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RockyProndoa
07/20/2014, 09:37 AM
Hello:

I have had my tank up and running now for about 3 months or so. Tank is cycled, CUC has been added and I have 2 clownfish and a Coral Beauty along with a frogspawn, hammer, and a few plate corals.

My water parameters are all within acceptable ranges, but I am starting to develop green hair algae. I am assuming this is all part of the tank maturing, however, I am questioning whether I should let this run it's course or if I should start running a GFO/Carbon reactor right now?

I sheepishly admit I do not have a phosphate test kit yet, so I can't give that information. I can say however, that my Nitrate readings are <5ppm.

Any advice?

FranktheTankTx
07/20/2014, 09:47 AM
Now is a good time to run both.

RockyProndoa
07/20/2014, 09:53 AM
Thought so. In that case I'll be ordering the dual reactor from BRS.

Aquarist007
07/20/2014, 10:02 AM
I would suggest you measure both levels before adding a Gfo media. Treating one and not the other parameter can actually cause further problems with bryopsis, diatoms and dinoflagellates
Eg if you are getting a reading for both and or nitrates alonethen set up a pellet reactor or dose vodka(carbon dose)
If just phosphates are high and we know they are not in your case then at that point I would run a Gfo media
Carbon as minimal affect on nitrates and none on phosphates but removes organically that can yellow the water so it can be run all the time

david pinder
07/20/2014, 10:57 AM
I use to years ago run carbon but quit 3 yrs ago because of reading on this site so many tanks being wiped out immediatly after carbon change

Aquarist007
07/20/2014, 11:08 AM
I use to years ago run carbon but quit 3 yrs ago because of reading on this site so many tanks being wiped out immediatly after carbon change
That is interesting and of concern. Can you list a couple of threads

FranktheTankTx
07/20/2014, 11:40 AM
Thought so. In that case I'll be ordering the dual reactor from BRS.

I hate the dual reactor - it's a waste of money imo.

I like something I can run off my return line & control the flow rate. I do like Reef Octopus reactors - I know, more $$$.

Capn is well respected & knows his stuff without a doubt, but that answer was too complicated. Simple answer - YES run carbon & gfo.

RockyProndoa
07/20/2014, 11:42 AM
I would suggest you measure both levels before adding a Gfo media. Treating one and not the other parameter can actually cause further problems with bryopsis, diatoms and dinoflagellates
Eg if you are getting a reading for both and or nitrates alonethen set up a pellet reactor or dose vodka(carbon dose)
If just phosphates are high and we know they are not in your case then at that point I would run a Gfo media
Carbon as minimal affect on nitrates and none on phosphates but removes organically that can yellow the water so it can be run all the time
I just ordered a Hanna phosphate checker, so I will have a reading in a few days. Nitrate is testing at 0-2ppm.

I don't think there is any harm in running GFO and carbon regardless of the levels??

RockyProndoa
07/20/2014, 12:04 PM
I hate the dual reactor - it's a waste of money imo.

I like something I can run off my return line & control the flow rate. I do like Reef Octopus reactors - I know, more $$$.

Capn is well respected & knows his stuff without a doubt, but that answer was too complicated. Simple answer - YES run carbon & gfo.
Why do you hate the dual reactor? I planned on plumbing it off one of my return manifold lines. I have a ball valve installed on each line so I should be able to control the flow reasonably well enough?

d2mini
07/20/2014, 12:08 PM
Get two separate reactors so you can control the flow through each. Carbon needs a lower flow rate than GFO. GFO needs to "roll" just slightly at the surface.
Look at reactors like the NextReef MR1.
They fluidize the media much better than the BRS canisters and need less water pressure.
And IMO, they are a little easier to change out the media.

Reef Frog
07/20/2014, 12:18 PM
I use to years ago run carbon but quit 3 yrs ago because of reading on this site so many tanks being wiped out immediatly after carbon change

I recall that being a bad batch of GAC from a well known manufacturer that was inadvertently shipped to retailers. I believe it was coal based carbon that was contaminated with copper if I remember correctly. A pretty rare occurance. It was recalled & hopefully retailers have removed it all from store shelves by now. If you need to run GAC I would do it - just use a quality well respected brand.

I rarely run carbon, but it's very useful to have on hand for emergencies, to polish the water, or to use if your experiencing coral warfare in a heavily populated softy tank.

I've always believed that GAC can be a modest & supplementary help in battling an algae problem. The organic molecules it traps can have nitrates and or phosphates bound up in them that would otherwise be released as the materiel decomposed. Not positive however, but that might be an interesting question for Randy. But in any event, carbon dosing/pellets and GFO do the heavy lifting in the nutrient reduction game. Not to mention good skimming & detritus control.

Aquarist007
07/20/2014, 12:36 PM
I hate the dual reactor - it's a waste of money imo.

I like something I can run off my return line & control the flow rate. I do like Reef Octopus reactors - I know, more $$$.

Capn is well respected & knows his stuff without a doubt, but that answer was too complicated. Simple answer - YES run carbon & gfo.

Thanks for the respectful comments and I apologize for being too complicated

Bottom line I would not dose anything until I had measured the parameter I was trying to alter.

I look after 25 tanks a week and have made the mistake of altering the ratio of nitrates and phosphates in the tank with pita results.:eek1:

RockyProndoa
07/20/2014, 12:52 PM
Thanks for the respectful comments and I apologize for being too complicated

Bottom line I would not dose anything until I had measured the parameter I was trying to alter.

I look after 25 tanks a week and have made the mistake of altering the ratio of nitrates and phosphates in the tank with pita results.:eek1:
I will certainly take that into account. Like I said, Hanna checker should be here in a few days and when I get the results I'll post them here. Until then I'll just sit tight.

I have already purchased the dual reactor, but I will undoubtedly use it in the future at some point, so I guess it's still money well spent. Now I just hope it works better than some of the previous comments suggest ;)

JMorris271
07/20/2014, 01:00 PM
Thanks for the respectful comments and I apologize for being too complicated

Bottom line I would not dose anything until I had measured the parameter I was trying to alter.

I look after 25 tanks a week and have made the mistake of altering the ratio of nitrates and phosphates in the tank with pita results.:eek1:

Please allow me to ask a question here for learning purposes.
Capn, can you please tell me what altering the ratio of nitrates and phosphates means?I can guess at your meaning but would rather know.
Again. Sorry for the intrusion.

Jetlinkin
07/21/2014, 11:29 AM
I use the BRS dual reactor with GFO and GAC. I have no complaints. There is a valve for adjustment, and I have had great results with it.

dson78
07/21/2014, 12:26 PM
I would recommend the NextReef MR1 reactors, i have never had an issue with them.

zoomonster
07/21/2014, 02:11 PM
Why do you hate the dual reactor? I planned on plumbing it off one of my return manifold lines. I have a ball valve installed on each line so I should be able to control the flow reasonably well enough?

Like any reactors they are not w/o problems like clogging but they work fine. I have mine hooked up to a valved port on my return manifold with a John Guest fitting. The inline valve they include is more than adequate and really the only thing I use for adjustment. I usually just leave the manifold valve wide open.

Aquarist007
07/21/2014, 03:20 PM
[QUOTE=JMorris271;22947986]Please allow me to ask a question here for learning purposes.
Capn, can you please tell me what altering the ratio of nitrates and phosphates means?I can guess at your meaning but would rather know.
Of . Sorry for the intrusion.[/

The red field ratio states nitrates and phosphates at equilibrium are in a ratio of 16 to one.
The bacteria that reduce nitrates need carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus or simply stated carbon nitrates and phosphates
A number of things can happen if we remove all phosphates or all nitrates
In cases where rock is saturated with nitrates and phosphates it can be dissolved out of the rock in order to re-establish the Redfield ratio resulting in a bloom of bryopsis in the tank
If either phosphates or nitrates are reduced to zero then the bacteria can't do their job effectively and die back. This can cause an outbreak of cyano in the tank

The most common thing that happens is people carbon dose to remove nitrates. Carbon dosing does a great job reducing nitrates but not at reducing phosphates so we see an outbreak of bryopsis which seem to prefer phosphates over nitrates
To prevent this they run Gfo media to remove the phosphates along with carbon dosing

In the case of this poster, if they just remove the phosphates then they won't do anything to remove the nitrates and could even make the algae worse
With measure able nitrates already they should carbon dose and run the Gfo media
Carbon dosing is as simple as adding a calculated amount of vodka each night to the tank
There are many great threads on how to carbon dose on reefcentral. I can supply the links if you want

radobahn
07/21/2014, 04:44 PM
I use the BRS dual reactor with GFO and GAC. I have no complaints. There is a valve for adjustment, and I have had great results with it.

Same here.. 180 gallon mixed sps/lps and doing just fine

RockyProndoa
07/21/2014, 06:29 PM
[QUOTE=JMorris271;22947986]Please allow me to ask a question here for learning purposes.
Capn, can you please tell me what altering the ratio of nitrates and phosphates means?I can guess at your meaning but would rather know.
Of . Sorry for the intrusion.[/

The red field ratio states nitrates and phosphates at equilibrium are in a ratio of 16 to one.
The bacteria that reduce nitrates need carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus or simply stated carbon nitrates and phosphates
A number of things can happen if we remove all phosphates or all nitrates
In cases where rock is saturated with nitrates and phosphates it can be dissolved out of the rock in order to re-establish the Redfield ratio resulting in a bloom of bryopsis in the tank
If either phosphates or nitrates are reduced to zero then the bacteria can't do their job effectively and die back. This can cause an outbreak of cyano in the tank

The most common thing that happens is people carbon dose to remove nitrates. Carbon dosing does a great job reducing nitrates but not at reducing phosphates so we see an outbreak of bryopsis which seem to prefer phosphates over nitrates
To prevent this they run Gfo media to remove the phosphates along with carbon dosing

In the case of this poster, if they just remove the phosphates then they won't do anything to remove the nitrates and could even make the algae worse
With measure able nitrates already they should carbon dose and run the Gfo media
Carbon dosing is as simple as adding a calculated amount of vodka each night to the tank
There are many great threads on how to carbon dose on reefcentral. I can supply the links if you want
Capn... My nitrates are measuring near zero however. Is it safe to assume the nitrates are actually present but being used up by the GHA?

Still waiting on the phosphate checker, will respond back with that number when it arrives.

Dapg8gt
07/21/2014, 07:01 PM
If your set on the dual reactor style the spectrapure one is light years better for the sole fact that you can control both reactors independent of each other . the brs one you can not unless you modify it with fittings. It's about the same price fwiw..

Totally agree that the carbon is nothing at all to be concerned about thousands of people run it (like me) 24/7/365..reputabke carbon is key though I used to use rox but it's to aggressive for me in even small quantities so I now use seachem and it's been great..


Best reccomendation is to test before adding gfo and while using it thats the one thing you should be cautious with instead of carbon imo it can and will crash your tank if implemented wrong or to fast.

JWags911SC
07/22/2014, 10:06 AM
Like any reactors they are not w/o problems like clogging but they work fine. I have mine hooked up to a valved port on my return manifold with a John Guest fitting. The inline valve they include is more than adequate and really the only thing I use for adjustment. I usually just leave the manifold valve wide open.

+1, I have two single standard 10" reactors (1 Carbon, 1 GFO) hooked up to a manifold that is T'd off from my return pump. The adjustment valves are hooked up after going through the reactors so I can control the flow through each reactor. Also allows me to switch them out as needed and I don't need to use another outlet for a pump.

RockyProndoa
07/23/2014, 07:19 PM
Ok... Checked my phosphate levels with a Hanna Checker...came back at 0.03 and nitrates are still reading 0-5 ppm...I am assuming all of the phosphate and nitrate is tied up in the massive waves of hair algae I now have?

Secondly... In order to get my GFO to "tumble" I have to dial the flow way back so that the output has about a drinking straw worth of flow coming through... is that correct? Seems awful low to me?

Aquarist007
07/23/2014, 07:36 PM
Ok... Checked my phosphate levels with a Hanna Checker...came back at 0.03 and nitrates are still reading 0-5 ppm...I am assuming all of the phosphate and nitrate is tied up in the massive waves of hair algae I now have?

Secondly... In order to get my GFO to "tumble" I have to dial the flow way back so that the output has about a drinking straw worth of flow coming through... is that correct? Seems awful low to me?
What kind of pump are you using with the reactor
Suggest you carbon dose along with the Gfo. I use vodka

RockyProndoa
07/23/2014, 07:38 PM
What kind of pump are you using with the reactor
Suggest you carbon dose along with the Gfo. I use vodka
I am using the suggested MJ12000 pump.

Anything in particular I should be aiming for with the carbon dosing?

Aquarist007
07/23/2014, 10:03 PM
I am using the suggested MJ12000 pump.

Anything in particular I should be aiming for with the carbon dosing?

I run the mj1200 with Gfo (Rowaphos) and have no problems . Are you running the black filter on the top of the reactor

RockyProndoa
07/24/2014, 05:23 AM
I run the mj1200 with Gfo (Rowaphos) and have no problems . Are you running the black filter on the top of the reactor
What black filter? Where at on top? :eek:

Aquarist007
07/24/2014, 02:59 PM
What black filter? Where at on top? :eek:
The reactor should have come with 2 one for the bottom and one for the top. I just use the top to catch any Gfo and that let's me crank up the flow through the reactor

RockyProndoa
07/24/2014, 07:09 PM
The reactor should have come with 2 one for the bottom and one for the top. I just use the top to catch any Gfo and that let's me crank up the flow through the reactor
Ahhh... Never thought about putting one on top. I'll try that!

Also...I have a question about water changes. It is my understanding that a lot of people would recommend water changes now. My question is, if the hair algae has all of the bad nutrients (ie. Phosphate and nitrate) tied up, what does performing a water change accomplish?

rc1626
07/24/2014, 10:08 PM
It will replenish trace elements.

To add something also about running GAC, I have read that it may contribute to HLLE in fish that are prone to it. I used to run GAC 24/7 and noticed HLLE on my yellow tang and rock beauty angelfish. It's been about a year since I've run it and both fish have cleared up nicely. I've thought about using it again but not 24/7. Maybe a few days a month but worry that sporadic use of it could mess up the consistency of my water chemistry and have possible detrimental effects. For now no carbon. I do run gfo 24/7 and occasionally use Red Sea No3po4x as a carbon source. Nitrates are usually undetectable and po4 runs around .02. My hair algae went bye bye about 4 to 5 years ago when i started using gfo. Great stuff!
Good luck and happy reefing.

Aquarist007
07/25/2014, 03:04 PM
Ahhh... Never thought about putting one on top. I'll try that!

Also...I have a question about water changes. It is my understanding that a lot of people would recommend water changes now. My question is, if the hair algae has all of the bad nutrients (ie. Phosphate and nitrate) tied up, what does performing a water change accomplish?

Water changes will remove nitrates but not phosphates. The nitrates are removed as a percentage of your water change
If you do a 20 percent water change then you reduce the level of nitrates by 20 percent

Aquarist007
07/25/2014, 03:10 PM
It will replenish trace elements.

To add something also about running GAC, I have read that it may contribute to HLLE in fish that are prone to it. I used to run GAC 24/7 and noticed HLLE on my yellow tang and rock beauty angelfish. It's been about a year since I've run it and both fish have cleared up nicely. I've thought about using it again but not 24/7. Maybe a few days a month but worry that sporadic use of it could mess up the consistency of my water chemistry and have possible detrimental effects. For now no carbon. I do run gfo 24/7 and occasionally use Red Sea No3po4x as a carbon source. Nitrates are usually undetectable and po4 runs around .02. My hair algae went bye bye about 4 to 5 years ago when i started using gfo. Great stuff!
Good luck and happy reefing.
It was my understanding that fish didn't regenerate from HLLE...

I hope I am wrong here??

GatorAlum05
07/25/2014, 04:05 PM
My sps do not like GAC. GAC over polished my water. Big NO NO. You can get away with putting it in a bag and putting in your sump a few days a week. No need to run GAC 24/7

rc1626
07/25/2014, 04:11 PM
I don't know the specifics on that one Capn. I will say that the degradation of the scales around the eyes and face (never quite went along the lateral line of either fish) definitely got better over time after the carbon was stopped. There is still some light scarring in these areas of both fish but nothing near what it was. I actually came across the article on line:

http://www.advancedaquarist.com/blog/activated-carbon-affirmed-as-causative-agent-for-hlle-disease

which led me to stop the use of carbon to see if my fish would benefit. To my eyes they certainly have.

Please take what ever I say with a grain of salt. I'm no scientist but feel the information might be beneficial to some.

I hope posting that article does not get me in trouble in any way.

RockyProndoa
07/25/2014, 04:39 PM
Water changes will remove nitrates but not phosphates. The nitrates are removed as a percentage of your water change
If you do a 20 percent water change then you reduce the level of nitrates by 20 percent
I agree capn, however in my case if the nitrates are not in the water column but in the algae itself, I don't see how a water change would prove beneficial in terms of nitrate reduction?

I am not arguing, just simply trying to logically understand the concept?

Aquarist007
07/25/2014, 07:36 PM
I agree capn, however in my case if the nitrates are not in the water column but in the algae itself, I don't see how a water change would prove beneficial in terms of nitrate reduction?

I am not arguing, just simply trying to logically understand the concept?

The reason the algae is in your tank is because of the nitrates and phosphates in the water column due to feeding. Quite often the algae consumes it as fast as it is introduced so you don't get much of a reading. Water changes do get rid of the nitrates in the water column hopefully before being utilized by the algae

You are correct that algae stores some phosphates and nitrates. However these are not re introduced to the water column until the algae dies

People who grow algae in refugiums harvest it on a regular basis for this reason
In your case you should try and remove it by hand when you can. That way you are removing nitrates and phosphates from your system for good.

Quality skimming, refugiums with macro algae, less amount of feeding at one time, carbon, phosban reactors and carbon dosing all remove nitrates and phosphates or organics from the water column and starve out the algae

Cbasss
03/25/2015, 07:27 PM
I have 25ppm nitrates and phos are at 0.16 ppm. I read in this thread that removing phosphates while nitrates are high can be bad and vice versa. I bought a gfo reactor with rowaphos and also bought activated carbon i wanted to run first in the reactor for about 5 days and start the gfo...i want to run carbon only when i change gfo... Anything wrong with my plan? Btw, my tank is an established reef tank i bought and moved... I changed the sand and clean it all up... Its been running for 2 months with no losses of fish or corals.. I have some lps, one sps and about 12 fish in a 90 galllons with 25 gallons sump. I have chaeto in a refugium but it doesnt grow... I have a good light in my refugium and a small power head in there for flow.