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high no3 and low po4 :(

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by tebo, Mar 20, 2014.

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  1. tebo

    tebo Member

    Well this is the situation I have an aquarium near the 2000lts, which is now 3 years old, the rock I have is DIY, use only ats,, early last year I lost by ich all my fish population, many small fish that I could not recover and died in the tank

    Since then everything goes downhill, the no3 (40ppm, salifert and lamotte) remains very high and very low po4 (0.02 and 0.08 ppm, hanna) if not add potassium chloride go to 0.00ppm, so i adding potassium chloride

    My ats has measured 25cm x 25cm, This is illuminated with LED luxeon es, 6 per side at a distance of no more than 8cm mesh

    I have a really good grow, but my no3 its high

    I also lost my stone filtering capability since all are almost covered by coralline algae, which cover its porosity, this prevents the filtration of no3

    5 months,,,,, I own six surgeons medium size not exceeding 12cm, 2 clowns, 1 six line, 3 domino damsels, 5 yellowtail damsels, 1 rock beauty

    food two times a day for three weeks with home prepared, dig out that it is very low in po4 and no3 in fact almost no variation parameters since then, about 2 buckets per day would think

    My direct question would be my ats stayed small, which would be the ideal measure







    Then I need to determine if I need more rock,,,, or I need to put another ats, to lose those no3

    I almost forgot recently I added a skimmer to help my ats, but not notice much improvement
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 21, 2014
  2. Kerry

    Kerry Member Trusted Member Customer

    I have heard in the past others had this issue. I have not had this but I do feed DIY food that has a lot of shrimp in it, seems there was some talk on SM's site about certain foods like shrimp balancing this out.
  3. First of all, your live rock, even with corraline is probably doing its job well. If it wasn't you would have ammonia and Nitrate in the tank. The bacteria in the live rock is doing the cycle as it should. The corraline covering probably doesn't make any difference. This is the first time I have actually heard that it might by the way.

    The key is how much you are feeding, how much other organics are decomposing etc. vs. your ATS filtering capacity and export of NO3.

    If you don't want to have corals in your tank as well as fish, running at 40 ppm of Nitrates is not really a problem by the way.

    It is a balancing act. If you want to reduce nitrate, reduce feeding and/or increase the filtering from the ATS.

    To increase filtering, increase the lighting time or add additional filtering capacity somehow. You could also harvest the algae more often - the growth you are showing in the pictures is great, but to me it looks like you may be letting it go too long between harvesting.

    Hopefully Bud will chime in here - he has much more experience with these ATS systems.
  4. OOPS - I meant high nitrites in the tank if your rock was not working.
  5. Rumpy Pumpy

    Rumpy Pumpy Member Trusted Member

    I can recommend Seachem De-Nitrate for reducing nitrates. Works in exactly the same way as live rock does only more efficiently as it's more porous and has a much higher surface to volume area. It has to be used as directed though (relatively slow flow is essential) and it only handles nitrates, nothing else.

    Not particularly expensive either. I think it's just some sort of crushed and graded pumice stone.
  6. tebo

    tebo Member

    Regards Kerry, this food does not take shrimp, is made for 2 types of flake food ocean nutrition,, nori,, seaweed ats, pellets of ocean nutrition, vitamins, cod liver oil, gelatin without flavor

    then nothing shrimp

    rleahaines greetings, Well brother regarding the rock, if the mood to argue, if we perform several tests in my area, where coralline algae cover the rock and loses its effectiveness for this search, I know that is a controversial issue

    If I would have corals that's why I worry high no3

    I think the balance is to increase the filtering, not reduce food, `but I think not with ats but rather rock strategically placed in the sump which do not give light, that is not invaded by coralline algae is loque think

    The ats, I think with what I have this line, has 16 on and 8 off, and then pruning do religiously every 7 days

    Greetings Rumpy Pumpy, the problem is that I live in Venezuela, the country where it gets very little of this hobby and what you get is expensive I would dearly
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2014
  7. Kerry

    Kerry Member Trusted Member Customer

    I have read some where that having food with shrimp may help balance nitrate to phosphate ratio so you dont get low phosphate and high nitrate. I was certain it was on the Santa Monica site. Perhaps someone else remembers as well.
  8. tebo

    tebo Member

    ok I will look
  9. Kerry

    Kerry Member Trusted Member Customer

    It seems this was an issue with long use of a scrubber.
  10. Turbo

    Turbo Does not really look like Johnny Carson Staff Member Site Owner Multiple Units! Customer

    It was an article by Randy Holmes Farley


    Yes, you definitely want shrimp to be the main staple of any food for saltwater aquaria.

    If you are not incorporating mainly shrimp into your food, this may be part of the issue

    I can also say that I do not thing the screen material you are using is ideal. The strands are thin and far apart. I think what can happen is that the algae does not grow back very quickly and there is a "lag" in filtration. You really need the plastic canvas and I can send you a full roughed up sheet if you want.

    Have you measured the outlet flow rate to see how much flow is going through your scrubber?

    Based on the growth, I think your LED array is good. But how long did it take to get that growth?
  11. tebo,

    I am not arguing about the corraline, I just have never heard that too much of it would stop live rock from working properly. Adding more live rock or De- Nitrate to your sump wouldn't hurt, and may help.

    If you tell us how much you are feeding, how long you keep your lights on, how often you clean your screens and if possible how much flow you are putting over your ATS it would help everyone here to help you with better suggestions.
  12. tebo

    tebo Member

    Turbo greetings, really appreciate your time to help

    The shrimp and not use it,,,,, because I do not think it is,,,,, as I comment that I like three weeks giving this kind of food, and the problem I have for over 6 months ago

    Anyway tell me if I add shrimp that can help correct the problem??

    Remember this photo its my


    Well exactly the same material, at the time had no problem with any parameters, but at that time did not have my rock coralline algae, sorry if I'm repetitive,,,,, but I think the shots by there

    IF I would have the canvas, but the last time you try to buy them, they cost me $ 3 and sent to Venezuela cost me $ 80,,,, I found it very expensive, but if we could see if that change

    To be honest I have not measured, worse experience I think is around 40 GPH, but I'll measure to see

    THE time it takes to have that growth is 7 days, it does not seem too bad actually, you tell me, I give more days or fewer days for pruning

    Greetings Rleahaines currently give them food twice a day, I think it would be the equivalent of two cubes, anyway tonight I weight

    16 on 8 Off
    Every 7 days and on Sunday will try to measure the flow, but I think is close to 40gph

    I'd really like to have corals in this aquarium, but with such high no3 not want to risk

    Greetings and grateful for all the help you can give me
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 22, 2014
  13. That article by Randy Holmes Farley puts things into perspective a bit. Some foods are so high in PO3 or equiv. that using them at all is overwhelming any filtration system we may have.

    Table 4. Phosphate additions to a 100 gallon actual water volume aquarium with different daily feeding regimens.

    Table 4. Phosphate additions to a 100 gallon actual water volume aquarium with different daily feeding regimens.
    Foods FedPhosphorus Added Daily (mg)Equivalent Phosphate Added Daily (mg)Equivalent Phosphate Concentration Added Daily (ppm)
    1 Prime Reef Cube2.78.40.022
    1 Prime Reef Cube1 Formula 1 Cube6.018.60.049
    1 Formula 2 Cube1 Mysis Cube3.912.10.032
    IO Marine Omnivore Chips (2 g)22680.18
    IO Marine Omnivore Chips (1 g)Silversides (1/2 teaspoon)Nori (2.5 g = large sheet)371150.30
    This tells me that we need to perhaps rethink what we mean by a cube of food etc. when sizing an ATS.

    If we want to have phosphate to be below .o1 we have to have a system that handles the food we put in. So if I feed 2 g of Omnivore chips I am putting in .18 ppm of phosphate which the system has to filter out somehow.

    Have to think through this some more.
  14. Kerry

    Kerry Member Trusted Member Customer

    Its not that the shrimp will cure your whole problem but I know there is something to do with nitrate and phosphate export. Seems you had to have enough nitrate for proper export of the phosphate by the algae.
  15. Turbo

    Turbo Does not really look like Johnny Carson Staff Member Site Owner Multiple Units! Customer

    Also recall a recent article that takes the evil out of phosphate. Several well-known reef keepers keep their tanks at 1.0 (not 0.1) ppm phosphate. As long as the system is stable, it can be healthy.

    @tebo i just looked it up and shipping for a USPS flat rate envelope 15" x 9" to Venezuela is $23.50. If you had no problems before when using this material, and now you are having issues using the different material, I would say that is definitely part of the issue.

    The general rule of thumb is 35 GPH for every 1" of width. I'm guessing you mean 400 GPH and not 40 GPH. But judging by the pic of your current screen, it looks to be about 10" wide, so that would be 350 GPH, so you're about right there.

    The other difference between your two units is the water deliver - slot pipe vs dual spray bay. I don't know that this is much of an issue, but I would still measure your flow. The spray bar design, to me, has an upper limit on flow, so you might have been getting more flow in your other scrubber or something. Or you might have had a different LED configuration, I would have to go back and look. To me, 6 LEDs per side of a 12x10 screen is about 1/4 of what you need. My 4x6 units have that many LEDs on them.

    At this point though, I can't argue with that amount of growth in 7 days except to say that you have a very large volume of water (500 gallon) and you might just need a higher turnover rate across the screen

    This really is a bit of a mystery because most tanks do not have a low phosphate / high nitrate problem.

    In your original post, you say you are adding Potassium (K) Chloride? Do you mean some kind of phosphate?
  16. Kerry

    Kerry Member Trusted Member Customer

    Not to change the subject but I always love seeing the pictures of the counter area with all the different fruits!!! I really like that, here in the USA we have boring apples and oranges on our counters LOL.
    Turbo likes this.
  17. tebo

    tebo Member

    Well I try to keep my phosphate between 0.04 and 0.08, for me it is great,,,, so I have it in my other aquarium, all coral perfect

    Turbo interesting what's sent, it may be an option,,,, now as I wrote before I do not think it's the material of the screen, which is the same as used before

    Now the flow is correct I meant 400gph,,,, maybe as you say 350gph,

    Concerning the design of the delivery of water, because I do not know,,,, can it be right and the other unit if delivered more water, setting led was the same in quantity, but in that time have creen and now i use luxeon, but in that time its more close to the screen

    Now those who led you recommend for my mesh 25cm x 25cm

    To growth do not have to lie,,,, my aquarium is 2000lts,, pump return to that height gives me more of 16000lts / H is a hammerhead reeflo, and ats is powered by the descent with pipe 1 "

    If truth is not common my case, before everything was in perfect balance, but over here a year ago, my no3 go up and up, and very little down

    Indeed I have to add potassium phosphate,,, I mistook the name, in order to maintain phosphate levels in measurable, otherwise low between 0.00 and 0.02ppm

    karry greetings, jajajajajajajajaj here is very common to see that

  18. Turbo

    Turbo Does not really look like Johnny Carson Staff Member Site Owner Multiple Units! Customer

    Are you sure this is the same material? The current one looks like the mesh is fewer holes per unit of measure. The ones I use are 7 holes per inch, your current one looks like the 5 holes per inch one. I think these are different screens. The material may be the same but the size is different.

    I don't know if this is part of the problem or not. Just observing.
  19. tebo

    tebo Member

    while buy a screen,, still remains as to manufacture 20 ats 25cm x 25cm more, so it really is the same screen

    Turbo, Now those who led you recommend for my screen 25cm x 25cm
  20. Turbo

    Turbo Does not really look like Johnny Carson Staff Member Site Owner Multiple Units! Customer

    My recommendation for coverage is one 660nm Deep Red LED for every 4-8 square inches (25-50 sq cm). Your screen is 25 x 25 = 625 sq cm. 625/50 = 12 LEDs per side minimum, or 625/25 = 25 LEDs maximum. this would be at 2-3" from the screen (no more than 8cm)

    That being said, ever since I started shipping my Lx scrubbers with custom LED boards, which have a "half power" default jumper setting, I haven't heard back much from people regarding a difference between the default setting (running all LEDs at 350 mA) compared to the "full power" 700 mA setting. So, it may be adequate to run a high-density array at 350 mA, but it has to be the array that has one every 4 sq in (25 sq cm).

    If you are running 6 LEDs at 8cm, I think this might be below what I would consider to be the minimum. But, that's just my personal "guideline"...

    Do you have the ability to make a video of your scrubber, and show the unit running with the LEDs removed from the unit? My thought is that there might be something that is hard to see in a picture.

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