High phosphate and nitrate but sps seems to be happy

Discussion in 'Reef Chemistry' started by gabloo, Feb 22, 2017.

  1. gabloo

    gabloo Supporting Member

    Hello Everyone,

    I am in the situation where I am not sure what to do. My phosphate and nitrate level are pretty high but SPS seems to be happy. Their polys are out and coloring up nicely. I had never seen my corals that happy before. Actually, I could never keep SPS alive. I was planning to run GFO and Vodka dosing to lower down those level but I am afraid I might end up killing them.

    In the past, I was running GFO and my phosphate was zero but I couldn’t keep my SPS alive. I think it was bleaching. I also made a lot of chances recently, switched to LED, added carbon, started dosing Alk, Cal and Mg heavily and switched to bared bottom.

    My tank has been running for about 7 - 8 months now. My setup is 55g display, 30g refugium with chatos, 25 gallon sump and running SWC 160 skimmer. I am also feeding twice a day (chopped shrimp and clams).

    Can you guys please give me advice on what to do?

    My current water parameter are

    Phosphate = .22 ppm
    Nitrate = 50 ppm
    Salinity = 1.025 – 1.026
    Magnesium = ~1450
    Calcium = ~ 450
    Alk = 9.5 – 9
    temp = 77

    Thanks in advance
  2. Vhuang168

    Vhuang168 Supporting Member

    If you don't have algae problems, and all your corals are fine, I would leave it.

    Esp since your alk is on. The high side, more nutrients in the water plus high light levels will allow faster growth and better color.

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  3. RandyC

    RandyC Supporting Member

    Agree with @Vhuang168 . If it ain't broke, don't try to fix it. Plus, ultra low nutrient systems are fickle and you have to overfeed or supplement amino acids. I just went through that myself.

    For your past SPS experience, a bleaching event usually is fast (days), but paling/turning white because of malnourishment is a weeks or months event.
  4. yellojello

    yellojello Supporting Member

    If it ain't broke, don't fix it... but I believe in keeping the Alk, Ca, and Mag consistent is the most important in addition to Salinity and Temp. I'm not a phosphate nitrate chaser, never tested. But maybe if I did, my tank might be better? haha I am interested in Strontium and Potassium and just got a test kit to check those... but those should be fine with water changes.
  5. yellojello

    yellojello Supporting Member

    Too fast Randy!
    RandyC likes this.
  6. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    What's your water change schedule like?
  7. F6553066

    F6553066 Guest

    Large thread on r2r forum debating high and low nitrate and NO4 levels. It appears that higher levels aren't so bad. One problem would be if you were to have an algae out break. While I agree with the above comments I myself would try to lower my NO3 to at least to 25ppm,and NO4 to .10. However, this would have to be done slowly and with a close eye on how the corals react. If they stay the same continue to lower them. Alk. at your level shouldn't present a problem.

    Dick flanagan
    Coral reefer likes this.
  8. Gablami

    Gablami Supporting Member

    Yeah I'm actually trying to increase nutrients. Bought some KNO3 and might start dosing it soon. Target NO3 is 5 while keeping phosphate below 0.05. Already feeding like crazy.

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  9. Ibn

    Ibn Supporting Member

    I dry dose 1/4 tsp KNO3 into the tank every 2-3 days to keep nitrate in the system.

    Trying to combat an odd issue where there's a partial loss of pigmentation on the bases and seeing if the KNO3 would help (already feeding a ton).

    Looking at those levels on your tank, I'd consider slowly dropping it over time. While there's no effects now, it's hard to say what happens if it does climb higher than what you're currently seeing and you might be teetering on an edge somewhere.
    Coral reefer likes this.
  10. Gablami

    Gablami Supporting Member

    I've got some KNO3 powder from green leaf aquariums. You just take 1/4 teaspoon and drop it in? Premix? What is your target NO3? I gotta do more research on all this but appreciate hearing your experience with dosing.

    Sorry, don't mean to hijack. I can start a new thread later tonight.

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  11. RandyC

    RandyC Supporting Member

    Start one! Topic interests me too. Wondering if kno3 is a better option than Acropower. They're both just sources of nitrogen in the end.

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  12. roostertech

    roostertech reef noob

    I would mix KNO3 into stock solution first. This is a pretty good calculator for dosing level. I used it for FW but probably good for your purpose as well.

  13. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    I agree with doing very little.
    But if you do want to fix things, fix Phosphates first!!
    Slowly ramp up GFO usage. But watch that Alk.

    If you fix Nitrates first, you risk have low nitrates and high phosphates, which very often results in major Cyano.
    And that is WAY worse that a few parameters being off.
  14. F6553066

    F6553066 Guest

    There's also a very good thread on reef2reef on increasing NO3 using Spectracide stump remover. No kinding. Works very well and there's a formula presented. They say it's much cheaper then buying nitrogen products for aquariums. Used as instructed it will increases NO3 slowly and safely.

    Dick Flanagan
  15. gabloo

    gabloo Supporting Member

    I do 10%, 10 gallon, water chance once a week.
  16. Chromis

    Chromis Supporting Member

    My thinking was you had large chunks of food rotting around your tank, then I went back and yes - you are feeding chopped meats! Maybe get a crew of nassarius snails and stop over feeding?

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  17. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    Also not a huge fan of your choice of foods...not saying it's the single culprit, but maybe it would help to switch
  18. Ibn

    Ibn Supporting Member

    I've saw KoKo feed his fish last time that I was there since I picked up the copper banded butterfly from him. The food, which is chopped fish and clams, was fed through a suspended clear film tube with holes in them. I'm not sure if that was temporary to give the butterfly a chance to eat or not. Didn't seem to be any sort of overfeeding from what I can tell at that time.

    There was a sandbed there last time I saw the tank as well.
  19. gabloo

    gabloo Supporting Member

    It is possible. When I said chopped meat, It's more like thin slice of meat which got chopped into tiny pieces. I only have 1 or 2 nassarius snail so I will get few more. I was worry that snail would not do well in bare bottom tank.

    I read that flakes and pellets contain concentrated phosphate that why I was only feeding clams and shrimps. I was assuming that these would be much more healthier for them. Plus, most of the flake food usually end up in overflow. Can you please share me a list of food that you feed to your tank?

    Hello Eric,
    I don't use that tube anymore. It was only there for CB and no other fish could pull food out of that tube ;P. I feed half that amount right now and i just dump everything into the tank. I also went bare bottom.
  20. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    There was a list of phosphate amounts in various foods. Search the web. It is out there somewhere.
    From memory, it seemed to vary more based on type of food and manufacturer, not fresh/pellet/flake.
    Coral reefer likes this.

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