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Old 09/07/2012, 05:06 PM   #1
2hands
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Dosing Nitrate to reduce Phosphate

This might sound like blasphemy but is it possible to dose nitrate to reduce phosphates?

If my nitrates are near non-detectable can I dose some nitrate in small concentrations to help bacteria and algae reduce phosphate?

Life forms need carbon, nitrate and phosphate. Reefers often dose carbon and then skim out the nutrients out of the water but what if the nitrate becomes the limiting reagent. Could one dose nitrate to further reduce the phosphates?


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Old 09/07/2012, 05:11 PM   #2
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It has been done before. I've never seen anyone come back and report the results though. For whatever that's worth.

The topic comes up in the chemistry forum from time to time. I don't particularly buy it so much, but I can see how it might be possible.


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Old 09/07/2012, 05:12 PM   #3
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instead of dosing nitrate do things that would normally increase nitrate such as not cleaning out detritus with water changes or leaving filter sock in place longer.


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Old 09/07/2012, 05:26 PM   #4
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instead of dosing nitrate do things that would normally increase nitrate such as not cleaning out detritus with water changes or leaving filter sock in place longer.
I think that these things will raise Phosphates as well.


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Old 09/07/2012, 07:22 PM   #5
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i always thought you must remove/export phosphates from the closed system. other wise its just recycled


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Old 09/07/2012, 10:28 PM   #6
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Personally, I routinely place bio-balls/mechanical sponges, etc. inline to raise NO3 levels, thus more efficiently reducing PO4 levels in a baterioplankton filtration system.

Most people dont comprehend, or are uninformed, that NO3 is required to reduce PO4 ...

*Redfield Ratio


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Old 09/08/2012, 09:25 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by coralreefdoc View Post
Personally, I routinely place bio-balls/mechanical sponges, etc. inline to raise NO3 levels, thus more efficiently reducing PO4 levels in a baterioplankton filtration system.

Most people dont comprehend, or are uninformed, that NO3 is required to reduce PO4 ...

*Redfield Ratio
What kind of nutrient export methonds are you using?
I am currently using skimmer, filter sock, and chaeto.

Since I am seeing no nitrates i could add some bio-balls. That might be a safe way to add nitrate. In a couple of weeks i should be making some nitrate...


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Old 09/08/2012, 10:18 AM   #8
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People always notice a depletion in nitrate levels, faster than PO4. That's because our tank's bacteria "eat" nitrates and phosphates at the same time, but they consume more nitrate than PO4.
As coralreefdoc has said, based on Redfield Ratio (the ratio cannot be used as a bible, it describes nutrient behaviour in specific environments) when there's undetectable nitrate levels, the only way to reduce phosphates efficiently is using GFO or similars.
The other way, the "natural" way is letting detritus settle in filter socks, for example, and they will raise slowly nitrates and therefore, the bacteria will be able to consume phosphates.
But you cannot manage how many nitrates you are dosing in the system by decomposing detritus, you could raise their level too much and your tank won't be in equilibrium.

I've never used nitrate dosing, and if you want to do it, do it carefully and slowly


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Old 09/09/2012, 10:57 AM   #9
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What kind of nutrient export methonds are you using?
I am currently using skimmer, filter sock, and chaeto.

Since I am seeing no nitrates i could add some bio-balls. That might be a safe way to add nitrate. In a couple of weeks i should be making some nitrate...
The idea here is to not change out the sock as frequently, or don't necessarily remove as much detritus with your siphon when doing water changes...
You don't want to go too far though...for instance if you change socks daily go to twice a week(or if normally twice a week try weekly). If you normally use a turkey baster on your rocks and try and siphon as much detritus as possible from the substrate/bottom during a water change forgo the turkey baster to the rocks and just siphon the big stuff from the tank bottom. Do one or a combination...experiment over time to find the right balance of dosing and husbandry. Another thing is remove the cheato it is not necessary and you don't want it to start receding and polluting your tank.
FWIW, I run sock, skimmer, UV. I vodka dose 1ml per day and have zero readable phosphate and nitrate... I used to change socks everday and blow off rocks and clean substrate weekly... The trace nitrate I had(about 2ppm) went to unreadable but I could still read .003 phosphate when doing that...now I change sock twice a week and just grab any larger detritus from the top of substrate and that is what seemed to allow the phosphate to be unreadable along with the nitrate. No cyano and no bacterial bloom.



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Old 09/11/2012, 01:52 PM   #10
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i have a hang-onback marineland filter that has several filterflosses and other such things that i have never ever replaced it keeps my nitrates and phosphates in well check and after this system being up and running for over a year I'm doing great with this practice. however i do lots of water changes and dose carbon


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Old 09/15/2012, 03:24 PM   #11
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On wikipedia the Redfield ratio is described as (on average) C:N:P=106:16:1 in both living and dead organic mater. *Therefore if I don't change my filter sock and stuff decays it will release phosphate back into the system.*


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Old 09/16/2012, 08:51 PM   #12
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On wikipedia the Redfield ratio is described as (on average) C:N:P=106:16:1 in both living and dead organic mater. *Therefore if I don't change my filter sock and stuff decays it will release phosphate back into the system.*
It will increase bacterial activity.. Bacteria that reduce ammonia and nitrite also utilize phosphate and release nitrate ... The carbon dosing will then complete the nitrate cycle and as well lower the phosphate.


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Old 09/17/2012, 10:37 AM   #13
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On wikipedia the Redfield ratio is described as (on average) C:N:P=106:16:1 in both living and dead organic mater. *Therefore if I don't change my filter sock and stuff decays it will release phosphate back into the system.*
I find myself in the same position as 2hands it would seem.
Nitrates are non detectable with Elos or Red Sea.
Phosphates are 0.08 with Read Sea and I think more or less stuck.
Hanna, who knows. Free to a good home.

I have cyano - bad and GHA has taken root in many locations.
Nothing I can't manually remove before it affects the corals but I still want it gone since it looks terrible IMO.
Anyway I am good about doing water changes but other than that I'd think I should have plenty of trates to go around. I am running bio pellets but only about half what is suggested. I also run GFO.
I figure I must be pulling phosphate out of my rock and sand at this point.
No filter socks or other mechanical traps other than the refugium which is quite nasty but busting with pods. So I am thinking about dosing nitrates too as it seems like feeding more will raise all pollutant levels.
SeaChem makes lots of products for planted aquariums. I am sure I have read about another member here on RC that is using one of these.
More searching required on my part but I wanted to join in on this thread.

I am open to comments here.

Thanks,
Stu


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Old 09/17/2012, 12:42 PM   #14
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Seachem Flourish Nitrogen Additive looks like a reasonable option but I am not telling anyone to use this. I have no idea if it is safe or would even work for the purpose of nitrate dosing in a reef aquarium. Many questions to be asked before that. The reason I bring it up is to see if anyone has used it for this purpose. There could be copper and other heavy metals which would be far beyond the typical trace element levels found in NSW.

Quote:Flourish Nitrogen is a concentrated (15,000 mg/L) blend of nitrogen sources. It provides nitrogen in both the nitrate form and the plant-preferred ammonium form. However, no free ammonia is released because the ammonium in Flourish Nitrogen is complexed and unavailable until utilized by the plants.

Flourish Nitrogen also provides nitrate for those plants that can readily utilize nitrate as well.


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Old 09/17/2012, 05:09 PM   #15
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Garfield. Thank you for the continued insight, your passion for/knowledge of all things Reef related reminds me of myself, its a real pleasure sharing ideas with someone else likeminded and contemplative

Do you also have a Marine Biology/Ecology background ? I understand some of the Universities in Spain have excellent programs in this field of study, yes ...


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Old 09/17/2012, 05:37 PM   #16
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Guys. It is of my opinion you are reading ( or not specifically actually ) too much into this dosing of Nitrates, in liquid form, phenomena.

The best/least complicated, and likely most enjoyable, way to supplement NO3s, in order to more efficiently lower PO4 in a system highly capable of processing these extra nutrients, is to elevate the biological load via increasing the number/density of fishes ...

*In a responsible, knowledgable fashion ! I cannot stress this enough !



While Im no longer intimately knowledgable on the specific details of Freshwater Planted products, I would imagine Seachems' Flourish additive is likely to contain elevated levels of Fe along with NO3. While the lack of knowledge on the original topic is apparent, despite some thoughts/comments assuming otherwise, Id imagine I dont need to go into specifics on the negative aspects of overdosing Fe and/or NO3 ...



More relative/useful for the "ADVANCED" practice of dosing NO3s to lower PO4s would be a concentrated, highly pure form of KNO3 ... Especially in a bacterioplankton driven system where unsupplemented K values can/will get depleted to the point their surpressed levels become detrimental to the more sensitive sleractinian organisms, specifically species in the genus Acropora.

*Again, I cannot stress enough the importance of FULLY understanding/contemplating these advanced topics before their application !

This topic, as a whole, isnt one youre going to be able to successfully grasp and implement hastily, especially through the use of "wikipedia" or any other shallow, unprofound source(s) of information on these subject(s)


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Old 09/17/2012, 08:34 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by coralreefdoc View Post
Guys. It is of my opinion you are reading ( or not specifically actually ) too much into this dosing of Nitrates, in liquid form, phenomena.

The best/least complicated, and likely most enjoyable, way to supplement NO3s, in order to more efficiently lower PO4 in a system highly capable of processing these extra nutrients, is to elevate the biological load via increasing the number/density of fishes ...

*In a responsible, knowledgable fashion ! I cannot stress this enough !



While Im no longer intimately knowledgable on the specific details of Freshwater Planted products, I would imagine Seachems' Flourish additive is likely to contain elevated levels of Fe along with NO3. While the lack of knowledge on the original topic is apparent, despite some thoughts/comments assuming otherwise, Id imagine I dont need to go into specifics on the negative aspects of overdosing Fe and/or NO3 ...



More relative/useful for the "ADVANCED" practice of dosing NO3s to lower PO4s would be a concentrated, highly pure form of KNO3 ... Especially in a bacterioplankton driven system where unsupplemented K values can/will get depleted to the point their surpressed levels become detrimental to the more sensitive sleractinian organisms, specifically species in the genus Acropora.

*Again, I cannot stress enough the importance of FULLY understanding/contemplating these advanced topics before their application !

This topic, as a whole, isnt one youre going to be able to successfully grasp and implement hastily, especially through the use of "wikipedia" or any other shallow, unprofound source(s) of information on these subject(s)
Let me start with a quote.

"Be careful when you fight the monsters less you become one."

I think this may apply in more than one way.

coralreefdoc, I thank you for your input and words of caution. They are not without merit depending on one's temperament and methodology.

It is not my intention to push this thread off topic but there seems to be a wealth of knowledge pushing for alternate paths for dealing with Nitrate limited systems.
Let me try again in a different way. GFO isn't working, I don't want to dose NOPOX or Algaefix or some other bandaid, ZEOvit is crazy $$. BIO pellets do work but even at a reduced volume have pushed my levels out of balance.
The topic is nitrate dosing. The key term being 'dosing' or if I may give my own definition a controlled and strictly metered addition. I don't see how dirty socks and other pollution techniques accomplish this.

Blasphemy perhaps but what I would like to do is be able to continue to add pellets and take the GFO offline. I don't think I can do this as long as my nitrates are so low.
I admit that I am likely pulling excess phosphate from my rock and sand. But I don't want to over strip the water and harm the livestock by over compensating with phosphate removers. Nitrate dosing seems logical but I'll read along and see if anyone who has tried it chimes in.


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Old 09/18/2012, 05:14 AM   #18
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I don't see how your quote relates to this topic/thread, nor the previous post, perhaps you could explain ...

As for the notion that dosing Nitrates isn't suggested, Id say its more suitable as a secondary action ... It is of my opinion that lack of NO3 should be addressed biologically, versus chemically, as an initial means of correction/elevation.

In your specific situation I would suggest incorporating "bio-balls". Depending on the application technique/quantity, I'm confident this will adequately raise your NO3. Good luck to you

...

Now, if one is set on dosing NO3s to increase this value/parameter, then KNO3 would be the chemical compound in which Id suggest as possessing the most efficiency/merit for this particular application ... The user would also likely witness the benefits from the residual increase in K, especially in a bacterioplankton driven system !

He, or she, would then need to test regularly for K as well, in order to ensure an acute overdose is avoided. NSW K levels are typically ~290


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Old 09/18/2012, 08:07 AM   #19
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Carbon dosing is No3 limited. As per redfeild ratio. Dosing No3 is a bit challenging to find the correct dosage. I dose NaNo3 when my no3 reads 0 and i no longer can lower my po4.

Kno3 dosing works as well and will not raise your K so that you will notice it on a test kit when dosed for po4 export.

This is common practice for people using carbon dosing such as VSV to export nutrients.

Bioballs, socks and feeding increases no3 AND po4 and will not work when levels get "unbalanced" with lack of a better word. (english is not my native language im afraid).

Again, this practice is common when carbon dosing. I am not sure what TS is using as export. But my guess is that it might be useful using macro and micro algea export as well.


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Old 09/18/2012, 10:13 AM   #20
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Ormet. I disagree with a couple things here to be clear ...

First, bio-balls do not raise PO4 levels if implemented correctly.

Secondly, KNO3 dosing does have the ability to raise K levels enough to be detected on a high quality test, obviously dependent on quantity of dosage. Some users will experience relatively high dosages, thus affecting K values ...

*We must be cognizant of our audience, both in the present and others who will view in the future, as most will be of limited experience/knowledge in these advanced topics of ReefKeeping. Yes, dosing KNO3 is somewhat common practice among advanced carbon dosers, but how many people are we actually referring to here ... A handful of experienced, highly skilled ReefKeepers ... Hardly a suggestive "common practice" as it relates to the general reef hobbyist whos starting to incorporate carbon dosing. Ultimately, other less complicated and more commonly practiced biological processes should be suggested/implemented well before advanced chemical compounds


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Old 09/18/2012, 11:03 AM   #21
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My tank is NO3 limited, has been testing 0 on three different Salifert tests for months, but I do have PO4, (.04 per Hanna) my solution has been simple, GFO. Maybe I am looking it all wrong, but it seems ludicrous to dose nitrate to help bacteria consume the phosphates, that is what GFO is for, and it works very well. Driving to Dallas to get to Houston may make a nice trip but it is very inefficient when the goal is to get to Houston.


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Old 09/18/2012, 12:52 PM   #22
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I'd never dose nitrates. Haven't heard of doing that before. Water changes and GFO are my pick. I'm at 0 or near 0 for both and that is for my newer 3-4 mos old system.

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Old 09/19/2012, 12:44 AM   #23
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coralreefdoc: TS asked one simple question.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2hands View Post
This might sound like blasphemy but is it possible to dose nitrate to reduce phosphates?
And No, its not blasphemy and Yes its possible, doable, used and very very effective.

And yes, Kno3 will raise K but long before that you will have a seriuos no3 problem. So in a reef tank when used to help export po4 using carbon dosing its in not a relevant problem.

We are in the "Advanced Topics" forum after all, right? Isnt this EXACTLY what this part of the forum is for? In the Beginners forum, no, i might not have even bothered posting.
Im here to learn and share the little bit of knowledge i have.

And i fail to se how it is more advanced and hard to dose a little no3 then "implementing bioballs correctly".

And speaking of that, i am very very curious of what that implementation is. I have never used bioballs myself and i am in no way saying it wont work. Please explain, it sounds like to good to be true.

sirreal63 & gweston: yes, gfo and water changes is an excellent way of reducing po4, i dont think anyone will deny that It was not wat TS asked about tho, was it?

And no, its not "ludicrous" to dose No3. It's just a lack of understanding. Also Gfo costs money, a bit of NaNo3 or Kno3 is almost free



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Old 09/19/2012, 07:28 AM   #24
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OP, if you start up nitrate dosing let us know how it goes. I see a lot of people advocating it but they never seem to post results. I have been looking into dosing nitrate as well.


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Old 09/19/2012, 08:03 AM   #25
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It may work just fine, but is it easier, better or advanced? The goal is to reduce the PO4, addressing that and directly removing the PO4 is the easiest way to achieve the goal. I just re-ordered HC GFO, 60 bucks and it will last about 2 years, that's 30 bucks a year or .082 cents a day. 8 cents a day to keep the PO4 in check is pretty cheap, easy and corrects the problem in one step.

Some tanks are better able to process NO3 than others, so I am curious what happens when you add NO3 to a tank that processes it very well, (just to help remove PO4) how much testing and adjusting will you have to do to max out the processing ability and gain enough NO3 to allow bacteria to consume the PO4? It seems to me to be as counter intuitive as physicians treating symptoms instead of addressing the problem.

I am very much in favor of thinking out of the norm, but sometimes you have to think about what you are actually doing and decide if it is better or not. Dosing NO3 may very well work, but is it really the best course of action towards the goal of removing PO4? I am not saying don't do it, but rather why are you doing it and is it worth it? Personally, I can afford 8 cents a day and not have to worry with testing constantly and adjusting doses of something my tank already processes very well, without my intervention. :-)


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