Sixty’s understanding of nutrients 2.0

sixty_reefer

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Sixty’s understanding of Nutrient 2.0

1. Introduction
2. Brief description on the difference between Availability and residual nutrients.
3.Identify nutrient limitations under different filtration methods.
3.1. Heterotrophic bacteria as dominant species effect on nutrients and residual.
3.2. Heterotrophic bacteria and autotrophic split dominance effects on nutrient and residual.
4. Influence of other filtration methods and additives on Nutrients
4.1. Filter sock, poly filter and sponges
4.2. Roller mats
4.3. Macro algae’s
4.4. Carbon Dosing
4.5. Phosphates absorbing Medias
4.6. Phosphates artificial dosing
4.7. Nitrates dosing
4.8. Nitrogen dosing
4.9. Protein skimmer
4.10. Water changes
5. Conclusion


1. Introduction

The following thread is a update and a more detailed method to understand some of the information that was posted in a previous thread named “the third Nutrient” where I wrote about the importance of the Nutrient C and a few ways to interpret limitations in Reef Aquaria, I have now realised that although the theory is correct it can’t be applied to all systems. This is due to exist two main types of biological filtration in our hobby, one that is mainly done by heterotrophic bacteria, this will be the most common system in the hobby in my opinion, the second type of biological filtration is the split autotrophic and heterotrophic bacteria dominance this will be more common to folks that still have large amounts of live rock or media in a dark Refugium normally in the sump or in the back of a AIO system this kind of filtration promotes nitrifying and denitrifying autotroph to colonise part of the system and may affect the principal nutrient limitation theory.


2. Brief description on the difference between Availability and residual nutrients.

It is important in my opinion to understand the difference between availability of nutrients and residual nutrients to fully understand the information shared through this thread and for a better perception of how nutrients work.
The availability of nutrients it’s the process from the start of decomposition of organic biomass into organic carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus the nutrients will then be slowly release into the water column and be utilised by many different organisms that habitat our systems including coral and macro algae’s.
The most important organism at controlling nutrients will be bacteria, they are the sole responsible organisms to limit Carbon, Nitrogen and depending on each individual biological filtration Phosphorus.
The above nutrients can’t be tested with home grade test kits at present time unfortunately. What we can test is for residual nitrates and phosphates this will be the nutrients that a system is not using hence why they can increase or decrease during nutritional changes to a particular system.

The charts in the pictures below demonstrates the changes in C N P availability in comparison to the expected changes in residual nutrients during carbon dosing. The chart purpose is to illustrate the difference between availability and residual nutrients, on the first picture chart we can observe how a stable tank would look like wend stable and on the second picture chart we can observe that the increase of the availability of organic carbon would made the residual of nitrates and phosphates decrease.

Picture 1

0734303E-94F0-4EE9-9E78-2A7510C8CC69.jpeg


picture 2

9F2C6B89-B146-4074-BE20-C6D3C651F526.jpeg



3. Identify nutrient limitations under different filtration methods.

3.1. Heterotrophic bacteria as dominant species effect on nutrients and residual.

How I understand the limitations in C N P Availability of nutrients in a system that is mainly biologically filtered by heterotrophic bacteria.

P limits N and C
That may cause N and C to be in abundance

N limits C
That may cause C to be in abundance

How do I understand abundance in C N P availability of nutrients, abundance means if one of the nutrients is in excess

C abundance
May cause N and P be limited


C and N abundance
May cause P to be limited

Knowing the basics of abundance and limitations we may be able to interpret the limitations and abundance of those nutrients using our residual parameters to have a vague idea of what’s happening at the C N P availability of nutrients level.


Residual of phosphates in connection to P

Phosphates decreasing
It may mean P is starting to be less available

Phosphates at zero
It may Mean that P may not be available in the aquarium

Phosphates increasing
It may Mean P is starting to build up in our aquariums

Residual of Nitrates in connection to N


Nitrates decreasing
It may mean N is starting to be less available


Nitrates at Zero
It may mean that N is not available in the aquarium


Nitrates increasing
It may mean N is starting to build up in our aquariums


3.2. Heterotrophic bacteria and autotrophic split dominance effects on nutrient and residual.

How I understand the limitations in C N P Availability of nutrients in a system that is biologically filtered by heterotrophic and autotrophic bacteria.


Residual nitrates going up
It may mean that there’s not enough media supporting denitrification in the sump/display and the display could be limited by the nutrient C

Residual Nitrates going down
It may mean that there is to much media in the sump/display supporting denitrification or a abundance of the nutrient C in the display.


Residual nitrates stable
The balance is just right between display and sump

Residual phosphates going up
It may mean that most of the nutrient N is being processed by Nitrifying autotrophs in the sump or the display is limited By the nutrient N or C.

Residual phosphates going down
It may mean that there is a abundance of the nutrient N and C in the display.

Residual phosphates stable
The balance is just right between display and sump


4. Influence of other filtration methods and additives on Nutrients

4.1. Filter sock, poly filter and sponges

The above filtration can influence the availability of nutrients and residual nutrients, the way they will influence is due to the contact time with the water column the longer it takes in between changes or cleaning the more nutrients will be available to the overall system.

If a system is used to only have them clean or replaced once a week a change in husbandry like moving from weekly to daily could influence the overhaul stability of the supply of available nutrients to a particular system.

4.2. Roller mats

Rollers are definitely a impressive way to automate mechanical filtration the only disadvantage or advantage in my opinion is how effective they are at removing uneaten food from the water column before they start to break down and be able to release nutrients.

If a particular system is observed to start depleting nutrient sometimes by reducing the speed of the roller you should be able to increase the overall availability of nutrients or increase the speed to lower nutrients.

A change from a filter sock to a roller mat could be one of this situations and I would personally recommend that after the change the roller is set to the lower speed for a few weeks to let the organism in the tank adapt to the new availability of nutrients and slowly increase the speed for the previous reasons.

4.3. Macro algae’s

Macro algae’s are a good way to reduce the residual of Nitrates and Phosphates the only thing that makes them a more complex nutrient export is they’re demand in trace elements and sometimes this can become a issue for continuous growth they may also compete with coral for some of the trace elements.

4.4. Carbon Dosing

Carbon dosing in the form of pellets or the many liquid forms it’s a good way to reduce the the build up of the residual nutrients N and P

4.5. Phosphates absorbing Medias

They ideal to adjust the build up of Residual phosphates without making any large changes to the overall balance of the system

4.6. phosphates artificial dosing

It is a efficient way to increase a target nutrient in a controlled fashion.

4.7. Nitrates dosing

It is a efficient way to increase a Target Residual nutrient in a controlled fashion.

4.8. Nitrogen dosing

Nitrogen dosing it is a effective way to increase the availability of N in a system it will also be a good source of nutrients to aid the growth of bacteria population if desired.

4.9. Protein skimmer

They are a effective way to remove excess organics from the water column before they can break down into available nutrients.

4.10. Water changes

In my opinion water changes are not a effective way to control nutrients, they are efficient in emergencies and in other areas of the hobby like replenish trace elements, regarding nutrient control I believe that they are the last resource to look for.

5. Conclusion

The above information is a easier way to interpret what’s happening in a system at the nutrient level, once identified the type of filtration that a system has and the potential dominant bacteria it can becomes easier to understand what is affecting the nutrition on that individual system for a ease of response from the end user to make more informative adjustments if required, I’ve made a effort to keep everything as simple as possible so that folks can understand the methods regardless of the level of experience.

I may have missed a few things although the basics to understand Nutrition will be present in a way or another in the thread.
 
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sixty_reefer

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The above method may not be fully finished at this point although it is getting closer and closer from a more in-depth understanding on how heterotrophic and autotrophic organisms affect nutrients in many different ways.
 
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sixty_reefer

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Threads used as reference


 
World Wide Corals

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This makes so much sense to understand my ICP tests more as phosphate reads 0.02 on my hanna ULR yet 0.2 on a Triton ICP.
The difference in phosphorous results between Hanna and ICP is more likely an analytical error in the ICP test.
 
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This makes so much sense to understand my ICP tests more as phosphate reads 0.02 on my hanna ULR yet 0.2 on a Triton ICP.
@Dan_P may be correct and it may be a test error unless you referring to phosphorus that is different from residual phosphates, some icp like triton give you a phosphorus analysis that is connected to the availability of nutrients, if that’s what you mean? Those readings are useful if you going to do a N-Doc test that is in the same area of the subject of this thread and contribute to the acknowledge of C N P, Phosphorus will be in the availability of nutrients chart and phosphates will be on the residual chart. Home test kits will only test for phosphates we only able to know the availability of phosphorus trough ICP testing.

hope it helps
 
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The difference in phosphorous results between Hanna and ICP is more likely an analytical error in the ICP test.
They also have me a phosphorus reading and when I challenged them explaining I do Hanna tests they came back and told me that hobby grade test kits will not measure the phosphate levels they can detect.
 

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@Dan_P may be correct and it may be a test error unless you referring to phosphorus that is different from residual phosphates, some icp like triton give you a phosphorus analysis that is connected to the availability of nutrients, if that’s what you mean? Those readings are useful if you going to do a N-Doc test that is in the same area of the subject of this thread and contribute to the acknowledge of C N P, Phosphorus will be in the availability of nutrients chart and phosphates will be on the residual chart. Home test kits will only test for phosphates we only able to know the availability of phosphorus trough ICP testing.

hope it helps
This was a Triton ICP test and they test for both phosphate and phosphorus...my hanna was 0.02 and cross checked with Nyos and salifert...which pretty much makes hobby grade kits pointless..I'm not the only person who's had this issue.
 

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So here is my most recent ICP from Triton.
Now I follow the Hanna ULR to the letter I'm very thorough with it.i also cross check with others and they all read near zero.
When you talk to Triton they are quite patronising and say that hobby grade kits won't measure what they can and they use the most wonderful technical machines to measure it.
So it got me thinking what is the actual point in measuring for phosphate because if I was to reduce phosphate like they recommend I would be in massive danger of going absulte zero with no way of knowing apart from how my corals look and possibly Dino's turning up.
 

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So here is my most recent ICP from Triton.
Now I follow the Hanna ULR to the letter I'm very thorough with it.i also cross check with others and they all read near zero.
When you talk to Triton they are quite patronising and say that hobby grade kits won't measure what they can and they use the most wonderful technical machines to measure it.
So it got me thinking what is the actual point in measuring for phosphate because if I was to reduce phosphate like they recommend I would be in massive danger of going absulte zero with no way of knowing apart from how my corals look and possibly Dino's turning up.
if it’s a phosphates to phosphates problem maybe this article could aid you further. I’m unfamiliar with the technology to be able to give you a correct answer.

 

Smokey the reefer

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if it’s a phosphates to phosphates problem maybe this article could aid you further. I’m unfamiliar with the technology to be able to give you a correct answer.

Thank you I found this part of what you posted very interesting.
It could be another reason why people can end up running into Dino's and cyano.
I basically ignored what Triton asked me to do as I'm not happy just throwing GFO at a "problem" I cannot test for...surprised BRS hasn't done a video on this tbh.
 

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They also have me a phosphorus reading and when I challenged them explaining I do Hanna tests they came back and told me that hobby grade test kits will not measure the phosphate levels they can detect.


It is true that ICP measures forms of phosphate that the Hanna does not, but that is not likely the reason the results do not match.
 
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So it got me thinking what is the actual point in measuring for phosphate because if I was to reduce phosphate like they recommend I would be in massive danger of going absulte zero with no way of knowing apart from how my corals look and possibly Dino's turning up.

The Triton recommendation you post (0.018 to 0.07 ppm phosphate) is not much different than my recommendation of 0.02 to 0.1 ppm phosphate, and it is not at all hard to stay in that range without dropping below detectable limits where dinos are more of a risk.
 

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On the subject of Hanna ULR Vs ICP:

I also follow hanna directions to the letter and have for years now. From steralizing curvettes to using brand new testers and reagents…ive eliminated any controllable source of error. I take three immediate subsequent readings after the 3min hold and average. Often times the first reading is dramatically different than the two immediate subsequent readings. This averaging process has also been recommended by hanna

same day hanna vs ICP:
Hanna: .147
ICP: .04

and those .1+ Results are consistent in my system (zeo/sps). And yes I understand ulr ppb phosphorus : phosphate calcs.

i know of no diliniation brtween a ‘“type” of P Hanna tests for vs an ICP test,,, that seems non-sensible

while i like the ICP results better numerically and I dislike the hanna irregularity; i can only guess which is accurate. Yes system observation can be telling (coral tissue, pe, growth, color, cyano, dino, etc) the observation is often a rear window view- what is observed today could be the result of a system parameter two weeks ago. Having a generally accepted
 
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i know of no diliniation brtween a ‘“type” of P Hanna tests for vs an ICP test,,, that seems non-sensible

Nonsensible?

It is a simple chemical fact that ICP detects all dissolved forms of P and Hanna only detects inorganic orthophosphate.

Organic forms present in seawater such as phospholipids, DNA, RNA, many proteins, etc. Will not show on Hanna but will show by ICP.

That said, such a difference cannot ever explain why ICP would have a lower level than Hanna. The explanation for that difference, aside from test error by one or both methods, would be changes in the dissolved p concentrations in the water during storage before testing.
 

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@Randy Holmes-Farley
Ok thanks for that …by non sensible i mean I don’t understand … please explain…
Given the difference in what ICP vs Hanna P measures consist of, what then should be the reefer standard? ULR or ICP?

Should we expect ICP P to be higher than ULR? How specifically?

Is there a standard ratio Organic:eek:r is it altogether too complex : What specifically is Inorganic Orthophosphate (ULR) vs Organic (ICP)? You state that ULR should not be higher than ICP- please explain

should the reefer standard be inorganic or organic P?

what takes place in the sample / storage to complicate a readout?
 
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So my hanna reads 0.03
My Triton reads 0.25
So they suggest I use GFO to bring po4 way down.
If my hanna is already pretty much at zero how can I measure the huge difference Triton are asking if I can't measure it?
That was my query really I guess I can only tell by icp which kinda makes my home test kits useless
 

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@Randy Holmes-Farley
Ok thanks for that …by non sensible i mean I don’t understand … please explain…
Given the difference in what ICP vs Hanna P measures consist of, what then should be the reefer standard? ULR or ICP?

Should we expect ICP P to be higher than ULR? How specifically?

Is there a standard ratio Organic:eek:r is it altogether too complex : What specifically is Inorganic Orthophosphate (ULR) vs Organic (ICP)? You state that ULR should not be higher than ICP- please explain

should the reefer standard be inorganic or organic P?

what takes place in the sample / storage to complicate a readout?

I do not think the method itself matters unless inorganic phosphate is very low. If total P levels are 0.02 ppm or higher, inorganic phosphate likely predominates and the tests will give similar results.

That said, the time in storage before analysis seems a problem for icp and data suggests that folks should not rely on those numbers.
 

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