ScooterV

Nitrates questions - novel length warning

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ScooterV   

Long time, no see :)  Just as before, I'm just creeping along slowly. However, I thought I was getting close and ran into some issues, and then made it worse :(

The tank ran empty and dark for quite some time. Once lit and a little bit stocked I went through the usual. Diatoms, then a little GHA, both went away as expected. Then red turf showed up. I've never had it. N03 and PO4 both remained at/near undectable but knew the algae was taking it up.  I swapped GFO more often and increased water changes. If I changed 30-40 gallons a day for a few days I saw it recede a TINY bit. This was also fueled by excessive feeding, but it was hard to feed just three fish in this big tank and have them actually find the food. Putting the foam on my MP-60's due to a little clown am sure is adding to it based on how dirty they are when rinsing them about every other day. Looking around the internet more I became sure it was cotton candy algae that came in on a little TBS rock I used to seed the dry rock.  Well, I was making no headway :(  I found that Mexican turbo snails was about the only thing that would eat it so hoped that would work. At least get the nutrients back into the water column where I could remove it. Only 8 of them, so in this 270 it likely wouldn't have worked anyway, but that's when impatience hit :(

I decided I would try some snake oil since many reports on Vibrant was that it did work. Ingredients look like the same ultimate concept as vodka dosing, other than being a single hit.  The Vibrant worked. It worked too well, and at a time where it was really bad timing. The algae died off fast and all those nutrients released over maybe a 4-5 day period. Bad part is I had a new sebae anemone from DFS and a LTA from SBreefs. The sebae went fast, then the LTA. Day after that all three good size cleaner shrimp were MIA so I now had two dead anemones and three shrimp on top of the nitrates already climbing. I would guess it was higher at some point, but that day I checked and it was up to 40ppm and nitrites were slightly detectable. Water change time again, 20-50 gallons a day again.  IT now seems stable at least. Nitrates will drop to around 5ppm if changing about 20-30 gallons a day.  If I skip the change it will climb to around 10 but seems to stabilize there right now. 

So, the question part...  Long term I had intended to dose vodka anyway, so thinking to start that soon. My nitrates running 5-10ppm now. My PO4 though tops out at .02 so if I understand vodka dosing correctly my results will be limited with NO3 so high compared to PO4. I do run GFO, but it's past due to be changed. I am thinking though I could leave what's left of that GFO and start the vodka, slowly increasing it. Besides watching NO3 though, stop increasing it once PO4 appears to be exhausted, remove the GFO entirely, and get back to increasing the vodka after I see a little PO4 again?  I have two empty compartments in sump/fuge so considering a marinepure block in one of them to if lucky help a little on the NO3 side so they are more balanced for the carbon dosing.  I would move much slower than most articles I've read, and determining how much is safe to increase at a time I'm fine with, but I'm hesitant on simply starting, what to do with the GFO, overall order, etc.

Good news is, even with those nutrients all back in the water column the algae is only regrowing in a small way. The clean up crew now seems to keep up and the kole tang who turned its nose up at the red algae is now continually eating on the rock which appears to only have a small resurgence of GHA and very little of that nasty red stuff :)  If I can get past this nutrient issue I may finally be ready for some SPS frags. Hmmm, only took two years, lol.

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drauka   

Sounds like an ok plan.  10 is not bad for nitrates though.  and .02 for phosphates is about where lots of people try to keep theirs

With the numbers you are describing I would not fool with the MarinePure.  

You may wish to look into vinegar dosing instead of vodka same premise as vodka , mainly because it is not as potent and could be easier to dial in your dose.

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ScooterV   

I haven't fully settled between vinegar and vodka but was leaning to vodka due to laziness, so the dosing container would need refilling less often, lol. With about 270 gallons total volume hoped the amount of vodka needed in the end would be high enough for the Apex doser to be accurate enough in what it dosses. 

Thanks for the input as well, I'll skip the Marinepure. Water changes fixed my boo-boo and seems stable anyway, so will work from there again. REALLY happy I had my new trash can delivered to replace my salt mix vat that was leaking just in time though :)

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I agree that you should do vinegar rather than vodka. 

FWIW my tank runs at 25 Nitrates and .29 P04. I have MUCH greater success when I dont fight with my P04 and N03.

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bif24701   

I think your PO4 and NO3 levels are fine.  I do a little carbon dosing to increase bacteria population thus increasing plankton and PODs.  I also have three Marine Pure blocks and very happyy with them, I actually add NO3 with potassium nitrate once a month, so yea I think they work great.

Do you grow any macro in a fuge?  That would be a great way to maintain your nutrients in addition to vodka. Either way I think you have a good plan, good luck. 

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