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Old 02-18-2007, 12:08 AM   #1
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Cleaning Crew to cure high phos and nitrate?

I'm getting pretty high phosphate readings and my nitrates are 20 ppm. Everything else in the tank is normal (nitrites = 0, ammonia = 0, pH - 8.2). I am FAIRLY diligent with my water PWC and have been doing larger volume (45-50 gal for a 140 gal tank) every 2-3 weeks but that phospate number just won't move. I have reduced feedings to every other day. My setup is FOWLR and over the last 2 1/2 my cleaning crew has dwindled due to the process of natural selection.

Will repopulating my cleaning crew help to drive down both phosphate and nitrate concentration and drive down the amount of algae?

Second, knowing that the process of natural selection in the form of triggers and a banded moray will continue, any recommendations on what to restock the cleaning crew with? My feelings are going to be really hurt if I drop $18-20 on a cleaner shrimp if all it does is feed my trigger
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Old 02-18-2007, 01:45 AM   #2
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Phosphate comes mainly from food. What kind of food do you feed? How much?

To get rid of it, for one, you can feed different foods and less of it, which will help. Else, you can try something like Phosban of a Phosban Reactor to soak it up. Cleaners won't do anything for you, unfortanetly.

Phosban

Phosban Reactor
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Old 02-18-2007, 11:30 AM   #3
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I'm feeding Formula 1 and 2 (1 cube each) and a small amount of mysis for the trigger and tangs and silversides for the moray. The F1, F2, and mysis are every other day. The sliversides (about 3 each time) are twice a week.

I've got some SeaGel in media bags in my sump, but that doesn't seem to be doing a whole lot. Would skimming more aggressively help as well?

As for the Phosban Reactor (which may be the way i have to go) I'm thinking it would go in the sump with another pump to draw water through the Phosban. What about the return from the reactor? Just run it to the other side of the sump where the tank return is?

In reading some additional posts, there is mention of crushed coral as a substrate being a not so good choice. The post reads something to the effect that it "traps waste" and must be vacuumed more aggressively. Well, I have a crushed coral substrate, about 2 inches deep. Any benefit switching over to sand? If I do switch over to sand, would it reduce the amount of green algae that seems to grow on the glass below the substrate line?
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Old 02-19-2007, 12:07 AM   #4
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Frozen foods are a big source of phosphates unless you rinse the liqiud off the food as it thaws. This most likely is your phosphate source. Yes CC can cause high nitrates and sand is a better choice and will be easier for your Clean up crew to get to any uneaten food.
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Old 02-19-2007, 04:24 AM   #5
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OK you need to stop adding anything to the tank IMO. I got nitrates to 0 by feeding every 3 days. I feed frozen foods formula 1,2 and reef. I also change 10g out of my 37 gallon every 2 weeks. You can get to 0ppm, once it gets there after your tank is established it has a natural way of staying down because your system can actually work out small ammounts of nitrate by itself IMO. I also bought bulk carbon and run it for 24/7 and change it out every 2 weeks. I am sumpless with a remora skimmer and 2 maxi jet 1200s for flow with about 70 lbs of LR. mixed reef with sps lps softies and a few bubble tips. You can do it, get them down with pwcs and work from there.
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Old 02-19-2007, 04:36 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aw_Ref
diligent with my water PWC and have been doing larger volume (45-50 gal for a 140 gal tank) every 2-3 weeks but that phospate number just won't move.
It's very possible both NO3 and PO4 are being introduced through your water source. Are you using RO, RO/DI or tap?
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Old 02-19-2007, 10:05 AM   #7
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Using RO/DI. Have tested it and it is 0 for PO4.
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Old 02-19-2007, 07:18 PM   #8
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I think you are feeding too much (therefore the high phosphates) and you may want to increase your pwc's to one a week for a month or two to get the nitrates down and the cc substrate doesn't help.
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Old 02-19-2007, 11:02 PM   #9
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Sounds easy enough. Was looking at the cc and I may just have to live with it a while longer since i don't have a real practical way of making and storing 140g of saltwater at one time. Thanks for the advice. I will admit that I'm a little surprised that beefing up the cleaning crew wasn't part of the recommendations, but then again, I've still got a lot to learn.
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Old 02-20-2007, 12:29 AM   #10
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Adding to your clean up crew likely won't do a thing because they don't filter out water.

If you are looking for something to snatch up on uneaten food, I'd look into some snails and hermits. They won't directly impact your readings though, just eat more food.

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