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realypk

Looking for help with main tank Issues + ATI water test

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Everyone, just wanted to say thank you very much I very much appreciate all the excellent advice and insight. Fully understood on the feeding and it's cut back significantly, we'll see how it goes on that front going forward.

 

Also will definitely try to locate the rust. 

 

@madweazl my reactor that I have has holes that I thought would be far too big, the granularity of the GFO is only a little bigger than sand so it would probably escape the reactor, plus I was always under impression that reactor is best but filter bags in high flow areas work too just maybe not as well. Either way I've seen good reductions in PHO using it

 

@Sharkey18 As far as not thinking products cause ill effects, definitely not the case. I tried to start with minimal products but it just didnt work. I added stuff such as gfo and kalkwasser because there was a need, not only were my SPS  getting killed within a day or two and virtually all of my LPS which previously were doing well were starting to go down as well, minus BTAs and mushroom types, even certain zoas were having trouble. My alk was quite low at 7.5 and this was rectified by kalkwasser over time slowly. I only add as much as needed to keep my parameters within acceptable ranges.  Fixing my alk helped perk up virtually all my LPS, even the duncans which were shedding skin on its skeleton. I managed to save 2 fungia with that move, sadly 2 died. 

 

After my alk was fixed I figured I'd give some "easy" sps a shot to see if I had resolved all my issues. Most died within a week with some showing polyp extension for a few days, marked improvement, previously id never seen polyps at all on SPS. However, still not the result i wanted. A few have managed to cling on, with some spots of life left so I decided to try and lower my nitrates and phosphates. Now as far as GFO that was added as a measure to combat the exceedingly high nitrate and phosphate levels, my nitrates were through the roof and phosphates immeasurable.  So far I've been using GFO for 1 month and the downward spiral for the SPS and monti's actually stopped from what i can tell, in fact one monti seems to be doing a bit better, with my sole surviving SPS having just not changed since I added GFO. It's the longest survival time I've had yet. So my fear is that if I remove GFO, it would cause a regression as I could see recession progress every day prior to adding GFO. I know GFO is not a magic bullet, but until my nutrients manage to export out of my system over time with water changes and less feeding I think it may be a bad idea to cut GFO completely.  What do the rest of you guys think? Once my nutrients are in control I'd have zero problem with removing GFO. I just want to give the survivors a fighting chance while the problem corrects. 

 

It is very clear that one of my main problems was over feeding. I realize the whole your tank is not old thing. But I have seen tanks much younger than mine with "easy" sps that are not only surviving but also growing. So i don't think time is a valid excuse for all my problems. I think that I should be able to get some easy ones to survive once my water keeping skills have improved and water has stabilized. 

 

On another note, last nights sparse feeding was quite the reality check for my tank inhabitants, fish seemed quite underwhelmed.... lol

 

Also I do have some algea eaters, how much negative affect on nitrates and PHO will keeping a sheet of algea in the tank have if any? At what point should one remove uneaten algea sheets?

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@Origami, yes thank you for making that abundantly clear 100% received and going to work on the primary concern. Chromium is also a big concern of mine, I currently use red sea coral pro salt for my tank. I'm going to check all my probes and pumps as soon as I can. Do you think removing a glass cleaner magnet is necessary? How can I be certain it's integrity has not been compromised if it visually looks ok? I would hate for it to be festering under the felt scrubby pad....

 

I'll definitely read more about how the swing cycle works, although I must say it's nice to see that my swing cycle seems to be fairly normal and that at least something is going right in my tank!!! Hrmm as far as low nutrient problems, if I ever do run into that issue, will sporadic target feeding of nutrients such as what I do with my feather dusters help those guys out? Turning pumps off for a bit and just letting a cloud hang over them? I do this using phytoalgea that I grow, but could easily also mix some coral food powder in if it's ever necessary. On that note how much does phyto hurt me in terms of controlling my nutrient levels?  The phyto I add to my system periodically is alive as its growing in my cultures and feeding my pod cultures. For a 106 gallon tank what is the max amount of phyto you would add on a weekly basis?

 

Edit: accidentally hit reply instead of editing and adding to my last post sorry! Can't seem to find a way to delete so I can merge it either. 

Edited by realypk

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44 minutes ago, realypk said:

Everyone, just wanted to say thank you very much I very much appreciate all the excellent advice and insight. Fully understood on the feeding and it's cut back significantly, we'll see how it goes on that front going forward.

 

Also will definitely try to locate the rust. 

 

@madweazl my reactor that I have has holes that I thought would be far too big, the granularity of the GFO is only a little bigger than sand so it would probably escape the reactor, plus I was always under impression that reactor is best but filter bags in high flow areas work too just maybe not as well. Either way I've seen good reductions in PHO using it

 

@Sharkey18 As far as not thinking products cause ill effects, definitely not the case. I tried to start with minimal products but it just didnt work. I added stuff such as gfo and kalkwasser because there was a need, not only were my SPS  getting killed within a day or two and virtually all of my LPS which previously were doing well were starting to go down as well, minus BTAs and mushroom types, even certain zoas were having trouble. My alk was quite low at 7.5 and this was rectified by kalkwasser over time slowly. I only add as much as needed to keep my parameters within acceptable ranges.  Fixing my alk helped perk up virtually all my LPS, even the duncans which were shedding skin on its skeleton. I managed to save 2 fungia with that move, sadly 2 died. 

 

After my alk was fixed I figured I'd give some "easy" sps a shot to see if I had resolved all my issues. Most died within a week with some showing polyp extension for a few days, marked improvement, previously id never seen polyps at all on SPS. However, still not the result i wanted. A few have managed to cling on, with some spots of life left so I decided to try and lower my nitrates and phosphates. Now as far as GFO that was added as a measure to combat the exceedingly high nitrate and phosphate levels, my nitrates were through the roof and phosphates immeasurable.  So far I've been using GFO for 1 month and the downward spiral for the SPS and monti's actually stopped from what i can tell, in fact one monti seems to be doing a bit better, with my sole surviving SPS having just not changed since I added GFO. It's the longest survival time I've had yet. So my fear is that if I remove GFO, it would cause a regression as I could see recession progress every day prior to adding GFO. I know GFO is not a magic bullet, but until my nutrients manage to export out of my system over time with water changes and less feeding I think it may be a bad idea to cut GFO completely.  What do the rest of you guys think? Once my nutrients are in control I'd have zero problem with removing GFO. I just want to give the survivors a fighting chance while the problem corrects. 

 

It is very clear that one of my main problems was over feeding. I realize the whole your tank is not old thing. But I have seen tanks much younger than mine with "easy" sps that are not only surviving but also growing. So i don't think time is a valid excuse for all my problems. I think that I should be able to get some easy ones to survive once my water keeping skills have improved and water has stabilized. 

 

On another note, last nights sparse feeding was quite the reality check for my tank inhabitants, fish seemed quite underwhelmed.... lol

 

Also I do have some algea eaters, how much negative affect on nitrates and PHO will keeping a sheet of algea in the tank have if any? At what point should one remove uneaten algea sheets?

 

You can place a sponge in the bottom of the reactor so the media doesnt fall through it (wont need one at the top as you dont want it to float). The main reason you want it in a reactor is so it doesnt clump up on you. I imagine you'll see significant gains with it run in the reactor. GFO itself doesnt harm the SPS, it's how people use it that can be harmful (same with carbon dosing/bio-pellets). Do keep in mind that the GFO is targeting phosphates and your bio-pellets are targeting nitrates. You might find the need to always use the bio-pellets (I'd switch to vodka or vinegar personally) for the nitrates and GFO for the phosphates, the opposite is certainly a possibility as well. I've needed to carbon dose a couple times and I'm currently running GFO because I'm feeding a ton; the fish love it and the corals have responded well. 

 

Just my theory but the further from natural sea water levels you stray, the more sensitive your corals will be to changes. For instance, at NSW levels your acroporas can deal with a 1.5 dKh rapid change without issue but if you're running 12 dKh and experience the same change in alkalinity, you may have issues. This is totally anecdotal but issues that seem to plague some have no effect in my tank. 

When it comes to feeding, certainly dont starve them. You can keep them fat and happy while keeping your corals happy as well (I "overfeed" in the eyes of many). Keep a close eye on nutrient levels now that you've cut back on the food, your export methods are going to bring the levels down rapidly and you dont want either at 0 (easier for things like cyano and dinos to get a foothold). I dont leave the algae sheets in the tank; I hang it up until the fish stop aggressively eating, then remove it (this usually lasts about 20 minutes for my critters). 

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2 hours ago, realypk said:

I tried to start with minimal products but it just didnt work.

It seems like from what you have been discussing and others responding, you didn't let it work. Your tank was started up and full of fish extremely fast, then went almost immediately into "fix" mode instead of letting the tank cycle. Your biological filtration never had time to react to the massive amount of food/fish, and thus you've been chasing your tail ever since - adding product after product, continually swinging your nutrient/filtration teeter totter all over the place.

 

2 hours ago, realypk said:

 

It is very clear that one of my main problems was over feeding. I realize the whole your tank is not old thing. But I have seen tanks much younger than mine with "easy" sps that are not only surviving but also growing. So i don't think time is a valid excuse for all my problems. I think that I should be able to get some easy ones to survive once my water keeping skills have improved and water has stabilized. 

IMHO, this is a very shortsighted thought. I don't intend any harm by this, but comparing one person's success with a "new" tank to yours is just not fair. We've all seen "Tanked" where they setup and fully stock a massive tank in a weekend. Should you do the same? There are always going to be examples you can find to justify why what you are doing should work, but the reality is that you can find examples of success and failure for everything in this hobby. So, bullheadedly plowing forward with more and more chemicals/reactors/additive/do-dads (which can work under the right circumstance, but can also hinder in others), without taking a step back unfortunately usually ends up in a for sale thread a few months down the line as you get out of the hobby from frustration.

 

I think you're starting to take the right approach with starting to decrease food. If it were me, I'd forget keeping corals for a little bit, take all chemicals/reactors/additives/do-dads offline, and go fowler until you get the water figured out. I anticipate you could find someone to babysit the corals you do have left, and you'll probably also save money in lost corals and used-up media in the meantime.

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@Sharkey18 thanks for the info on how to run that GFO in a reactor. Why do you prefer vodka/vinegar dosing over biopellets, I was under the impression that biopellets offer a more steady release over time and have the same results, or is vodka dosing capable of handling higher level nutrient environments than standard biopellet reactors. I will try to stay within the 8-9dkh range as that seems to be the norm that most people go with and also seems to be close to natural water. Do you think a slight reduction of feeding paired with vodka dosing and biopellet reactor + water changes would help fix my current over nutrient problems? If so how would you go about doing something like that and in what order/timeframe?

 

@bues0022 First some background on my situation. I understand that many do have the luxury of having well established tanks that are years old. Unfortunately, I don't have the luxury to ever get what most would consider an "old" tank. I work for the military and as a result I relocate quite frequently the most I can ever hope for is really a 3 years before I have to move at least within a few hours driving distance. The next 2-3 year stint in August is taking me to Stafford,VA so luckily that's a close move! Usually they tend to be across country or abroad though. I understand that general old school wisdom says just let your tank take as much time as it needs, but I don't exactly have that luxury if I ever want to reach any of my goals before I retire, which will be a very long time from now (25 years min).

 

I did however take what I consider to be a reasonably normal level of time as well as invested in good gear to help things along for a young tank. Technology has gotten way better and I want use whatever will help me achieve my goal as quickly as possible. 

 

What I would consider timeline of major events since start:

  • I built my aquarium, routed it for good plumbing installed a good fuge.  
  • Got salinity right, added lights, macro etc. Started dosing pure ammonia, added dr tims as recommended in the ammonia cycle guide. I spent 1 month with just rocks, water and sand dosing recommended levels of ammonia to let my tank "acclimate" before adding fish.
  • I also then spent another two months with just 2 clowns and a few hermits.
  • Once I saw corraline specs growing I took it as a sign and slowly added zoa and LPS, most all of which still are alive (if not  thriving, my bounce mushroom has grown 6 fold in size over the last 2 months, dont even get me started on my leather, pipe organs and zoas...),
  • I added multiple batches of 2-4 fish/shrimp every few weeks and lost almost none excluding, to include BTA's with exception of 1 chromi and a darned starfish which died within like 24hrs. Sandsifter is still very happy.
  • Overall tank is a success for majority of LPS and soft corals, minus some waterflow mishaps that had an head acan bailout of its frag from me with a few other heads still attached and nicely blown up once relocated.  
  • I add acros, monti, chypastrea they all die within days, I re mediate by keeping salinity stable via adding not overskimming and bringing my DKH up to good levels with kalwasser.
  • I try with cheap acros, monti they lasted for more than a week and I was excited, but within week 2 they they started to recede. No huge loss, because they were not pricey, but drove me to find the problem. Bought hanna testers found my PHO was through the roof.... nitrates were at similar levels to what i have now, those have remained steady along with my overfeeding. I found that my insane PHO levels likely caused this and that high nitrates contributed. I added GFO until PHO decreased to around 30ppb with my hanna tester and added a biopellet reactor to help keep nitrates down. I saw no measurable impact from the biopellet reactor in terms of nitrates for the last 3 weeks but also saw no harm. With GFO doing its work and kalk supplementing what GFO sucked up to maintain decent levels
  • At this point with everything stable I decided to get some more sacrificial acros/montis. Cheap sub 10$ frags. For the first time ever I saw polyp extension, and it lasted for over a week i was super happy! I bought some more expensive version, some fungia, and again for about a week all was amazing. I was thrilled, then boom my initial batch of sacrificial lambs was dying again, no more polyp extension and my fungia deflated and looked unhappy. Lost multiple specimens measured my PHO it was through the roof again, with nitrates remaining stable at current levels. All throughout this the majority of my LPS are all doing fine.
  • I quickly did some water changes every other day to get PHO levels down and added new GFO bags and the 1 surviving acro, 2 surviving monti and 2 surviving fungia all stopped receding. In fact 1 Monti has gotten some of its color back in areas I previous thought dead, and acro has just stood still, no recession. 1 Fungia is currently fighting for it's life i'd say, trying to regrow flesh that was lost in some parts, while the other is super bubbly and happy, healing its wounds daily from what I can see. The last crash also peeled the skin off some of my duncan and dendros skeleton but it did not fully fall off and I can see new growth coming back in areas that were affected. 

Concern for usage of material ie GFO, Carbon etc is not a big one because i buy everything I use in the largest bulk packs I can so I've got plenty... I do however see value in using the assistance of someone with excellent stable water quality to rehabilitate corals I actually care about such as my fungia and would probably very much appreciate it if someone could help me in taking the more ravaged of my two fungia so it can have a stable environment to recover. Fungia are my favorite corals and I strangely got attached to them when they were bubbly and beautiful for 2.5+ weeks.

 

However after having read stuff about why that BTA died, I'm wondering if perhaps I gave them too large chunks of food that may have contributed to their ill health i used to give them chunk of silverfish the size of their mouths, which is pretty big on mine....

 

I also dont find it necessary to relocate happy corals or give up on corals entirely. I'm not a fan of FOWLR tanks as i find them to be unattractive, I'd honestly rather break down and get out of the hobby then go FOWLR, just not what i'm looking for. I find one can get fresh water tanks with similar results for far cheaper. I get enjoyment out of seeing both the corals and fish/inverts in the same environment and the odd interactions/beauty and diversity. Watching coral slowly grow as i've seen in many of my LPS and softies is also super rewarding I traded some frags of stuff already which is super exciting! 

 

Ultimately my goal is to be able to move my tank from where it is now as a successful fish/invert/softy/easy LPS tank to a successful fully mixed tank capable of sustaining moderately hard to keep SPS and hard to keep LPS. I'd like to do that without taking years to get there. So any advice to get me toward that goal is super appreciated, as all of your insights thus far have been. While keeping it simple may work eventually, it does seem super slow. Considering what my trade is at work, i'm definitely not one of those that subscribes to tech and chems are bad, they can be great and help speed things up if used in the right situation for the right purpose!

 

Also if anyone knows someone that would be willing to rehab my fungia back to nice health for eventual re-introduction into my tank I'd very much appreciate it!

 

So far I only see the following courses of action to get to where I want to be.

 

#1 feed significantly less, target feed sporadically, find source of chromium, do water changes till nitrates and phosphates lowered, consider removing gfo if nitrates dont go up. Also in this case how do i keep fish from pulling food out of dendro tenatacles? They do that when not full. 

#2 Start vodka dosing, find source of chromium, do some water changes to reduce nitrates and chromium, feed moderately less, remove biopellet reactor (does it hurt to do both?), ensure nutrients dont get too low

 

With my goals in mind do either of those sound about right? Also which is more likely to succeed and how long will it take approx? Also any other ideas that may help?

Edited by realypk

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Vodka, vinegar, and bio-pellets are all forms of carbon dosing and accomplish the same thing, a reduction in nitrates by promoting bacteria that feed in part, on the nitrates. You then pull the bacteria out of the water via your skimmer, therefore removing the nitrates. This is why you skimmate typically becomes darker when carbon dosing. So you dont use both, just one or the other. Vodka can promote the growth of cyanobacteria, vinegar temporarily drops you pH when dosed in larger amounts so sometimes it's better to spread this out. Bio-pellets are a pain and fall off in efficiency over time (as they're depleted), that and they're much more expensive than the other two options (vinegar cant be beat). 

 

For the sake of keeping things relatively consistent for the time being, you're probably better off sticking with the bio-pellets until you get things under control. Once you're comfortable, you can look at moving to another carbon dosing solution (if needed). 

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Rgr that I also think that going with option #1 for now is probably the best solution and one that origami would probably advise. So one thing I've noticed is that even with rather decent water changes of 20% i notice a very negligble reductions in nitrate levels.... What is the cause of this? Should I not get a corresponding 20% drop in nitrates or somewhere close? My sand is mostly clean because of a decent sand sifter crew at work, but there are probably some spots I could clean. The sump on the other hand has a lot of stuff probably at the bottom of that might contribute..... cleaning it means removing probably 70 bioblocks, some live rock, my cheato and macro, guarding against water spills, ensuring I dont accidentally kill my dungeon crab and a host of other things and then putting it all back would turn it into at very least a 4 hour affair, that may get the resident wife unit upset at the "waste of time". Is that worth it or just stick to plenty of normal water changes and less feeding?  

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Provided the water you're using for the change is free of phosphates, you are getting a reduction of 20% at the time of the change. Your rock/sand may have levels bound up in it that releases phosphates back in to the water right after you change it though; this will continue to happen until an equilibrium is achieved. 

 

I don't clean the detritus out of my sump, I don't think it contributes to nutrient levels much (if at all). It was a couple inches deep before we moved last year and it's about 3/4" deep now. You have a lot more going on with your tank than I do however; the only thing in my sump is the macro-algae (no rock, blocks, etc.). I imagine it's rather overwhelming for the time being. Over the course of time, you will likely be able to remove much of what you have going on (i.e. bio-pellets, GFO, marinepure blocks, etc.) but it certainly isn't something I'd do all at once. 

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The marine pure I don't mind so much as its just porus fake coral with some trace aluminum, in general a big meh in my eyes, dont mind if it stays forever in the sump. But yea eventually getting back to simpler ie no bio pellets and GFO or bi-weekly water changes would be nice :P But seems like a lot of water changes are in my future before that ever becomes a reality :-/ 

 

Any good tactic for creating and delivering saltwater in an efficient manner? I can store about 35 gallons of RODI at any given time in in easily movable 5gal containers and have a few 5 gallon buckets that I use to mix up salt with. Quite frankly its a huge pain to change the water and ends up with me splashing small amounts of salt water on the floor and having to mop afterwards to avoid salt stains. My DT is in the living room so cant have it be too messy. 

 

I dont have much garage storage space or any of that so cant buy a big Rubbermaid type ting to store saltwater in. But mixing saltwater has proven to be a huge PITA for me lots of mixing stirring getting water to temp, dumping some out when salinity too high, adding rodi, whoops now salinity too low add some more salt... quite frankly just annoying and time consuming doing it 4 gallons at a time, seeing as you cant mix 5 gallons as then you'll get salt spilling when mixing.... lol So looks like i need to figure out a way to make plenty of saltwater in a reasonable un-time consuming way.

 

Whats your favorite way to mix salt water that can be done with something that doesnt take too much space? Is there a calculator that exists for exact cups of salt per gallon for SG you want to reach using specific brands of salt? I just want to make the water change process I have before me less daunting so to speak. 

Edited by realypk

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The water changes aren't going to do much so I wouldnt recommend changing your typical water change schedule or amount; your nutrient reduction will have to come from introducing less to the tank (i.e. food) and export via your current bio-pellets and GFO. You'll have to keep a close eye on this the next few weeks so you don't remove the nutrients completely. 

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Understood, so to check and make sure I understand it correctly nutrients (NH4) lodged within the rocks etc, will export themselves naturally over time into phosphate by bacteria as the supply of nutrients from my feedings dwindles. Those will be converted by bacteria into PHO which will continue to be extracted by my GFO and water changes resulting in an eventual nutrient-less system if I'm not careful meaning I need to find a balance of feeding just enough to keep nutrients high enough for my LPS and just below what Acro can stand? 

 

How much NH4 and PHO do I want to have in my tank as a target goal?

Edited by realypk

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5 hours ago, realypk said:

@Origami, yes thank you for making that abundantly clear 100% received and going to work on the primary concern. Chromium is also a big concern of mine, I currently use red sea coral pro salt for my tank. I'm going to check all my probes and pumps as soon as I can. Do you think removing a glass cleaner magnet is necessary? How can I be certain it's integrity has not been compromised if it visually looks ok? I would hate for it to be festering under the felt scrubby pad....

 

I'll definitely read more about how the swing cycle works, although I must say it's nice to see that my swing cycle seems to be fairly normal and that at least something is going right in my tank!!! Hrmm as far as low nutrient problems, if I ever do run into that issue, will sporadic target feeding of nutrients such as what I do with my feather dusters help those guys out? Turning pumps off for a bit and just letting a cloud hang over them? I do this using phytoalgea that I grow, but could easily also mix some coral food powder in if it's ever necessary. On that note how much does phyto hurt me in terms of controlling my nutrient levels?  The phyto I add to my system periodically is alive as its growing in my cultures and feeding my pod cultures. For a 106 gallon tank what is the max amount of phyto you would add on a weekly basis?

 

Edit: accidentally hit reply instead of editing and adding to my last post sorry! Can't seem to find a way to delete so I can merge it either. 

Maybe it's coincidence, but this user at R2R had high chromium levels and was also using Red Sea Coral Pro salt. It's possible that chromium is a "feature" (said tongue-in-cheek) of the salt mix. It may not be a bad idea at some point to send in a sample of freshly mixed saltwater to ATI for analysis.

 

I try to remove my glass cleaner because I've never had one that I've left in not fail at some point (though it can take years). 

 

I like to think of feeding my tank as being similar to feeding one end of a pyramidal food chain: Food  and food particles feed the top end: Fish, crabs, etc. Their waste, especially fish waste, spreads and feeds the corals and filter feeders. Waste from this tier of organisms then feed the bottom end: Bacteria, algae, other plants. Some of that turns around and feeds the top of the chain, closing the circle. Most of the smaller feather dusters can do pretty well without target feeding. Some of the larger ones might benefit from some occasional target-feeding.

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13 minutes ago, realypk said:

 

How much NH4 and PHO do I want to have in my tank as a target goal?

Read this. Old (2004) but good.

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Note: Some systems can do quite well with PO4 levels higher than 30 ppb.

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1 hour ago, realypk said:

Understood, so to check and make sure I understand it correctly nutrients (NH4) lodged within the rocks etc, will export themselves naturally over time into phosphate by bacteria as the supply of nutrients from my feedings dwindles. Those will be converted by bacteria into PHO which will continue to be extracted by my GFO and water changes resulting in an eventual nutrient-less system if I'm not careful meaning I need to find a balance of feeding just enough to keep nutrients high enough for my LPS and just below what Acro can stand? 

 

How much NH4 and PHO do I want to have in my tank as a target goal?

 

Phosphates are independent from nitrates and share no relationship.

 

NH3 (ammonia) is broken down by bacteria to NO2 (nitrite) which is further broken down by other bacteria to NO3 (nitrate). At this point, the nitrates have to be consumed/exported in some fashion (e.g. carbon dosing, water change, macro-algae etc.). 

 

The phosphates (PO4) aren't going to be broken down any further and need to be consumed/exported in some fashion (e.g. GFO, lanthanum chloride, macro-algae etc.). 

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I'll send in some fresh mixed SW with my next test instead of RO sample seeing as my RO was perfect and don't expect that to change soon as its all new equipment. The pyramid food chain makes good sense! I thought everything needed normal food, hence all the target feeding foods etc that are marketed, didnt realize fish waste would be food for anything other than bacteria and maybe clams...

 

Also that article is definitely being saved as an HTML file on my desktop just incase the site ever gets pulled! Amazing info!

 

I'll keep the crew here updated on how things go, and run a full range of hannah tests more frequently to track progress. Thanks for everyones help thus far. If anyone else comes by and thinks they may have some great advice for my situation.

 

Ah it seems i got nitrates and NH4 a bit confused, two more questions. With such high nitrates and such high PO4 should I not be getting a tonne of macro growth? I have 300w of full spectrum lighting on my macro and I do get growth but not exactly a bunch.... I have about 4 different types of macro to include your regular variety green chaeto

 

Also is there a recommended Hanna nitrate tester by any chance?

Edited by realypk

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They dont make anything for nitrates but some inquisitive individuals have come up with creative ways to use various Hanna checkers to get nitrate results. In my opinion, you dont need super accurate (for any of them really), you just need a history of results to see if things are trending up or down. Many people use spreadsheets or hand written journals but I've found Aquatic Log to be pretty awesome for this. 

Edited by madweazl

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I'll definitley check out the app for sure, so far i've just been using a basic text editor notepad to track stuff(other than the seneye) and in the past i was not that good at logging things casue it was a pita lol

 

Also when do you guys suggest I do another ATI test?

Edited by realypk

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The Seneye is a nice PAR meter, all but useless for anything else but a quarantine/hospital tank though. I do ICPs about twice a year just to see the things I cant test for; I don't think you need one for much of anything at this point. 

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If you're concerned about chromium n your salt mix, then you'll have to use ICP testing. That's not to say that there's any evidence that says elevated chromium has any detrimental effect on our tanks. It just says that you're unlikely to find a test kit to test for that element.

 

I don't run ICP tests unless I'm establishing a baseline or if something is not right and it's nothing that I can test for myself. I'm on a well, so I tested my tank and well (after my water softener) water in one test, and newly mixed saltwater and my RO (but not DI) water in another. The reason for stacking the tests this way was to trace the source of levated nickel in my tank that I blamed for some cases of STN.

 

 

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Makes good sense, I'll send my red sea salt in to test and see, in comparison 30$ for a test is not that bad! They do give you an RO vial and saltwater vials. RO seems to test for all the same elements as the regular one.... Could maybe put some fresh mixed salt in that to get a free test of it alongside tank testing. Makes good sense, I'll send my red sea salt in to test and see, in comparison 30$ for a test is not that bad! They do give you an RO vial and saltwater vials. RO seems to test for all the same elements as the regular one.... Could maybe put some fresh mixed salt in that to get a free test of it alongside tank testing in one go?

 

As far as seneye goes, I wish they had a nitrate measuring slide, that would be super nice and make it very valuable as a measuring instrument. The par meter is very nice, however I do find its online connectivity/tracking/notification to be amazingly awesome. It's saved my reef and all my fish multiple times! It's what alerted to me to my salinity issues when I saw some the PH cycle behaving out of norm/really odd, helped me catch my low salinity levels from over skimming within 24ish hrs. It also alerted me  when an eheim jaeger failed to on and allowed me to unplug that sucker, drove home and temp was at 85 and still rising at the time. Yanked the sucker out and luckily none of my inhabitants died. 

 

For those of us who dont want to spend hundreds to thousands on an apex system the seneye really is a godsend as far as warning against problems goes. Its even better when considering how daunting the whole "programming" aspect of these systems is. They are very expensive and overly complex, I'm already having to learn a lot trying to learn how to keep my reef allive, I dont need to tack on learning to code in addition lol. Seneye is a simple plug and play warning system that does a good job of tracking the basics and warning you of anything major that can nuke your tank. 

Edited by realypk

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The Reef Angel controller is only $200 more and does anything you can possibly imagine (and then some) but, you are stuck with the coding part if you want to get crazy. The basic stuff has a simple wizard that will get you up and running. 

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Yea some day I may do a controller but I really very much value plug and play. It was a huge deciding factor for me and while I did see reef angel and quite frankly if I were to go with a controller that would have been my choice... I decided against it for a few reasons that ended up with me deciding against going with a controller this go around.

 

Firstly budget, at the time I was not a wamas member didnt even know it existed so really had no one to talk to or get good deals from so was buying everything new. I wanted a PAR meter pretty bad so that money was gonna get sunk into the the seneye anyway. Plus reef angels site really has some a lack of item descriptions or how it worked, or what was needed... when looking at the reefangle plus I still cant figure out if i need to buy the extra modules which are not cheap, whether i need to buy the wifi module or if i can just plug the network cable into a wifi extender, do I need to buy the ph module? All this info was just lacking.... I just couldn't find it on their site. So was it going to be 399 i was going to spend to get PH, Temps, Ammonia, salinity over wifi or would that cost me more? Which led me to the next problem, I am not going to ever program or code so that proposition terrified me, and seeing as finding basic info on their site was so rough I didn't even wan to think about how bad their UI might be (site again very very rough) and how hard it would be to learn to use their system or god forbid learn how to code their product, I really just wanted something that would be easily monitor my reef statistics from any pc or cell phone I'm at. I would be perfectly cool with drop down menus or a drag and drop logic tree type system with for what plug does what, but thats about the extent. My lights were already automated using cheap 20$ chinese wifi outlets and going well, my pumps are manually controlled with just the setting of on. So the only thing it could help with was my ATO, temp control and maybe salinity one thing I still do manually right now, and to this day I dont know how much all that would cost stipulating I want it going over wifi as I cant run network cable to my tank lol.

 

That leads me to second reason. It seems like the neptune apex, gets all the love,  so I was concerned they may not stay around for very long and end up being a waste of $$ when they go out of business, no marketing, no mass community support, no minuscule sales on BRS knocking 5% off etc. The writing just seems on the wall for me, I think they'll go out of business and what happens to my wifi available data when they do? Also don't even get me started on neptune I find it to be grossly overpriced and by that i mean disgustingly. Especially for what you get, paying thousands of dollars for a product where you still have to learn to code to meet most desires that people have when buying these units for is a joke, especially when paired with the accuracy levels advertised for their probes. Your basically paying full lab grade prices for unpolished consumer grade mediocre accuracy stuff with a shoddy UI that requires coding for "advanced" functions. I've also seen plenty of posts where their gear breaks not long after warranty expired. The whole neptune apex thing just rubs me the wrong way in every way. Why not just get a more powerful raspberry pie at this point? But I digress, the reef angle seems to be reasonably priced for what it is. 

 

So lets say I dedicated to increasing my budget and knew what gizmos to buy and trusting I could get it to do what I wanted it to with little work.....already a lot of ifs, especially without a community backing me at the time. Third problem I saw and final nail in the coffin with any controller was that I hated the idea of putting all my eggs in one basket. Honestly if my clowns ever died i'd be freaking heartbroken, doubly so if they die of something I caused. Everything breaks, it just does, some things last longer than others but eventually they break. What happens if it happens to be the controller that you rely on to do a lot of different things? Right now I have independent lighting, independent temp control, independent ATO, independant pumps, independent skimming, independent airpump and independent reactor, independant flood protection, over temp protection and overskim protection. Most of these were pretty cheap to do aquaforest FTW!!! Some of these will fail and individually I can handle the issue, but god forbid if everything failed at once cause my controller blows a gasket, tank would die. I could not handle all that stuff on my own long enough for a replacement to arrive.  Maybe for a few hours but how do you keep everything in your tank afloat without one while you get your waiting on warranty RMA replacement? Without a controller you find that you have closed loops of things that individually may break but it is unlikely that would all happen at once, especially with battery backup/surge protection. I can handle 1-2 breaks in my system at a time, but not a reef controller that went poof. Overall I just didn't see it as a resilient strategy to put that much weight in human made device. And if your spending the kinda money on a reef angle plus you may as well use it to it's fullest, not just as a reporting device. I may use one in the future on a bigger build if my 1st and 2nd level concerns are ever addressed in a sufficient manner and for my piece of mind I'd just buy an extra controller and power strip and test it for functionality put it in a closet for rainy day to avert the eggs in basked conundrum... that would increase price significantly though so 1 and 2 better be sorted lol.

 

Heh, I think I write too much maybe it'll do some good and these controller companies will read my post some day ;) And to neptune if you ever read this post, I hate that you price gouge which is exactly whats going on. If you make products that stand the test of time with durability, if you give high fidelity results from your test probes and I mean better than hannah checker levels, if you make it so its super simple for me to use I'd even be happy to pay what you currently charge. But at this point your just gouging the community because there aren't many better proven options available and that alone is enough to turn me off to a company. Or you could just charge sane prices for the stuff you offer now. 

Edited by realypk

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The only difference with the freshwater vial tested with ATI is alkalinity, I believe. (I contacted them with that question a while back.) Otherwise it's pretty much the same as the saltwater sample. You're free to submit any water in the freshwater sample.


Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk

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Awesome news!! Saves me some cash  :-) and if my chromium is high will tell me if its my gear or salt next time!!

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