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Just a note from an old-timer.

In the 1960s I had my first freshwater aquariums. We had "New tank Syndrome" which was of course because we had no way to cycle the take but to throw in some fish and watch them struggle to survive the 45 day run-in. Lesser known was the "Old tank syndrome" After about 3 years buildup of scat into compacted/unfiltered gravel full of non-aerobic bacteria, the fish would become sick with multiple illnesses one after another, or even multiple diseases at the same time. The water chemistry was stressing/weakening the fish, and it was said some diseases were spawning in the oxygen starved gravel bed. The cure was to stir the gravel in boiling water for 15 minutes. (then return to new tank syndrome.)

The gravel vacuums, undergravel filters, and partial water changes introduced in the late 1960s cured the "Old Old Tank Syndrome" in Freshwater tanks. (Of course the UG Filter was also the freshwater cure for the "New Tank Syndrome" if seeded with bacteria.)

Just a little historical perspective for you young guns.

Dave
 

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Hi G...Don't see a link to the article you are referring to...I too am an old timer, and learned (the hard way) to redo the tank often, get rid of dead areas, no sand beds that can accumulate, keep the live rock porous, replace bulbs, do water changes, clean pumps and hoses, basically the way to keep away from old tank syndrome, was to keep the tank "new"...My current set up is from 1987, but has continually morphed to where it is today.
 

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This was the article that I posted in the other thread, a few things that had me thinking, in the Phosphate accumulation section.....

There is also an accumulation of phosphate on and within live rocks. The use of animals that turnover the sand bed is helpful in keeping it from plugging up with phosphate-rich detritus, and the use of wave makers and other flow devices to physically force the detritus from the rockwork and sand bed can keep the substrata in a healthy condition. The phosphate is in part bound up in this detritus as small particles of calcium phosphate and as various forms of organic phosphate. Some of the precipitated phosphate is deposited on exposed rock surfaces, but these are soon coated by coralline algae, sponges, and other living creatures, in effect isolating the phosphate from the main body of water.
First, "The use of animals that turnover the sand bed is helpful in keeping it from plugging up..." how exactly dose this work? PO4 bound detritus sinks into the sand, and while "stirring" the sand bed will release some of this detritus to be taken out by the skimmer, most of this detritus will just sink lower within the sand bed. also the PO4 will be absorbed into the Ca based sand itself, and will later be wicked up into the rocks.

another point, "There is also an accumulation of phosphate on and within live rocks" this is the PO4 bound bacterial flock, along with the PO4 that was wicked up from the sand bed, and this bacterial flock with good flow will be blown off the rocks and into the water column, but the fact that most of this bacterial flock will land on the floor on the aquarium, and if there is a sand bed, will start the PO4 bound detritus sinking back into the sand bed, and will continue to fill up the sand bed.

next, "and the use of wave makers and other flow devices to physically force the detritus from the rockwork and sand bed can keep the substrata in a healthy condition. " this is a great idea, but then again, if the flow is not high enough, it will still let the detritus sink into the sand bed, and again, fill up even more. and most people with a sand bed, myself included can't get the flow we need without a BB or Faux sand bed.

Ok, I don't understand where this comes from, we know that PO4 hinders the growth of coralline, and yet this statement says otherwise, "The phosphate is in part bound up in this detritus as small particles of calcium phosphate and as various forms of organic phosphate. Some of the precipitated phosphate is deposited on exposed rock surfaces, but these are soon coated by coralline algae, sponges, and other living creatures, in effect isolating the phosphate from the main body of water."

now if coralline can't grow on surfaces bound with PO4 how dose this work? "but these are soon coated by coralline algae, sponges, and other living creatures, in effect isolating the phosphate from the main body of water." ok, there are some sponges, and some other living creatures, that do grow on these rocks bound with PO4, but these animals don't cover it up, they use it for food, and building blocks, and the most common things that use these bound phosphates are hair and macro algaes, along with bacteria, most common would be Cyanobacteria, this rock bound with phosphates also produces some Diatom blooms as well.

Now most reefers don't like the look of blown sand, nuisance algaes, bacteria outbreaks, or Diatom blooms, but what do we expect by keeping this PO4 in our tanks? is there any gain by it? I was told to put sand in my tank because that was the "right" way to do it.

I also didn't know anything about PO4, the only thing I really knew about it was short spits in some books, and in articles like these, and this one is not even 100% right...
 

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But I also liked what he said about the plumbing clogging, and the corals blocking flow. these are all good/bad things, most people don't clean their pipes, I have a pipe clean that i use every few months, also I clean my pumps/power heads every month. at of these tanks tanks 2-4 years old you will notice how encrusted they are with coralline, this looks good, but drops performance considerably.

so along with deep cleaning, and trimming/fraging large colonies, and keeping the tank bottom clear of PO4 and skimming all water that passes though your sump, and not having a fuge, or using a fuge with proper care and maintenance, you could reduce the affects of Old Tank Syndrome.

now the only tank I know that has ran longer then most tanks is Pauls tank, and he has not suffered from Old Tank Syndrome. now I'm not sure if this was accomplished by just proper care, and a reduction of PO4, or if some of his bio-diversity also played a part I'm not sure, but I do know proper care and maintenance will make your tank last many years longer then without.



these are just my ideas, I have no PHD in reefing, this is just what I think from my personal experience with reef tanks, and aquariums.
 

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Thank You...Got the link...Actually had read it some time ago, but re-reading is always a good thing...Part of the problem may be that critters contained in a bio sphere of our own making will not have the ability to enjoy a long life, as they would in a natural setting with real sea water, weather, and real sunshine...As living things age they become prone to disease, this is natural, but a simulated world with artificial sunlight, chemicals, etc, may speed up this process.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
dang Nate_Bro great job, though you missed one, will get to that shortly. here is an old thread on here about just this. they hobby industry is just so close to figuring it out, yet they just do not want to. they all want to believe in magic and poo just disappears.

as for the PO4 limiting growth of Ca depositing organisms. a very short answer from Spanky is in this thread. i know he got into it a lot more, but it is a bear finding it. here is the best reference i have for this. a bit simplified, but finding something more scientific would make for some seriously tough reading. here is the link to the entire post/article.

Calcification Inhibitors
So you basically have a reserve of calcium in your system and a reserve of bicarbonate in your system. As each ion "hooks up" witch each other they form calcium carbonate. But sometimes there are inhibitors that can stop this process; basically a calcium ion cheats on the carbonate ion with either phosphate or magnesium. Therefore, the calcium's "cheating" behavior stop corals from precipitating calcium carbonate into their systems. Make sense?

Okay, so Mr. Calcium ion is floating around, he settles on a surface, along some Ms. Phosphate ion, they end up sticking together; therefore Ms. Bicarbonate has to find a different Mr. Calcium to form calcium carbonate with. You can image the implication of this if there are massive amounts of phosphate in the system, very little available calcium carbonate for corals to use. Magnesium works in the same way, but there is a benefit we will talk about later.

the phosphates lock up the alkalinty. when in the calcium carbonate structure. in this thread the whole process is discussed in greater detail (i forwarded you to page 6 were the meat of the reaction is discussed). you can see how the organism when photosynthesis is going on will use some of the carbonate from its internal calcium carbonate structure instead of using more energy to acquire it from the water column. if PO4 is in locking some of this carbonate up the organism can not perform photosynthesis properly and will not be having a good day from then on.

G~
 

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dang Nate_Bro great job, though you missed one, will get to that shortly. here is an old thread on here about just this. they hobby industry is just so close to figuring it out, yet they just do not want to. they all want to believe in magic and poo just disappears.

as for the PO4 limiting growth of Ca depositing organisms....

G~
Well I'm still new so I did better then I expected, even missing that, but thanks this info is great, and helps me understand a lot more. (I have a lot of home work) :beer:

as for section 2. I'm not really sure what he is trying to say there....

If the addition of calcium and alkalinity is constant as aquariums age, then the trend will be for both to decline over time as calcifiers increase their mass. Eventually, the demand slows or is tempered
:confused:

It slows from Ca binding with PO4, and not forming calcium carbonate?
 

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Section 2 is saying that as corals gain mass their Ca/Alk uptake increases and the people are not adjusting dosing amounts or reactor flow.

I think that is a poor assumption.
 

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No one can dispute OTS. Not everyone will experience it though...

That being said how about another hypothesis....
Or 2 of them...

1) there is some unknown byproduct of calcification that builds up and is getting bound in LR and substrate. If that were true everyone would experience this. It would also limit OTS to tanks with calcifying corals.

2) Local environmental factors. There are far too many to list. so I will suggest just one. Have you every sprayed and air freshener in your house? Now there are hundreds of chemicals floating around the house not including CFC's. Overtime the will Make their way into your tank. Could these be slowing secretly building up in your water and bound in rock?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Section 2 is saying that as corals gain mass their Ca/Alk uptake increases and the people are not adjusting dosing amounts or reactor flow.

I think that is a poor assumption.
what about my long post above would make this a poor assumption?

No one can dispute OTS. Not everyone will experience it though...

That being said how about another hypothesis....
Or 2 of them...

1) there is some unknown byproduct of calcification that builds up and is getting bound in LR and substrate. If that were true everyone would experience this. It would also limit OTS to tanks with calcifying corals.

2) Local environmental factors. There are far too many to list. so I will suggest just one. Have you every sprayed and air freshener in your house? Now there are hundreds of chemicals floating around the house not including CFC's. Overtime the will Make their way into your tank. Could these be slowing secretly building up in your water and bound in rock?
you are correct on #1, but it is not unknown. it is listed all throughout that article. they are just not putting two and two together. :D

G~
 

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what about my long post above would make this a poor assumption?
G~
As a tank ages and builds PO4, it takes higher concentrations of Ca to achieve that same amount of calcification since Ca is is getting hijacked by Po4?

Just a guess I'm tired :)
 

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#2 may have some place with these people that do water changes 3x a year, and run DSB.

but I would think If you do weekly water changes, run a skimmer, and clean your substrate well, those chemicals should not build up, unless they are quickly absorbed into the rocks, then only a chemist could tell us....
 

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I think that as tanks age people do get much more lax on maintenance. and just let the tank run on autopilot. I could not tell you the last time I tested for ammonia/nitrite/nitrate....
 

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i like the 10-25% WC "MONTHLY" rofl hahah.... i do that weekly if not w/in every 3 days:cool:. i read that earlier somewhere once upon a time... reffering to the link on ots in G's first post. what i think is people get lazy, there tank slowly degrades, things happen (like in my fridge), and they slap a label on it. personally its the same thing doctors do... Guess.
 

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I'm going to assume ckusnierek is right and that OTS is calcium phosphate. What is the two main purposes for calcium phosphate? Fertilizer and phosphoric acid. Makes sense to me why people who suffer from OTS have algae blooms and can't keep their PH above 8.0. Most of the different kinds of calcium phosphate also bind oxygen creating hypoxiation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
once the tank is running for more than 2 months there is very little reason to ever test for ammonia/nitrite/nitrate. i would only test it if all of a sudden everything just started dying. and i would do that just so i am sure that it was not the reason. :D

yep, that is correct. once the carbonate starts binding with the phosphates more than the Ca or Mg then nothing good is going to happen. the problem is that everyone starts testing their water and they notice the Ca/Mg is low, so they start cranking these up higher and higher to try and get more carbonate that the corals can use instead of removing the calcium phosphate. all of the clues for this are in the article, yet for some reason they refuse to see this. they find all of these other reasons for OTS.

i do agree that every now and then you should check your pipes for clogging. you should check your flow around the tank to make sure everything is getting enough. i can see how adding a new small piece of LR every few years to increase the "biodiversity" of the polychaete in the tank could be a good thing, but none of these are reasons why everybody who is running a DSB has run into OTS. allelopathy could be a problem, but that would only happen in a mixed reef. that would also take out an entire colony, not kill the coral from the bases up. anytime you see a SPS start dying from the base, you can get that phosphates are the cause. flow will of course help by allowing the bacterial turgor to get the phosphates out of the rock.

the amount of effort people put into masking a phosphate problem is astronomical. this is why "experts" are not super willing to confront them. there is a huge amount of money to be made by "curing" a tank of phosphates after the fact. nobody wants to rebuild their system again, they would much rather spend gobs of money to delay the inevitable. keeping the cycle going.

the Shimek article about salt and heavy metals mentioned in this article was the start of his downfall. it was obvious that he was working for money and not for the good of the hobby. i can not find the discussion on TRT about that article. it was quite telling.

great job everybody, that took a lot less time then i expected.

G~
 

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One comment about that peice of LR being added to the tank overtime...

I have had some LR leach phosphates out. This was before i was aware of the phosphate issues we fight everyday. Some of my LR was growing HA and others not. Besides cooking rocks and having good flow. Any recomendations to help control phosphates after introduction?
 
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