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Old 01-12-2008, 11:18 PM   #1
DSmith
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High Phosphates


I have a 350gallon tank that I cannot get the phosphates under control in. I have a calcium reactor which lowers ph to about 8.2. and I have been adding Kawasser to raise ph to 8.4 trying to bind to calcium? The tank has been up for two years. We have been out of town a lot. I believe phosphate levels have been high for a long time. I have managed to get it down to 2.0. Shouldm I change substrate out? Have Macroalge. Good size skimmer. Kawasser was just recently added consistantly. Last 60 days does seem to help.

Coral live has never grown. Minute traces here and there.

Have greatly reduced fish feeding in last 60 days.

If new sustrate what kind, any know that won't at as a sink?

First post hope I'm doing it correctly

Any sugestions?
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Old 01-12-2008, 11:28 PM   #2
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Welcome to TRT !

We moved your thread to the General reef discussion so you will get more input
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Old 01-12-2008, 11:37 PM   #3
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2 years.. i would change the substrate, in about 1/4 of the tank at a time... use Aragonite sand to replace it, if you replace it. if you are having issues now, might i suggest going bare bottom with a remote DSB (liek a fuge, but just sand filled) that will help with your buffering capability, and it will be easier to change in the future
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Old 01-12-2008, 11:59 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fat Tony View Post
2 years.. i would change the substrate, in about 1/4 of the tank at a time... use Aragonite sand to replace it, if you replace it. if you are having issues now, might i suggest going bare bottom with a remote DSB (liek a fuge, but just sand filled) that will help with your buffering capability, and it will be easier to change in the future
Welcome to TRT! I agree with Tony!
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Old 01-13-2008, 01:27 AM   #5
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First.. I would boost the ph when its at 8.4 to about 8.6 and precipitate the phosphates out (they precip at 8.5) Second I would look at the food you feed, third I would look at your live rock. Your live rock needs to be blasted and cleaned. Worst case (but unlikely) removed and cooked as possibly leeching of phos.

Short term I would run some GFo phosban type product, but thats only a band aid, you need to find where its coming from.
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Old 01-13-2008, 07:43 AM   #6
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What is the source of your fresh water? Have you tested it for phosphate? Tap water is full of phosphate so this may be where your phosphate is coming from. If you are using RO/DI water test it to make sure the filters don't need to be changed.
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Old 01-13-2008, 08:13 AM   #7
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how heavily have you been feeding for the past 2 years? have you been siphoning detritus from the tank during every water change? how often do you do water changes. a bit odd that your pH is so hight with a Ca reactor and a possible phosphate problem. usually the more phosphates the more bacterial activity, the higher the CO2 production, the lower the pH.

how are you measuring pH? if by probe when was it last calibrated?

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Old 01-13-2008, 10:02 AM   #8
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If the phosphates have been high for a long time, then I would have to think that it's soaked into the sandbed and the rock. I'd agree with Tony and suck out the sandbed and replace with fresh aragonite sand. I'd also seriously consider "cooking" the live rock, which will help the rock purge itself of all the built up phosphate.
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Old 01-13-2008, 11:23 AM   #9
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Question....

I have seen people give these answers before to this issue, and I am positive that they are the correct course of action.

My question is how does one DO this to a tank that is already up and running.

HEre is the logic I am working under... it is our sand bed and LR that has the bacteria that denitriefes the tank and makes it livable for our fish adn corals. If we take that out... what stops the tank from becoming over run with ammonia and nitrite?

Can you take the sand out and a good majority/all of the rock with out sending the tank into a huge cycle?
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Old 01-13-2008, 11:38 AM   #10
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Nyles brings up a valid point, you need to think this out and determine the source(s) of your problem then take steps to correct it. It's going to take a while to fix it
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Old 01-13-2008, 11:43 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YLChik View Post
Question....

I have seen people give these answers before to this issue, and I am positive that they are the correct course of action.

My question is how does one DO this to a tank that is already up and running.

HEre is the logic I am working under... it is our sand bed and LR that has the bacteria that denitriefes the tank and makes it livable for our fish adn corals. If we take that out... what stops the tank from becoming over run with ammonia and nitrite?

Can you take the sand out and a good majority/all of the rock with out sending the tank into a huge cycle?
Amy, removing the sand bed and most of the rock will compromise the tanks capacity to denitrify, but the bacteria will live an any available surface.
Keep in mind that the main premise of a BB tank is that you limit the input and maximize removal of potential waste problems
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Old 01-13-2008, 07:49 PM   #12
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Forget the fish, I Love your rotti! Both of ours died this last year at 12 and 13 and we really miss them.
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Old 01-13-2008, 09:27 PM   #13
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We realized about 60 days ago that our well water had saturated the filters in our R/O system. We did replace these but have not seen significant results. We have also calibrated the PH controller as it was off by .13. I check water perameters manually every week. I have boosted the PH to 8.6. The kawasser mixture is on a ph controller now with a real tight slope to maintain the ph at 8.6 and not to go below 8.4. We are using Spectrum Thera A every other day (coming down from twice a day). We were also adding phytoplankton and rotifiers from live brine and have discontinued. We have not used any GFO Phosban type product. We change out 100 gallons (350 gallon tank + sumps) every two weeks.

We have no hair algae on our live rock, but we do have green algae. Our phosphates are at 2.0 right now. Since we started with the Kawasser, our anemones are dying.

About the time (60 days) we discovered our phosphate problem, we added about 200 pounds of fiji live rock. The rock started turning green almost immediately which is what opened my eyes to my current problem.

My plan of action which is definitely open to ANY SUGGESTIONS is: To remove all live rock with the exception of the newer fiji rock and cook it. Completely remove substrate and go barebottom to get the phosphate levels under control. I read SeanT's blog about going barebottom and this makes sense as a temporary fix. We have a lot of fish. One of our worries is that all of the above will kill off our dragonets as they need the copapods to survive.

I would assume that I need to remove all miracle mud out of my smaller refugium and all of my substrate out of my main sump? I have macroalgae in the main refugium/sump.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 01-13-2008, 10:31 PM   #14
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I'm not sure on the best way to go so here is a bump for ya to get more opinions
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Old 01-14-2008, 10:34 AM   #15
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how big is your refugium/sump? could the mandarin live in there? have you thought about setting up pod farms?

i would remove all sand from the display at least. with the phosphate problem you have now the mandarin may be fine for several months while the phosphates are being purged out of the LR. the purging will supply some food for the pods.

you can cook LR in a tank that is running, it just takes longer. it will also take some good aquascaping to make sure you are able to get the siphon along the entire tank bottom to remove all bacterial flock from the turgor process. you can also cheat by putting some bit flow pumps behind the LR to help push the flock into easier areas to siphon.

i would switch over to a blender mush type food only though. i strongly recommend San Francisco bay brand foods. they contain no preservatives (read phosphates). they only contain the food items themselves.

when setting the tank up for this, it is a good idea to take every rock out and swish it around in a bucket of ASW to get all loose detritus off. as the tank is cooking, do as Nyles suggested and blast the LR with a turkey baster or a PH to loosen and get the detritus that has fallen into the cracks to get out and more easily siphoned.

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algae bloom , aragonite sand , calcium reactor , coral growth , crushed coral , dsb tank , dsb tanks , fiji rock , filter sock , green algae , kent marine , macro algae , nuisance algae , phosban reactor , phosphate remover , power head , remote dsb , san francisco bay brand


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