Jump to content

SPS changes reveal chemistry imbalance


pdxmonkeyboy
 Share

Recommended Posts

thought i would post my recent experience up as it may help some people out there. All the signs were readily available to me but it didnt click at first and then when it did, i was like "DUH" and i cursed myself for not realizing it sooner. Sooo..without futher ado..
 
My tank has been in a bit of flux the past several months as i had to go fallow. This affects the biotics of the tank in a big way so i have had to test all the time and manage things.
 
I put my fish in the tank 3? weeks ago..maybe 4 and started dosing vinegar again. my no3 was at 8 and phos at .04 when i put the fish in. I didnt want my nitrates climbing super fast as there is a lot of fish.
 
anyways.. i had a colony start to go pale, only in a couple spots. Alk had been relatively stable, phos and no3 decent so i let it ride. Cyano started to show up.
 
Another colony started to have white tips, then two days later, another colony. alk still stable. phos at .02. cyano spreading a little more.
 
So, i decide on a 50 gallon water change..or about 15%. I am vaccuming the fuge and moving stuff around and i see lots of white bacteria clumps floating in the water.
 
This tells me... too much vinegar, i should have known it was too much when my carbon reactor sponge was clogged with the stuff. i reduced the vinegar. I should have known what to look for at this point but... life... i guess.
 
flash forward 2 days.. cyano worse, colors muted. I mail out for an ICP test because i have convinced myself at this point the cat has dropped lead in the tank or something.
 
I am laying in bed and thinking.. ok, you were dosing too much vinegar, and the cyano is spreading but your phos is only .04. Why is the cyano spreading and the corals fading?
 
DUDE..TEST YOUR NO3! I get out of bed and test my no3..0. i test again, 0.25, ok third time is a charm...somewhere between the two.
 
I dosed potasium nitrate to get 2ppm nitrate. next day i dose again and have 4 ppm.
 
This was about 5 days ago and things look better already.
 
So, if you ever have cyano (which is 90% of the tine caused by no3 and phos imbalance) and your coral starts to fade..and you have powerful lights... you may not have enough nitrate.
 
it all made sense to me.. alk had been steadily climbing as well.. the corals were literally starving.
 
sorry it was long winded..hope it helps somone out in the future.
 
Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
 
 


  • Like 5
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Glad you caught it before things got worse. When I let my tank go fallow last year I had a situation where nitrates dropped to zero also. The difference was that I didn't have cyano and the phosphates dropped to zero too because of a big refugium. I didn't catch it as quick as you and I lost a few corals.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Went through almost an identical fiasco with my tank at the beginning of the year. Anytime I have something funky happening in my tank I test my basic elements (n03,p04, ammonia, alk, cal, etc.) 3 times before making a decision on anything. I take the average # between the 3 tests, and then base my attack plan based on those findings. I find it absolutely critical to test 3 times back to back on everything I have kits for. This process severely reduces chances of taking the wrong steps towards a solution. I also test my wc water just as extensively when issues arise.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Averaging before acting is a solid plan. I have a second brand of Alk test on hand and once in a while pull it out to make sure I can get a similar result using two different methods. Human error can be another factor on top of measurement error of the test itself.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm retired, so I have a lot of spare time on my hands.  I test Alk, calcium, PO4, and NO3 every day, and magnesium weekly.  I know it's overkill, but I do it anyway.  I log all my results in Apex Fusion so I have graphs that make it really easy to see trends over time.  My tank is only 6 months old, but it has consistently been low (near zero) on nitrates even if I overfeed, yet PO4 has been in normal range.  I recently started dosing potassium nitrate to bring up nitrate, and I've seen an improvement in coral coloration and polyp extension.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's a good point to bring up. When I was dosing nitrate my phosphates dropped initially so I dosed Phosphate too until both started to rise. I think you have to do this until the system is carbon limited (if I recall the term correctly).

It's kinds of the same concept as carbon dosing in a way. When you dose carbon nitrates will drop and so will Phosphate. There is a relationship called the Redfield ratio that gives the proportional relationship.

2c2a71e9b6cd7a31b2eda3beb168a64d.jpg


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

i am really close to 100-1 right now so we will see how it goes. I do recall that there were several comments in dosing threads that nitrate would drop more than phos but perhaps that is becuase it is somewhere near 100-1 ratio?

I think my new chaeto light has more to do with it than the vinegar dosing. At any rate it was interesting that i read a post last night where someone was saying that nutrient crashes can be just as damaging as alk swings, maybe more.

my corals have certainly "shut down" since this happened. i have had to reduce alk doses again to keep things stable.

looking forward to dialing in the fuge light and feeding to get near equilibrium.

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk

Link to comment
Share on other sites

ineed you can think of cyano as "a weed" it is a very simple life form and is very very effecient at using up trace nutrients. As such, it usuall gets going when there isnt enough nutrients for other forms of algae or bacteria to flourish... be it from availability or imbalance.

So like a weed that can actively grow in a dead, drought plagued lawn, cyano is a warning sign.


Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

I agree that nutrient crashes are problematic just like like alk swings. With nutrients going lower or higher isn't always a problem but zero is a problem. When I had nitrate go to zero I dosed sodium nitrate and then phosphate fell to 0 and I had more problems. Now I dose both and test daily if I'm messing with either nitrate or phosphate level.

If you read the neo phos bottle you will probably be confused like I was the first time. Once you realize that carbon nitrate and phosphate all interact then it makes more sense. I would caution anyone about dosing phosphate or nitrate without testing daily and having a good handle on how they interact.

I think staying off zero for phosphate is important. All that said there is some interaction with Alk too. The higher the Alk you run typically the more sensitive the system seems to be to nutirents dropping.

For what it's worth I have a heavily stocked tank and feed pretty decently but still have nitrates that drift down once in a while. I think it's a combination of the refugium which helps pH and the marinen pure block I have in the sump.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is what I did before I moved and even after I moved, did it less, which works well.

Dose:

1 - Calcium Chloride (CaCl2) : https://www.lesliespool.com/Leslies-Hardness-Plus-Pool-Chemical/Hardness-Plus.htm

2 - Sodium Carbonate (Na2CO3) : Soda Ash made from baking soda in a 450 degree oven until dry

Just a certain weight into a 5 gallon container. I made sure the correct concentration was present by testing the old and new solutions. Did this every six months.

20% water change once a week, which after I moved, got cut back to every three weeks.

Tried vinegar, ethanol, carbon etc. Felt it was easier to keep it simple. Amino's helped, but were expensive. Chemiclean when I saw cyano.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...