Where do you keep your nutrients for high end SPS coloration?

Justin Aretz

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Short and sweet. I’ve always considered my tanks ULNS (.03/.5-1, alk around 7.3). On this most recent project, I decided to really run a “dirty” tank. I’ll be moving in a year so I’m giving myself a year to really mess around. Nicest frag I bought was a 60 dollar Walt Disney, and the experiment has started. In my mind, that “dirty” was around .1ppm phosphates, 10ppm nitrate, little (currently no) mechanical filtration. No water changes. Let the tank be. I do however run carbon, and individually dose all my trace elements per ICP testing.

Part of my challenge, I believe, is that I have very efficient and healthy, aged live rock. But as the tank begins to take hold (about 150 day’s since wet), the tank is nearly spotless. I could hardly keep up with dosing my phosphates and nitrates and heavily feeding daily. At this point, I seem to be getting somewhat saturated with nutrients. I am able to maintain my goal of .08/10-25.

I’m only 2 years back to reefing after almost a decade off. I suppose my question is, where do you like your nutrients? How clear do you try to keep your water? Do you fuss about over feeding? I am getting the best growth I’ve had from this tank, though things are still coloring up. I’ll attach some before and after photos of the ones I have.

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jda

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I keep mine as close to NSW as possible. 1-3 ppb of phosphate on Hannah Ultra Low and "clear" on Hobby grade nitrate test kits which ends up being about .1 on IC/ICP.

I find this works the best for all types of acropora including deep waters and some of the trickier ones.
 
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jda

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...btw, I do not chase my N and P to these levels. The rock and sand keep the N just barely in the water and the chaeto keep the P low. I would not likely intervene until I got to 6-10 ppb of phosphate and 1-2 ppm of nitrate... but this is not a problem for me.

IMO, chasing or intervening can do more damage than almost any level of competence.
 

Backreefing

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Some will spit feathers at what I’m about to write but
I don’t bother to check nutrients at all . I use the algae on the glass as my barometer. If I have to use my magnet swiper every couple days then it’s good. No algae I get worried. I feed normally for the number of fish in the aquarium.
The alkalinity stays at 9 constant.
The calcium is always 460+
And every day or two I swipe the glass . The CUC handles the inside. And go get a coffee. That’s it .
 

SeaDweller

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I treat the more common ones all the same like “high end”/more expensive ones, try to give them all the best.

That said, I keep alk between 7.3-7.6 dKh, NO3 can’t run above 1.0 ppm (using a sulfur denitrator) and I prefer to keep my PO4 below 0.10 ppm. This is what’s been working best for my tank.
 

C. Eymann

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I guess you cant argue with success, do what works for you!

I must say I was rather suprised to see SPS keepers these days keeping their NO3 at such high levels, Personally I would always shoot for .5-1ppm. Then again, I know many of those running 10-20 ppm NO3 are running LEDs on super blue settings.

Me thinks if those with 10-20ppm were running halides/t5s in lower Kelvin setups, they would be running into issues possibly, browing out, algae problems etc etc.


Who knows? but I'm with Seadweller and JDA- mimic mother nature.
 

Chaswood79

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Heavy in and heavy out is most important for sps followed by an appropriate alk for the residual no3/po4. I believe most of sps struggles come from the lack of ammonia/ammonium, not no3/po4. They whip out their test kits and get 10 no3 and 0.12 and what do they do? They usually freak out. They grab a bottle of nopox or a gfo reactor or start feeding less because they’ve been brain washed that sps can’t survive in those conditions. The reaction/starvation kills the sps not the actual elevated measurement.
 
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jda

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There is a link in my signature that documents about 5 months of SPS growth in a tank with no measurable N or P - 0 ppb on hannah ultra low. Yes, the corals are growing, but they are not as colorful as they will be with with 1 or 2 ppb. There is no death. There is good growth.

I am not chasing any levels, but I am not supplementing anything. If you don't like the color with NSW level building blocks, then OK, but if you are getting death, it is from something else.

I do have high throughput, which has always been a key.
 

Chaswood79

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My threads will show some pretty impressive acro, mainly Tenuis, color and growth over the last year. I have pics from when they were tiny booger frags if anybody wants to see the progress. All of my non Tenuis and montis grow so fast I had to start a frag tank because I’m constantly pruning them. Nsw imo is way too risky, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing.
 

C. Eymann

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10569365-8394-4FFF-9A94-B318708ED15B.jpeg


My threads will show some pretty impressive acro, mainly Tenuis, color and growth over the last year. I have pics from when they were tiny booger frags if anybody wants to see the progress. All of my non Tenuis and montis grow so fast I had to start a frag tank because I’m constantly pruning them. Nsw imo is way too risky, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing.
While I cant lie, the colors some of you LED+ elevated NO³ & PO⁴ SPS guys are pulling is really nice, and look pretty but the growth isnt anything compared to what I have seen with systems running halides, T5s and much lower nutrients, (not trying to start a lighting debate) Its a known fact that PO⁴ inhibits calcification, at what level? it seems to be genus specific at which levels calcification is inhibited according to the studies I have read.

Again, to each their own but, I know I wouldnt cool with my SPS tank at .15ppm PO⁴
 

Chaswood79

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While I cant lie, the colors some of you LED+ elevated NO³ & PO⁴ SPS guys are pulling is really nice, and look pretty but the growth isnt anything compared to what I have seen with systems running halides, T5s and much lower nutrients, (not trying to start a lighting debate) Its a known fact that PO⁴ inhibits calcification, at what level? it seems to be genus specific at which levels calcification is inhibited according to the studies I have read.

Again, to each their own but, I know I wouldnt cool with my SPS tank at .15ppm PO⁴
Well all I know is what is working for me and more importantly what did not work for me. These before and afters are all less than a year apart. Maybe this is considered slow growth to some but it’s definitely growth and way better than death.
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All of these have been frag’d several times
 

SeaDweller

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While I cant lie, the colors some of you LED+ elevated NO³ & PO⁴ SPS guys are pulling is really nice, and look pretty but the growth isnt anything compared to what I have seen with systems running halides, T5s and much lower nutrients, (not trying to start a lighting debate) Its a known fact that PO⁴ inhibits calcification, at what level? it seems to be genus specific at which levels calcification is inhibited according to the studies I have read.

Again, to each their own but, I know I wouldnt cool with my SPS tank at .15ppm PO⁴
@Coral Euphoria , I think you'd appreciate this thought and would agree with that.
 

bubbaque

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Nutrients matter. I personally would never want to be 0 or .01 on phosphate and 0 on nitrate. Doing so is just playing a dangerous game where things can go wrong fast.

This first pic my tank would always be close to 0 for phosphate. I decided to raise my phosphate up some to .05 and within a week or two my polyp extension got much better and growth took off.

Four months difference in pics with higher phosphate.

Also take advice from people who can show you their successes.

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