Two quick questions on NH3 and PO4

Discussion in 'General Discussions and Advice' started by cknipe, 19 Jun 2014.

  1. cknipe

    cknipe

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    Hi Guys,

    Tank is doing ok, it's not spectacular and still get regular outbreaks of diatoms, but we're hopefully getting there. All the LS are very happy.

    For some strange reason however, my NH3 has been stuck at 0.2ppm for just about a month now, and my PO4 is also stuck at 0.08ppm for over a month now.

    Would the Ammonia issue indicate that more bacteria is needed? Ala special blend?

    On the Phosphate side, I am at a loss. I feed very little, once every two or three days (I'm scared to feed less than that) and I also am running a two little fishies reactor (800l/h pump) with ATI media. The ATI media has done diddly squat to bring the Phosphates down :( Reactor has been running now for the better part of two or three weeks.

    I have done 2 (roughly) 10% water changes with NSW and shortly after the WC (a day or so later) the Phosphates does take a small dip downwards, and then just rise up again to 0.08ppm

    The other parameters are pretty stable, albeit I know that some are on the highish side. They are however steadily coming down over the weeks (Mg and Ca for example). The Mg is kept at 1600 to combat the algae due to the high PO4, and I will bring Mg down once the PO4 is at acceptable levels. Salt is also now needed for the first time since I've started up again due to all the RO top ups, so yes, I know my salinity is a bit low too. I will more than likely add a bit of salt over the weekend.

    So, recommendations in terms of Ammonia and Phosphates please? :thumbup:
     
    Last edited: 19 Jun 2014
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  3. jclaas

    jclaas

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    I used to have issues with a consistent nitrite reading of 0.2ppm so i added brand new marco rocks to my sump biological section and two weeks subsequent the nitrite went to 0ppm. I also stopped doing water changes for at least one month. However, i also removed all coral from the aquarium around the same time as the added marco rocks. I do believe that the marco rocks are providing a larger environment for the bacteria i was lacking in the nitrification process.

    I will test my nitrite now soon in order to prove my success claims above.
     
  4. dallasg

    dallasg Moderator MASA Contributor

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    hi
    the residual ammonia is due to waste being added faster than it can be broken down, mineralisation, so the biological function is taking strain. you would need to suppliment with bacteria while finding the cause: over-feeding, mini-cycle etc.

    as for the PO4 this is coming from an external source, rocks, substrate , excess food or RO/NSW water.
    the other issue, my opinion, is the WC are going to do squat as you only removing 10% 0.008ppm of PO4, the media is saturated, and your addition of PO4 is higher than nutrient export. you will need to find the source to rectify, check RO and NSW

    or your testkit is faulty, can you test on another kit at lfs or reefer?
     
  5. dallasg

    dallasg Moderator MASA Contributor

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    nitrite is not that toxic to marines as it is in freshwater, but still good to keep it "0"

    by adding more "media" your nitrifying bacteria can grow to consume more NO2
     
  6. cknipe

    cknipe Thread Starter

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    Will ask a LFS to test Ammonia and Phosphates when I go buy some salt... I doubt it's the test kits though, but let's see. I did just as a precaution now change the ATI Media as well.

    Surely rocks can't leach PO4 even 5 months after it's been added to the tank? I'm just curious here?

    As for waste build up. I'm wondering if the substrate aren't the cause here. I do vacuum when I do my WC (about bi-weekly currently), and there is allot of stuff coming out, the water is almost like a brownish colour when the buckets get full. So yes, it is filthy to say the least.

    The issue is I can only take out so much water, and therefore only vacuum for so long (and cause some nice collapses of my rocks in the process). Apart from going substrate less, is there any other ingenious ways of cleaning the stuff up?

    What I am getting at, would something like EHEIM Quick Vac Pro Automatic Gravel Cleaner - R1,250.00 : Jungle Aquatics, Petshop Superstore and Retail Outlet for example be effective?

    Anyone using something similar perhaps?
     
  7. cknipe

    cknipe Thread Starter

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    Oh and NSW tested fine on all parameters (tested the first time before I did the NSW WC). No Ammonia or Phosphates in it, PH at 8.2 and Ca and Mg well within acceptable ranges too.
     
  8. dallasg

    dallasg Moderator MASA Contributor

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    well you can siphon gravel as normal but instead of a bucket, fill a stocking with filter floss and go back to the sump, no water loss
     
  9. Nemos Janitor

    Nemos Janitor

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    NSW have live plankton's in it. If your system cannot consume this plankton, or, filter out the dying plankton then PO4 and NO3 will result.

    Test your NSW a few day after collection to confirm the amount of nutrient die off. Parameters will change with time.
     
  10. cknipe

    cknipe Thread Starter

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    Completely forgot about NOPOX, but dosed for 4 days (10ml per day on a +- 500L system), and PO4 is now at 0. Won't be dosing anymore NOPOX now until PO4 comes back up to about 0.02 and then I will continue with reduced NOPOX dosing to maintain 0.02. I have also started Special Blend again too, but will only test Ammonia levels again on Friday when I test the rest of my parameters.

    I obviously can't maintain PO4 of 0 as I need some algae in the tank for the algae eaters (Sea Hare, Lawnmower Blenny, and a beautiful porcelain (cowrie) snail), as well as some PO4 for the softies.

    Gravel vac and all those things happens pretty much on a daily basis now until I'm satisfied that the gravel is clean enough, and no water changes has happened again yet. Salt's been added, and tubes has been changed too. Hopefully now that the algae is dying off (and quickly too) some coralline will start to come :)
     
  11. cknipe

    cknipe Thread Starter

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    Nitrites and Nitrates are 0. Never had a spike there since the cycle has been completed. I actually dose Phyto Plankton once a week too to keep the Sea Apple happy. And boy, is he happy :)
     
    Last edited: 25 Jun 2014
  12. puffer fish

    puffer fish

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    just add a sandsifter goby
     
  13. irie ivan

    irie ivan MASA Contributor

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    Chris, just a word of caution. Sea Apples, from the genus Pseudocolochirus (either P. axiologus or P. violaceus) do have the potential to cause serious harm to other tank mates.
    Definitely not a species for reefers with limited experience, as when severely stressed (picked on by fish, caught in a powerhead intake or housed in less than optimal water) it can potentially release toxins which could wipe out your fish population.
    I saw in another post that you also have a sea hare in your tank? Another species renowned for its potentially toxic effects when stressed...

    There are success stories of both these species in tanks, but still something to consider.

    Warning. Sea apple wipeout. - Reef Central Online Community
     
    Last edited: 25 Jun 2014
  14. cknipe

    cknipe Thread Starter

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    Well aware of it and I keep an very close eye on them both (or just the apple now). I do really look after the apple, even target feeding it when it looks unhappy, but generally, it is constantly feeding (and you can actually watch as it feeds).

    The Sea Hare, unfortunately, just made a trip through my overflow pipe (like 15 minutes ago). Thankfully I heard it and saw the tank starting to fill up as the pipe was blocked and got there just in time to kill the power. After seeing what was going on and trying to reach for the Sea Hare, he just crawled deeper into the pipe, with the pressure of the water behind him.

    Eventually the water forced it through the pipe and had a moerse fall in the sump on the floor (a good 1.5 meters down), and it damaged its head quite seriously :( It was immediately removed from the water water white liquid started coming out of the wound, and is now on it's way to the nearest water treatment plant. Terribly sad that this happened of course as it really was "part of the family," but the DT and other LS comes first.

    Moral of the story, I will not hesitate to remove either the Hare or the Apple should it become necessary.

    And yes, I am home often enough that I am in the fortunate position that I can pick these things up very quickly. Happen to work from home and almost never sleep due the pressures and piles of work to do from home. if I do miss it, I have no one to blame but myself.
     
  15. cknipe

    cknipe Thread Starter

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    I know this is a old thread - but just got back from a trip to my LFS... After testing my RO water, new filters was promptly purchased, together with a TDS pen.

    My TDS on my RO/DI was over 120 :lol: My tap water by comparison measures 75... After replacing the filters and letting it run for a while, we're back at a TDS of 6 now. Another thing to keep an eye on, that's for sure.

    Bought the unit in Jan so it's not *that* old (about 8 or 9 months), but granted, I should have replaced the filters about 3 or 4 months ago already.

    Now the phosphate media will just have to do it's job (seeing that I'm no longer feeding it), and it would hopefully bring the PO4 down quite quickly over the next few weeks. The Ammonia issue has gone and after adding some Special Blend I'm at 0 now.
     
  16. Blue Reefer

    Blue Reefer MASA Contributor

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    Did you replace DI resin aswell?
     
  17. cknipe

    cknipe Thread Starter

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    Isn't that good for a number of years?

    If not I'll have to see where I can get it. LFS didn't have stock of it.
     
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