Triton Testing and Nutrients

cjpitt80

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I apologize in advance if this is the wrong place to post this, not sure if it should be in chemistry or beginner, or where. I'm new to this forum (much more active than others)

About a month ago, I started dosing KNO3 and Phosphat-E to balance nutrient levels. I had no detectable NO3 levels and PO4 levels around 0.25ppm according to the Hanna ULR Phosphate https://hannainst.com/phosphate-ultr...-hc-hi774.html
I tried ROWAphos, but because I only had a bag in the sump it wasn't very effective. I subsequently went with the Phosphat-E in an attempt to get the PO4 under 0.1ppm or so. With repeated dosing, I could only get it to about 0.15ppm, though I was able to raise NO3 to around 2ppm. My latest Triton report is listed here https://www.triton-lab.de/en/showroo...icp-oes/74258/ which looks like it is indicating a PO4 of about 0.0070 ppm and high lanthanum. So clearly, to me this means I need to STOP dosing the Phosphat-E now. However, my question is, how should I further monitor phosphate levels? I would assume the Triton is more accurate as the home test has user error...My SPS don't look too hot (and haven't in a while, which is why I started dosing in the beginning) Should I use a PolyFilter to try to reduce the Lanthanum and Lithium? Tank has been running since May 2018
 
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BeejReef

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You have to believe your Hanna, unless you're going to be doing weekly ICP tests.. lol.

That lanthium stuff pulls phosphate out so quickly that two samples taken a couple hours apart, or even from different parts of the tank/sump could have significantly different values. Maybe it's possible that a hunk of Lanthium-bound phosphorous wound up in your test sample before getting skimmed out.

You're working at a higher level than me :) I hope you get some old-hands chime in for you.
 
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cjpitt80

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Yeah the whole reason to get a Hanna was to avoid the "this color is almost this" thing. I have API calcium and Salifert Magnesium tests which concur quite nicely with the Triton. Only thing way off was the phosphate by like 20 times. I certainly don't plan (and can't afford weekly ICP testing) Hanna had me at 0.14ppm and same sample for Triton ICP (taken 2min later) tells me I'm at only 0.0068.....
Phosphat-E directs state:
"Phosphate test kits may show a false-positive reading after aquarium has been treated; this is a result of the chemical mechanism by which phosphate test kits operate and does not indicate that the product has failed to perform its intended function. The higher the percentage of bound phosphate removed by filtration, the more accurate test kit readings will be. "
So.. the readings may be HIGHER than actual which of course means I have no idea where I'm at. I'm kinda completely lost now, but I've decided to STOP using Phosphat-E for now based on the high levels of Lanthanum detected. It would be nice to be able to directly measure accurate PO4
 

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Have you considered just buying a GFO reactor?.......it would have been my course of action. Right now you have gone down what I call the "rabbit hole".......Triton tests, P04-N03 dosing, lanthium dosing and hannah test kit issues.

With more info I'm sure it would be easy to detect the cause of zero nitrates. The common causes are not enough fish or your export system is too efficient at N03 reduction which can/usually cause an imbalance.

Most common causes for export system N03 limitations are due to algae filters and carbon dosing.

It's not too late to turn this course of action.
 
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rkpetersen

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Based on all the info you've given, there's something wrong with your Hanna checker, or the way you're doing tests with it.
Because you have excess circulating lanthanum, your orthophosphate level cannot be 0.25 ppm, or anything close to it.

Polyfilter and liquid products like Triton Detox might remove the lanthanum.

Excess lithium is very common, sometimes at extremely high levels, but not proven to have any adverse effects.
It's often due to the salt you use. No commonly available product will remove lithium from the water.
Lithium isn't a heavy metal. It's actually the lightest metal, and one of lightest of all elements.
If you feel you need to get your lithium down, you'll likely have to do water changes with a different salt.
 
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Jimmy Elder

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Phosphate checker is always a safe tester from Hanna. It’s the only Hanna checker we believe to be consistent. All other tests Salinger’s is your best bet. Keeping you nitrates down to 5 or less and phosphates to .2 or less is the goals. The first goal is to just be consistent. When you say dosing are you using a doser? If so how are you dosing?
 
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cjpitt80

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Have you considered just buying a GFO reactor?.......it would have been my course of action. Right now you have gone down what I call the "rabbit hole".......Triton tests, P04-N03 dosing, lanthium dosing and hannah test kit issues.

With more info I'm sure it would be easy to detect the cause of zero nitrates. The common causes are not enough fish or your export system is too efficient at N03 reduction which can/usually cause an imbalance.

Most common causes for export system N03 limitations are due to algae filters and carbon dosing.

It's not too late to turn this course of action.
I did consider it yes. My sump space is pretty tiny though, so it would have been something of a struggle to fit it in there. Once I wasn't able to get under 0.1ppm for any appreciable time with rowaPHOS in the bag, I figured the liquid stuff would be easier than a reactor. Down the rabbit hole I have gone :-( Ordered NIST traceable PO4 reference standard, etc.. For now I'll be doing about 15% weekly WC and see if anything will live.
Not sure what the original cause of zero nitrates were. I had a bunch of chaeto in the fuge (so much that it would no longer rotate). KNO3 dosing seemed to work pretty well as I've been at 5ppm for about 3 weeks now
 
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cjpitt80

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Based on all the info you've given, there's something wrong with your Hanna checker, or the way you're doing tests with it.
Because you have excess circulating lanthanum, your orthophosphate level cannot be 0.25 ppm, or anything close to it.
Yep. I'm starting to think that for sure. Wondering if I ever really had a phosphate "problem" in the first place. I'm doing 15% WC weekly for now and running carbon for the lanthanum and lithium. I plan to get another PO4 test kit and I have some NIST traceable PO4 standard to challenge the Hanna. I'm thinking that possibly I simply had low nutrients rather than an "imbalance" and subsequently drove PO4 down too low, too fast.
 
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cjpitt80

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Phosphate checker is always a safe tester from Hanna. It’s the only Hanna checker we believe to be consistent. All other tests Salinger’s is your best bet. Keeping you nitrates down to 5 or less and phosphates to .2 or less is the goals. The first goal is to just be consistent. When you say dosing are you using a doser? If so how are you dosing?
I dosed DIY KNO3 a few times over a couple weeks to get NO3 levels up to 5ppm. They've been stable for about 3 weeks now and haven't added anymore. I "dosed" Brightwell Phosphat-E at half the recommended dose to get PO4 levels down to 0.05ppm which never happened. Lowest was 0.06 and it promptly rose a couple days later. I stopped dosing about 2 weeks ago when I got the ICP report back. I dose Triton Core 7 other methods at a rate of 1ml/day. I continue to dose this, but that's all.
 

Neoalchemist

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Yep. I'm starting to think that for sure. Wondering if I ever really had a phosphate "problem" in the first place. I'm doing 15% WC weekly for now and running carbon for the lanthanum and lithium. I plan to get another PO4 test kit and I have some NIST traceable PO4 standard to challenge the Hanna. I'm thinking that possibly I simply had low nutrients rather than an "imbalance" and subsequently drove PO4 down too low, too fast.
Phosphates bind quite readily to the glass sample vials. They need to be scrubbed well and often to avoid build up of phosphates on the glass. Especially if you make the mistake of letting the full sample sit for even a minute or so.
You should get a hold of a brand new glass vial and compare the results with the old vials to make sure your readings aren't a false high caused by stained glass.
 
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cjpitt80

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Phosphates bind quite readily to the glass sample vials. They need to be scrubbed well and often to avoid build up of phosphates on the glass. Especially if you make the mistake of letting the full sample sit for even a minute or so.
You should get a hold of a brand new glass vial and compare the results with the old vials to make sure your readings aren't a false high caused by stained glass.
Thinking something like this. Been cleaning them off with acetone, but not scrubbing. I plan to get some new vials and see exactly what the heck is going on. Reason I got Hanna in the first place was to avoid trying to determine what shade of what color is what to the nth degree LOL
 
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cjpitt80

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So, my LFS had Hanna vials in stock. Tested with brand NEW vial at 0.16ppm. 2min later, tested OLD (acetone cleaned, distilled H2O rinsed) vial at 0.11ppm. So no huge difference there and, more importantly, LESS than a brand new vial. I also picked up an API PO4 test which showed no color change indicating 0ppm. Of course, I'm super smart and know that this simply means "Less than 0.25 ppm" and really tells me nothing lol. Anyway, NIST standards will be in hopefully this week and I can really see what this Hanna is reading.
 
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cjpitt80

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Based on all the info you've given, there's something wrong with your Hanna checker, or the way you're doing tests with it.
Because you have excess circulating lanthanum, your orthophosphate level cannot be 0.25 ppm, or anything close to it.

Polyfilter and liquid products like Triton Detox might remove the lanthanum.

Excess lithium is very common, sometimes at extremely high levels, but not proven to have any adverse effects.
It's often due to the salt you use. No commonly available product will remove lithium from the water.
Lithium isn't a heavy metal. It's actually the lightest metal, and one of lightest of all elements.
If you feel you need to get your lithium down, you'll likely have to do water changes with a different salt.
Well, I got NEW vials and the Hach NIST PO4 reference standard. Diluted it to 0.10ppm and tested it. Hanna read.......0.13ppm!?!? Within the margin of error for the checker. So now I'm completely confused. I tested the tank and came back with 0.15ppm. Assuming the checker is correct (as now verified with the NIST standard) I should continue to use some method to drive PO4 below 0.10ppm correct? If Hanna is accurate (which it now seems to be) was the Triton ICP test waaay off? Again, the day I sent the ICP sample to Triton, my Hanna read 0.14ppm. Triton came back 20 times lower at 0.0068ppm. I wouldn't expect them to match completely, but of by a factor of 20??!! What should I do now? I've completely lost a beautiful branching frogspawn and now lost 2 heads on an Acan. There are no SPS left
 

ZaneTer

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The idea to test your Hanna was very good but the execution is flawed. You require a minimum of two data points for comparison. A NIST sample at 0.05 and another at 0.2 should be able to give you a much better idea about the performance of your Hanna checker. The difference between the two standard samples must be outside of the range of margin of error for your Hanna.

Hope this helps
Zane
 
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ZaneTer

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For instance your Hanna checker could be stuck reporting anything in the 0.15 range.
 
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cjpitt80

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The idea to test your Hanna was very good but the execution is flawed. You require a minimum of two data points for comparison. A NIST sample at 0.05 and another at 0.2 should be able to give you a much better idea about the performance of your Hanna checker. The difference between the two standard samples must be outside of the range of margin of error for your Hanna.

Hope this helps
Zane
The NIST reference is 1ppm. I can easily dilute to whatever, but why do I need 2 references? I'm not sure I follow. I was assuming my Hanna was off after Triton reported 20 times lower for the same sample. After having the Hanna correlate quite closely with a known standard, I'm not that sure. Getting a 0.13 reading on a 0.10 known standard is well within the stated 5% margin of error. I'm not sure why I would need more standards. Are you saying you think the checker is less accurate with lower levels. Perhaps this is true. But again recall Hanna seems to be reading TWENTY times higher than Triton did, not just .03ppm. We're talking 0.14 vs 0.007 for the same water....I guess the absolute best would be to send a reference sample in to Triton and see what they report, but I'm not spending $50 on that.
Bottom line is I need to know if my PO4 is too low or to high because my corals agent happy at all and the nutrient balance is totally screwed up for sure
 

ZaneTer

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Your Hanna scaling could be massively off and it’s impossible to tell from a single data point.
 

IslandLifeReef

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For the OP, which Hanna checker are you using, the LR, or the ULR?

Also, I don’t understand why people are so sure that your checker is bad based off of your information. If you are using lanthium to remove PO4, the directions clearly state that you may get a higher reading on a test kit than what is really in the tank. You got a higher number than the ICP test showed. That’s not unexpected since the lanthium messes with the chemicals in home test kits.

Check your tester with the Hanna standard testing solution, and if it test within the excepted tolerance, you are fine. Just know that you probably have to give it a couple of days for filter socks and your skimmer to remove the lanthium before you test. I would trust the ICP.
 
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