Utilising the CNP in phytoplankton to carbon dose my system.

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sixty_reefer

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This thread is aimed at recording my personal system Carbon dosing method utilising live phytoplankton as a source of CNP.

To accomplish my goals I will be implementing the automated continuous phytoplankton generator that I have developed in the past, this photoreactor allows me to add multiple doses of live phytoplankton through out the day and artificially introducing the lowest trophic level in the ocean to my home reef aquarium.
once this trophic level is successfully introduced heterotrophic bacteria and zooplankton will start to prey on phytoplankton.

The phytoplankton should be adding natural carbon sources to my system trough two different ways.

1. Trough the zooplankton preying on phytoplankton, it’s believed that 90% of mass is lost trough waste as something moves up the trophic level.
This should add back to the water column the nutrients from the phytoplankton that gets consumed by all different zooplankton that lives in my system and further more as fish preys in the zooplankton.

2. Through a process of demineralisation that happens as phytoplankton that is not consumed decomposes in my system.

Once all the nutrients from the phytoplankton are released into the water column, heterotrophic bacteria will start assimilating CNP from the water column and be removed from my system via protein skimmer or eaten by other organisms that live in my system.

To accomplish the above I had to do a lot of research into the fertiliser used to keep the phytoplankton culture alive, I am now using a much lower NPK ratio fertiliser in comparison to the most common fertilisers used at the moment to grow phytoplankton, this new fertiliser is perfect to keep the culture alive wile at the same time only a small amount of P should enter the system from the culture water.

The goal of the thread is to register the development of the addition of phytoplankton to a reef aquaria focusing on residual nutrient concentration and coral observations in a system that gets live phytoplankton on regular 24 additions daily.
 
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sixty_reefer

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Tank description

Mixed reef 26 gallon tank running a under gravel filter and protein skimmer

currently on day 9 of adding live phytoplankton.

dosing:

00:00 4ml
01:00 4ml
02:00 4ml
03:00 4ml
04:00 4ml
05:00 4ml
06:00 4ml
07:00 4ml
08:00 4ml
09:00 4ml
10:00 4ml
11:00 4ml
12:00 4ml
13:00 4ml
14:00 4ml
15:00 4ml
16:00 4ml
17:00 4ml
18:00 4ml
19:00 4ml
20:00 4ml
21:00 4ml
22:00 4ml
23:00 4ml

current nitrates 3ppm

Current phosphates 0.1ppm

additionally dosing 2ml daily of ATI nutrition N

will be increasing the nitrogen dosing as required to keep it a ULN system

current tank pictures

C410848F-5D0B-4E36-9640-970DDF3930FC.jpeg


801A66C7-884E-4000-8513-1B6EA715F033.jpeg


CBD749CB-C6AC-42D1-B8B3-8BDD3B8BEF9F.jpeg
 
Last edited:
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sixty_reefer

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Cool experiment. Share what fertilizer you are using?

Do you have a target range for NO3 and PO4?

thanks, the new fertiliser is TNC complete

6CFF2EA7-154E-431F-9DEC-1581FC7636B4.jpeg
91F7D2AC-112A-40B2-B560-D70621BD030D.jpeg

It has a lower NPK in comparison to miracle gro and most likely f2 that normally has a 1:1 ratio on N to P.

my goal this time around is to be able to control phosphates, nitrates are never a issue with constant additions of phytoplankton.
The first time I done the experiment ( 7-8 years ago) I lost control on phosphates due to the brine water in the phytoplankton culture having high phosphates that weren’t consumed and my second mistake was to remove the protein skimmer, not being able to export phosphates trough bacteria assimilation.
This time around am dosing nitrogen in addition to phytoplankton to avoid the nutrients from bottoming out also.
 
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sixty_reefer

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Very interested in seeing the progress!
Thank you hopefully will be interesting. Although I kind of lost interest in SPS for being a relaxed kind of reefer I did purchase a couple of acropora mini colonies to observe colouration and growth under this carbon dosing regime.
Last time around they did look interesting although the high phosphates were in my opinion stopping the full potential of the coral.

this montipora digitata PE looked awesome during the first experiment until I’ve killed it for being to lazy.

0DDB7497-2FD6-4D2A-A80E-2B33FFD14B46.png
 
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ReefGeezer

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Watching. In addition to the carbon dosing theory, I am particularly interested in your method of auto-dosing phyto.

Does the culture continue to grow as the phyto is slowly removed? Does the new salt water supplied have fertilizer in it?
 
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sixty_reefer

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Watching. In addition to the carbon dosing theory, I am particularly interested in your method of auto-dosing phyto.

Does the culture continue to grow as the phyto is slowly removed? Does the new salt water supplied have fertilizer in it?

the carbon dosing part I am confident that will work, just the phosphates part that I’m not truly sure how it will play out.

the continuous phytoplankton reactor does keep replenish it self, as long as NPK and trace are present in the reactor.

the function of the reactor is fully automated and I tend to add the fertiliser separately for more control, one thing I’m observing is that I don’t need to add it weekly anymore, by testing the culture water I should only need to re add fertiliser once N P or K starts to get to low.

this is a diagram of a fully automated system and a partially automated system

5CE87D7F-0C59-4CD6-9E42-E7235D32420F.jpeg


it can be connected to a large top up saltwater mix and run for months untouched or just be partially automated and may need some attention every couple of weeks, the one I’m running at the moment is only partially automated as I’m doing the fertiliser manually.
If I was to run it in a sump I would just use the gravity feed choice in the diagram.

it looks a bit like this

DFB39717-7C86-4DDD-84A6-F411F4729804.jpeg

B20039DE-9F08-4829-91FC-A937587B7DD9.jpeg

EC5D1287-DE6A-498E-8851-15FCF39387FA.jpeg

57D8012B-8939-4170-B0FF-8D3C944D0551.jpeg


since the original thread I’ve seen recently phytoplankton reactors being sold that can be automated for the same purpose. They just look way cooler than mine :p
 
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ReefGeezer

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Sps chosen to take part of the test

random stick 1:

8370CB90-30D1-4C4D-BE7F-DA5208EC05E4.jpeg

4C327D3E-0967-48B3-8609-F2D61FA99C08.jpeg


Random stick 2:

78C4C53A-85C0-4F42-9F1F-3C0676FB3AD0.jpeg
445EF2EF-E53C-4F9F-AB2D-F0EC34AB3889.jpeg


random stick 3:

F055F705-2354-4EBC-A1E2-55063BAE2DF2.jpeg


169FE62C-9969-45A4-8512-209931D5A4FA.jpeg


how far apart should I check the weight again? A couple months?
You might make some wrong assumption in the first couple of months. Those "Sticks" can just refuse to add biomass for a quite a while after being bothered. The same thing might happen each time they are removed for weight checks. Visual observations, while less objective, might keep you from disturbing them once the start to grow.
 
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sixty_reefer

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You might make some wrong assumption in the first couple of months. Those "Sticks" can just refuse to add biomass for a quite a while after being bothered. The same thing might happen each time they are removed for weight checks. Visual observations, while less objective, might keep you from disturbing them once the start to grow.
Would you advice to just observe them in the system? Thinking of it I don’t really have anything to compare mass gain with really.
 

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Maybe... Put something that won't move beside each of them for comparison purposes. Maintain photographs in monthly increments. I'd guess that you could see a lack of growth for a month or more before growth started. Once some growth is observed, you could take a photo as your 0 point and start dosing your phyto.
 
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sixty_reefer

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Maybe... Put something that won't move beside each of them for comparison purposes. Maintain photographs in monthly increments. I'd guess that you could see a lack of growth for a month or more before growth started. Once some growth is observed, you could take a photo as your 0 point and start dosing your phyto.
I will be adding the final rock to this tank in a couple weeks, still curing to reduce ph at the moment, I should be able to do something as you mentioned, I’m to relaxed regarding keeping parameters stable I may not get to grow them fully hopefully just enough to see potential.

I started dosing two 10 days ago the continuous addition of phytoplankton to mimic seawater have several benefits imo that is not just in relation to coral. I’m hopping to be able to record some on the thread, it’s just a shame that aquabiomics doesn’t exist in the uk I’d like to observe the changes on the microbiology level
 

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thanks, the new fertiliser is TNC complete

6CFF2EA7-154E-431F-9DEC-1581FC7636B4.jpeg
91F7D2AC-112A-40B2-B560-D70621BD030D.jpeg

It has a lower NPK in comparison to miracle gro and most likely f2 that normally has a 1:1 ratio on N to P.

my goal this time around is to be able to control phosphates, nitrates are never a issue with constant additions of phytoplankton.
The first time I done the experiment ( 7-8 years ago) I lost control on phosphates due to the brine water in the phytoplankton culture having high phosphates that weren’t consumed and my second mistake was to remove the protein skimmer, not being able to export phosphates trough bacteria assimilation.
This time around am dosing nitrogen in addition to phytoplankton to avoid the nutrients from bottoming out also.

Is that stuff reef safe?
 

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Maybe... Put something that won't move beside each of them for comparison purposes. Maintain photographs in monthly increments. I'd guess that you could see a lack of growth for a month or more before growth started. Once some growth is observed, you could take a photo as your 0 point and start dosing your phyto.

I think this is a good idea. If you move them and weigh every month or so they will likely stall out.

Use a visual marker of some kind and take pictures in same position as ReefGeezer suggested.
 
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sixty_reefer

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Is that stuff reef safe?
Looking at the ingredients I would say so, just a lower concentration of N and P in comparison to other fertilisers. Maybe @Randy Holmes-Farley could examine the ingredients for us if he has available time.
Traditional phytoplankton cultures will introduce more phosphates through culture water than this automated process to my thinking.
Once the culture is split after 7 days and stored in a fridge the culture stops consuming nutrients meaning that the remaining fertiliser will be stored and dosed in the system, with this method the fertiliser is always being used, the phytoplankton is fresh and I only top up fertiliser as I need it after testing the water from the culture every now and den some times the cultures can go a fair good amount of time without the need to re add fertiliser.

The f2 standard formula contains silica that has no place in our phytoplankton culture, silica is mainly used to grow other types of phytoplankton like diatoms or dinoflagellates, silica is not a limiting factor for nannochloropsis and if not used by the culture it will end up in the tank growing those species.
 
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I think this is a good idea. If you move them and weigh every month or so they will likely stall out.

Use a visual marker of some kind and take pictures in same position as ReefGeezer suggested.
I will use that instead, just thought sps normally doesn’t get affected during short air exposure, it’s fairly common in the sea for that to happen and in our systems during water changes. If it will benefit the results of the experiment I will keep them in the tank and find a way to introduce scale maybe use the tags attached to the coral as reference point
 

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I will use that instead, just thought sps normally doesn’t get affected during short air exposure, it’s fairly common in the sea for that to happen and in our systems during water changes. If it will benefit the results of the experiment I will keep them in the tank and find a way to introduce scale maybe use the tags attached to the coral as reference point

That is true, but have you successfully grown SPS before.? They can be very finicky and in a tank that small and new it may be a challenge. How old is that tank?
 
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sixty_reefer

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That is true, but have you successfully grown SPS before.? They can be very finicky and in a tank that small and new it may be a challenge. How old is that tank?

it’s not the first time I have done the experiment


The first time around I actually had the phytoplankton reactor hooked up to a continuous rotifers reactor also.

I’ve grown sps in the past, not successfully as I’m to relaxed with parameters and my set up is to simple.

I’m hopping to keep it alive enough time to observe the important aspects of phytoplankton dosing, growth is not the major factor, colouration and PE becomes unreal during my last experiment if it survives random stick 2 should be a good experiment as it’s currently brown.

some sps from my previous experiment

first few months

2CB85836-A244-49E3-B2B0-662E4DCFE450.jpeg
888F6C34-05B1-4454-93A2-2CA6884CAFDD.jpeg



one year later on the montipora digitata

29806DA1-C1EF-4F9C-8632-9B90E23BC90A.png


the system is only young at 3 or 4 months
 

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it’s not the first time I have done the experiment


The first time around I actually had the phytoplankton reactor hooked up to a continuous rotifers reactor also.

I’ve grown sps in the past, not successfully as I’m to relaxed with parameters and my set up is to simple.

I’m hopping to keep it alive enough time to observe the important aspects of phytoplankton dosing, growth is not the major factor, colouration and PE becomes unreal during my last experiment if it survives random stick 2 should be a good experiment as it’s currently brown.

some sps from my previous experiment

first few months

2CB85836-A244-49E3-B2B0-662E4DCFE450.jpeg
888F6C34-05B1-4454-93A2-2CA6884CAFDD.jpeg



one year later on the montipora digitata

29806DA1-C1EF-4F9C-8632-9B90E23BC90A.png


the system is only young at 3 or 4 months

I hope it does survive because I’m really interested to how well the Phyto performs.
 
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