Utilising the CNP in phytoplankton to carbon dose my system.

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I could do with some thoughts on the direction of the experiment.

so my phosphates were at

0.2 on Saturday
0.1 on Tuesday
Below 0.5 today

Nitrates have been stable at 3 since the weekend although I have been adding 2ml of ATI Nitrogen since Saturday, the dilemma is that they don’t specify the concentration of the product in ppm, just a calculator.
According the calculator it says that I should add 0.24ml a day and I am adding 8 times that amount at the moment.

Question is:

should I artificially increase nutrients and stop using the ati nitrogen as I’m not able to quantify 2ml into ppm?
And then observe nutrients coming down, more in specific nitrates.

or does anyone know the concentration in ppm of the product?

per my thoughts I may hit very low phosphates this weekend and the only reason nitrates haven’t bottom out is mainly because the addition of nitrogen.
 
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It is an interesting experiment but I'm confused by a few things...

What is the source of the saltwater in?

Is the top open?

Both make me worry about bacterial contamination.
The source of saltwater is natural sea salt from the Red Sea
D062D7F4-0B72-4AB3-A8C9-64CD5017870F.jpeg



The top is indeed open, bacteria can’t affect a strong culture. It will only crash if it becomes limited in nutrients using this method.
 
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I could do with some thoughts on the direction of the experiment.

so my phosphates were at

0.2 on Saturday
0.1 on Tuesday
Below 0.5 today

Nitrates have been stable at 3 since the weekend although I have been adding 2ml of ATI Nitrogen since Saturday, the dilemma is that they don’t specify the concentration of the product in ppm, just a calculator.
According the calculator it says that I should add 0.24ml a day and I am adding 8 times that amount at the moment.

Question is:

should I artificially increase nutrients and stop using the ati nitrogen as I’m not able to quantify 2ml into ppm?
And then observe nutrients coming down, more in specific nitrates.

or does anyone know the concentration in ppm of the product?

per my thoughts I may hit very low phosphates this weekend and the only reason nitrates haven’t bottom out is mainly because the addition of nitrogen.
Thinking out loud here. If I understand correctly: 1) Nitrates are remaining steady w/ addition of nitrogen by just a couple fish and small inputs of nitrogen solution; 2) Phosphates falling rather quickly even with normal input from waste and decay; 3) you are dosing live phyto in solution which has some N&P content; and 4) your system was recently set-up with calcium carbonate based sand.

So... The phosphate fall my be due to binding on the new calcium carbonate based surfaces. The live phyto may be binding nitrogen and some phosphate and is being removed by your little skimmer before it dies and returns the nutrients trapped in its biomass. You do have some substrate in the tank that appears to be more mature than a few weeks. It may have some denitrifying capacity. Finally, there may be some heterotrophic activity already occurring.

I might be missing the boat here, but It would seem a control would be in order. Or at least letting the current tank run without adding the phyto until a "normal" CNP environment can be observed.
 
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Thinking out loud here. If I understand correctly: 1) Nitrates are remaining steady w/ addition of nitrogen by just a couple fish and small inputs of nitrogen solution; 2) Phosphates falling rather quickly even with normal input from waste and decay; 3) you are dosing live phyto in solution which has some N&P content; and 4) your system was recently set-up with calcium carbonate based sand.

So... The phosphate fall my be due to binding on the new calcium carbonate based surfaces. The live phyto may be binding nitrogen and some phosphate and is being removed by your little skimmer before it dies and returns the nutrients trapped in its biomass. You do have some substrate in the tank that appears to be more mature than a few weeks. It may have some denitrifying capacity. Finally, there may be some heterotrophic activity already occurring.

I might be missing the boat here, but It would seem a control would be in order. Or at least letting the current tank run without adding the phyto until a "normal" CNP environment can be observed.
Thank you dude your a star, I completely forgot to consider the substrate absorbing and balancing abilities. The tank is 4 months old and has been balanced at the nutrient level for some time although I did remove the aquatic compost layer substrate last weekend and added some more sand to it. This will explain the sudden phosphates decrease this week, i’ll get on with rebalancing the substrate.

thank you
 
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Week 2 update

Nutrients

Nitrates: 3 ppm

Phosphates: 0.05 ppm

nitrates have been solid for the last two weeks with the addition of 2ml of ATI N per 26 gallons, there’s no way to translate this to ppm unfortunately.
The tank is feed 1 frozen cube daily for two clowns and one damsel fish plus inverts.

phosphates have come down slightly and as @ReefGeezer pointed out is mainly due to the new substrate although it seems to be stabilising at 0.05, in theory I shouldn’t bottom out phosphates as the phytoplankton additions replenish phosphorus in the tank the only concern is normally nitrates hence the addition of Nitrogen.

there is some GHA on some of the gorgonians that I’m observing the development I could remove them and clean the algae although I want to see if the algae would die on their own.

photoreactor:

I have decreased the dose from 4 ml to 3ml per hour as the culture seemed that it was losing colour slightly.
 
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Week 2 update

Nutrients

Nitrates: 3 ppm

Phosphates: 0.05 ppm

nitrates have been solid for the last two weeks with the addition of 2ml of ATI N per 26 gallons, there’s no way to translate this to ppm unfortunately.
The tank is feed 1 frozen cube daily for two clowns and one damsel fish plus inverts.

phosphates have come down slightly and as @ReefGeezer pointed out is mainly due to the new substrate although it seems to be stabilising at 0.05, in theory I shouldn’t bottom out phosphates as the phytoplankton additions replenish phosphorus in the tank the only concern is normally nitrates hence the addition of Nitrogen.

there is some GHA on some of the gorgonians that I’m observing the development I could remove them and clean the algae although I want to see if the algae would die on their own.

photoreactor:

I have decreased the dose from 4 ml to 3ml per hour as the culture seemed that it was losing colour slightly.
I find your experiment very interesting. I am growing and dosing phyto as well, but in the "conventional" way. I often wondered how would a more natural feeding/phyto dosing regime would affect the tank. In nature food is almost constantly available, maybe that's why you observe such PE, as the sticks are constantly feeding. If you see PO4 bottoming out for some reason you could always dose some PO4 separately.
What I am wondering is whether you are dosing more fertilizer when you see a less dense phyto culture. Ideally you should aim for the "maximum density" point before they start to die off because lack of food. Also when you are supplementing NPK to your colture for few days you will be dosing a bit more fertilizer compared to the day before. How often do you usually add npk to the bottle? Do you simply pour it in the bottle?
 
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I find your experiment very interesting. I am growing and dosing phyto as well, but in the "conventional" way. I often wondered how would a more natural feeding/phyto dosing regime would affect the tank. In nature food is almost constantly available, maybe that's why you observe such PE, as the sticks are constantly feeding. If you see PO4 bottoming out for some reason you could always dose some PO4 separately.
What I am wondering is whether you are dosing more fertilizer when you see a less dense phyto culture. Ideally you should aim for the "maximum density" point before they start to die off because lack of food. Also when you are supplementing NPK to your colture for few days you will be dosing a bit more fertilizer compared to the day before. How often do you usually add npk to the bottle? Do you simply pour it in the bottle?
Thank you, theoretically the PE and colouration could be due the zoo in the coral being able to utilise the organic nutrients as result of the phytoplankton demineralisation process or from the organic nutrients in the fertiliser itself it’s still a probability.
The density of the culture has two variables, because is on continuous mode if the amount of phytoplankton removed excess the capacity of the phytoplankton grow it will start losing colour, hence me reducing the amount again as a precaution. The amount that can be dosed from a single reactor will be dependent on volume, in my previous reactor I had 1500ml of phytoplankton and I was able to dose 288ml a day or 12ml per hour, without affecting the culture this reactor is only 800ml, eventually once the culture finds equilibrium I should be able to take it to a max of around 5-6 ml per hour without affecting the culture, the other factor that will affect the culture is the NPK I’m still testing the culture to see if they stay there for long periods I believe It may be short in N, maybe i’ll have to add extra N to the fertiliser to have a better balance, only time will tell.

during our first experiment a few years back there was quite a few of us involved and several methods of adding phytoplankton were used.

manually dosing
Miracle gro fertiliser
F2 fertiliser
Easy phyto dosing

the miracle gro, f2 and easy phyto on a doser where the only ones that were observed to improve the systems during the first few months most likely due to the regular additions.
The manual dosing was it and miss.

we all observed decent coral growth, cleaner thank and less protein skimmer sludge.

the issues only started at the 6 months mark, the miracle gro fertiliser tank started to build up phosphates, most likely as a result from removing the protein skimmer altogether, same happened with the f2 and easy phyto. The one that had really bad results was the f2 that eventually developed green Cyanobacteria not sure if connected to the fertiliser.
Although overhaul the benefits were good we just didn’t knew we were carbon dosing also at the time hence not taking precautions around it.
 

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Although overhaul the benefits were good we just didn’t knew we were carbon dosing also at the time hence not taking precautions around it.
Very interesting. But I did not get this bit. Basically the fact that the mix of Phyto and leftover fertilizer also contain high C (once phyto die I suppose?) means that you had nutrients dropping due to feeding bacteria? or bacteria multiplied and were not removed by the skimmer?
I never dosed carbon but as far as I understood is useful when you have excess nutrients and by dosing it you stimulate bacterial growth and hence by removing those via skimmer you remove also the N and P right?
 
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Very interesting. But I did not get this bit. Basically the fact that the mix of Phyto and leftover fertilizer also contain high C (once phyto die I suppose?) means that you had nutrients dropping due to feeding bacteria? or bacteria multiplied and were not removed by the skimmer?
I never dosed carbon but as far as I understood is useful when you have excess nutrients and by dosing it you stimulate bacterial growth and hence by removing those via skimmer you remove also the N and P right?
Yes that’s correct, phytoplankton as many other algaes contain carbohydrates that once dissolved into the water column will feed heterotrophic bacteria, as heterotrophic bacteria assimilates nutrients due to the increase availability of dissolved organic carbon it needs to be removed via skimming or those nutrients assimilated by the bacteria will become available again in the water column, phosphates is one of those nutrients that will become available more often if not actively removed, carbon can be stored as detritus and nitrogen can be lost under n2 gas.
I am almost sure that we could carbon dose with a large variety of algaes, it’s often observed a large drop in nutrients after using a algaecide in a system.
I wouldn’t be surprised that the event of algaes going asexual as referred in the hobby is just a heterotrophic bacteria bloom caused by a large Amount of sugars released into the water column often seen in caleurpa.
 
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Monday update

there was a few changes in nutrient that I need to add to the thread.

nitrates have dropped from 3 to 1 ppm

I have now increased the Nitrogen from 2ml to 3ml daily dosing to attempt a counter reaction and keep nitrates stable.

phosphates still sit steady at 0.05

most likely due to the phosphates in the culture, although I reduce the fertiliser NPK there is still plenty of phosphates added to the tank on a regular basis through the culture water I Normally wouldn’t run them so low although the continuous additions of phosphates throughout the day shouldn’t allow them to bottom out.

photoreactor:

I’ve reduced the dose from 4ml per hour to 3ml per hour and that seems to have helped the culture to strengthen again.
In all honesty a 72ml dose a day should be fine for a 26 gallon that is lightly stocked for the moment.
That’s a weekly dose of 504 ml.

24D9C07F-2F30-42BD-975E-C9A97B96B495.jpeg


Skimming

skimming has reduced a lot in the past week or so, the reservoir is only filling a couple of ml a day, most of the reservoir is from a few weeks back.
I had to lower the hight of the skimmer to be able to remove some from the tank.

BC1F78EF-2B80-440B-B01F-ED371D3675D7.jpeg


Aquascape:

I’ve been curing a new rock in the garden

6796A28B-DB0B-443F-BF56-AC705B38D617.jpeg


it still has a few weeks to go although I am in second thoughts if I’m going to add it to the tank or not, all the filtration at the moment seems to happen in the sand and water column, thinking if I should keep the tank open for easy access to the sand bed for maintenance.
 
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Professor Sean Chamberlin explains really well the ideology behind what I’m trying to achieve with this idea of adding a constant supply of phytoplankton to a enclosed system.
 
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I believe the first part of the experiment is obvious now and the continuous additions of phytoplankton will drop nutrients, showing to be able to keep nutrients low and with the addition of nitrogen will create a decent import/export of nutrients

the second phase will be observe coral development. The stick 2 (brown acropora) is starting to show some red on the tips looking to see how long it will take to fully colour up.
Light may delay the process as they only under a 50w Red Sea light fixture.
 
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I believe the first part of the experiment is obvious now and the continuous additions of phytoplankton will drop nutrients, showing to be able to keep nutrients low and with the addition of nitrogen will create a decent import/export of nutrients

the second phase will be observe coral development. The stick 2 (brown acropora) is starting to show some red on the tips looking to see how long it will take to fully colour up.
Light may delay the process as they only under a 50w Red Sea light fixture.
So are nutrients being removed because the skimmer is removing live phyto that has bound some N&P, or has dying phyto provided carbon dosing that results in lower nutrients? Possibly both?
 
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So are nutrients being removed because the skimmer is removing live phyto that has bound some N&P, or has dying phyto provided carbon dosing that results in lower nutrients? Possibly both?
It will be difficult for someone like me to be able to answer truthfully and with evidence, I can only use logic to describe what’s possible happening in the system.

if we look at any phytoplankton culture

1. once it loses aeration it will perish.
2. bacteria contamination will cause the culture to perish.
3. we generally don’t observe a bloom in phytoplankton in our systems even under heavy dosing regime.
4. If it’s not thriving is dying in my op

what we know about the die off of algaes in a system wend killed with a algaecide.

Generally in almost every situation we’re a large amount of algae is killed in a tank, most commonly observed during algaecide treatment or fluconazole a rapid decrease in nutrients is observed, most likely as carbohydrates that were produced during photosynthesis are released into the water column.


Antoine Lavoisier

The quote, “Nothing is lost, nothing is created, everything is transformed"



using the information above and my favourite quote from all times, I would assume that the phytoplankton is being mainly utilised in my system by bacteria, I don’t have any visible amounts of zooplankton like copepods or rotifers.

quote from the nasa website:

Phytoplankton cause mass mortality in other ways. In the aftermath of a massive bloom, dead phytoplankton sink to the ocean or lake floor. The bacteria that decompose the phytoplankton deplete the oxygen in the water, suffocating animal life; the result is a dead zone.


This is what heterotrophic bacteria does in our systems once a large amount of Dissolved Organic Carbon becomes available and if overdosed we will eventually kill all tank inhabitants in our enclosed system. I believe the basics of the experiment to have plenty of written article evidence to say that it works, and as Antoine Lavoisier says nothing is lost, nothing is created, everything is transformed. The same will be happening to the phytoplankton CNP content once the demineralisation process starts all the beneficial amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals Will be transformed potentially creating a carbon dose method and a Full nutritional method in a similar way as the ocean it’s not just additional organic carbon to a system is all the beneficial elements that phytoplankton adds into the ocean water column. Almost like a complete method and no additional additives would be necessary as phytoplankton will deliver them all with the exception of the major elements that do not originate from phytoplankton.
 

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It will be difficult for someone like me to be able to answer truthfully and with evidence, I can only use logic to describe what’s possible happening in the system.

if we look at any phytoplankton culture

1. once it loses aeration it will perish.
2. bacteria contamination will cause the culture to perish.
3. we generally don’t observe a bloom in phytoplankton in our systems even under heavy dosing regime.
4. If it’s not thriving is dying in my op

what we know about the die off of algaes in a system wend killed with a algaecide.

Generally in almost every situation we’re a large amount of algae is killed in a tank, most commonly observed during algaecide treatment or fluconazole a rapid decrease in nutrients is observed, most likely as carbohydrates that were produced during photosynthesis are released into the water column...
I guess I was not suggesting a phyto bloom, but simply the living cells that were added that: 1) uptake inorganic N&P; 2) and are then exported via the skimmer before they perish and decay. So how long would a particular cell to die and give up the bound C,N, & P once placed in a reef tank environment... long enough to uptake some additional N&P and be removed by the skimmer? I'm asking because I don't know. Maybe those added cells don't actually bind a substantial quantity of additional N & P. Maybe the time period is so short that my question is irrelevant. I'm also not arguing that export of living phyto is the only or even the primary pathway. I can understand where heterotrophic bacteria could be encouraged (carbon dosed) by the carbon rich environment created by the dying phyto.

I am encouraged by your results so far though and am following with great interest. I've viewed the use of live phyto as a nutrient processing pathway for a while. I fear that once again I've misunderstood how something works though.
 
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I guess I was not suggesting a phyto bloom, but simply the living cells that were added that: 1) uptake inorganic N&P; 2) and are then exported via the skimmer before they perish and decay. So how long would a particular cell to die and give up the bound C,N, & P once placed in a reef tank environment... long enough to uptake some additional N&P and be removed by the skimmer? I'm asking because I don't know. Maybe those added cells don't actually bind a substantial quantity of additional N & P. Maybe the time period is so short that my question is irrelevant. I'm also not arguing that export of living phyto is the only or even the primary pathway. I can understand where heterotrophic bacteria could be encouraged (carbon dosed) by the carbon rich environment created by the dying phyto.
It’s possible that phytoplankton being exported in a few ways, as you mentioned phytoplankton could be assimilating some nutrients wile still alive and be exported via skimmer, zooplankton could be consuming some phytoplankton as they excrete waste those nutrients could be exported via skimmer and a part would be assimilated by bacteria and be exported via skimming also. It would be very difficult to determine how much each method would be exporting more nutrients.

from personal observations I believe some nutrients from the phytoplankton will decompose fairly fast, I believe the process would speed up if more zooplankton were present in the system, according to marine biologist on average 90% of mass gets lost by the digestive system, I believe that fish waste and other organisms waste is the fastest way to get the nutrients in the water column. Meaning that if I had more phytoplankton grazers in my system the nutrient situation could be different.

I am encouraged by your results so far though and am following with great interest. I've viewed the use of live phyto as a nutrient processing pathway for a while. I fear that once again I've misunderstood how something works though.

thank you, Everyone has different views on different subjects, I always see this as a good thing as disagreeing and discussion originates new ideas, I may well be wrong, I don’t have the scientific capability to know, I only use clues from what I’ve observed during the time I’ve been in the hobby, I do apologise if some of my threads seem a bit ludicrous, specially since the nutrient ratio conversation with Randy, that thread did represent a change on I view everything in the hobby today.

:)
 

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thank you, Everyone has different views on different subjects, I always see this as a good thing as disagreeing and discussion originates new ideas, I may well be wrong, I don’t have the scientific capability to know, I only use clues from what I’ve observed during the time I’ve been in the hobby, I do apologise if some of my threads seem a bit ludicrous, specially since the nutrient ratio conversation with Randy, that thread did represent a change on I view everything in the hobby today.

:)
You are not alone. I am the worst sometimes, and have paid the price more than once. It is great to get professionals like @Randy Holmes-Farley involved to keep us from making bad assumptions and smack us around a little when we misunderstand or misapply the science.

By the way, I am in the process of building your phyto "reactor" for use on my tank right now. It looks way more efficient than culturing phyto in batches. I'm a little leery of the phosphate issue, but it does not seem to be a problem in your set-up.
 
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