.

it can be observed in pic 3 that over the full process we were able to reduce the overall residual unused nutrient without reducing the ratio of available nutrients.

Now the above is a know process and could be considered cheating.

the way that I’m interpreting the formula is this way:

Pic 5
Represents what we know, the top chart represents that a tank was stable and all the sudden there was a increase in the residual no3 and po4

1A723FA6-246A-4416-B429-8C7F1D933317.jpeg


pic 6:

implementation of the formula

In this particular exercise I’ve used the triton ratios for reef aquaria as a reference but other similar ratios can be used, like the ratio for marine detritus that is similar to the phytoplankton ratio.

if we add the known movement in the residual nutrients to the ratio we could observe a more clear picture.
In this exercise we can see that no3 and po4 are starting to rise, the absolute number is not important we just need to know that is rising to be able to make it work.

this gives us something like this
C:12400 N: 147 plus rising (X no3) P: 1 plus rising (Y po4)

we could conclude that the system is becoming to have less available carbon

1C538719-605D-47DB-A0D6-7536DB9A02BA.jpeg

F96C2222-BA69-4214-AB39-A75F24CEA74C.jpeg
OMG! Thanks for this. This will take some time to take in. I will have to dust off my “Ecological Stoichiometry” book too.

Dan
 
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Perhaps it is that there is nothing there to get?

I'm trying to be nice, but to put it more bluntly "Where's the beef?"
I know you are being very patient with me and am grateful for that, the “beef” is on the substrate of the pictures, if you observe the substrate the Cyanobacteria is slowly dying and receding with the only change being the availability of nutrients as per the theory.

there’s 9 hours in the difference between this pics

Day 3

BA834FC6-D809-4FA1-8089-A90DFD862AB5.jpeg


day 8

0CAA1092-6340-4B08-A71A-53C79E83963B.jpeg


this morning

39312BC3-47CF-4AFB-B3DD-8E476599E1BD.jpeg

the change in colour and the reduction in the amount of Cyanobacteria in the substrate gives me a indication that the Theory may be aligning with the practice. Am only half way trough the practice of the implementation of the theory.
 
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How close to perfect, for you, is your reef aquarium?

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