Phosphates not dropping!! arrrgggh! HELP!

I have beat every single problem I have come up against in the reef hobby in the past 23 years...but this problem is really not going away...and I am getting beat so far! The game is not over but man o is really bugging me!

Problem:300 gallons of water in my reef after displacement
High feeding level for large livestock including 3 sheets of nori a day, pellets,
phosphate at .28 4 days ago and at .53 today...arggghhhhhhhhhhh

Solutions so far not working:
1. large media reactor running GFO> far..useless!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and expensive!

2. algae scrubber..yes .. works but too little to make any significant change.
3. vodka dosing in 7th week with MB7 Microbacter - so far no change.
4. 10 percent water change weekly except past 2 weeks. but doing one
tonite. (ran out of salt!)

5. tried bio beads..useless but...only 4 weeks or so online and did not really
get a fair test I must admit.

6. phos bus chemical added...40 bux a bottle waste of money!!!!!!!!
insignificant result except temporary change.


I need a turbo fired method of reducing phosphate....I do not want to reduce feeding or fish....there must be faster turbo
fired method of getting rid of phosphate???????? I need much stronger
method then all the above.....

I am thinking of trying the bio beads again and giving them longer to work
this time......but again..I am wondering if another waste of money????
I want to get into SPS and I cannot with this level of phosphate is my fear!

comments, suggestions, opinions all welcome good or bad.
Fire away!


Thanks kindly for your help people.


"My God Reefs are Gorgeous!"

Current Tank Info: 280 gallon reef


Premium Member
More GFO. Use the high capacity and recharge it. Then it won't cost you an arm and a leg. You can recharge it multiple times.

Also. 4 sheets of nori? Flake? You should probably revisit your food choices. Even a 15" vlamingi doesn't need close to 4 sheets a day.

What skimmer do you run?


Sorry..thats 3 sheets of nori a day not 4....just want to make sure you know that....

I have 10 inch Naso, 10 inch Dusumerri and 12 inch Sohal....
them along with multiple other smaller tangs wolf down 3 sheets
of nori in under 15 minutes GONZO not a morsel left....done...finnuto.

I add flake = spirulina one fair size pinch daily
I add Spectrum pellet 1 to 3 medium pinches a day


If you saw what they eat you might not think overfeeding or do you still
feel I should cut that back.. The tangs are going insane for the nori...they
are absolutely nuts about it and want more more more I can assure you..
??? It builds their immunse system and I need to keep them happy and healthy..and they are duuuuue to the excellent feeding of them I feel....
Not arguing...only discussing and again value your opinion highly....


Will try the high cap o man the stuff is not cheap
and if it works then I dont care but if it does not work thennnnnnn I care
about the lost money huge!!!!

I run a H&S dual EHEIM 1260 internal kick butt skimmer

Seems to pull like crazy! I really love it....




I have enough cheato in my refugium to fill a 5 gallon pail....

I have not tried mangroves though....

Do they really pull? How many mangroves would I need I wonder....

I want thinking today of trying those as I seen them in my buddy's tank last night.....





Premium Member
You need a bigger tank! They are going to break your sps in half :lol:

When you say sheets. Are they the ones from the grocery store or ones precut into quarters? If they are quarters then I think your fine but if they are entire 8.5x11 sheets then its too much. Either way I think its too much for the tank and will always be tough to get those levels down.

Odds are the GFO is exhausting within hours at those levels. How often are you changing it? What reactor are you using?

Do some research on recharging GFO. Change it every couple days and collect it in a bucket. I bet after a month of hitting it hard like that it will start lasting longer and you can get the numbers in check.

Vodka dosing or biopellets will help. What are the nitrate levels? I am willing to bet 0. Any algae problems?

GFO is very effective but it doesn't absorb a whole lot when the tank is loaded with it.
gfo RECHARGING mmmmmmm

gfo RECHARGING mmmmmmm

GFO recharging..argggghhhhhhhhhhhh ...ok...will look into it...dangggggg....
thanks alot....


Sheets are about 8inch x 4 inch... I use 3 sometimes 4 a day.
They are folded into about a 3 inch x 1 inch square..put into a clip and
gone in 15 minutes with the wolverines nailing it very, very quickly!


I have phosban 550 reactor about double the size of the regular TLF 150 phospban reactor...holds 3 or 4 cups of GFO....

I was planning on changing has been in there 3 weeks....

Change gfo how often??? Holy crumolly..say again????? sTUFF AINT CHEAP baby hahahaha

I am 7 weeks into vodka dosing with MB7 microbacter with little effect so far about 5mls per day....and I plan to
definitely continue and keep increasing dosage according to a strict formuala I am following.

I am planning on throwing bio bead reactor back online..good idea?
Is it possible I need bio beads and vodka dosing to nail it? is that ok to do????

Nitrates only 1.5-2.0

Thanks a million.

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New member
Have you considered Lanthanum Chloride? There was an article on Coral's website a while back that described in detail how to use it. I know all the chemical reactions that take place using this method are not known, but it will bring phosphates down quickly.


Premium Member
Yeah at those levels gfo exhausts in a few hours. It hasn't been doing anything since day 2.

The rock will absorb phosphate and it will then leach out of the rock. Eventually as you remove it it will become easier to maintain but at first it is really going to take a lot of gfo. Recharging GFO is easy but takes about a week so you are going to want enough to last you at least 2 weeks maybe 3. Eventually it will last longer but it will take some time to get there.

Algae issues in the tank?

Nitrate Level?
algae issues..nope.

algae issues..nope.

zero algae issues in the tank...but some nasty stuff in the refugium which is under control.. hair algae on the algae scrubber has always been for 2 yrs.


a ton of healthy cheato in the refugium...about enough to fill a 5 gallon pail.

------------- measurement of CUPS much GFO should I be putting
and changing every X days????

I currently run 3-4 cups in the reactor....I will change it immediately
ifyou think it is toasted.

I doubt if I will go the re-charging route....I will just pay the damn fee
for the stuff and use fresh gfo.

please advise,


gfo exhausted

gfo exhausted

So I guess before I throw out 20 -30 bux of GFO 3 weeks old I should just
test the water coming out of it's reactor directly right? I Must admit
I have not done that....

So..if I recharge and then test it daily I would know how long before the GFO is exhausting yes?



Premium Member
I would be cautious experimenting with Lanthanum Chloride. I am sure eventually its use will be mainstream but that time is not now.
thanks everyone! Thanks Scott!

thanks everyone! Thanks Scott!

Thanks for the article Scott! I am still reading but so far
this is something I agree with totally and therefore the reason for
my quest for an answer and definite sure method of fixing the problem

In my opinion this is not acceptable; at this point the words of behavioral researcher Professor Ellen Thaler ring in my spiritual ear: if people are going to keep fishes in a glass box, then their diet should not be tailored to the available methods of water purification, but, on the contrary, the methods of water purification must be tailored to the nutritional requirements of the fishes


Premium Member
From the end of the article scott posted.

Possible risks
I would advise the hobbyist against experimentation; the risks involved in using lanthanum chloride in the marine aquarium are not yet known with absolute certainty, at least as regards long-term usage and the effects on very delicate organisms.

A further minus point is the tendency of lanthanum chloride to form deposits on glass or plastic surfaces. This very hard, whitish layer can only be removed with difficulty mechanically, and hence has to be cleared away by chemical means.

In other words. It can kill your tank and destroy the clarity of the glass. AKA it is not ready for hobby use.


New member
Cut some of that chaeto out to give it room to grow/absorb phos/nitrates... Actually if you want you can send it to me if you want!
thanks everyone

thanks everyone

pruning more cheato tommorow! Will reduce the size of it in the fuge hoping to give it more room therefore to grow...and pulling out phosphate as I chuck it.

I wont use that new chemical....not till it is proven and put into a safe
format...i am wayyyyyyyy to afraid of damaging glass and anything else....
but man that sounds like the ticket in the near future....mmmmmmm