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Old 12-23-2014, 01:21 AM   #1
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Raising Phosphates

My corals have looked a bit "blah" (some loss of color, poor PE) for the last week or two. I checked phosphates about a week ago and they were at 0 (Hanna), I've dosed some phyto, red sea reef energy and "reef chili" a few times since, and they are still at 0. Over the short lifetime of the tank, Phosphates have stayed at a steady 0.08 until now. Nitrates are at 0 as per a crappy API test kit. Yes, I know I need to get something better to test that.

Greg's 44 gallon shallow

In the meantime, I've shut off GFO/Carbon, and I'm contemplating not using filter socks for a bit...thoughts?

Due to a few of the fish in the tank having special needs, I am feeding 2-3 times a day so you could say I'm surprised at the lack of nutrients. The tank is quite young, and obviously still going through changes. I had a couple day battle with a bacterial bloom (gross white snot stuff that filled filter socks in 8-12 hours) about a week and a half ago, and the low phosphates followed.

So question is, any suggestions on raising phosphates in a safe and sane manner? Once I hit say 0.1, I figure I should dial things back and turn GFO back on. Does it seem like a good idea to start with about 1/2 of the GFO that is recommended for my tank size?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 12-23-2014, 07:42 AM   #2
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Feed more. I wouldn't bother with GFO at all if you are having a low nutrient problem. I would not stop using filter socks though. I wouldn't want the sump area to collect detritus.
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Old 12-23-2014, 01:00 PM   #3
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What kind of food do you feed your fish? I believe flakes have higher phosphates content.
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Old 12-23-2014, 01:25 PM   #4
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I wouldn't want to aim as high as .1, but you can simply cut back on the gfo.
I know when I battled dulled colors in my tank I blame it all on phosphates and went to war. Never any improvement. Then I was in a discussion with ecotech and they told me that I was running my lights too high and that they run their radions at 60%. Made the adjustment and my colors improved, even after years of being at that intensity.
Not saying your situation is the same, but thought it would be of honorable mention.


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Old 12-23-2014, 03:29 PM   #5
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Raising Phosphates

I agree with sniperhawk. Are all other parameters in order? Alk?
It is super easy to underestimate the amount of light those LEDs are pumping out. X is also right, just let the tank coast for a while.


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Old 12-23-2014, 05:35 PM   #6
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I have 0 phosphates also. I blamed it on the lack of feeding. Even when I feel like I'm overfeeding, it stays 0. I think it's slowing down my coral growth.
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Old 12-23-2014, 09:12 PM   #7
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Thanks all!

As for food, I toss Formula 1 Pellets in a couple times a day, as well as feed Marine Cusine, gut-loaded brine or mysis shrimp, depending on what I feel like at that moment.

It very well could be lights. I'm running two RapidLED Onyx Fixtures, and yeah, that is a lot of light, especially given that the tank is so shallow (12")

Alk is a bit low (7.2) relative to where calcium is (420), -- mag is around 1340, but it has always been that way, and no amount of dosing keeps it up. I've had very good growth and acceptable color to this point, so I haven't bothered trying to push it up. Also, in my (limited) experience, SPS doesn't react too well in a nutrient-poor environment where alk is much higher than 7 - 8.2 or so.

I'm going to let the tank coast for a bit, go a couple weeks without changing water, bump up the height of the LEDs and see what happens.

Need to bite the bullet and order the blasted PAR meter, it would help clear up so many things.
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Old 12-23-2014, 11:35 PM   #8
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I've got a PAR meter and sometimes it raises more questions than it answers. These various corals thrive in combinations of lighting, flow, feeding patterns and proximity to neighbors. It can get pretty complex. Too many variables.


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Old 12-24-2014, 12:30 AM   #9
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If you've been using the same light since you started this tank and had good growth and colors of corals before, why would you now suspect it is the cause? Unless you cranked it up and it changed everything then yes I would agree. However, at this point the most obvious is your phosphate. We know that corals need it to have good growth.
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Old 12-24-2014, 09:30 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gregcoyote View Post
I've got a PAR meter and sometimes it raises more questions than it answers. \
Not to mention that PAR meters don't pick up LED light like they do other sources. It will not give you an accurate number.
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