So I've been doing a little research regarding phosphates and why some have issues getting rid of them even when they are using RO
water and have clean equipment. Apparently there is a theory that your live rock can absorb phosphates and when there isn't any present it can leech it out. In addition, I also read that phosphates can bind to your substrate as well as live rock. In one instance there was a guy that was using phosban with a new phosphate reactor and as it was pulling phosphates out he was getting green algae on his sand. He believed that the substrate was leeching it out causing the quick growth. The reactor eventually solved his issue with the phosphates over time and the algae died off.
So in doing more reading and research I am either going to need to undergo a process called "cooking live rock" and/or will need to remove my substrate and replace OR purchase a phosphate reactor...or all three if it comes down to it. From what I've read, I need the reactor to counter phosphate build up due to the inability to siphon the entire bed of detrital build up and will eventually pull all that may be bound to the live rock off.
I've cut back on feeding to the point that my shrimp act starved. I keep everything clean. I use RO
water. I have one fish (a clown) in a 56 gallon tank. I will purchase a reactor however I've still got a source. My question is this: is my bacteria within the sand itself, on the rocks, or in the filter predominantly? I'm seriously considering removing all of my sand (have 3 inch bed) except maybe a 1/2 inch on the bottom. In addition, the bed has some crushed coral towards the bottom (yes...i know its not the best thing and harbors old nutrients but in the "olden days" we used it a lot) Will the tank cycle again? I'm really tired of dealing with phosphates!!!
Sorry for the dissertation. Please comment advise. Thank you!