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Thread: Discussion of th Week ~ Phosphates~

  1. #16
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    My original water is from the Public Aquarium. So in my tank right now about half is about 3 years old and the other half is about a year and a half and both originated from the quarium.


    Mike
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  2. #17
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    Thanks Mike

    Dean

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    Mike, it seems we have good reason to check our input but where can we get a listing of food phosphate if it isn't listed on the package? Also when we do find a lower product of phosphates, at what level is considered an Ok amount to use, because regardless whatever we feed it will contain some amounts. Without test kits, how can we tell we are doing good practices in controlling the amounts we put in?

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    I'm having phosphate issues right now. I put some of Sprungs Phosban in my sump, but my Euro-Reef skimmer went crazy, so I left it off. I do feed frozen and now rinse it in RO/DI but is there anything that can help the flake food feedings? This is about the third time in two years that I am battling this issue. Also, I usually run carbon since I have both softies and SPS. Should I keep running that? I change that weekly or bi-weekly. Great Topic Mike!

  5. #20
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    Scooterman it is an up hill climb for sure but can be done. We are not trying to eradicate P (everything we keep needs it) we must just keep it under control and with in tolerence. I will assemble some lists of foods, additive and salt mixes. In order to control its level we must try to understand how it live and reacts in our aquariums. Let go foods for a moment. Most foods have ammounts of P in them, soaking in ro/di water will help bleed some off as the P binds to the striped water, so that is a good tool. Knowing what you are putting in is another. Example, Phytoplankton is almost pure P, using it comes at a very high price. If you have critters that absolutly require it then target feed and then remove the balance, I have gone as far as to not bother in the keeping of such critters. One thing to keep in mind is that P and N are always associated with detritus, food and waste. so we can deal with it by reducing the ammount of this in our tanks, remove the waste, remove the detritus and make sure you only feed what your tank need and then do the best you can to remove any left overs, slow feedings really help with this. When you drop in a chunk of food it will be loaded with inorganic forms of P, once it hits the water the bacteria are on it and converting it to organic forms, so the process is quick, slow feeding will allow the fish and such you need to feed getting the majority of it, thier waste (containing P) can be remove via good flow to a good skimmer.
    The use of Kalk is another good weapon we have, the calcium will percipatate the P, you calcium input will take a bit of a hit, but better their the at the coral that is trying to calcify. The use of a Phosphate remover is another option, but can be pricy and once again will only go after the inorganic forms. I use it as kind of a last line of defence, but do not rely on it. Salt mixes have to have either P or N or a combo of both in them. An example would be this. Tropic marin salt has a high level of phosphate in it, Instant ocean doesnt have P but has a high level of N in it, HWmarine has medium levels of both. We know we can deal with N no problem with bacteria, so I would go with the salt that had it over the one that has P.
    We must also avoid things that will harbor P, things like sand, which actually bind it, then as the sand particle drops the the lower levels of the bed and the PH goes down release it into the tank. or will trap it with in its self and create a perpetual cycle between animal and vegitable.
    Anyway ponder this for a bit and I will try to put some kind of list together for you that has P levels.

    Mike
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  6. #21
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    Mary you can soak your flakes also, its a bit messy but the fish usually dont mind it to much. Flake food is really a bad choice in most cases, is thier a reason you need to use it??
    Lets see if we can break down your problem and solve it. By saying you have P issues I am imagining that you have tested and have levels?? if so that is telling you that your system is so saturated with the organic form f P that it can bind no more and is making it available for algae and such to jump on it. Using carbon is Ok (although it has some cons to when used alot) but in reality it is but a bandade. We must find where it lives or is coming from and then kill it thier. First lets find out where you are seeing the results of to much P. Do you algae or cyano and where is it starting from, LR, sand, glass ????

    On a side note Sprungs Phosban is it alluminium or iron based, see if the jar says.

    MIke
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  7. #22
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    Well I use alot of "Home made Mush" in my reef system as the main source of food.

    I have not used it in awhile and noticed algae becoming less of a problem.

    I have using some frozen mysis shrimp and another type that is green that the LFS makes up with all the vitamins in it and really like it.

    I plan to buy some more raw shrimp, scallops, clams, etc to make more mush but I believe as well this stuff needs to be thoroughly washed and rinsed before making it into mush.

    It is very potent and only use it twice a week in my tank. I also use IO salt and always have.

    My biggest concern to this point is a DSB. I have a DSB of 5-6" in my 80 gallon reef tank and I know there will come a time when I will have to take it out of there! Not looking forward to that at all!
    Smell should be just great!

    Great thread Mike! Your always coming up with something for us to think about and improve our chances with our systems!
    JOHNNY
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  8. #23
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    Thanks for the reply Mike! I have used the flake food alternating with frozen. I started to soak it in the RO/DI water too and am using the Ocean Nutrition Prime Reef flake food. Yes, I did do a test and it was .02. The algea is on the LR, glass and I eve have some hair algae that has collected in my Monti Cap. I have to clean my glass daily and it almost looks like a dust that flows in the water as I run my magnet along the glass. Small bubbles are starting to form on the LR and even on the sand bed at times. When I Turkey baste them to blow them off, the rise to the surface, but I also noticed that when my or my husbands arm is in the tank, bubbles attach to the arm too. Odd! Never seen that before! Some cyano is starting on the LR in places. Looking at Sprungs container, I don't see anything that says what base it is. I even looked on the Two Little Fishies site to see if they had any more stats on their products.I plan on starting a water change weekly, blowing off the rock a few times a day, and have been running my Magnum with a filter to pick up what is floating in the water. I even have to blow the clams shells off, since I see a brown-red substance collecting on them along with some bubbles. Should I stop the flake food ASAP? I dropped my DT feedings from twice weekly to once every other week. I also thought of using my Python to vacuum up the top layer of my two inch SB. I see it forming a layer on that now too.
    Thanks ahead for any help that you can offer.
    Mary

  9. #24
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    Has anyone in Seattle or the surrounding areas tested whether the tap water contains any significant level of phosphate? I am simply curious, as I know a good RO/DI system will remove it, but many people just getting into the hobby will not have one of these.
    In the beginners mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's there are few.

  10. #25
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    Hi Mary. on the prime reef it contains about 900 ppm per sample so it is a source of P. Are you suck with this food or can we replace it with something a little less P bound.
    n the bubbles It looks like you are in a bit of an algae bloom and the bubbles are probibly just co2 being produced by he differing algae forms.
    I assume that the sample you took was from the water column, so lets get a little bit deeper and try to see if thier is a source that is generating it. On the live rock, take your syringe and take a water sample from a spot that has the hair algae, just push p against the rock but from with in the algae. Then do another test on the pore water in the sand, stick the syringe just inside the sand and scoop a sample, then test it. this should give us a peek at what is going on in the tank its self.
    For right now lets just check things out and then we can put a plan of attack together.

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  11. #26
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    JOhnny Good post buddy. On the frozen mysis and simular you must watch for preservatives. On the mush, all seafood contains P. the fisherman ue a P spray right in the boat to perserve the moisture of the fish or whatever, it also keeps the color looking fresh. dont worry about washing the food just blend it up as normal and freeze it it cubes. When you go to defrost it, do so in RO/DI water. then stir the mush in the water after it has defrosted and allow it to sit for a bit. Then take the mush and strain it through a net. then inot the tank it goes. Sitting in the ro/di water will break the organic bond and put the P into the water as inorganic form. going through the net and the fluid being tossed will export a ton of the P that was in the food. Again as you said it is a concitrated food and I would only go once a day with enough to just feed your fish. Thier waste will take care of the others.

    j.stagner another good post. Citys use P in the water systems to clean and disolve calcium scaling on pipes, so it is almost a garrantee evey water system has it. RO/DI is a good method for eliminating it at that source for sure.

    Mike
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  12. #27
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    Mike, that food can be replaced with whatever helps the tank and issue's at hand. Any food that you suggest will replace what I have now. I might be going to the LFS this evening, so if you have any suggestions before I go, I'll check back here to see if what you recommend and pick it up when I go, if they carry it.
    As for the tests, I'll do them this evening too and post them.
    BTW, what do you feed your tank?
    We just changed the filter in one of the chambers in the RO/DI unit and I'm going to order replacements for the other chambers. That certainly can't hurt and may be another plan of attack!
    Last edited by Maryrosi; 01-17-2004 at 02:11 PM.

  13. #28
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    Mary I just use a blender mush, pretty close to the one Johnny discribed. Mine is prawns, scallops and some salmon, I mix in some selcon vitamins to.


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  14. #29
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    Ok Mike! As I thought, the phosphates are coming from the sandbed! You're a genious in tracking problems!!!! Tested the water near the Monti where some hair algae is and it's 0.1
    Tested the water extracted from the LSB with a syringe and it tested 0.5.
    I'm going to do a water change here in a few and use my python to vacuum the top layer. In the low flow area, I see some cyano starting to accumulate! It's our own fault for not doing a water change sooner! When I had it before, water changes and sucking it off the sand bed with a turkey baster helped, along with more water movement near the LSB.
    Should I remove the carbon and/or the phosban?
    I look forward to seeing what you suggest to do from here!
    Thanks for the comments, suggestions and concerns!

  15. #30
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    Mary hold off on the water change. lets go after where it lives. Ok first the sand. What you have is a bunch of P locked up in a P cycle, going from algae to bacteria then back again. What we need to do is to break that cycle and do some exporting. Sand beds can not deal with P. Ok get you syphon out and hook the other end to a bucket, BUT put in some floss (or simular) on top of the bucket to filter the water you are syphoning. Your going to need something (fingers if you want) to stir in the sand down about a good inch. DO it in a manner to get the detritus out of the sand. if you use you finger grind the sand a bit as you go through it. syphon up anything that comes out. Keep doing this until you get all the exposed sand. What this will do is to remove fdetritus and all the algae and bacteria associated with it (a good thing). it should give the sand a bit of a break for awhile but get used to it if you want the sand.
    On the LR, get your baster r a small PH and give them a good blast, trying to aim the crude to you overflow box and out of the tank.
    Water changes are OK but thier not going to do anything for the sand or LR. they will just dillute whats in the water. Also depending on what salt mix you use it could make it worse..
    Leave the phosban and the carbon in (make sure the carbon is still good) it will help catch and deal with what you dont get.


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