Phosphate/Nitrate in 5 Gal

lady Neptune

New member
I've talked to a few people and no one says this is not real abnormal for such a small tank (higher than 0 ph/nit) but I wanted to see what all you Nano experts have to say for this newbie...Feel free to voice, what I'm doing wrong/right, changes, where to put stuff, etc. Sorry this is long...

I got a Reef test kit and have been keeping track for the last month. The first 2 months I didn't test real often. I had live rock and sand & that was it.

Alk - 180-300
PH - 7.8-8.4
Nitrite - 0
KH - 179-214.8 (mostly 179 or 196.9)
Calcium - 460-500 (mostly 480 & 500)
Phos - .25-2 (this has been .25-1 three weeks)
Nitrate - 5-40 (mostly 10-20)
Daily water change of 1/2 gal = 10%
Have added 1/2 dose of Nano Reef A/B solution a couple times - not sure if I really need it.
Flame Scallop in about 4 weeks. Fish about 2 weeks in tank - added new corals etc. - feeding Phyto-Feast about 2-3 drops per day. Thought I might be overfeeding. I feed fish little bits at a time and stop when they stop going after the food.
Couple snails & red leg hermits for cleaning.

I've put in a Phos pad to try to reduce & a Nitrate pad to try to reduce it. I've tested my water before adding salt/water cond. and it's at 0.

Question?? Why wouldn't the Phos/Nitrate remover pads remove the phos/nit? I've tested water that is aerating that's just in a plain small fish tank with remover pad and carbon filter.

Question?? Pumps/filters... I've got a 5-10 gal hang on the back filter with... carbon filter, bio-filter and small piece of Nitrate & Phos remover pad in it, in that order. I also have a small underwater filter that I originally had capped and was only using it for movement but I put the filter portion on it a few days ago and put 1/2 & 1/2 phos/nitr removing pads. (you can see this in the pic on the side of the tank). My thinking was that it would help reduce, which it may have slightly. I've also put a rock in front of it because it seemed to be a little too much movement.

Last Question... My mushroom has started looking funky a couple days ago. One is sucked up but still green, the other is larger but lost some color but seems to be getting it back. The sucked up one was my clown goby's fav spot.

2012-09-10_14-29-16_521.jpg


5%20gal%20tank
 

Miglessa

New member
I have the same problem on my 4 gallon and I don't feed that much. Two days ago I added 0,01ml of vodka, same yesterday and my nitrates reduced from 40 to 10. However I'm very carefull dosing the vodka on my tank with micropipets so not to cause a bacterial bloom. I run a skimmer for 16 hours a day as well.
 

lady Neptune

New member
What are micropipets? & how do you get them?
I was told that i don't need a skimmer with a tank this small and doing often tank changes. What are your thoughts?
I've heard of the vodka, I didn't know it worked that quickly. how does all your livestalk to do with it?
Do you think I'm feeding too much?
 

childress5tyler

New member
it may be worth it to by a phosban reactor 150 and throw some carbon AND phosphate reducing material in them. I run carbon and GFO which my work, Premium Aquatics makes. It works well and would be worth a try if you're trying to bring them down.
 

childress5tyler

New member
also, i would not dose vodka in a tank that small.

a general rule for nitrates is <5. In my experience, its never good to have nitrates exactly 0
 

Miglessa

New member
What are micropipets? & how do you get them?
I was told that i don't need a skimmer with a tank this small and doing often tank changes. What are your thoughts?
I've heard of the vodka, I didn't know it worked that quickly. how does all your livestalk to do with it?
Do you think I'm feeding too much?

Micropipets are what we use on labs to dose very small dosages of microliters. I got from my university lab, the guy in charge gave me.
 

alberthiel

New member
Phosphates should ideally be < 0.03 ppm and nitrates < 2 ppm so your levels appear to be very high. You may want to use GFO or Aluminum oxide to bring them down and do water changes to help out as well. Are you seeing any hair algae growth or red slime algae anywhere?
 

lady Neptune

New member
I had a little green algae but the snail took care of that. No red algae. I have a few of these flat things that look like dental floss stuck to the back wall of the tank. tested again this morning and down to 10 on nitrates.
 

Nano sapiens

New member
Often, the problem of chronic Nitrates is due to a sand bed that is no longer efficient/effective due to becoming clogged with detritus. WCs are only a temporary help (the Nitrate level will rise again shortly).

Phosphates, too, accumulate in a dirty SB and are released back into the water column by bacterial/algae activity. GFO can be used, but the problem is just being masked.

How long has the tank been running? Have you ever vacuumed your SB and blasted you LR to remove detritus?
 

lady Neptune

New member
I've vac sand a couple times. No blasting of rock. I've had it for about 3 months. Got sand and rock with red & purple on it from local store at the beginning, just added light colored rock & fish. How often should i vac sand?
 

lady Neptune

New member
Update... I blew off rocks with baster, vac sand, do 1/2 gal change daily, 1/3-1/2 tank change 1x week. I've the in tank filter just above water line so it pulls top water as well as stuff in the tank. I clean in tank filler and hang on back filter (filters have nitrate, and regular filter pad in them) all get rinsed daily. I cut the feeding to 1x a day.

Phosphates have stayed at .25-.5.
Nitrates stay at 10 but rise if i feed more and towards the end of the week.

Everything looks good although i did lose a snail. I just don't have enough food for more than 1.

I switched to reef crystals salt mix. I had issues with the instant ocean at local store.

Im going to continue with what I'm doing and try not to feed too much. I found that turning off the filters during feeding helps everyone get food then i turn them back on.
 

lady Neptune

New member
Update... I blew off rocks with baster, vac sand, do 1/2 gal change daily, 1/3-1/2 tank change 1x week. I've the in tank filter just above water line so it pulls top water as well as stuff in the tank. I clean in tank filler and hang on back filter (filters have nitrate, and regular filter pad in them) all get rinsed daily. I cut the feeding to 1x a day.

Phosphates have stayed at .25-.5.
Nitrates stay at 10 but rise if i feed more and towards the end of the week.

Everything looks good although i did lose a snail. I just don't have enough food for more than 1.

I switched to reef crystals salt mix. I had issues with the instant ocean at local store.

Im going to continue with what I'm doing and try not to feed too much. I found that turning off the filters during feeding helps everyone get food then i turn them back on.
 

Lionfish666

New member
The problem could be your rock/sand, or the water you are using.
It is easier/cheaper to check the water to eliminate that possibility first.
What freshwater are you using to top up with/mixing your saltwater with? You may be inadvertently pouring them in, with top-ups and water changes.
Tap water will always have some phosphates. And if it is sterilised with chloramine it will also have ammonia too which will show is nitrates/phosphates.
Also it isn't widely advertised, but you will find all salt mixes themselves have higher phosphate levels than NSW, with Instant Ocean testing measuring at 0.2-0.25 for some, and that's with RODI, tap water would have them even higher.
So to get your levels down perhaps try
1. Checking the phosphates/nitrates of the water your putting in to the tank, both the saltmix and the top-up water
2. Ditch the filter pads, they aren't very effective. They are just normal filter pads with a fine coating of carbon or phosguard.
3. Add activated carbon (it will absorb organics before they break down in to phosphates/nitrites/nitrates)
4. Add some phosguard in a high flow area
If all this doesn't help then it is time to change your sand/rock.
 

Mishri

Active member
First thought is RO/DI water, have you tested the water you are using for your water changes to make sure they are at 0/0? (bad membrane on your ro/di unit could be an issue).

2nd is I wouldn't use sponge type media filters in a salt water aquarium, many people claim you will get nitrates from them because they develop the bacteria to break ammonia to nitrite, and the nitrite to nitrate, but don't break down nitrates.

so, verify you are getting clean/pure water, take out any filter media that isn't a bagged media, (put phosban or phosguard in a bag and use that only) I like to run carbon too.

and by bag I mean these things:

p-22538-30423-media-bag.jpg


or similar
 
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lady Neptune

New member
Ok...
I get my water from a dispenser...0 phosphates 0 nitrates
I switched to reef crystals and that came up to look as if it had less than.25 phosphates and 0 nitrates.
I check my tank and 0 ammonia, between .25 & .5 but looks closer to.25, nitrates between 5 & 10 but closer to 5.
Did my 1/2 gal water change and changed ask the filters & removed the"bio filter". The only carbon i have is the kind in the replaceable filter, them i changed the nitrate filter & phosphate filter. Doing this until i can get bagged stuff.

How often do you have to change your rocks and sand? What do you do with all the stiff growing on your rocks?
 

Lionfish666

New member
Don't change the rock/sand! You can sit back and relax now :) You have got your nitrates down from up to 40 down to about 5-10, which IMO is perfect for softies/LPS. And the phosphates will come down when you get some better media, but so long as they don't rise further everything is a-ok as you don't have fussy SPS corals.
 

KafudaFish

Cyprinius carpio
Team RC
There are a few things going on with your tank.

1. At 3 months your tank is still cycling.
2. You are getting readings i.e. available nutrients because you don't have any algae in the tank. Nothing is uptaking the available nutrients and binding them. This is the opposite situation when people ask:

I have tested my water and I have zero nitrates and phosphates but I have algae all over the tank. Why? Because the algae is using them to grow.

You don't need a test kit to see both situations.

3. The next part is going to read as counter productive and I bet a few people will think I am wrong but just think about it and see if it makes sense.

Because of the age of the tank the bacterial community is not fully established and everytime you mess with your tank you are affecting it. You change water everyday and as you stated your change water has phosphate in it so by taking care of your tank you are having more issues.

So why do I think this?

You started this thread two weeks ago and guess what? Your phosphate is getting there and your nitrates have lowered because your biological filter is becoming established.

So next step:

1. You could skip a feeding maybe every other day such as have morning, night, and night then repeat.

2. Stop doing so many WC. Do one every other day and see what happens.

Another thing is about the testing. When we test our water we must ask how accurate our readings are compared to the actual value. I stink at titration and if I ran a test 5 times I would probably get 5 different values. If they are all pretty close then I can state that they are all pretty precise but they could all be off and I would have a low level of accuracy.

There is a big difference between 0.25 and 0.50 on a phosphate reading.

Well those are my thoughts and take them with a grain of salt if you wish.

Also of everything we worry about with water parameters the two biggies are alk and phosphate. If those are in check everything else pretty much falls in line.
 
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