Discussion: Managing Nutrient Levels

Discussion in 'Weekly Reef discussions' started by jlanger, Jun 4, 2016.

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Preferred Method(s) of Nutrient Control

  1. Water Changes

    69.7%
  2. Protein Skimmer

    60.6%
  3. Refugium

    24.2%
  4. Algae Turf Scrubber

    33.3%
  5. Deep Sand Bed

    9.1%
  6. Ceramic Media

    24.2%
  7. Carbon and/or GFO Reactor

    54.5%
  8. Nitrate (Sulfur) Reactor

    3.0%
  9. Biopellet Reactor

    12.1%
  10. Liquid Carbon Dosing: NO-POX, AZ-NO3, BioDigest, etc.

    21.2%
  11. ZEOvit System

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  12. Other: List and explain.

    3.0%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. ChukeeR

    ChukeeR Senior Member
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    I've been able to manage my nutrients thus far dosing N03:p04-X, a big skimmer, and doing 10% water changes every 2 weeks.
     
    #21 ChukeeR, Jun 6, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2016
  2. marty9876

    marty9876 Banned
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    I've tried almost all and my current thinking is that many/most all of these work the challenge is understanding what will work in which systems. e.g. what works for some don't work for others for seemly unknown reasons.

    Underlying cause I currently think is the scale of a given approach. Water changes work if large/frequent/enough matter is removed with them. Fuge's work if big enough, skimmers help out a ton if large/efficient enough, ATS work if load of system is matched to algae exports - if, if, if...

    The sizing of all these approaches is still a complete crap shoot I feel. We just don't have good way of sizing these things before we start, either it's the "works for me I don't know what your problem is" or "don't work for me that approach is crap".
     
    #22 marty9876, Jun 6, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2016
  3. rlinusc

    rlinusc I contributed!
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    The number of variables involve does make things difficult to fine tune- especially when people have different challenges (algae control, types of livestock etc). I think one under appreciated factor is the flow of a tank and amount of "dead zones" that are in a tank. My own tank has a few spots that have been low flow and i think that contributes both the detritus and nutrient problems.
     
  4. LowersMyBP

    LowersMyBP I contributed!
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    Don't ask, don't tell. That is how I manage nutrient levels!
     
  5. OP
    jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    I'll start here.

    I haven't had a tank crash.
    I don't have a nuisance algae issue.
    I perform weekly water changes; 20%, in fact.
    I change out consumable filter media every two weeks.
    I willingly budget my time and funds to this hobby.

    Further more, I publicly document my practices, techniques, successes and failures for others to review.
    I provide visual evidence to support my practices, techniques, successes and failures for others to review.
    I provide personal experience based on short-term and long-term accounts of my practices, techniques, successes and failures.
    I do not assume that my practices and techniques will yield the same successes or failures for others.


    I know that my nitrates are too high for my liking. I know that.
    I know that I carry a higher bioload than what most people recommend. I know that.
    I exclusively feed frozen foods and my fish are well fed; not fat, but healthy enough. I know that.
    I know that my fine aragonite sand bed is a probable culprit for holding nutrients. I assume that.

    I know that I need supplemental filtration to achieve my desired nutrient levels. I know that.


    In taking a quick look at my reef tank, most people would classify it as successful.
    I have corals that are colorful and growing. I have fish that are active and healthy; even spawning.
    I don't have nuisance algae growing on my rocks, sand or glass. I don't have cyanobacteria patches in my system.
    Does this sound like a failing reef system?

    What I do have is a nitrate level that is higher than desired. For me, that is an issue; a big one.
    I have a personal issue with being OCD; which complicates many facets in this hobby. It's not anyone else's problem but my own. Until I can lower my nitrate levels down to my personal standard, I'm going to try and find (a) solution(s) that can help me achieve those levels. I'm not looking for a way out from doing the work and maintenance to keep a successful reef tank. I'm looking for a better way to keep my successful reef tank.


    Thanks for all of the votes in the poll.
    Thanks for all of the replies in the thread.
    Thanks for reading this.
     
  6. Leicester56

    Leicester56 I contributed!
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    Have you considered siphoning out sections of sand and replacing it with new sand? Maybe change 1/4 at a time until all changed out. Perhaps stuff under your rock work is not accessible but maybe this would help with possible leeching of waste products into the water column?
     
  7. rlinusc

    rlinusc I contributed!
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    seems to me that you are on the margins and will give a solution soon. there is a definite part of me that thinks that most tanks only have stretches of time where their parameters are ideal.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  8. leviburns89

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    OTS (old tank syndrom)

    It's when your rock and sand had become overrun by bacteria to the point it has no beneficial filtering abilities.

    This is only avoided by running an ULNS or ultra low nutrient system.

    Most of the time this is only achieved when people are running a super fussy sps system. But a lot of sps, and most lps and softys cannot tolerate a ULNS. They need all available nutrients to provide a habitat for the zooxanthellea to thrive.

    I'm not saying provide dirty water, just not pure rodi saltwater. They need traces of phosphates and nitrates. Many trace elements are existential.

    This can also be seen in trace elements in terrestrial plants and creatures. They need arsenic, and lead etc in the soil to flourish, and modern farming techniques which rip the soil of all available nutrients render the dirt useless and infertile.

    Sent from my SM-G900T using Tapatalk
     
    #28 leviburns89, Jun 7, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2016
  9. LowersMyBP

    LowersMyBP I contributed!
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    My tank would crash quickly with that schedule/routine. EDIT: I keep more fish and feed more than the average reefer. All tanks are different.

    I am currently running Skimmer, ATS (get a gallon of algae every two weeks), Biopellets, Filter floss (changed every two days or so). I siphon the bare bottom weekly as I can see where detritus builds up. In the sandbed, I have cucumbers and a diamond goby. I run UV and I change out about 20% a week. I have ceramic media blocks in the sump, but I won't attribute any results to them good or bad. I like to have them simply because if one has to reboot the rockwork, you can. Or if you do a tank transfer, they can go first and maybe keep up.


    I don't test for nutrients anymore. Don't want to know, refuse to chase numbers. If the tank looks good, then I'm good. Honestly, once I gave up Acros, I pretty much quit doing any/all testing. I try to check in every 3 months or so to check alk and calcium, but it has probably been 6+ months since I checked....

    When I was running a hardcore SPS tank, my nitrates were always between 25 and 50, my phosphates were lucky to be under .10. The levels of nutrients that Jason finds unacceptable would be a dream for me to be able to achieve, if I were testing. He can do it, I gave up. The force is not strong in me.

    Somehow, the SPS tank worked. I did not have pristine conditions, but things grew and colors were great. I can't explain that. I also can't explain why other times people can have great nutrient conditions but their SPS languish (no identifiable pests).

    So, don't ask, don't tell. If it looks good, be happy. If it doesn't, do something different. Keep test kits around in case you can't figure it out. My methods would work for people with a good maintenance routine that they are consistent with. I wouldn't recommend it for...well, not for anyone. Except maybe Marty.

    Edit #2: Adding pics so no one thinks I have a coral-less tank overrun with algae. The pics are old, but the tanks are boring, they haven't changed much.


     
    #29 LowersMyBP, Jun 8, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2016
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