Po4, No3 sps question

Mr D smack

Active member
Curious what you all think if I'm heading for disaster or not. I'm getting a 0 reading on phosphates and have been holding a steady 50 on nitrates. I finally hooked up the denitrator. I'm slowly changing from softies to sps, so now I consider it a mixed reef tank.
 

VSpeck

Slash Smack Talker
My experience is a lot more than just nutrients come into play. The big 3 especially alk mixed with nutrients are the combination that matters. Jmho but maybe give us all the params and you will get a better answer. But nitrates being lower will be better for sure.
 

Nanook

Ancient Eskimo Legend
Staff member
RC Mod
Also, zero phosphate on which test kit, some of them aren't worth using. Nitrate less than 10 for SPS colors and calcification, phosphate less than 0.05-ish. Agree with stable big 3.
 

VSpeck

Slash Smack Talker
Also, zero phosphate on which test kit, some of them aren't worth using. Nitrate less than 10 for SPS colors and calcification, phosphate less than 0.05-ish. Agree with stable big 3.

^ these are the params I'm trying to shoot for. I found that when phos was a steady zero(on the Hannah) and nitrates were undetected (multiple tests) I had bland colors and burnt tips. After my mistake with top off I've been holding steady at low range .04 phos and 3nitrates and colors are comming back nicely.

There was a thread that discussed the relationship of alk(and all of the big 3) with nutrients and it was a good read.there was quite a few examples and a decent discussion I will see if I can find it:reading:
 

Mr D smack

Active member
Phosphate test kits used was hanna and api. Salifert kit for No3. I'll do the big 3 this evening. The question came from the big fourm and me reading, not Derailing. Belive it or not.

I'm trying to lower everything, the big 3 included and was curious what you guys thought about low Po4 and high No3. I was keeping things high like alk @ 12, mag @ 1440-1470, and cal around 450-500
 

VSpeck

Slash Smack Talker
Phosphate test kits used was hanna and api. Salifert kit for No3. I'll do the big 3 this evening. The question came from the big fourm and me reading, not Derailing. Belive it or not.

I'm trying to lower everything, the big 3 included and was curious what you guys thought about low Po4 and high No3. I was keeping things high like alk @ 12, mag @ 1440-1470, and cal around 450-500


Honestly I'm not sure abou high nitrate with low phos. From my understanding nitrates=food for the algae inside the coral.
Phos=building Blocks for tissue for the coral
alk and cal=building block for the skeleton and
mag to keep alk and cal stable.

Change any of the chemestry and I don't I know what happens.
 

Reeferhead

Recovering Reef Addict
Premium Member
^ these are the params I'm trying to shoot for. I found that when phos was a steady zero(on the Hannah) and nitrates were undetected (multiple tests) I had bland colors and burnt tips. After my mistake with top off I've been holding steady at low range .04 phos and 3nitrates and colors are comming back nicely.

There was a thread that discussed the relationship of alk(and all of the big 3) with nutrients and it was a good read.there was quite a few examples and a decent discussion I will see if I can find it:reading:

I had the same problems. I've been trying to feed the tank more but I really need more fish!
 

twiggyb

New member
Every stick will be different on tolerance. Nooks tricolor survived 2.83 po4, 50 no3, an alk swing and 1.029 sg. The important thing was stability to survive, but they won't thrive in those conditions, plus anything new I'd put in rtn'd a week or so later.
 

VSpeck

Slash Smack Talker
What's considered high? Above 20? At 50 I have some very cool color on some sticks, but others not so good

I think what is considered high for some might be ok for others. High nitrates seems to feed the zooxanthellae which leads to browning in some corals. You have to find the sweet spot for you corals and tank. If your alk is high enough that the skeleton is growing fast and the zooxanthellae have a place to go and phos is within range to build tissue you might get good color but if you drop alk I would assume you would get some drab colors or drop phos and you might get burnt tips as there is no tissue to cover the new skeleton. I think you would be better suited if you brought nitrates down to <10 or Atleast <20 and you would see better color in all the sticks and have a wider range of sweet spot. Jmho do with it what you will:)
 

Nanook

Ancient Eskimo Legend
Staff member
RC Mod
There is so much speculation as to what works for SPS. Truth is, some can tolerate a lot of abuse, look at the great big blue-green stony I have that hasn't died:lol:

SPS coloration is affected by high phosphate levels more than anything. Increased phosphate inhibits calcification and levels greater than 0.1 will usually lead to brown-ish corals. I like to keep phosphate 0.03-0.05, but will let it get up to 0.07 before changing GFO. As for nitrate, I have seen amazing colors with nitrate of 50ppm, but with low to no phosphate. I think some nitrate (5-10) is actually beneficial for stonies, and the phosphate is the number to keep in check.

I like Hanna for testing phosphate and I think Merck or Hach has a pretty decent test too. We are only testing inorganic phosphate with these kits too.
 
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