Trying to balance out my Nitrate and Phosphates.

Luis's Nano

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Hello all! I need some help. I am running a 32 gallon biocube. My levels for phos and nitrate were great. I had them locked in at 0.03 for phos and 7.5 for nitrate. I really disliked changing gfo. So after talking to a LFS owner, he recommended using nopox. He raved about it. Claims it had hid system dialed in for both phos and nitrate. Sooo I pulled the gfo and started dosing nopox. I hooked it up on a doser to avoid missing any days. I started with 1 ml every other day. My levels started to drop quickly. I was now reading 0.01 phos and 3.5 nitrate. This happened within 2 days. So I pulled back on dosing to 1ml per week. The very next week I was at 0 and 0. From there I started noticing cyano and immediately stopped dosing nopox. To battle the cyano I figured feed more. Dial back the hours on the whites. Blow off the rocks and stir sand bed daily. Also switched to 5 gallons weekly WC vs my 2 gallons weekly. Nothing worked. I got desperate and tried chemiclean at half dose of what was recommended. It did ok. Not great. So about a week after that I found myself blowing off rocks and all again. Phos and nitrate still almost undetectable. I went to Philly Splash and spoke to a rep for brightwell aquatics that recommended microbacter 7 daily and microbacter clean weekly. She also recommended phosphate E if my phosphate started to get too high from pulling GFO and stopping nopox. In addition to neo nitrate. So I have all this stuff and no idea what to do. I feel like it's alot. I understand replacing the beneficial bacteria with the microbacter 7 and also using the microbacter clean to help clean up the uglies. I'm just on the fence about dosing phosphate e and neo nitrate. Any advice would be great.

Tank has been up and running for going on 4 years in Feb.
Alk 8.5
Cal 430
Mag 1350
Nitrate 2.6
Phosphate 0.07
Nitrite 0
Ammonia 0
Temp 75-78
Ph 8.1 average

Using chemi pure blue
Aquamaxx hob skimmer
Polyfilter pads

20210526_152010.jpg
 
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Pistondog

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Phosphate e removes po4, doesn't look like you need to do this.
I'd do the mb7 every 4th day. No nopox.
Sorry, why are you running the chemipure and poly?
 
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Luis's Nano

Luis's Nano

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Phosphate e removes po4, doesn't look like you need to do this.
I'd do the mb7 every 4th day. No nopox.
Sorry, why are you running the chemipure and poly?
Good question lol. I never had my phosphate go above 0.03. To see it hit 0.05-0.07 I thought maybe the polyfilter would help bring it down a bit. The chemi pure I put in to help with the cloudiness after going crazy blowing off the rocks and sand. Also thought it would help with the phosphates since I cut gfo and nopox. Should I pull both out?
 

Pistondog

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Good question lol. I never had my phosphate go above 0.03. To see it hit 0.05-0.07 I thought maybe the polyfilter would help bring it down a bit. The chemi pure I put in to help with the cloudiness after going crazy blowing off the rocks and sand. Also thought it would help with the phosphates since I cut gfo and nopox. Should I pull both out?
Yes. Also stop water changes until nitrate and po4 come up.
I do like your concept of carbon dosing. Some say the bacteria produced aid corals in po4 uptake, which they need.
Maybe try to get back to that once things settle down.
I get cyano a couple times a year when the sun hits the tank, no sweat.
 
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Luis's Nano

Luis's Nano

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Yes. Also stop water changes until nitrate and po4 come up.
I do like your concept of carbon dosing. Some say the bacteria produced aid corals in po4 uptake, which they need.
Maybe try to get back to that once things settle down.
I get cyano a couple times a year when the sun hits the tank, no sweat.
So are you recommending pull the poly filter and chemi pure. Stop the water changed to allow nitrate and phos to rise naturally then get back to nopox? Or use the microbacter 7 instead of the nopox every 4 days once levels are raised. Or after lol ? Sorry for the confusion. Just want to make sure I have some clarity. It's driving me nuts with all this testing and all. I know alot of the fun in this hobby is trying new things but man I had everything locked in. I should've left it the way it was.
 
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Pistondog

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So are you recommending pull the poly filter and chemi pure. Stop the water changed to allow nitrate and phos to rise naturally then get back to nopox? Or use the microbacter 7 instead of the nopox every 4 days once levels are raised. Or after lol ? Sorry for the confusion. Just want to make sure I have some clarity. It's driving me nuts with all this testing and all. I know alot of the fun in this hobby is trying new things but man I had everything locked in. I should've left it the way it was.
The mb7 may outcompete the cyano, use it every 4 days until cyano is gone.
Stop the others until nutrients are back up
Nopox is water vinegar and vodka. I mix my own.
Just to confuse you more, nopox promotes bacteria via carbon dosing. Cyano is a bacteria. Nopox may promote cyano unless other bacteria (mb7) are using up the carbon 1st.
 

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As you've found out it is oh-so-easy to drive PO4 and/or NO3 to '0' with carbon dosing. And that there are lots of entities that are more than willing to help you to make your wallet lighter ;)

Carbon dosing (at least in the shorter term, not years) doesn't eliminate any of your bacterial community, but it does tend to skew it in favor of those organisms that can best utilize the carbon source. Once carbon dosing is stopped, and nothing else has been changed in the system, it will tend to revert back to a resemblance of the original microbial composition in due time (a few months).

IME/IMO, the key here is 'time' as nature, when left to it's own devices, will find balance. So let the aquarium system function naturally without constantly disturbing it by adding 'these and those' products (many of which can have unintended consequences down the road).

Food for thought: if you want to effect nutrient levels (typically thought of as PO4 and NO3 since that's what we can test for), then altering the type/total amount of food per day and/or altering water change volume and/or frequency can be very effective without resorting to GFO and such. As an example, if your PO4 is elevated, feed less PO4 dense foods and perhaps less of it (assuming it doesn't negatively effect fish/inverts). If NO3 is too high, reduce feeding and clean the system more often to remove uneaten food particles and/or larger/more frequent water changes.
 
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Luis's Nano

Luis's Nano

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As you've found out it is oh-so-easy to drive PO4 and/or NO3 to '0' with carbon dosing. And that there are lots of entities that are more than willing to help you to make your wallet lighter ;)

Carbon dosing (at least in the shorter term, not years) doesn't eliminate any of your bacterial community, but it does tend to skew it in favor of those organisms that can best utilize the carbon source. Once carbon dosing is stopped, and nothing else has been changed in the system, it will tend to revert back to a resemblance of the original microbial composition in due time (a few months).

IME/IMO, the key here is 'time' as nature, when left to it's own devices, will find balance. So let the aquarium system function naturally without constantly disturbing it by adding 'these and those' products (many of which can have unintended consequences down the road).

Food for thought: if you want to effect nutrient levels (typically thought of as PO4 and NO3 since that's what we can test for), then altering the type/total amount of food per day and/or altering water change volume and/or frequency can be very effective without resorting to GFO and such. As an example, if your PO4 is elevated, feed less PO4 dense foods and perhaps less of it (assuming it doesn't negatively effect fish/inverts). If NO3 is too high, reduce feeding and clean the system more often to remove uneaten food particles and/or larger/more frequent water changes.
Thank you!
 

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