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phos and nitrate help

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jsol12 View Drop Down
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    Posted: March 15 2016 at 2:30pm
I swear I have one issue after another so far.  My tank is now nearing a year old.  My PO4 is all over the place.  Zero, then got as high as 1.  I set up my first reactor yesterday with GFO/AC mixed and now PO4 is reading 0 on my Hanna.  I hate my nitrate test (API); I have never gotten a reading other than 0, with the strips as well.  So, how am I supposed to find a happy place? Zeros are great for SPS, however ironically the acroporas remain my nemesis and I can't keep them alive.  Montis, birds nest, digi, and setosa are all doing wonderfully.  But need small amount of NO3/PO4 around for LPS, correct? But all LPS look great, with the exception of octospawn which someone suggested I have a nipper.  BTW for some reason I can't keep any of the euphyllia family alive and I don't know if that is why...never seen any nipping going on.  The only possible culprit I can think of would be flame angel.

So, where do I go with this? Yes I would absolutely love to get more fish and dirty up the tank a bit, but as I had a massive ich death take a toll, it's been hard to keep up my population without killing the bank.  I currently have around 20 fish for 150gal and I have been trying to feed a couple smaller meals a day since I feel like they do better that way.  I haven't done a water change in almost a month, my macroalgae growth in my refugium has really skyrocketed over the last few months.  I have plenty of algae that grows on my glass, I have to clean it every couple days.  So why, according to the tests, is it so "clean" and what do I do about it?
150gal/25gal sump Red Sea Max S650, started 3/28/15
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Mark Peterson View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 15 2016 at 5:05pm

Hello jsol12,

I believe you can stop worrying about N testing. I'm pretty sure the levels of the three N compounds are within limits, close to zero. Actually, this is why algae grows. It's eating Nitrogen pollution so well and so quickly that it shows up near zero on tests. (Also, API is not the best test kit) Except for some issues you mention, your tank does seem to be in a happy place. Not all coral do well in any tank. Individual colonies and the association with other coral in a closed system can inhibit growth.

Let's look at some points that come to my mind. I did some research, looking back into all your posts. This is what I find and here are my questions:

1. We discussed the rock that was used in setting up this tank. Was Poly Filter purchased and for how long was it used?

2. Last year we discussed using AC separate from GFO and changing those media at different intervals. You mentioned starting a reactor yesterday. Can you share more detail?

3. We talked about preventing Ich. What Garlic Product was found that actually made Ich disappear in 2 days?

4. What are the Alk and Ca levels currently? How is dosing being done? Salinity and temperature? Quantity and frequency of water changes?

5. May we see a current pic of the entire tank? (not the stand just a full size pic of the tank)

6. Many fish are known to pick on coral but some do it almost imperceptibly as they pass quickly by the coral. Sometimes they do it only at certain times of the day, like when the light is dim in early morning when their hunger is greatest. Have you watched at these times? What other fish are in the tank? Are there any motile inverts?

7. What SPS have you tried and how did it look as time went by(as it died)?

8. Approximately how many Snails of what type? Hermits? 

Looking forward to a good discussion where we can get to the bottom of these things.

Aloha,

Mark  Hug



Edited by Mark Peterson - March 15 2016 at 5:34pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jsol12 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 15 2016 at 10:01pm

1. Poly Filter: I did only recently buy some, so it's been in the tank for a few weeks.

2. As I have mentioned, I removed the phosguard I had a while ago, but put some more back in when my PO4 spiked to 1.  The reactor I set up I bought used off ksl, a BRS deluxe that I hooked up to a Marineland maxi-jet 1200 powerhead.  Since I only have the one reactor for now, I mixed the brs rox 0.8 ac and brs GFO about 50/50...according to a couple of their videos I watched.

3. I'm not sure that I said anything about making ich disappear in 2 days.  The garlic I have been using is the garlic xtreme, in the food each day as well as a drop per gallon directly into the water when I was having the outbreak.

4. Ca levels have been consistently around 400-420.  Alk I have been struggling to maintain, and I have been trying a lot of different products so I haven't found the happy place yet.  It has dropped to 7 and I realize this is probably the source of some corals doing poorly.  The other thing I just now realized I need to change is how I dose.  On the dosing thread today I asked if people manually dose or use pumps and Krazie said most use reactors/dosing pumps.  I don't have this equipment yet, so I have been mixing whatever product I have been using and slowly pouring into tank.  I am sure this is probably my biggest issue, causing lots of fluctuations each day.  

Salinity has always been solid at 1.025.  I have done much better being diligent with the fan and keeping the temp between 76-78.  I need to invest in a chiller this summer because last year was a pain in the butt with the fan and I'm tired of the noise and the higher amount of evaporation.

Water changes..I usually change out 20gal every 2 weeks.  Just have been sick and unmotivated to do it so a month has passed.

5. I'll work on a pic.

6. I have watched early morning but of course not as much as other times of day.

Fish are: flame angel, carpenter flasher wrasse, 2 ocellaris, clown goby, sleeper goby, scooter blenny, longnose hawkfish, midas blenny, m/f blue throat trigger pair, sailfin tang, purple dottyback, cleaner wrasse, firefish, lyretail anthia, 3 chromis, blue sided fairy wrasse, solon fairy wrasse, firefish

Inverts: porcelain crab, coco worm, feather duster, sand sifting star, banded serpent, cleaner shrimp, urchin (not sure what kind, just plain..not tuxedo or longspine), GBTA

7. SPS doing well: orange setosa, pink birdsnest, green birdsnest, red fire digitata, spongode.  Montis: pink plating, jedi mind trick, rainbow, flare, purple haze

SPS killed: bonsai acro, red planet acro, purple tip acro, red dragon acro. Seems like more, but that's all I have written down.  I killed some LPS in the beginning too but haven't killed anything lately. These just lost color over a week or so until they became all white and then clearly dead.

8. I honestly have no idea how many snails/hermits.  I just add a handful periodically.  In the sand I have 2 sand conch and maybe 15 nassarius.  A bunch of astrea, nerite, margarita, cerith, and then maybe 6 or so turbos.

Hermits: blue legged, scarlet, brown ones

Thanks Mark for taking the time to look back on older posts and ask the questions.  Besides the dosing issues, I think it seems to be doing well overall.  I bought the tank from the Aquarium, and had Brad over recently to look at a couple issues at he said it looked really healthy.  The coralline is growing over everything very rapidly, and all the other corals are doing great except those I mentioned.

150gal/25gal sump Red Sea Max S650, started 3/28/15
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jsol12 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 15 2016 at 10:17pm
This was about a month ago, I can take more closeups tomorrow if that would be helpful


Edited by jsol12 - March 15 2016 at 10:18pm
150gal/25gal sump Red Sea Max S650, started 3/28/15
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 16 2016 at 9:11am
For this tank I'd probably get closer and take right and left pics from slightly above level and off center. Keep the light fixture out of the photo so the bright light doesn't affect the exposure. 

What suggestions did Brad offer?

Smile Tanks,
Mark

P.S.
This tank should be on the Reef Tour. Thumbs Up


Edited by Mark Peterson - March 16 2016 at 9:43am
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After seeing some tanks on last year's reef tour (i.e. Brad Syphus'), I think mine is woefully inadequate at this point!

I should've asked The Aquarium Brad more when he was here but we mainly talked about the physical issues with the tank itself.


Edited by jsol12 - March 16 2016 at 4:21pm
150gal/25gal sump Red Sea Max S650, started 3/28/15
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 16 2016 at 9:26pm
Thanks, those pics help a lot. 

To tell you the truth, I see a nice tank that is definitely doing very well in so many ways. 
Unfortunately, I'll be working in Park City tomorrow without intenet access so I'm not going to be able to work on this until Friday. I will have a number of suggestions and will be able to write them on Friday. In the mean time, I hope others will chime in. 

I also offer my services to give you an in person evaluation, if you would like to have me visit. My wife says I should charge for this but I just like helping my fishy friends. 

Aloha,
Mark  Hug
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VdubReefer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 17 2016 at 11:15am
What is your mag at ? That will effect raising alk and cal if your mag is low or high it'll throw off the balance of cal and alk,, what product are you dosing ?? Powder or fluid? I don't like powder cuz I thinks it's just easier to pour in my sump,, I manually dose can't justify buying dosing equipment right now,, In my little exprience I've had, I stay away from two part dosing, like kent marine alk part 1 and cal and mag part 2, I like to be able to control all three levels independently,, and if I were you id look into the Red Sea test kits the algea control kit, it tests between .02 - 65ppm for no3 and .02 - 25ppm for po4. And I've found them to be pretty accurate ,, I'm actually battling a similar problem Ive been unable to keep sps cuz my LEDs are cooking them,, I was running my light for over 14 cuz I get up early for work and like to check on them and I get home a lil late and I'm trying to cut my lights down and see how it goes ,,

Edited by VdubReefer - March 17 2016 at 11:18am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 19 2016 at 12:48pm

I'm surprised that there have been only two of us that responded here. Surely someone else has some ideas. Confused

Okay here we go:

Point #3   - Garlic should not be fed every day, except to stop and control an Ich outbreak. If Garlic Extreme did not make Ich disappear in 2 days, throw it out and try my favorite Garlic Oil, following the instructions I developed over the last 15 years. http://utahreefs.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=71349

Point #4  - You are correct, this is your biggest issue.  The very most important parameter in reefkeeping is Alkalinity. It must be steady between 8-12 dKH. Yes, it can fluctuate within that range and everything will do fine. When it falls to 7 dKH that's serious. The seriousness of it doesn't show up for weeks but we should not be fooled, it's very serious. The product/brand of Alkalinity supplement does not matter at all. Baking Soda works just as well as the most expensive stuff. Why should you trust me on this? Because I'm getting nothing for my advice. No money no future business, nothing, and I've been at this intensively for over 20 years, having seen and worked on a thousand hobbyists tanks and 100's of maintenance accounts.  Smile

** This tank has had good Mg levels, as seen by the amount of purple Coralline Algae actively encrusting all the LR.

Originally posted by you you wrote:

 I have done much better being diligent with the fan and keeping the temp between 76-78.  I need to invest in a chiller this summer because last year was a pain in the butt with the fan and I'm tired of the noise and the higher amount of evaporation.
I believe I have the solution to the summer overheating and it won't require the purchase of a Chiller (sorry Brad) I need to ask, What temperature is the heater set at Question

Water changes? 10% monthly works just fine as long as Alk, Ca and Mg are monitored and dosed as needed. Try it and see if I'm not right. Setting up a doser for Alk is going to make all the difference. Thumbs Up

Point #6  - Any of these fish could be causing trouble for the Frogspawn: flame angel, carpenter flasher wrasse, 2 ocellaris, clown goby, sleeper goby, scooter blenny, longnose hawkfish, midas blenny, m/f blue throat trigger pair, sailfin tang, purple dottyback, cleaner wrasse, firefish, lyretail anthia, 3 chromis, blue sided fairy wrasse, solon fairy wrasse, firefish  My money is on the Triggers, the Flame Angel and/or the Porcelain Crab

Point #7  -  That's a lot of good SPS that are growing. To have trouble with Acro's is an indication that I need to come over and see the tank.  Smile Contact me at 808-345-1049

Point #8  - The pic indicates that the Snails and Hermits are doing the right job.

This is not LED lighting,right? It's 8 t5's, right? What is the lighting schedule Question

Aloha,

Mark  Hug

808-345-1049



Edited by Mark Peterson - March 19 2016 at 12:53pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jsol12 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 21 2016 at 10:02am
Vdub, my mag is usually around 1350.

Thanks again Mark.  I got my Jebao dosing pump from Amazon so working on getting it set up.  Yes I have t5's...10 of them! I super need to get them replaced, they're a year old.  I've got a couple new ATI blue plus in there but the rest are the original. I run just 2 bulbs for 4 hours, then all 10 for 4 hours, or often 6 because I have to keep one of the light flaps up for the stupid fan; then I just run the 2 for 4 hours again until the moonlights come on.  The 2 lights in the middle are on a separate timer than the other 8, so it's kind of dumb.  I thought about seeing if it will run if some bulbs are removed.  But I got some good light combos from some other posts on here, it's just a matter of buying all the bulbs.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 21 2016 at 1:30pm
Are you aware that it's not a good idea to replace them all at once.

What temperature is the heater set at?

Aloha,
Mark  Hug
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jsol12 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 29 2016 at 5:07pm
I didn't know that, which is fine because I've only been buying a couple at a time anyway.

Heater is set at 74 for a back up, but the tank never gets close to that low.


Edited by jsol12 - March 29 2016 at 5:15pm
150gal/25gal sump Red Sea Max S650, started 3/28/15
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