ULNS Help

Pêcheur

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 17, 2021
Messages
85
Reaction score
65
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Baton Rouge
So it turns out I’m unintentionally running an ULNS and I’m not sure I’m comfortable with that and looking for a way to safely transition out.

System is 3 months old post fast cycle
Tank is 60gal + 15gal sump (65gal total water by volume)

Tropic Marin Syn-biotic salt (I fear this may be the culprit) 15%-20% water changes every 7-14 days. This is currently my main source of replenishing Alk/Calcium.

Mechanical Equipment: Santa Monica surf 2 Algae scrubber, Klir 4 fleece roller, Tunze 9410 skimmer (oversized but run 6 hrs a day), GKM UV sterilizer, & running carbon.

Contents are 5 small fish, 3 montis, 1 acro, 1 torch, 6 favia/favites/acan, 1 Yuma, 1 skunk cleaner shrimp & various hermits/snails. All seem fine except one monti is fading in color. I feed pretty heavy (fish all have full bellies) with a variety of frozen and pellets 2 - 3 times a day with 2xweekly coral spot feeding.

Today’s Parameters:
Nitrate 0.00 - Hanna Nitrate LR
Phosphate “0” - Hanna Phosphorus ULR
Alkalinity 7.0 - Hanna Alk
pH 7.94 - 8.07
salinity 1.026
temp 77.8 - 78.5

I know this is heresy but I have never tested nitrates until this week. I got the Hanna LR checker in May but never used it until today. I got the HR checker on Monday and my first reading was 0 so I went ahead and used the LR checker today and got 0.00.

I tested phosphates on Monday and got a flashing 0 and the same today. Previous readings ranged between 0.01-0.03ppm.

I have no real substantial algae to speak of in the tank. The scrubber has some slime algae growing but I have to cover half the light (run 8 hr/day) or it goes away. I had some minor dinos in the past but they have receded and can only be seen on the powerheads. The glass regularly gets a white hazy film. Finished my first klir4 roll today after 3 months.

Post 1 of 2 - background details.
 
Last edited:
RAP
OP
Pêcheur

Pêcheur

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 17, 2021
Messages
85
Reaction score
65
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Baton Rouge
So I’m not at a place I want to test my nitrates and phosphates daily and am more comfortable running a system with nutrients and working to control them rather than having to dose them. I never expected to have a system with 0 nitrates/phosphates.

I’m not sure if the combination of heavy mechanical filtration with the carbon in the salt mix is the issue or if it’s one or the other so I’m looking on advice how to transition away from ULNS. My phosphates only dropped to 0 after adding the skimmer so I was thinking about taking that offline to see if my nutrient numbers rebound.

Do I need to dose in the short term and what products are recommended?
Should I remove some mechanical filtration? Which?
Should I consider changing salt mixes?
 

wom001

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Mar 27, 2016
Messages
95
Reaction score
78
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Houston
Up feeding in the sort term, but is something happening that your viewing as negative? Apart from the numbers on the nitrate number, are your fish and coral not thriving? I know people on here stress about #s and getting things perfect but more often than not those perfect numbers are just perfect for a specific tank. I have friends that run super dirty and super clean with inconsistent params and see mountains of success and yes ultra low N #s can be a sign of issues or things to come. But, unless bad things are happening it shouldnt be a force your hand to solve now type of issue until you can identify the issue that is being caused and then develop a sustainable solution.
 
OP
Pêcheur

Pêcheur

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 17, 2021
Messages
85
Reaction score
65
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Baton Rouge
Up feeding in the sort term, but is something happening that your viewing as negative? Apart from the numbers on the nitrate number, are your fish and coral not thriving? I know people on here stress about #s and getting things perfect but more often than not those perfect numbers are just perfect for a specific tank. I have friends that run super dirty and super clean with inconsistent params and see mountains of success and yes ultra low N #s can be a sign of issues or things to come. But, unless bad things are happening it shouldnt be a force your hand to solve now type of issue until you can identify the issue that is being caused and then develop a sustainable solution.
So no, other than one coral fading in color, everything else seems to be doing well.

I’m not looking to chase any particular number but my worry is that without some measurable level of nitrate/phosphate that my corals are not receiving enough phosphates to thrive. Is that not a valid concern?
 
Fritz

wom001

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Mar 27, 2016
Messages
95
Reaction score
78
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Houston
Totally Valid especially the coral fading. So yes, id start upping the feeding but not in amount per feeding but in frequency especially during lights on. Test every day or every other and establish a small line chart to see how its affecting your parameters and start watching the trate and rite creep up. Avoid any ammonia spikes that might pop up if you overfeed. Also what are you typically feeding live/dead natural foods or processed dry goods?
 

wom001

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Mar 27, 2016
Messages
95
Reaction score
78
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Houston
Also rereading your post i see you have 2 methods of nutrient exportation that you may want to try adjusting first. Algae scrubbers and Filter rollers are fantastic at doing their jobs to this exact point especially if its a newish system. Idk how youd adjust it but taking one or the other offline for a time might help in the short term while your biome establishes itself fully on your rock n sand to need both to stabilize the look / needs of your tank.
 
OP
Pêcheur

Pêcheur

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 17, 2021
Messages
85
Reaction score
65
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Baton Rouge
Totally Valid especially the coral fading. Avoid any ammonia spikes that might pop up if you overfeed. Also what are you typically feeding live/dead natural foods or processed dry goods?
It’s new so it could be fading for various reasons.

How does one avoid ammonia spikes caused by increases feeding?

Feeding Rods food, frozen music, spectrum pellets, nyos algae pellets, reefNutrition dead phyto, 2LF ZoPlan and masstick.

Also rereading your post i see you have 2 methods of nutrient exportation that you may want to try adjusting first. Algae scrubbers and Filter rollers are fantastic at doing their jobs to this exact point especially if its a newish system. Idk how youd adjust it but taking one or the other offline for a time might help in the short term while your biome establishes itself fully on your rock n sand to need both to stabilize the look / needs of your tank.
I’ve been considering taking the scrubber offline lately as it’s not growing algae well, probably because my nutrients are 0.

My original plan was to use the fleece roller and the scrubber as my nutrient export but eventually freaked about not having a skimmer and added it. UV was added per my LFS rec to clear a bacterial bloom.
 

90's reefer

Fight the Good Fight
View Badges
Joined
Sep 10, 2018
Messages
4,782
Reaction score
8,336
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
NorCal
For this new system, if it was mine, I would tun off the algae scrubber and the skimmer.
When you nutrient levels rise turn on the skimmer. When that cant keep up turn on the algae scrubber.
Do not add corals untill you have po4 and n03 levels in your system.
You also seem to have no plan.
Decide what levels you want no3 and p04 and adjust above accordingly.
 
OP
Pêcheur

Pêcheur

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 17, 2021
Messages
85
Reaction score
65
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Baton Rouge
For this new system, if it was mine, I would tun off the algae scrubber and the skimmer.
When you nutrient levels rise turn on the skimmer. When that cant keep up turn on the algae scrubber.
Do not add corals untill you have po4 and n03 levels in your system.
You also seem to have no plan.
Decide what levels you want no3 and p04 and adjust above accordingly.
As I mentioned, I’m not trying to chase a set level as much as I want to make sure that I have sufficient nutrients for coral metabolism. My plan is to find an equilibrium above 0 and adjust at that point.

i think based on this and other replies above I’ll pull the algae scrubber and see if nutrients increase over the next week or two. If no increase, I’ll take the skimmer offline until I see some numbers increase.

I’m open to other recommendations.
 

90's reefer

Fight the Good Fight
View Badges
Joined
Sep 10, 2018
Messages
4,782
Reaction score
8,336
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
NorCal
As I mentioned, I’m not trying to chase a set level as much as I want to make sure that I have sufficient nutrients for coral metabolism. My plan is to find an equilibrium above 0 and adjust at that point.

i think based on this and other replies above I’ll pull the algae scrubber and see if nutrients increase over the next week or two. If no increase, I’ll take the skimmer offline until I see some numbers increase.

I’m open to other recommendations.
I would advise to set your n03 and p04 levels within a range. Thats not chasing numbers, its a plan that has worked for me for over 30 years.
My po4 levels run .02-.1. No3 1-5.
Having set levels, and keeping them in range, for all parameters is a plan and a key to success.
My 120 today at 25 months.
20210805_115735.jpg
 
OP
Pêcheur

Pêcheur

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 17, 2021
Messages
85
Reaction score
65
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Baton Rouge
I would advise to set your n03 and p04 levels within a range. Thats not chasing numbers, its a plan that has worked for me for over 30 years.
My po4 levels run .02-.1. No3 1-5.
Having set levels, and keeping them in range, for all parameters is a plan and a key to success.
My 120 today at 25 months.
20210805_115735.jpg
Looking great.

I appreciate the advice and I guess without explicitly saying so, that’s what this post is about.

0 is out of range and it was unexpected. My previous experience involved keeping nutrients in check via reduction measures and so when I say I want to find a system equilibrium and then adjust, that is what I meant.

I previously guaged what ranges were doing best based on a variety of factors including coral health/growth, algae growth/proliferation, in conjunction with those nutrient numbers. Without the above, I haven’t been able to find what is/is not working for my system.
 

Is your aquarium water as CLEAR as you would like?

  • YES

    Votes: 303 60.6%
  • NO

    Votes: 170 34.0%
  • Don't care that much

    Votes: 19 3.8%
  • Other

    Votes: 8 1.6%
NYOS
Top