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Old 02-13-2006, 03:08 PM   #1
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Phosphate/Algae Problems

Tank has been up for a year and I have had some algae problems but not like I have now. Red Algae (and some Green) covers my Live Rock and substrate. When I do a water change the Red Algae starts growing on the next day visible on the substrate and glass.

I use RO/DI for water changes and it tests out at about .25 ppm of phosphate before adding to tank. Tank is testing out at 1.5 ppm. My tank does get some sunlight in it for about an hour of the day (cause of my windows in my cathederal ceiling that arent covered).

I cannot find the exact source. I feed usually 5 nights a week but I am careful not to overfeed.

All other tests are coming out fine
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
PH 8.3
Alk: Med-High
PO4: 1.5

What types of additives are available?
What types of media/mechanisms are available?

What/which would you do to combat phosphate?
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Old 02-13-2006, 03:15 PM   #2
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It looks like you need to battle this problem from a couple different angles.

First: Your RO/DI water should register 0 for phosphate. You might want to look into replacing your DI membrane. That should solve that problem. If that's not the source, your salt mix may have phosphates. I would check your RO/DI water before and after you add the salt.

Second: What kind of food are you using? If you are feeding frozen, you need to thaw it and rinse it with RO/DI water as well. Frozen foods are notorious for containg phosphates and causing the algae issues you describe.

Third: I would purchase a Phos-ban reactor. These are not very expensive and will pull a lot of the phosphates out of the water. Of course, if you are doing PWC that still contain phosphates, you will never solve this problem, so address that first.

Fourth: You can also start a refugium. Adding some macroalgae that consumes phosphates would help the tank as well. Depending on how much you want the algae gone, this is another good solution.

Hopefully some or all of this will help you get rid of that algae. I have been in the same fight and am winning it slowly.

tripper
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Old 02-13-2006, 03:52 PM   #3
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I once had a reading of .5 for po4 and PhosGuard reduced it to 0 within 3 days. Getting to the source as tripper suggested is most important or you will never remove all of it. If you do plan on doing a fuge usa-aquarium sells HOB units pretty reasonably. Only other advice I’d add is to reduce your lighting schedule to 6 hours or less if you don’t have corals that require lighting. You could also go dark for a week or two to keep it from growing and only light it for 10-15 minutes prior to feeding.

Edit: Forgot to add that if your lights are also a year old as your tank is then it's time to replace them also.
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Old 02-13-2006, 06:29 PM   #4
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If you have that serious of an algae problem you might consider doing some or all of these:

Lights out for 7 days (your corals will be fine)

Cutting back feedings to every other day, and NOT overfeeding. I prefer salifert and red sea pellet foods. My fish love them, they get plenty nutrients and they don't foul up the water.

25% weekly PWCS till water quality and algae is under control.

Light bulb changes(i like to change mine every 6 months)

I prefer not to use media but when I had a nitrate problem I used some Seachem de-nitrate in conjunction with 25% weekly pwcs till water quality and algae were under control and it worked very efficiently for me.

You should also change the RO/DI filters, you don't want any of that phosphate it will cause algae problems.

You could also beef up your cleanup crew

Macro algaes will also help get rid of nutrients and help keep water quality high. If you have a sump, some chaeto or calupra should do the trick.

*These formulas work wonders for me so please do not bash my methods of reef keeping*
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Old 02-16-2006, 01:51 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tripper
First: Your RO/DI water should register 0 for phosphate. You might want to look into replacing your DI membrane. That should solve that problem. If that's not the source, your salt mix may have phosphates. I would check your RO/DI water before and after you add the salt.
I get my RO/DI from my LFS and I tested it at .2 from him. I also tested my tap (I am sometimes forced to top off with it, I know I am bad, I do now have some RO/DI reserve) and it tested at .3

My Salt mix is Instant Oceana and claims to be Phosphate free.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tripper
Second: What kind of food are you using? If you are feeding frozen, you need to thaw it and rinse it with RO/DI water as well. Frozen foods are notorious for containg phosphates and causing the algae issues you describe.
I always feed frozen Krill (Puffers only food he eats) and I also have some various other frozen foods I rotate. I have recently started defrosting the food and draining any access water before adding to talk.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tripper
Third: I would purchase a Phos-ban reactor. These are not very expensive and will pull a lot of the phosphates out of the water. Of course, if you are doing PWC that still contain phosphates, you will never solve this problem, so address that first.
I am going to look into this as I did do a little research and found that it is relatively inexpensive...I just dont have any more outlets available...lol

Quote:
Originally Posted by tripper
Fourth: You can also start a refugium. Adding some macroalgae that consumes phosphates would help the tank as well. Depending on how much you want the algae gone, this is another good solution.
I have always wanted to do this, but I wanted to get rid of my Puffer and Trigger and get a Mandarin and some other smaller more friendly fish. I have even drawn some plans already so that my fuge will interact with my main sump.

Thanks tripper
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Old 02-16-2006, 01:54 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tecwzrd
I once had a reading of .5 for po4 and PhosGuard reduced it to 0 within 3 days. Getting to the source as tripper suggested is most important or you will never remove all of it. If you do plan on doing a fuge usa-aquarium sells HOB units pretty reasonably. Only other advice I’d add is to reduce your lighting schedule to 6 hours or less if you don’t have corals that require lighting. You could also go dark for a week or two to keep it from growing and only light it for 10-15 minutes prior to feeding.

Edit: Forgot to add that if your lights are also a year old as your tank is then it's time to replace them also.
I am also going to look into Phosguard to reduce PO4 and the Phos-ban reactor to eleimate or maintain low PO4.

My bulb is brand new but the problem had started before I had the newer bulb so it is possible lighting was an issue. I have redcued my lighting from 5 PM to 10 PM.
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Old 02-16-2006, 01:58 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DragonForce
If you have that serious of an algae problem you might consider doing some or all of these:

Lights out for 7 days (your corals will be fine)

Cutting back feedings to every other day, and NOT overfeeding. I prefer salifert and red sea pellet foods. My fish love them, they get plenty nutrients and they don't foul up the water.

25% weekly PWCS till water quality and algae is under control.

Light bulb changes(i like to change mine every 6 months)

I prefer not to use media but when I had a nitrate problem I used some Seachem de-nitrate in conjunction with 25% weekly pwcs till water quality and algae were under control and it worked very efficiently for me.

You should also change the RO/DI filters, you don't want any of that phosphate it will cause algae problems.

You could also beef up your cleanup crew

Macro algaes will also help get rid of nutrients and help keep water quality high. If you have a sump, some chaeto or calupra should do the trick.

*These formulas work wonders for me so please do not bash my methods of reef keeping*
If I cannot correct (or reduce) the PO4 problem I will go lights out for a week.

I am down to feeding about 4 times a week.

RO/DI for from my LFS but since it tested out to .2 ppm PO4 I am going get my RO/DI from a different LFS and see how it compares.

Cleaning Crew isnt an option with my Puffer and Trigger
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Old 02-16-2006, 11:21 AM   #8
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How much does your lfs charge for ro\di water? It would be more economical in the long if you just bought your own unit. A lot of people get them from ebay for around $100. Below are the 3 most popular sites:

Filter-Direct-store (seems to be most popular on this site)
The-Aqua-Safe-Pure-Water-Shop
ROfilterDepot

Also airwaterice.com is a good place if you don’t want to deal with ebay.

I would get a unit that comes with a storage container personally so you always have water for top off available.

Puffers and Triggers are about the messiest fish you can own. Personally I’ve had to switch between a few frozen brands to find the one with the least po4. I mostly feed San Francisco Bay Brand Frozen and defrost and soak in Kent’s Garlic Extreme & Kent’s Marine Zoe to both entice them to eat and for their health both being po4 free. Then dunk/shake in a bowl of ro\di water using a fine mesh screen before adding to tank.

Have you tried silversides? They also need hard food materials, to wear their naturally ever-growing teeth ie: shrimp, crabs, mussels & the like in the shell.

Most salt mixes are po4 free but to rule it out I would test your mixed water as well before adding to tank. Also your storage container could be a possible source for po4.
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Old 02-24-2006, 07:42 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tecwzrd
I once had a reading of .5 for po4 and PhosGuard reduced it to 0 within 3 days. Getting to the source as tripper suggested is most important or you will never remove all of it. If you do plan on doing a fuge usa-aquarium sells HOB units pretty reasonably. Only other advice I’d add is to reduce your lighting schedule to 6 hours or less if you don’t have corals that require lighting. You could also go dark for a week or two to keep it from growing and only light it for 10-15 minutes prior to feeding.

Edit: Forgot to add that if your lights are also a year old as your tank is then it's time to replace them also.
Well I have attempted to let this go and simply watch it. My lights are brand new and I didnt have them in there when the problem actually started. After a water change and adding a phosphate remover a buddy gave me (the name escapes me but it was a liquid) I got the Phosphate down to .4

One week later it is about .7

I bought some Phosguard today and after a water change tomorrow I am going to put it in my Magnum with some carbon.

I also bought a Phosphate Filter pad....not sure it actually does anything but I needed a new one anyway so i guess we will see.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tecwzrd
How much does your lfs charge for ro\di water? It would be more economical in the long if you just bought your own unit. A lot of people get them from ebay for around $100. Below are the 3 most popular sites:

Filter-Direct-store (seems to be most popular on this site)
The-Aqua-Safe-Pure-Water-Shop
ROfilterDepot

Also airwaterice.com is a good place if you don’t want to deal with ebay.

I would get a unit that comes with a storage container personally so you always have water for top off available.

Puffers and Triggers are about the messiest fish you can own. Personally I’ve had to switch between a few frozen brands to find the one with the least po4. I mostly feed San Francisco Bay Brand Frozen and defrost and soak in Kent’s Garlic Extreme & Kent’s Marine Zoe to both entice them to eat and for their health both being po4 free. Then dunk/shake in a bowl of ro\di water using a fine mesh screen before adding to tank.

Have you tried silversides? They also need hard food materials, to wear their naturally ever-growing teeth ie: shrimp, crabs, mussels & the like in the shell.

Most salt mixes are po4 free but to rule it out I would test your mixed water as well before adding to tank. Also your storage container could be a possible source for po4.
I believe I will be purchasing one of these...which do you think is suitable?

http://cgi.ebay.com/USA-85GPD-REVERS...QQcmdZViewItem
$95 - This one comes with a tank

http://cgi.ebay.com/AQUARIUM-2-110GP...QQcmdZViewItem
$95 - Seems to be a better model but does not come with a tank. Where would I get one and how much would it cost?

http://cgi.ebay.com/AQUA-SAFE-100GPD...QQcmdZViewItem
$85 - Comes with a tank

I dont mind spending more money on something if it is worth the price. The second one seems to be the best and if a good tank is only like $25 I would probably get it. It would be nice to have a tank bigger than the 4.4 gallon ones that come with #1 and #3. Are there any that are like 20 Gallons?
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Old 02-25-2006, 01:19 PM   #10
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You want ro/di and not just ro because only the di part will completely make your water pure. The ro units are fine for drinking but can still contain po4 after running through the filter which is what you are trying to eliminate.

With your po4 rising without adding any water I would suspect it’s your food that could be the cultrate. If you use frozen then I would let it thaw out in a small cup of tank water and then rinse in a small bowl of tank water using a fine mesh screen if available.

If you use flake make sure it’s po4 free.
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