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Old 03-06-2014, 06:58 PM   #1
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Nitrates and phosphates

I believe I have a fundamental understanding of both of these, but what are the main causes of each and how do they differ, per se? I realize nitrates are the resulting factor in the nitrification cycle = ammonia -> nitrite -> nitrate.

With that said, what is the cause for phosphates? Is it excess nutrients, such as uneaten food? If so, why are phosphates spiked as opposed to nitrates? Seems like the food would decompose and let the cycle take over ... I guess I never really read where phosphates come from, especially if it isn't present in the RODI water I use.

Sorry to sound naive here, and I feel ignorant just questioning this now... appreciate the input.
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Old 03-06-2014, 11:37 PM   #2
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Nitrates and phosphates

All cells are made up of some basic elements and compounds with a whole bunch of minor compounds thrown in, but nitrates (nitrogen) and phosphates are big players. Basic fertilizer. Generally much more nitrates than phosphates. 16:1 or greater. As cells decompose these compounds are released back into the water. That's my basic understanding, I'm sure a more complicated answer is available. But it's at the core of some systems that can get nitrogen bound. Algae and bacteria cells absorb much more nitrate as they reproduce, than phosphates and once the nitrates are gone, the phosphates are still left behind. That's why some folks also use something to specifically absorb phosphates even when dosing or algae cultivation.


http://reefkeeping.com/joomla/index....arine-aquarium
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Old 03-06-2014, 11:39 PM   #3
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Basically, if you put something into your tank it stay there until you take it out. Feed the fish, eat it or not eat it, it turns into nitrates/phosphates.
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Old 03-07-2014, 07:49 AM   #4
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I constantly dose Red Sea No3Po4x to try and remove phosphates but it has always been around 0.5-1.0 no matter what. Apart from not feeding excessively which I'm careful with, what is a good way of reducing phosphates?
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Old 03-07-2014, 02:02 PM   #5
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Phosphates comes from food, buy food that doesn't contains phosphates for lower readings.

Vodka dosing help in reducing phosphates, but water changes is the best.
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Old 03-07-2014, 02:23 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Paulm7373 View Post
I constantly dose Red Sea No3Po4x to try and remove phosphates but it has always been around 0.5-1.0 no matter what. Apart from not feeding excessively which I'm careful with, what is a good way of reducing phosphates?

See my post above, that's why you have phosphates left over after dosing. Try running GFO or Phosguard.
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Old 03-07-2014, 02:26 PM   #7
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As food and poop decays, it creates both nitrates and phosphates. I'm told it is a 16:1 ratio in terms of decay, but I don't pay that close of attention to it and just aim towards reduction of both.
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Old 03-08-2014, 01:24 PM   #8
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You also need to keep good weekly maintenance. As mentioned algae soaks up the phosphates, there could be areas in your tank where waste is decaying such as under LR or in the crevices of LR.
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Old 03-09-2014, 12:56 AM   #9
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See my post above, that's why you have phosphates left over after dosing. Try running GFO or Phosguard.
If you are using Red Sea No3Po4X do not use Phosguard or any other Phosphate remover you WILL KILL your fish also be sure to keep you protein skimmer running and get plenty of oxygen in your water.
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Old 03-09-2014, 04:04 AM   #10
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Nitrates and phosphates

Can you explain why a phosphate removal product WOULD KILL your fish when dosing the Red Sea product? Always trying to learn, but that doesn't make sense to me. I have used all three multiple times. No fish or corals were lost. Phosphates can be at almost true zero, that will effect your corals but not fish. The open reef is .007ppm phosphates, we can't really get them that low in an aquarium. The Red Sea product will mostly effect nitrates at a roughly 16:1 ratio. That can leave some phosphates still in the water after all nitrates are consumed.

You need to run an effective skimmer because you will be producing a lot more bacteria. If you use too much product, you will cause a bacterial bloom. The water gets cloudy for about 24 hours after you back off dosing. This can drive oxygen levels too low, so keep the surface agitated if it happens. This stuff is very much like vodka dosing. My problem with it is it isn't very selective about the kind of bacteria is stimulates, in my case it was Cyanobacteria that I hadn't seen in years. I feed a lot of fish and have a lot of corals, getting rid of the nitrates has always been easier than keeping phosphates under 0.10ppm for me.
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