Water Levels... Help please...

Discussion in 'Water Parameters' started by Per Albertsen, Jun 15, 2016.

  1. Per Albertsen

    Per AlbertsenNew MemberMember

    I just received a Hanna Phosphate Checker today, to check the Phosphate level in a container where I have been cycling some rock, that I would like to add to my established display tank. The levels in the container with rock are:

    Phosphate: 0.59

    I also checked:

    Ammonia: 0.25
    NItrate: 5.0

    I am guessing that from this, I can not consider my rock being ready to add to my display tank. Is that correct assumed? Do all levels have to reach 0?

    Since I got the test kit today, I also tested the Phosphate level in my display tank. To my surprise the Phosphate level was 0.13. I had expected it to be much closer to 0, since I do constant auto water changes (20 litre pr. day) and use RO water and have not algeproblems. How bad is 0.13?

    I do not know if it is relevant, but I did today (a few hours previous to testing) I installed an auto feeder and made a mistake doing it. The result was that a quite big portion of food was dropped in the tank. I did however try to siphon most of it out.

    What would you do? How do I get the Phosphate levels down both places and also how bad are these readings??

    Everything seems really good in my display tank and I was really surprised about having 0.13 in Phosphates. My fish and few soft corals, seem just fine. Do I need to start dosing something like e.g. Vodka or?
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2016
  2. aliray

    alirayFishlore VIPMember

    Hi and welcome to the forum. glad you decided to join us. Did you test your water that you use for your tank for all of those first? What are kind of test kits are you using? CindiL may be able to help or can think of someone else that may know. Hand in there for more replys. Alison:;hi1
  3. CindiL

    CindiLFishlore LegendMember

    Hi, welcome to fishlore :;hi2

    I cannot help with salt water but do know in fresh water your phosphate levels are fine :)

    Maybe ryanr a moderator can help.

  4. ryanr

    ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    The live rock you have is still curing (ammonia > 0), ideally, you wait until ammonia reaches 0 before adding to your display. That said, if you're adding to an established tank, the tank should cope with a small spike in ammonia and process it without any harm to your stock. Especially as you're doing daily water changes.

    Phosphates: This can be a delicate exercise. Sudden changes in parameters can stress corals. Yes, ideally phosphates would read zero, or under 0.10, however, you say everything is doing well in the tank, so my gut feel is don't change a thing. Phosphates are nearly impossible to completely remove, as they are a by-product of many foods.

    One parameter does not make or break a reef tank. It's the combination of all parameters. Ideally NO3 should be under 5ppm, and PO4 under 0.5ppm, at least that seemed to work in my tank.

    To reduce PO4 specifically, GFO is highly recommended (Granular Ferric Oxide). Many American hobbyists use the BRS brand (Bulk Reef Supply) - it's not available outside the US/Canada as far as I know. I used RowaPhos in my tank with no harm, and found it very effective. Seachem's Phosguard also works, though the dust when first using can irritate corals.

    My advice, if everything looks good, leave well enough alone. However, if you feel compelled to change things, do so very slowly (over the course of weeks).
  5. OP
    Per Albertsen

    Per AlbertsenNew MemberMember

    Thank you very much for the advice, Ryan.

    I think I will do a 100% water change in the cycling container tomorrow and then leave the rock running a few days more to be sure. Maybe will only add 50% of the rock this weekend and then add 50% more next week. I hope the tank can then better cope with the change.

    Yes, the Phosphate thing is a bit of a tricky thing. I never heard of the GFO unit, so will try to find out where I can get that here or buy online. And until then, I take your clever advice and will leave things alone :)

    I think I have to stop testing for a while and just look at the tank instead. It is looking nice, so guess the stuff (fish and soft corals) I have in it now, must be satisfied and happy :)

    Once again thanks a lot. I was kind of in panic after the readings yesterday... LOL... You post made my day a bit more relaxing :)
  6. ryanr

    ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    The 50/50 approach on the rock is sound. A little bit at a time is always better than big bang.

    GFO is farily common in reef tanks, normally you put it in a reactor, but you can also use filter socks, pouches etc to achieve the same thing. Point being, there's nothing 'fancy' about it. It's just a filter medium, as long as it's in a high flow area it will work quite well (hence reactors or canister filter and the like)

    And don't stop testing - just learn not to over-react. FW/SW/Reef, all tanks will tell you if something is wrong (corals don't look great, in FW, plants not so well etc). With reefs, as long as the parameters are in the ball-park, and things look great, you're doing ok.... I had to learn that stability is the key, rather than the value itself. i.e. perfect parameters were Alk 10dKH, my tank hated it, at 9dKH, everything was great, so I kept it at around 9dKH.

    Long story short, let your stock dictate your parameters; caveat is temperature, don't let it rise too much, everything suffers quickly (from experience)

    EDIT: above I said all parameters: by that, I meant the combination of pH, Alk, Ca, Mg, PO4, NO3 and salinity. They all dictate the happiness of the environment. Keep them all in the ball-park, you should be ok. Some times, you have to tweak a parameter for optimum growth of a coral (e.g. extra Ca), but the ball-parks are a good start.... And a caution - before altering Alk/Ca/Mg, be sure to understand the relationship between the 3!
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2016
  7. OP
    Per Albertsen

    Per AlbertsenNew MemberMember

    Using Apex Controller and Chiller to control my temperature, so I am able to keep that very stable.

    Regarding parameters, I have pretty good control on PH, NO3 and Salinity. Now trying to learn some more about Alk, Ca, Mg and PO4 :) The good thing is that my corals are easy and my fish are also pretty hardy except Hippo Tang and Copperband Butterfly. But both seem to be doing great. They both eat a lot.

    Today, did a full water change in my rock container and also scrubbed and dipped (in fresh saltwater) all my pieces of rock. All except one smelt correct (no smell), so plan to put those in my tank tomorrow. Will do one last test before I do and if parameters seem okay, then will go for it and hope everything goes as planned.

    Regarding the GFO... if I add it to a filter sock.... Could I then e.g. put a powerhead in my sump with the sock in front of it? (where the skimmer is)... Is that possible? Or should the sock go in the main tank in front of a powerhead there?.

    Once again thanks for all the great advice. Really appreciate it :)
  8. ryanr

    ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    I always try an put all equipment in the sump.

    If you're going to put a powerhead in, I'd just run a reactor rather than a filter sock. But yes, what you're suggesting would work.
    Depending how your overflow is configured, you might be able to put the filter sock in the overflow.
  9. OP
    Per Albertsen

    Per AlbertsenNew MemberMember

    Okay thanks Ryan :) Overflow is a good idea. I will give that a try :)

    Just a quick from here. Today, I did the complete transfer of the cured rocks to my tank. I must say, this was much more work and also rock than I imagined. It toke much longer time than expected.

    I am still not satisfied with the aquascaping, but since I had everything turned off for a long time, I felt that I had to stop and get the pumps, skimmer etc. running again. So will have to move things a bit more around later.

    One strange thing that happened was that my old rocks had some nice neon green stuff on them before, which during the process of adding the new rock turned black. I am guessing this must be because I had the pumps etc turned of for so long? Anyway, now added another powerhead and have put lots of flow in the tank. At least looking better then before and more like a upcoming reef tank now :)

    Now also doing a continues water change of 80 litre over the next 24 hours, to clean up after the "messing around" today.

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