Phosphate Management

ptreef

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For those of you who know my system, I have approximately 750-800g system including 610g display, 75g frag tank and shared sump. I have been struggling with phosphate management for a very long time.
My phosphate tested at 0.20 today, after doing 100g water change two days ago. I have been doing these water changes every 1-2 weeks for at least the past few months. It was monthly before then.
I had good reduction with phosphate E dosing, but my corals reacted negatively. So lately I have been relying on water changes and my turf scrubber. Does anyone have any good methods for phosphate control in large systems?
 

bg2311

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For those of you who know my system, I have approximately 750-800g system including 610g display, 75g frag tank and shared sump. I have been struggling with phosphate management for a very long time.
My phosphate tested at 0.20 today, after doing 100g water change two days ago. I have been doing these water changes every 1-2 weeks for at least the past few months. It was monthly before then.
I had good reduction with phosphate E dosing, but my corals reacted negatively. So lately I have been relying on water changes and my turf scrubber. Does anyone have any good methods for phosphate control in large systems?
Have you tried tumbling GFO in a media reactor?
 

ptreef

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I have not tried GFO in this system, I tried briefly in the past but I don’t know much about it
 

bg2311

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I have not tried GFO in this system, I tried briefly in the past but I don’t know much about it
We've been using the BRS high-capacity GFO media because it needs to be changed out less frequently. Little more $ but having to change it less is worth the trade off. Every 6 weeks or so we will swap the media out. If you do try it, just run the GFO in its own reactor with the surface tumbling lightly. Keep an eye on the PO4 regularly when you first start out and adjust the flow as needed to make sure you don't drop the levels too quickly. It's very efficient.
 

gill

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First question I have: anything negative happening from the phosphates? Isn't the typical impact having hair algae? In any event, I'd be curious whether it was worth chasing a lower phosphate.

That said, I do run aluminum oxide, and my phosphates are in a normalish range (0.08)
 

SaltwaterGardening

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First question I have: anything negative happening from the phosphates? Isn't the typical impact having hair algae? In any event, I'd be curious whether it was worth chasing a lower phosphate.

That said, I do run aluminum oxide, and my phosphates are in a normalish range (0.08)

Prior MACNA event hosts discussed this very topic, Sanjay I believe it was. Can you run a higher phosphate system? Yes. Some coral will grow and some will die, but your coral will adapt to your environment if it survives.

When I first noticed my coral suffering visually, I researched and eventually learned it was phosphate related. Polyps not extending is a good sign. I started with a Phosguard sachet, but my tank is much smaller. Since then, I upgraded to a GFO Reactor and tumble Phosban and run it on the timer with my refugium light.

I don’t run it all day every day, but did run 24/7 initially to bring down the values from max of 0.2 to under 0.05 over the course of a week or two. Fast swings can be bad too! My goniopora and sun corals are much happier.
 

york1

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How about setting up a fuge? Using GFO in a system that large will take a big frickin reactor and a lot of gfo which won't be cheap. In my tanks i shoot for anything between .05 and .03 but I dont get to worried till they get over .1. Most of my tanks do fine at .08/.1 except for my biocube. For some reason the biocube will starts growing algae at anything over .05
 

ptreef

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So I would say I don’t have room to run a refugium unless I do it in the garage. But I’m trying to take down my frag tank in the garage due to heat issues in the summer. I run the algae turf scrubber which produces some good algae but not enough.

I’d say the vast majority of my corals are doing great. Some random spots of stn here and there and lately my home wrecker has more burnt/brown tips. Euphylia look alright for the most part. My tank is sps dominant for sure. I do feel like coral color could be better in general.
I have quite a few large tangs and other fish, so virtually no algae in the display, but that leads to my phosphate issue
 

Adam

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1. What size is the scrubber?
2. What is the photo period?
3. What is the NO3 looking like?
4. Have you sent out an ICP test, if so how was the iron?
 

ptreef

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I run the ice cap large turf scrubber, it has all 4 lights on for 12 hours per day (8pm-8am). I have not tested NO3 or sent out an ICP test
 

Adam

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I run the ice cap large turf scrubber, it has all 4 lights on for 12 hours per day (8pm-8am). I have not tested NO3 or sent out an ICP test
That scrubber probably isn't big enough for your system. An additional fuge wouldn't hurt. Or a much bigger ATS, like double the size.

If your NO3 is low it will inhibit growth in the scrubber as will low iron. When I say low NO3 I mean near bottoming out. I doubt yours is that low and the same with the iron with that much water. I think it's more a size and/or time issue. You can run a scrubber a lot longer. Some say 24/7 but I think a little off time helps. Try 18 to 20hrs.

An ICP test can help in a lot of ways. Even if you only do one occasionally. I try to do them quarterly but I dose trace.

I just fired my DIY ATS back up last week after getting it back from @Dmitri I don't have coral yet but my nutrients are pretty high. I'm going to be redesigning mine soon as it doesn't fit well with my system. You're welcome to come over and take a look.
 

ptreef

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update after about 1.5 weeks of running high capacity GFO, phosphate is reduced greatly but still at 0.21 as of yesterday. It was embarrassingly high before I started. Only negative so far is that it seemed to cause an increase in alk uptake which dropped my dkh to 6.8. That and the rapid decrease caused a few corals to get was seems like burnt tips, especially my fox flame colony. I’m sure it will make it and regrow soon as things stabilize.
 

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Rickdareefa

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Honestly ive learned my tank does well between .1 and .2 po4. Ive tried to keep it at.05 and my corals stopped growing and got very pale. I now keep it in that range if i see algae getting strong i run a gfo carbon mix in a reactor til it hits .05 then take it offline til it hits .2 again
 

ptreef

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Testing tonight came out to 0.27, which is a touch higher than a couple days ago. Could it be possible to exhaust completely in 1.5 weeks?
 

eric b

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Have you ever tried Lanthanum Chloride drip into a filter sock? I used commercial grade Seaklear Phosphate remover you can get a bottle on Amazon and it will last you a lifetime for about $30-$40 bucks. There is a ton of info out there on the proper amount to mix with RODI water to drip into a filter sock just do a quick google search. The stuff is way easier then GFO or any other methods I've tried. You can also google Melevs Reef and he uses it but in the name brand form because he sells the stuff. He has a lot of videos but other forums also have a ton of info on it.
 

ptreef

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I believe that’s similar to phosphate e right? I did try that but without filter socks. It was definitely very effective, I’ve read about some negative side effects with some sort of build up over time though
 

jcook54

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I tried a few different things and finally just went back to GFO. It's easy and I have experience with it. I run BRS High Capacity in a Two Little Fishes reactor. My PO4 level was .259 and I was able to get it down to .159 by better tank maintenance but it had been so high for so long that it would just shoot right back up. Before I added the GFO I tested it at .245. After a month of running GFO it was down to .144. When I get back in town from Thanksgiving I'm going to swap it out for fresh at 1/2 the GFO I originally used. I want the PO4 lower but I don't want to bottom it out and cause myself even more headaches.

Now that the levels have come down some, I have notices better color, polyp extension and overall the corals in the tank just look healthier. My goal is PO4 levels somewhere around 0.06 to give myself some room for error.

Edit: I tried lanthanum chloride and didn't like the results. Of course I didn't drip it in and my corals suffered. I think the unsatisfactory results were probably 'user error' but I still went back to GFO because it's so simple and straight forward.
 

scuba steve

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I believe that’s similar to phosphate e right? I did try that but without filter socks. It was definitely very effective, I’ve read about some negative side effects with some sort of build up over time though
Lanthanum can coat acrylic and other surfaces if it doesn't react immediately with phosphate in the water. This is why it is recommended to be drip dosed into filter socks or a protein skimmer. I'm not familiar with phosphate e but if it is lanthanum in some form than I would expect it to behave pretty similarly.
 

eric b

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I believe that’s similar to phosphate e right? I did try that but without filter socks. It was definitely very effective, I’ve read about some negative side effects with some sort of build up over time though
Sorry been away but not sure if its phosphate e or not but more than likely all those type products are pretty similar from what I read but I just go straight to the pure stuff that I mentioned above and then mix with RODI myself. I do always drip into a filter sock while doing this and it's a very slow drip and I don't add a bunch fast. Anything very fast is not good and your phosphates didn't get high overnight so don't expect them or make them come down too fast either as it will cause other issues with corals, etc.
 
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