!!!SPS SUCK! THE ACRO-FUGIUM WRITE UP!!! I guess I finally finished this thing, sort of

tigé21v

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you may be good candidate to dose then. I use lab grade sodium nitrate myself now going on well over a year. Pm me if you'd like some details on where to get it and dosages.
Does the lab grade have any sediment in it? I have some tech-grade sodium nitrate powder I've been using, but it has stuff that settles to the bottom of the container. Always need to shake it up before use. I'd like set it up to dose via an Apex, but not looking to have to put it on a stirrer before dosing.
 

AcroNem

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I'm finding two types and I have to ask about them. You can get sodium nitrate and potassium nitrate, I know potassium plays a role in coloration as well could that be part of what is helping? Has anyone tried using one or the other to dose and seen a difference?
 

tigé21v

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I thought I read somewhere when I was first looking into dosing it that sodium nitrate is preferred. You run a risk of overdosing potassium if i remember correctly. (But don't hold me to that.)
 

volivier

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You are talking about dosing, but doesn't feeding the fish help feed the nutrients?
 

bklynreef

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Im curious as to what number in PO4 would you consider to be ok, or high or just about right. I cant just say throw those NO3 and PO4 test kits away as some here have mentioned because there are issues when those numbers climb to a level where you can your sps getting overtaken by algae or just not react well to the amount of PO4 in the tank. I used to be of the mind set that my number should be .03 -.06 but these numbers are almost impossible for me to keep in my tank and i did have success with those numbers although some sps werent perfect with it so it was either to high or too low which i couldnt figure out which. It might have been the GFO as well stripping the water or the carbon reactor stripping as well. So, fast forward to today I had started biopellets around alittle over three weeks ago to reduce NO3, help with PO4 but mainly for carbon dosing so i dont have to deal with vinigar sugar or vodka any longer. I never saw the tank looking so good with growth and color like never before, it was truly amazing to watch. My PO4 numbers started at .06 when i started pellets but slowly rose but i wont change the GFO since its only 2 1/2 weeks since it was replaced and im sure its not exhausted so fast but that wasnt what was interesting. I left it alone and said ill let it be untill i see my corals starting to react negatively to the PO4 in the tank. As the number rose to .11 all i saw was more growth and more color. im not saying its only the PO4 or the biopellets but the are other factors that are at play here. Now i am just playing things out to see when or what the PO4 number will be when i will need to replace the GFO. I even stopped feeding my fish everyday sparingly to every other day sparingly and the corals once a week. My goal is to get away from GFO and Carbon reactors all together. This thread gives me confidence in the direction im taking and im glad to have seen this as im going through it myself.
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Update, Changed GFO out 3 days ago and saw a loss of color on some sps so checked the PO4 and it went from .11 to .05
Trying to find that special sweet spot. now I turned down the output on the GFO to bring up the PO4 slowly to where I can see what the number should be.
 

Gwitness

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Im kinda confused on if nutrients are that high in the tank how are there not cyano issues or anything else like that going on?? Might be a dumb question but just curious....because I have my nitrates at 10 now and phosphates at 0.06 and I have cyano a good bit.....well technically my levels are right in line with a lot of other people on this thread but they don't seem to have that issue....just curious
 

swk

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Cyano is a bacteria. An aggressive, opportunistic one as well. If others do not have the bacteria in sufficient numbers in their tank to cause an outbreak, then they would not struggle with such a thing. There's so many factors that lead to cyano issues too, beyond what we can test for in our tanks easily.
 

bklynreef

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These issues come and go with the tank normal cycle and as swk said it has a lot to do with various things.
 

bklynreef

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Update, Changed GFO out 3 days ago and saw a loss of color on some sps so checked the PO4 and it went from .11 to .05
Trying to find that special sweet spot. now I turned down the output on the GFO to bring up the PO4 slowly to where I can see what the number should be.
There could be two things at play here, either the PO4 dropped too rapidly or that the .05 number is too low. The more i am thinking about it the more im seeing as numbers over .08 and im not sure what the high point of those numbers can be before i start seeing browning from the PO4. When i was at .11 everything looked great but i was worried to let it get higher but mabe i should have to see what that high point number is where its negatively affecting the corals then i can know where the PO4 number range needs to be at. keep in mind im running BP's so dont compare my numbers to a non BP system. When i wasnt running BP's my PO4 needed to be at .03-.06 to have great growth and color. The BP's added a broader range im seeing for PO4 and better growth n color so far.
 

swk

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There could be two things at play here, either the PO4 dropped too rapidly or that the .05 number is too low. The more i am thinking about it the more im seeing as numbers over .08 and im not sure what the high point of those numbers can be before i start seeing browning from the PO4. When i was at .11 everything looked great but i was worried to let it get higher but mabe i should have to see what that high point number is where its negatively affecting the corals then i can know where the PO4 number range needs to be at. keep in mind im running BP's so dont compare my numbers to a non BP system. When i wasnt running BP's my PO4 needed to be at .03-.06 to have great growth and color. The BP's added a broader range im seeing for PO4 and better growth n color so far.
How're you getting the .05 number? Hanna? Low range, normal? Even with an "accurate" reagent, my Hanna reads higher than actual. The only po4 test that has correlated with both triton and AWT testing has been the ELOS professional phosphate kit. Best kit out there if you're really concerned about po4.
 

bklynreef

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How're you getting the .05 number? Hanna? Low range, normal? Even with an "accurate" reagent, my Hanna reads higher than actual. The only po4 test that has correlated with both triton and AWT testing has been the ELOS professional phosphate kit. Best kit out there if you're really concerned about po4.
I gave up on all the crappy testing kits out there and spent the money on a Martini Mi412 Made by Milawukee. I needed real accuracy.
 
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Gwitness

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Cyano is a bacteria. An aggressive, opportunistic one as well. If others do not have the bacteria in sufficient numbers in their tank to cause an outbreak, then they would not struggle with such a thing. There's so many factors that lead to cyano issues too, beyond what we can test for in our tanks easily.
Got it thanks!!! I hate it lol
 

Oceansize

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My nitrates are 40. They have been 40 for years and my acropora has no problems at all. I don't even have a phosphate test kit. I also have been saying this for years but gave up
Assuming you don't have an algae problem, what do you credit that to? Are water changes enough to prevent algae in a tank with nitrates at 40?
 

Turbo's Aquatics

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I think you're right. I ran an ATS for some time, and although it grew algae like mad and helped drop the tank's nutrients, most of the corals didn't look that great. The day I pulled it off, I also changed the GAC. By that evening, sps that had been having little or no PE had PE like I hadn't seen for months. I know many aquarists have success with ATS's but it didn't seem to be for my system.
The question comes up every now and again in the algae scrubber threads about people running an algae scrubber on an SPS tank. I figure this thread is probably watched by a lot of SPS addicts so, anyone else run an algae scrubber on an SPS tank and have you seen similar/opposite results like @tigé21v saw?

Seems like an appropriate thread to bring up the subject so I don't mean to threadjack - I pm'd @Battlecorals and he said fire away, relevant to the discussion...

I have found that on my tanks the scrubber keeps N and P down to nearly zero (Nitrate on sailfert looking sideways is usually clear or slightly pink = 0.5-1.0, Hanna reads usually 0.02-0.05ish) but I have also read many opinions basically stating that an algae scrubber can't fully remove N and P (or more appropriately, it won't) or else it would kill itself, so to an extent, they will tend to self-regulate the tank nutrient levels. Maybe that is in the absence of other filtration though.

But compare that to (some/most) artificial methods that have the goal or rock bottom zero, in the context of the topic of this thread, it would seem that an algae scrubber would be a method that would allow you to achieve low nutrients without starving the system, and without removing food particles.

I don't have a huge amount of personal experience with SPS but from what I have heard from others running a scrubber + SPS, they have pretty good success when combining a scrubber with a skimmer and/or GAC. My guess is that there is a chemical factor at play when it comes to certain corals and certain algaes, so it might also depend on the build quality of the scrubber as this can affect the type of growth you get, and the type of growth you get can affect the overall system from a chemical perspective. That's just my observance though, over the years. If you grow a ton of gooey slime algae for instance, that will filter but might also have difference exudates vs one that primarily grows a GHA type of algae.
 

jasonandsarah

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The question comes up every now and again in the algae scrubber threads about people running an algae scrubber on an SPS tank. I figure this thread is probably watched by a lot of SPS addicts so, anyone else run an algae scrubber on an SPS tank and have you seen similar/opposite results like @tigé21v saw?

Seems like an appropriate thread to bring up the subject so I don't mean to threadjack - I pm'd @Battlecorals and he said fire away, relevant to the discussion...

I have found that on my tanks the scrubber keeps N and P down to nearly zero (Nitrate on sailfert looking sideways is usually clear or slightly pink = 0.5-1.0, Hanna reads usually 0.02-0.05ish) but I have also read many opinions basically stating that an algae scrubber can't fully remove N and P (or more appropriately, it won't) or else it would kill itself, so to an extent, they will tend to self-regulate the tank nutrient levels. Maybe that is in the absence of other filtration though.

But compare that to (some/most) artificial methods that have the goal or rock bottom zero, in the context of the topic of this thread, it would seem that an algae scrubber would be a method that would allow you to achieve low nutrients without starving the system, and without removing food particles.

I don't have a huge amount of personal experience with SPS but from what I have heard from others running a scrubber + SPS, they have pretty good success when combining a scrubber with a skimmer and/or GAC. My guess is that there is a chemical factor at play when it comes to certain corals and certain algaes, so it might also depend on the build quality of the scrubber as this can affect the type of growth you get, and the type of growth you get can affect the overall system from a chemical perspective. That's just my observance though, over the years. If you grow a ton of gooey slime algae for instance, that will filter but might also have difference exudates vs one that primarily grows a GHA type of algae.
I run a scrubber on a very stick heavy tank and love it. Since stopping the use of Gfo I have had great results. Before when I was using just Gfo and especially when using both Gfo and Ats I was getting bad results(over stripping the system) my sps did ok but paled out and slowed growth significantly. But my zoas and Lps hated it!

How could you get a better filter system than algae? This is what mainly filters the ocean right? I love my scrubber in conjunction with my skimmer and Gac. Do kinda wish I had a better scrubber though! [emoji12]
 

robert

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The assumption that we need low N and P to keep corals is primarily driven by the effects of these elevated nutrient levels on algae growth and not on the corals themselves.

Studies I have seen, suggest that elevated N and P by themselves are not detrimental to coral growth. On the contrary, if algae is kept in check, coral growth can be enhanced through N and P enrichment.

So the problem becomes one of how to hold algaes in check, while supplying the nutrients required for coral growth.
The redfield ratio is not an absolute, but it is a good point of reference.

We basically have three points of attack of which we typically only pay attention to two. Why? Because these two, N and P are the only ones we can easily measure and manipulate. But here is the paradox - corals rely on algae themselves in the form of Zoox for their carbon requirements. If we starve algae in general we also starve our corals.

So forget N and P - concentrate for a moment on how algae outcompetes your corals - understand that - and the rest makes sense,
There is a third group of organinsms on the reef. These are the bacteria that live everywhere - including in the corals themselves.
These bacteria are growth limited, not by N and P but by a lack of available C. Corals ensure that the bacteria in their structure remain growh limited by producing long chain carbons - which the bacteria have a hard time utilizing.

Algaes on the other hand produce and release simple sugars, short chain carbons which these bacteria readily consume. Once they have sufficient C they attack the tissues of the corals for ready sources of N and P. Bleaching, STN, RTN and band diseases result - and the tissues of the dying corals become the a new food source for the algaes. This is why reefs so quickly transition from coral to algae dominance in the face of pollution.

So yes, you can lower nutrient levels using macroalgaes or turf scrubbers - but in the confines of your tank - their negative affects may be magnified unless care is exercised. But why go this route - the more direct approach is to carbon limit the system.

How? By eliminating algae with grazers (as on the reef) and in doing so, eliminating the simple carbons from the system; Eiminating deutritus, particulate organic carbons with good filteration; Stripping carbons from the water colum with GAC and purigen; Eliminate baterial overload in the water column with UV/ozone/or peroxide (I greatly prefer UV as its self regulating); And exploiting benthic autotrophic bacteria (also as on the reef) to keep nutrients in check. Do not carbon dose. as this pushes the bacterial balance to the algae side of the equation. I prefer to use a small sulphur denitrification system as opposed to excessive rock or algae systems as I am in control of it and its generally "outside" of my water column.

If you do this, then control of N and P can be relaxed, and thats good for corals their zoox guests and growth.

Yes you can have too many denitrifiers. In the absence of waterchanges, you want your levels of N and P to always be gradually building.
This means if your N and P are 0 and you find yourself having to dose nitrate, lose( or open up) some of the rock and ditch the substrate in your system. Get back to a positive N and P balance.

And yes, you do feed your corals, not directly, but with transient short pulses of carbon sources such as fish waste (and excess food particles) but never enough to overwhelm SCM (slime) production, and never enough to destabilize the internal bacterial population of the coral. Studies have shown that short exposures to carbon sources do not destabilize the bacterial populations in corals - but chronic exposures do.

In short - set up a hight nutrient - low carbon - low pelagic/hetrotrophic bacterial system.

By the way - Bentonite - the clay, is a good alternative to reduce phosphates and organics from the water column. I've never seen a bad reaction from any fish or coral and no precipitates. Makes your water very clear as well.
 
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Turbo's Aquatics

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@robert that's a great post, lots of good information in there. That falls in line with what I have seen working as a successful combination: scrubber + carbon/purigen (can't wait to get that new Avast reactor for Purigen). But you bring up something interesting and I have to ask, if carbon dosing - in whatever form - fuels the bacteria as you describe here
Once they have sufficient C they attack the tissues of the corals for ready sources of N and P.
Then why does anyone have success with a carbon dosing based system? While on one had that seems to make sense the way you describe it, on the other hand it seems to fly in the face of the rise in popularity of things like biopellets, etc.
 

gettaReef

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robert, great write-up. I agree with what you've said and have found it to be true in my experience. You stated Bentonite can be used for phosphate reduction and polishing water. Is this the type of Bentonite clay you would suggest to use in the aquarium?: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00LPOC8DW/ref=pd_aw_sim_325_2?ie=UTF8&dpID=411AplK1i3L&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL100_SR100,56_&refRID=0N2GDSAMDDSPBMP2M6XF

Also, how would you suggest using the clay (in a mesh sock, in a reactor, mixed in with the substrate, etc..)? Do you have any other sources/articles/threads that discuss using Bentonite clay in a reef? Thank you
 

robert

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Thats the stuff ... but I usually get this:

http://www.amazon.com/Yerba-Prima-Bentonite-32-Ounce-Bottle/dp/B0016J6XAA/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1447102604&sr=8-2&keywords=bentonite+great+plains

I add 12-20 drops (400 g tank) into the intake of my return pump or you could shake it up in a bottle of tank water and add it directly.

It is highly charged (ionic) and will look like a clump of oil (except it sinks) and will take a good bit of shaking to disperse it into the water.

Its been used in freshwater for some time...I don't know of anyone else using it in a reef but I've been using it for several years and I found it works quite well, despite the conventional wisdom that the ionic content of saltwater should reduce its effectiveness. I guess thats why no one else uses it - but they're wrong as has been confirmed with experimental testing.

3.5. Effect of temperature and salinity

"The influence of salinity on phosphate adsorption by unmodified and modified clays was studied at 0, 20 and 35 psu salinities. These values simulate salinities in fresh, brackish and marine waters, respectively. The influence of temperature on phosphate adsorption was determined at temperatures ranging from 5 to 35 °C. As shown in Fig. 6, high temperature is advantageous for phosphate adsorption on bentonites. Fig. 6 shows an increase in the adsorption capacity with an increase in temperature. This indicates that the adsorption reaction is of endothermic nature and the ion-exchange mechanism is favored at higher temperatures. The increases in adsorption capacity of unmodified and modified clays at higher temperatures may be caused by the enlargement of pore size and/or activation of the adsorbent surface (Masue et al., 2007; Yan et al., 2010). Likewise, decreased adsorption capacity of unmodified and modified clays at lower temperatures, may be caused by decreased pore size. The fraction of phosphate removed at the extremes of the salinity range, illustrates that salinities close to those of marine water had the most prominent effect on phosphate ion removal, followed by brackish and fresh water. Hence the phosphate adsorption capacity followed the order: fresh water <brackish water<marine water (Fig. 7). The effect of salinity may originate from two physicochemical mechanisms. Firstly, ionic strength effects are expected to suppress ion uptake by the material. This is not observed in Fig. 7 however, where at higher salinities a relatively small, though well-resolvable, increase of phosphate uptake is observed. Secondly, osmotic pressure effects may favor uptake of ions from the aqueous phase on the material's surface. The data in Fig. 7 clearly disfavor an ionic strength effect, while they are in qualitative agreement with an osmotic pressure effect."
bentonite.png


The whole artice can be downloaded from here:
http://www.researchgate.net/publication/233979594_Removal_of_phosphate_from_natural_waters_using_innovative_modified_bentonites
 
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