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Time for NoPox?


John Vinson
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I've finally tossed the API test kit, as it continued to show that my nitrates were zero.  My HR Hanna checker just tested them at 73.1 PPM!  Phosphates came back high as well 0.90 PPM (about 10x higher than desired, right?), so I'm wondering if NoPox is the best option to go with to get them both down.  I'm setting up a "mini-refugium" in the back of my RSM 250 (since I don't have a sump, I'm using the media rack to contain/grow some chaeto, but I'm a few weeks away from getting that up and running), so the NoPox wouldn't be a permanent solution, assuming that once the chaeto is growing nicely it will control the Nitrates by itself (not sure if it does anything to phosphates).  Any other thoughts/recommendations??  Thanks! :)

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10 hours ago, John Vinson said:

I've finally tossed the API test kit, as it continued to show that my nitrates were zero.  My HR Hanna checker just tested them at 73.1 PPM!  Phosphates came back high as well 0.90 PPM (about 10x higher than desired, right?), so I'm wondering if NoPox is the best option to go with to get them both down.  I'm setting up a "mini-refugium" in the back of my RSM 250 (since I don't have a sump, I'm using the media rack to contain/grow some chaeto, but I'm a few weeks away from getting that up and running), so the NoPox wouldn't be a permanent solution, assuming that once the chaeto is growing nicely it will control the Nitrates by itself (not sure if it does anything to phosphates).  Any other thoughts/recommendations??  Thanks! :)

The first thing you'll probably want to address is why they got so high in the first place. Are you feeding lots of pellets? If so, I would back off the pellets and feed mostly frozen mysis and nori. I almost exclusively feed these two foods to my tanks.

NoPox isn't the greatest stuff in my view. It always led to other problems when I used it. If you have a RS250 you could easily do some large water changes to get nitrates down as a first step. Doing regular water changes will help keep your nitrates in check long term, as well. Keeping phosphates down usually requires a little more than that. To bring down phosphates in my tanks, I run some Rowaphos in a filter sock.

In my experience, an oversized skimmer will do a good job at controlling nitrates, but not phosphates. The Red Sea 250 only has an adequate skimmer, so probably regular water changes are in your future.....But having some large soft corals such as large Tyree green toadstools can help lower nitrates quickly in some systems. A big coral population in general will utilize nitrates help to keep them in check. I am currently dosing nitrates in all of my tanks because my corals use them up so fast that they quickly go to 0. I still have to use chemical media to lower phosphates, however.

A refugium with chaeto can also help reduce nitrates, but doesn't tend to do that much for phosphates. And I'm not sure that you could run enough chaeto in your back chamber to make a difference for nitrates either.

In a RS250, you could put some Rowaphos in a filter bag and add that to the media rack in the back chamber. Be careful with Rowaphos, though, as it can pull phosphate out of your water very quickly. You want to do it gradually, and under-dose what it says in the instructions. Use Hanna Phosphate and Nitrate high range checkers to track your progress.

Very important.....keep the ratio of nitrates to phosphates roughly 100:1. As an example, that would be nitrate of 10 and phosphate of .1. In my systems, I try to shoot for nitrate of 5-15 and phosphate of .05-.15. If your phosphate ever gets HIGHER than your nitrate, you will often end of with dinoflagellate and/or cyanobacteria problems. Low nitrate and high phosphate is where people end up sometimes when they use NoPox or vodka dosing, so that is why I stay away from the stuff.

Good luck!

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On 2/14/2022 at 6:27 PM, Lexinverts said:

The first thing you'll probably want to address is why they got so high in the first place. Are you feeding lots of pellets? If so, I would back off the pellets and feed mostly frozen mysis and nori. I almost exclusively feed these two foods to my tanks.

NoPox isn't the greatest stuff in my view. It always led to other problems when I used it. If you have a RS250 you could easily do some large water changes to get nitrates down as a first step. Doing regular water changes will help keep your nitrates in check long term, as well. Keeping phosphates down usually requires a little more than that. To bring down phosphates in my tanks, I run some Rowaphos in a filter sock.

In my experience, an oversized skimmer will do a good job at controlling nitrates, but not phosphates. The Red Sea 250 only has an adequate skimmer, so probably regular water changes are in your future.....But having some large soft corals such as large Tyree green toadstools can help lower nitrates quickly in some systems. A big coral population in general will utilize nitrates help to keep them in check. I am currently dosing nitrates in all of my tanks because my corals use them up so fast that they quickly go to 0. I still have to use chemical media to lower phosphates, however.

A refugium with chaeto can also help reduce nitrates, but doesn't tend to do that much for phosphates. And I'm not sure that you could run enough chaeto in your back chamber to make a difference for nitrates either.

In a RS250, you could put some Rowaphos in a filter bag and add that to the media rack in the back chamber. Be careful with Rowaphos, though, as it can pull phosphate out of your water very quickly. You want to do it gradually, and under-dose what it says in the instructions. Use Hanna Phosphate and Nitrate high range checkers to track your progress.

Very important.....keep the ratio of nitrates to phosphates roughly 100:1. As an example, that would be nitrate of 10 and phosphate of .1. In my systems, I try to shoot for nitrate of 5-15 and phosphate of .05-.15. If your phosphate ever gets HIGHER than your nitrate, you will often end of with dinoflagellate and/or cyanobacteria problems. Low nitrate and high phosphate is where people end up sometimes when they use NoPox or vodka dosing, so that is why I stay away from the stuff.

Good luck!

Thanks for the help...I'm going to take your advice and ramp up the water changes as well as get some Rowaphos (instead of the NoPox)

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My quick 2 cents 😁

 

NoPox works well for what it does, however, most reefers in your situation freak out and dose a lot, don’t monitor their levels enough while doing the dosing, and end up zeroing out either nitrate or phosphate (rarely both though, which creates a whole new issue). In my opinion that is way worse (and has a longer recovery time for the corals) than just taking it slow and using some additional methods for reduction.

I’m assuming you don’t have a heavily stocked SPS tank or your corals would be looking sad (or possibly just not the colors they should be). However, in my mixed reef (heavily LPS based), I’ve seen levels close to those with little issue. I would be taking steps to lower them, but keep it gradual. 

So if I was in your boat, I would probably implement a few methods.

 

1. Regular bacteria dosing (such as with MB7 or Prodibio Bio Digest). Set reminders to keep up on it or use a doser (where applicable)

 

2. Rowaphos is great, but again, take it slow and monitor. Pull back or remove when you start getting into the sub .1 level and see what the tank does.

 

3. Skimmer - are you running one? Is it performing as it should? Products like NoPox rely on a skimmer to work properly so make sure that is in place prior.

 

4. when things get out of wack ratio wise, look into products that tackle phosphate or nitrate independently (like rowa or BW Phosphat-E). You could even end up at zero and have to dose to get back to where you need.

 

5. Think about adding some bio materials if you don’t have them already. I run marinepure blocks and spheres but there are other options available now as well (marinepure gets a bad wrap for Aluminum leaching but ultimately doesn’t affect anything I’ve seen).


6. check source water, make sure phosphates aren’t coming from your RODI filters/DI being old!

 

good luck! If you take nothing else away, just take it slow and use slightly under the manufactures dosages and see how your tank reacts first.

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19 hours ago, Blue Z Reef said:

My quick 2 cents 😁

 

NoPox works well for what it does, however, most reefers in your situation freak out and dose a lot, don’t monitor their levels enough while doing the dosing, and end up zeroing out either nitrate or phosphate (rarely both though, which creates a whole new issue). In my opinion that is way worse (and has a longer recovery time for the corals) than just taking it slow and using some additional methods for reduction.

I’m assuming you don’t have a heavily stocked SPS tank or your corals would be looking sad (or possibly just not the colors they should be). However, in my mixed reef (heavily LPS based), I’ve seen levels close to those with little issue. I would be taking steps to lower them, but keep it gradual. 

So if I was in your boat, I would probably implement a few methods.

 

1. Regular bacteria dosing (such as with MB7 or Prodibio Bio Digest). Set reminders to keep up on it or use a doser (where applicable)

 

2. Rowaphos is great, but again, take it slow and monitor. Pull back or remove when you start getting into the sub .1 level and see what the tank does.

 

3. Skimmer - are you running one? Is it performing as it should? Products like NoPox rely on a skimmer to work properly so make sure that is in place prior.

 

4. when things get out of wack ratio wise, look into products that tackle phosphate or nitrate independently (like rowa or BW Phosphat-E). You could even end up at zero and have to dose to get back to where you need.

 

5. Think about adding some bio materials if you don’t have them already. I run marinepure blocks and spheres but there are other options available now as well (marinepure gets a bad wrap for Aluminum leaching but ultimately doesn’t affect anything I’ve seen).


6. check source water, make sure phosphates aren’t coming from your RODI filters/DI being old!

 

good luck! If you take nothing else away, just take it slow and use slightly under the manufactures dosages and see how your tank reacts first.

Thanks for taking the time to run it all down!  I am running a skimmer (I've attached a recirculating CO2 scrubber to it, so my Ph is finally starting to slowly rise).  I had a disastrous attempt at raising the Ph by dosing Kalkwasser to my ATO, which eventually shot my Alk over 11, so I'm slowly recovering from that mess.  I do have some bio materials (I have the ceramic rings in a bag in one of my media rack slots) and I initially added some API starter bacteria when I first got the tank going, but haven't thought to dose more bacteria (I dose Alk/Calc as well as Phytoplankton right now).  Also, I'm going to be adding a "mini-refugium" to my media rack (just like this guy did -

I just did a water change and the P04 stayed the same (as expected), but the nitrates came down a fair amount (73.1 to 61.0), so I'm going to continue with water changes every 3 or 4 days until I get them down to a better level (shooting for around 10 right now).  Also, I have been doing just straight water changes instead of vacuuming/cleaning the sand, so my next water change is going to include a good cleaning of the sand.  I know the mini-refugium idea may not help to bring the nitrates down much, but anything helps and it should help to continue bringing my Ph up as well.  

So with your advice, I'm going to add a small bag of rowaphos to my media rack, and start dosing some MB7, in addition to the water changes/sand cleaning and hopefully I get this under control.  Thanks again for the help!

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10 minutes ago, John Vinson said:

Thanks for taking the time to run it all down!  I am running a skimmer (I've attached a recirculating CO2 scrubber to it, so my Ph is finally starting to slowly rise).  I had a disastrous attempt at raising the Ph by dosing Kalkwasser to my ATO, which eventually shot my Alk over 11, so I'm slowly recovering from that mess.  I do have some bio materials (I have the ceramic rings in a bag in one of my media rack slots) and I initially added some API starter bacteria when I first got the tank going, but haven't thought to dose more bacteria (I dose Alk/Calc as well as Phytoplankton right now).  Also, I'm going to be adding a "mini-refugium" to my media rack (just like this guy did -

I just did a water change and the P04 stayed the same (as expected), but the nitrates came down a fair amount (73.1 to 61.0), so I'm going to continue with water changes every 3 or 4 days until I get them down to a better level (shooting for around 10 right now).  Also, I have been doing just straight water changes instead of vacuuming/cleaning the sand, so my next water change is going to include a good cleaning of the sand.  I know the mini-refugium idea may not help to bring the nitrates down much, but anything helps and it should help to continue bringing my Ph up as well.  

So with your advice, I'm going to add a small bag of rowaphos to my media rack, and start dosing some MB7, in addition to the water changes/sand cleaning and hopefully I get this under control.  Thanks again for the help!

Go really slow with the Rowaphos. It is powerful stuff.

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Interesting that phos didn’t come down after a water change…try running a phos test on your RODI water. Make sure that is zero. Doubt your salt mix would have it in it, but never hurts to check that too. Could be leeching from your rock but after a water change it should be lower initially then creep up if that was the case.

 

Sounds like you have everything else going good, I think the fuge is a good idea overall but likely won’t knock out nitrate and phosphate by itself (since you are space limited). Regular bacteria dosing will help in the long run to get your live rock and bio materials doing more work for you.

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Hey John, make sure you use a power head and sweep the rocks with it. Phosphate hangs out in crevices and dead spots in the tank. It's not really something that hangs out in the water like nitrate will, anything rotting creates phos for a long time. The reason we use rowa etc, is to pull it out over and over, but you gotta get the source.

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