Triton Testing and Nutrients

ZaneTer

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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.
I have no idea if his Hanna is broken but I would certainly like to see a minimum of two tests done with a big difference in the standards concentration. I would prefer a test at 0.05ppm and another at 0.25ppm

We have absolutely no way to test the ICP but I would also lean towards trusting it. Another member suggested the ICP test vials could be adsorbing the PO4 quite strongly.

If the two tests against known standards prove to be within margin of error then we have our answer that the unit is fully functional but results from his tank may be skewed due to the lanthanum chloride.
 
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cjpitt80

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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.
Using Hanna HI774 ULT Phosphate .
To your point, I DID initially see a slight drop in the PO4 with the Brightwell, however I could never get it below .10 for longer than a day, there didn't seem to be a linear effect. Keeping that in mind, and understanding the directions say there could be a false positive, I (probably foolishly) continued to dose the stuff. NOW, however, I'm a little more confused as to how to move forward. I have tested the Hanna against a NIST traceable known 0.10ppm standard and got 0.13ppm indicating the checker is working fine as that is within the expected error. So the checker works fine FOR STANDARDS, just not my tank because of the Lanthanum. Assuming ICP is correct and I'm really at 0.007ppm, now what? Ideally, I'd want to raise that up, but I don't want to chase numbers and it appears as though the only way to get an accurate PO4 reading of my tank is to send a $50 ICP test OR assume the ACTUAL levels in my tank are about 20x less what the Hanna checker reads.
Ugh. NOW I see what people say about not chasing numbers. Wish I would've never used the stuff. Only reason I started in the first place was because I consistently was getting over .20ppm PO4 and all my SPS faded and died. Now I feel I've made things worse, even my Euphyllia and Acans look like crap now, pulling away from the skeleton
IMG_20190809_132420.jpeg
 
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cjpitt80

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Well.....New Triton ICP test is in Oct '19. PO4 reading from Triton is about 7.5x higher than my Hanna now 0.023ppm vs 0.17ppm so yeah? At this point I'm just confused. Seems like my Hanna meter consistently runs much higher than ICP testing, though it tests a NIST standard solution within range:oops::oops:?????? I'm just stumped and confused....

Lanthanum from Phoshat-E is gone and Lithium is going down, but now somehow tin and aluminum have entered the system. Nothing has changed prior to this last sample taken, so I'm just completely confused. I have one torch coral hanging on that looks okay. Acans have done the same as the other euphyllia and just detached from the base and floated away. I guess I'll try a polyfilter for the metals? Crazy thing is that tin and aluminum went UP AFTER my previous water changes with the same salt. Seems like no matter what I do, I'll always have some sort of heavy metal contamination. I'm using Red Sea blue bucket.

Other changes (AFTER taking last sample) I've setup a BRS mini reactor running GAC and I've started dosing NOPOX to try to lower nitrates. So... we'll see I guess. Kinda confused now about what the heck to do
 

BeejReef

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I feel for you. No easy answers :(

My hannah read phosphates at roughly 2-3x the level my triton test reported as well. Granted, I'm only using the low range checker, but it was very similar. I expected to see .19 and triton reported .08. Mine has been all over the place recently, from undetectable to .5... groping in the dark.

FWIW, I had similar issues with tin, aluminum, lithium, iron, even a little lead (below EPA standards for drinking, but higher than Triton likes). My corals aren't dying. Great that you're being so thorough, but don't let yourself scopelock on chemistry. People talk a lot about coloration and "unhappy" in regards to phosphate, but not usually outright death.

Best of luck. Wish I had the answer.
 
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cjpitt80

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I feel for you. No easy answers :(

My hannah read phosphates at roughly 2-3x the level my triton test reported as well. Granted, I'm only using the low range checker, but it was very similar. I expected to see .19 and triton reported .08. Mine has been all over the place recently, from undetectable to .5... groping in the dark.

FWIW, I had similar issues with tin, aluminum, lithium, iron, even a little lead (below EPA standards for drinking, but higher than Triton likes). My corals aren't dying. Great that you're being so thorough, but don't let yourself scopelock on chemistry. People talk a lot about coloration and "unhappy" in regards to phosphate, but not usually outright death.

Best of luck. Wish I had the answer.
Yeah, In my case it is death though :-( So not really sure what the heck happened, and more importantly what the heck to do now going forward. I had some montipora that I lost (pretty sure it was alk instability). The euphyllia really puzzled me. The colors never looked "off" they were still green and fluoresced under moon lights, but they stopped fully expanding and the heads kinda just peeled off the skeleton base and floated away. Same thing with the acans. 1 by 1 heads floated away. Had most of the euphyllia for over a year with no change in light/flow so definitely points me towards water chemistry. Thing is I'm not using the biggest advantage of Triton (for me) which is no water changes. EVERY sample I send it it's recommended the 6x 15% water change. 1 time it's aluminum, then tin, Lithium, one goes down, then lanthanum is high. Kinda bummed now and confused... I may just go FLOWR tank except I just bought a new light LOL. I'm a sucker for punishment!
 

BeejReef

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Yeah, In my case it is death though :-( So not really sure what the heck happened, and more importantly what the heck to do now going forward. I had some montipora that I lost (pretty sure it was alk instability). The euphyllia really puzzled me. The colors never looked "off" they were still green and fluoresced under moon lights, but they stopped fully expanding and the heads kinda just peeled off the skeleton base and floated away. Same thing with the acans. 1 by 1 heads floated away. Had most of the euphyllia for over a year with no change in light/flow so definitely points me towards water chemistry. Thing is I'm not using the biggest advantage of Triton (for me) which is no water changes. EVERY sample I send it it's recommended the 6x 15% water change. 1 time it's aluminum, then tin, Lithium, one goes down, then lanthanum is high. Kinda bummed now and confused... I may just go FLOWR tank except I just bought a new light LOL. I'm a sucker for punishment!
You'll figure it out, as thorough as you are it WILL be an epic reef sooner than later. Do you run a fuge? I found a lot of corrosion inside my fuge light. It's my best guess as the source of a lot of the heavy metals since the cooling fan probably blows all the corroded dust straight into my sump.
 
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cjpitt80

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You'll figure it out, as thorough as you are it WILL be an epic reef sooner than later. Do you run a fuge? I found a lot of corrosion inside my fuge light. It's my best guess as the source of a lot of the heavy metals since the cooling fan probably blows all the corroded dust straight into my sump.
I do run a fuge yeah. Just have a regular utility reflector over the chaeto. Never seen any corrosion there or on the fans, but I'll def check more thoroughly
IMG_20190910_205747.jpg
 

foxt

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My recent Triton P results differ from my Hanna 736 results as well.

In my case, my last comparison tests (this week) had the Hanna 736 reporting P at 22ppb and Triton reporting it at 6.984. That's one set of samples from one tank. Same timeframe, other set of samples from the other tank, Hanna reported P at 16ppb and Triton came in at 4.563.

Both samples were sent to Triton in the same USPS envelope, so maybe it was something environmental while enroute? I have emailed Triton about this and will share whatever response I get.
 
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cjpitt80

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Yep. Well this is now twice for me over past 3 months. 1st time Hanna read appx 20x HIGHER. This time Hanna reads 7.5x HIGHER. Both sets of samples taken within 3min of each other
 

Kevin Duprey

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OK, I'm no expert, but I've learned a bit over the past several years, often the hard way, so I'll try to offer some advice.

First some questions I haven't seen asked yet. This thread started on a chemistry bent, and has stuck there. There are a lot of other things that can cause R/S TN (tissue necrosis R=rapid, S=slow) with SPS and death / melting to LPS.

How old is the tank?
What size?
What are the other tank parameters, and are they stable? (You mentioned an alk instability - how big, and did anything else swing at the same time?)
What lighting and when did you change it? What was it before?
Flow?
Tank inhabitants (quantity and type of fish, inverts, coral)

Let's start there and see if anything jumps out. I'll probably have more questions before possible causes.
 
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cjpitt80

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I didn't mention those things because I seemed to have a rather stable system. I was even able to grow a nice Monti Cap with my less than ideal Current USA Marine Pro IC lights. I kept the euphyllia for over a year in same flow and lighting. The alk swing came from a reagent that went bad and I over reacted and added too much baking soda too fast. The Monti lost all it's color pretty much overnight. The euphyllia and Acans seemed unaffected. Once I got the alk stable again, I noticed some newer Monti frags were paling out and the euphyllia weren't fully expanding (though the color still looked good). After reading, I saw many people reference nutrients. When I started testing more thoroughly it seemed as though I had an imbalance. High PO4(.25ppm) and low NO³ (2ppm) That's when all the dosing and retesting started. Livestock is 1 Bristle tooth Tang (3/19). 1 algae blenny (2/19) 1 Carpenters Flasher (11/18) 1 Linespot Fisher (11/18) Ocelaris pair (7/18)
Tank has been running since 5/18 75 gal DT w/75lbs sand 75lb Caribsea liferock. 29gal sump. Kept at 1.025sg 77-81°. Dosing Triton other methods dkH 7.0
 
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cjpitt80

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I feed a mix of LRS Reef Frenzy/frozen PE mysis/ emerald entree/Hikari carnivore pellets/sea veggie sending pellets/Nori and zucchini clips for the Tang and blenny. I typically feed frozen in the morning and pellets in evening.
All my ICP tests are attached
 

Kevin Duprey

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I didn't mention those things because I seemed to have a rather stable system. I was even able to grow a nice Monti Cap with my less than ideal Current USA Marine Pro IC lights. I kept the euphyllia for over a year in same flow and lighting. The alk swing came from a reagent that went bad and I over reacted and added too much baking soda too fast. The Monti lost all it's color pretty much overnight. The euphyllia and Acans seemed unaffected. Once I got the alk stable again, I noticed some newer Monti frags were paling out and the euphyllia weren't fully expanding (though the color still looked good). After reading, I saw many people reference nutrients. When I started testing more thoroughly it seemed as though I had an imbalance. High PO4(.25ppm) and low NO³ (2ppm) That's when all the dosing and retesting started. Livestock is 1 Bristle tooth Tang (3/19). 1 algae blenny (2/19) 1 Carpenters Flasher (11/18) 1 Linespot Fisher (11/18) Ocelaris pair (7/18)
Tank has been running since 5/18 75 gal DT w/75lbs sand 75lb Caribsea liferock. 29gal sump. Kept at 1.025sg 77-81°. Dosing Triton other methods dkH 7.0
Ok, now I have a better picture. First point, I'm sure you've heard before, and may sound like preaching, but I've been there and learned the hard way: NOTHING good ever happens fast in reefing.

From my perspective, you had a dosing error, overcorrected and lost some stuff. Then the stuff that didn't die outright showed signs of stress (paling colors) and you went looking for something to fix that. In an attempt to fix it, you tried changing nutrient levels, and possibly lighting around the same time. This caused more stress and more death. Adding to it, the method you chose to correct the nutrient issue, LACl, is known to cause rapid changes in PO4, and this rapid change amplified the stress. Now you seem to be looking to change things again based on the Triton ICP results. DON'T DO IT.

I know this sounds harsh, but as I've said, I've been there. It took me too long to learn my lesson to stop knee-jerk reacting to things I observed in the tank. If this helps you get to that point faster, then maybe harsh is warranted. I'm happy to be wrong here, and find out your changes have taken place slowly over several months, but i doubt it. This forum and the internet in general can be a great place to learn and get answers, but you need to temper the answers you get with some skepticism. Look for consistent themes. One of the most consistent themes you'll find among those that have nice tank build threads with successful tanks is patience. If you discover something you don't like with your tank, and you think you know what caused it, change that thing, but change only that thing, and change it SLOWLY. The only time to make rapid changes is if things are dying at an alarming rate.

I wish it didn't take me so long and so many dead corals to figure this out. Since I've taken the patient approach reefing, I've had much more success. If something looks non-ideal, I check the obvious things (alk, ph, K, nutrients, etc.) If something is off, I might correct it slowly if it's off enough to be a concern. Once it's corrected, I wait. Usually things recover, just slowly. Do I still lose things? Yes, but far less often. Many times the corals that look like gonners actually recover somewhat. It's much better to have to frag a colony and save a bunch than lose the whole colony. I dare you to find a reefer that doesn't occasionally lose things. It's just part of the hobby.

Hope this helps.
 
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cjpitt80

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Ok, now I have a better picture. First point, I'm sure you've heard before, and may sound like preaching, but I've been there and learned the hard way: NOTHING good ever happens fast in reefing.

From my perspective, you had a dosing error, overcorrected and lost some stuff. Then the stuff that didn't die outright showed signs of stress (paling colors) and you went looking for something to fix that. In an attempt to fix it, you tried changing nutrient levels, and possibly lighting around the same time. This caused more stress and more death. Adding to it, the method you chose to correct the nutrient issue, LACl, is known to cause rapid changes in PO4, and this rapid change amplified the stress. Now you seem to be looking to change things again based on the Triton ICP results. DON'T DO IT.

I know this sounds harsh, but as I've said, I've been there. It took me too long to learn my lesson to stop knee-jerk reacting to things I observed in the tank. If this helps you get to that point faster, then maybe harsh is warranted. I'm happy to be wrong here, and find out your changes have taken place slowly over several months, but i doubt it. This forum and the internet in general can be a great place to learn and get answers, but you need to temper the answers you get with some skepticism. Look for consistent themes. One of the most consistent themes you'll find among those that have nice tank build threads with successful tanks is patience. If you discover something you don't like with your tank, and you think you know what caused it, change that thing, but change only that thing, and change it SLOWLY. The only time to make rapid changes is if things are dying at an alarming rate.

I wish it didn't take me so long and so many dead corals to figure this out. Since I've taken the patient approach reefing, I've had much more success. If something looks non-ideal, I check the obvious things (alk, ph, K, nutrients, etc.) If something is off, I might correct it slowly if it's off enough to be a concern. Once it's corrected, I wait. Usually things recover, just slowly. Do I still lose things? Yes, but far less often. Many times the corals that look like gonners actually recover somewhat. It's much better to have to frag a colony and save a bunch than lose the whole colony. I dare you to find a reefer that doesn't occasionally lose things. It's just part of the hobby.

Hope this helps.
No harshness taken. I ORIGINALLY tried to lower PO4 with rowaphos. I only had it in a bag in the sump and it proved to be very ineffective (according to Hanna). Lighting and flow HAD remained constant (recently upgraded) I'm nearly positive the euphyllia losses are from the Lanthanum overdose and I'm more apt to trust the Triton ICP readings. When I saw an initial drop in PO4 I figured statement on Brightwell's bottle that it "MAY" cause higher readings than actual, simply didn't apply to me. I should have just trusted the math, but I kept on dosing, and dosing, and dosing... trying to get it consistently under 0.10ppm. I don't have my journal with me right now, but I believe I dosed Phosphat-E over a period of a month or so. Obviously, that was a huge ginormous mistake because according to the dosing recommendations, I needed only 2 doses. (For clarity, when I say "overdose" I mean dosed too often. If the dose called for 2mL, I only dosed 2mL, but I dosed again after a few days, then again a few days later, then again, etc to get it under 0.10ppm). My day job is actually in a laboratory, so I'm familar with the scientific process. It's ALWAYS best to change just 1 thing at a time so you one can observe the results of that change. That said....

Right now, I just have a few zoas and euphyllia left. I'm content to kinda "reset"...make sure I can maintain good water parameters for a while. I'm running GAC now and tinkering with new lights. I'm dosing NOPOX now (HALF the recommended dose) for a more natural nutrient control method. Hopefully the Torch and zoas make it thru (they seem to be pretty tough). If not, I can go FLOWR for a few months :-( Hopefully by the start of the new year I can get some frags in there

Also it looks like my previous ICPs didn't attach.
Oct '19
July '19
Apr '19
Oct '18
Jul '18
 

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