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Old 01/10/2014, 11:36 PM   #101
jazzman7838
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Originally Posted by Thales View Post
My feeling is that people became very concerned with phosphate when a product that could control it became available.
Totally true!


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Old 01/11/2014, 03:25 AM   #102
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Originally Posted by Thales View Post
I find this to be an interesting question. How long have you been in the hobby? My feeling is that people became very concerned with phosphate when a product that could control it became available. Everyone loves the idea of being able to buy something to control something. Before po4 reducers there was a large market for nitrate reducers.

I'm on my phone so more later.
The ability to measure PO4 with the Hanna meter also brought PO4 to the fore front along with the bacterial commercial products.

The whole thing became obsessive when the hand held meters came out and nutrient reduction methods became more economical.


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Old 01/11/2014, 03:58 AM   #103
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IF: High PO4 (such as 0.1-0.3ppm) gets you deep/strong SPS colours + possibility of nuisance algae; then I'd happily take that route and deal with a bit of algae and beef up my CUC.

Exactly, you have to have a lot of snails and then get coraline to go nuts to take over the rock. Hair/film algae isn't an issue, but some macro algae can be unsightly, so you need a plan for that.

BUT, why is it then that since the early days of my hobby experience everyone keep saying PO4 higher than 0.03ppm=BROWN SPS?!!!

MARKETING...............03 is a made up target number. Just like when Nitrates were the supposed issue. The sand manufacturers hammered that dead horse.

Take my current tank for example...I had EXCELLENT colours in MOST of my acros when the same tank and equipment was setup a couple of years ago.

I have the same tank and equipment and a year after a restart, I am not getting the same results...OK, its not bad...but overall its NOT the same level of success.

There are thousands of variables that go into play. You may think everything is the same, but did you have the same fish load for example? Same water supply......it goes on and on.

Parameters are the same...salt additives, salt, flow, pumps, lights...the list goes on.

The ONLY difference is the rocks. So is it something to do with the bacteria in my rocks?

Could be................I use the same rocks as my old setup when I started this current one. My rock is 15-20 years old. I used about half the old water too. I do think there's a realationship there about the old adage a tank needs to mature. The current one didn't really hit it's stride till after a year.

If its not PO4 then what is in the OP and Big E's tanks that is missing from so many of everyone elses tank?

I think lighting plays a bigger role than people want to admit.

One thing I did is get rid of any acros that didn't color well in my tank or weren't show stoppers. I then focused on buying only stuff that was known to have good colors.


Is lots of food the answer? Arrrgh! This hobby does my head in sometimes...



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Old 01/11/2014, 05:41 AM   #104
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I also had a nicely colored sps tank over 12 yrs ago. I never tested NO3 or PO4. When you do not have problems you're not looking for any.
The fish load was med-high, and fish were fed good. I had plenty of CUC, and a few tangs. I was running DE 250w AB 10k MH with actinic bulbs.

Does keeping PO4 and NO3 at stable #'s do anything to get to that next level of coloration? We know for sure stable Alk does.

I have seen first hand a tank with nice colors with PO4 over .40. The bonsai had the best purple I have seen. I do not know the NO3 level.

It does seem the trend is to take all the nutrients out and add back nutrients from little bottles drops at a time. Just look at all the new products coming out geared to color/feed acros.

For a while I have been thinking about stopping the vinegar dosing. I am not dosing for low numbers anyway, just to make sure they don't get out of hand.
Are we trying to make sps more difficult now? Stable alk/cal, bright lights, flow, skimming, and feed the fish.


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Old 01/11/2014, 08:59 AM   #105
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The one thing different from back then and now is that the Liverock that used to come into the UK back then was so much higher quality in terms of freshness and degree of biodiversity.
I never really bought the biodiversity idea. I cure all my live rock so I don't get bad things or things I don't want in the tank. Besides, most of the life used to die off anyway. Sure there are some stories of something spectacular making it through, but those stories are few and far between. The live rock in my home tank sat at an LFS for 6 months or more before I purchased it.

Quote:
Hence why I asked: Is it the bacteria?
At this point we have no idea.


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Old 01/11/2014, 09:09 AM   #106
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So Thales what would you recommend to others when it comes to PO4?
That they review the evidence and come to their own conclusions. That they learn to spot claims that don't have credible evidence to support them. That they understand the dangers of anecdote. That they desire and help fund more 'real world' tests - 3 10 gallon tanks set up the same way but for one variable. I don't like reef recipes because I don't think they work, and because I think the development of a saltwater thumb is more important to the long term health a captive reef than a recipe.
I got tired of spending time and money on lowering PO4. When I stopped nothing much changed. Does that mean it will work for you? Dunno.

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Would you mind summarizing/sharing your nutrient import and export procedures?
I think the info you want is in the link in this post:
http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/sh...7&postcount=21

Let me know if it isn't.


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Old 01/11/2014, 09:12 AM   #107
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The ability to measure PO4 with the Hanna meter also brought PO4 to the fore front along with the bacterial commercial products.

The whole thing became obsessive when the hand held meters came out and nutrient reduction methods became more economical.
Hi Ed. Just wanted to say hi.

I found the handheld to give me different results when I retested the same sample several times. That could have been me though.


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Old 01/11/2014, 10:07 AM   #108
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At the same time there's no denying that un detectable nitrates and low po4 readings are a BIG part of many many successful sps tanks these days... Just look at the Totm tanks... The common denominator to the majority of them over the last few years has been low nitrate and low phosphates, many base their tanks around keeping those 2 numbers in check.. And with the right setup.. There's not much extra cost or work involved to keep everything in check. It's all fine and we'll to say extreme levels of po4 are working for u.. But in my tank I notice sps loosing colors when my po4 starts to creep up, simple solution is to change my GFO and everything is peachy again.. Thinking back it seems this is the case for many others here as well


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Old 01/11/2014, 10:35 AM   #109
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At the same time there's no denying that un detectable nitrates and low po4 readings are a BIG part of many many successful sps tanks these days...Just look at the Totm tanks... The common denominator to the majority of them over the last few years has been low nitrate and low phosphates, many base their tanks around keeping those 2 numbers in check..
Maybe. I am not sure that TOTM tanks are the end all of reefkeeping - there are lots of tanks in the world that are never discussed on RC at all. All too often I think online reef communities get insular which I think stunts the growth of the hobby in general.

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And with the right setup..
I don't know what a 'right setup' is. There are a million ways to skin a reef and I just wrote above about not liking reef recipes at all.

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There's not much extra cost or work involved to keep everything in check.
That seems to be in the eye of the beholder.

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It's all fine and we'll to say extreme levels of po4 are working for u.. But in my tank I notice sps loosing colors when my po4 starts to creep up, simple solution is to change my GFO and everything is peachy again.. Thinking back it seems this is the case for many others here as well
In no way am I telling anyone what to do, in fact above I argued against telling other people what to do.


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Old 01/11/2014, 12:33 PM   #110
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Maybe. I am not sure that TOTM tanks are the end all of reefkeeping - there are lots of tanks in the world that are never discussed on RC at all. All too often I think online reef communities get insular which I think stunts the growth of the hobby in general.
Only maybe? I know Totm doesn't mean they are the end all in reef keeping.. But they are world class reefs.. Maybe I should have just said many successful sps tanks on reef central and other forums.

Quote:
I don't know what a 'right setup' is. There are a million ways to skin a reef and I just wrote above about not liking reef recipes at all.
I just meant by right setup as in a nice media reactor that's easily accessible a GFO change only takes 2 minutes.. Once every 6 weeks or so for me.. I also agree there's many many ways to skin a reef as u say and it's totally true.. Look at your reef with your crazy po4 levels, it's beautiful.. So it's obviously working great for u..

Quote:
In no way am I telling anyone what to do, in fact above I argued against telling other people what to do.
I see that, and I don't want to sound rude or even be confrontational with someone as well versed in the hobby as u are. But I'm going to have to stick with and stand by what works for me.. High flow, lots of good lighting, strong nutrient export(low po4) and import via gfo, biopellets and skimming, a lots of food, and stability.

Frankly I can't believe I'm the only one to post here with these views.


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Old 01/11/2014, 01:20 PM   #111
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I see that, and I don't want to sound rude or even be confrontational with someone as well versed in the hobby as u are. But I'm going to have to stick with and stand by what works for me.. High flow, lots of good lighting, strong nutrient export(low po4) and import via gfo, biopellets and skimming, a lots of food, and stability.

Frankly I can't believe I'm the only one to post here with these views.
I'm sorry, perhaps I don't understand what you are trying to say, but who is asking you to change anything, and what have we actually talked about in this thread besides phosphate?


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Old 01/11/2014, 02:25 PM   #112
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The ability to measure PO4 with the Hanna meter also brought PO4 to the fore front along with the bacterial commercial products.

The whole thing became obsessive when the hand held meters came out and nutrient reduction methods became more economical.
It would also seem that more people became able to keep nice SPS when good nutrient reduction methods became more economical as well.

We know zoo-x is a plant and we know nutrients like PO4 and NO3 are great at growing plants. We also know that an over abundance of zoo-x will stunt a corals growth and make it brown. So we can easily draw the connection that higher NO3 and PO4 levels will brown corals and affect growth. This is even witnessed in natural reefs when nutrient levels rise from human interference and run off. The cleanest, untouched waters usually produce the nicest corals.

Also I can witness myself phases of heavier feeding and browner corals vs. lighter feeding and lighter colors in some corals.

If nutrients like PO4 and NO3 are not responsible for such events, please explain?

Similarly I believe there is relation between light levels and the amount of NO3 and PO4 a system can handle. A system with a powerful lighting system seems to be able to handle more NO3 and PO4 with out the zoo-x populations getting out of control. Similarly to a system bleaching or lightening a coral up with a change from weak to strong lighting. Also good to note that some SPS are better suited to high NO3 and PO4 levels while others will brown out quick.


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Old 01/11/2014, 07:21 PM   #113
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this hobby has come a loooong way…
when i set up my first 60 gallon reef, it had softies and was lit by Phillips actinic and 65k t12 tubes. some stuff did really well and lots didn't.
A couple years later in 96 i think, when i set up my second 125 gallon reef and installed Venture 65k metal halide bulbs, i started to be able to keep some brown staghorn corals. Right at this time i also watched in dismay as green hair algae began to take over my tank.
Reading everything i could.. as well as the best magazine in the frickin world (in my opinion, at the time) Advanced Aquarist- the printed version, I discovered the concept of plenums and sand beds. After installing a plenum on my reef, i happily watched the hair algae melt away.
This is when people like Borneman and Sprung- amongst others i don't recall were writing about Jaubert and Eng.. amongst other pioneers i don't recall.
What I'm getting at, as i date myself, is that i think there have been many watershed moments in this hobby like the development of protein skimmers, then the implementation of plenums and the dsb, mh lighting….
they are largely related to nutrient control…
Now, perhaps back then we had nutrient levels 10x as high as Thale's tank… i wouldn't know since i never tested for nutrients back then. But i never really had widespread success until i began employing lots of dsbs and skimming a lot.
my most successful tank, here:http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/sh...497916&page=31 relied on skimming, cheato, wcs and dsb.
even back in 2010, gfo like rowaphos had been on the market for about 3 years but there was no mention of no3 or po4 in my tank specs because i don't think i really tested much.. I was obviously aware of the need to control n and p, but I was of the "i let my corals tell me how the chemistry is" school. As are most people employing a dsb, i find..
nobody asked me about them either because they weren't such a concern... yet….
that tank employed a HUGE skimmer, a HUGE cheato ball lit by a 250w mh bulb and a dsb. It had around 40 fish in the tank and i fed heavily, multiple times a day… the growth as phenomenal and colours were amazing. i have no idea what the nutrient levels were..
It came down for a house reno 3 years ago..
fast forward to today.. i have every test kit under the sun and i know my numbers but my new tank doesn't look as good and the corals are growing sloooooow. I set it up with a sand bed and cheato and watched my no3 drop to 0 and my po4 climb to .3… i had a freak out and pulled out the sand, added biopellest and started dosing no3…. i think that my tank looked better when the dsb had the n at 0 and p out of control.. if i didn't have a p04 test kit to make myself crazy with, i wouldn't have changed anything and, who knows, maybe the tank would have been better off… now, I'm too scared to add the dsb back for fear of the potential spike in p….
talk about chasing and being ruled by the numbers……

having rambled on for too long, despite what this thread is about, i feel that nutrient control is extremely important and i don't think I could live with my reef having n of around 10 and p over 1ppm….. unless i had my old tank and somebody tested my water back then and told me my n and p were where Thales' are now….

If that had happened, i would have been happy with my numbers…..

Thales, I am honestly perplexed by your fantastic looking tank… i would love to see a current video or some top down shots or your corals.. i must say that i am honestly shocked that sps even survive in our tank..
Personally, i feel that your tank an anomaly… but this is not the first time or the last time that this hobby will surprise, humiliate and most importantly, teach me something……


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Old 01/12/2014, 12:43 AM   #114
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Rizos and fistulas, someone has a taste for the forbidden fruits :P I don't blame you, they are mighty tasty.

One thing that we are slowly getting better at is having more variety of foods available for the reef tank. Until recently, most tanks were kept very sterile in that regard. I believe an issue is that the foods we serve are introduced in a state of decay, whereas in the ocean there is a plethora of live foods constantly on the go. From snails and shrimps spawning to what fish are eating and pooping, most food sources are extremely fresh. My assumption is that this is why in nature, the phosphates are lower respectively than our tanks. Perhaps the greater end game would be to provide nutritious fare to a point were it outweighs beneficially the negative attributes of higher nutrient levels in our reefs. Assuming of course we will continue to have issues limiting DOC's in order to feed our tanks. Perhaps the extra food intake of the corals outweighs the stunted calcification of the elevated phosphate level. Would more extreme lighting be the key? I would assume that it would lead to a higher production of zooxanthellae in corals which in turn would bump growth. Lighting intensity and spectrum may then play a role in the coloration of the corals as they build chromaproteins to protect their tissue from the radiations. Its a known fact that all living things require phosphates to live, so it wouldn't be rash to assume that corals can develop tolerances to elevated levels.


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Old 01/12/2014, 01:35 AM   #115
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I am loving this post. I've been in the hobby since 2000 and love it when I see tanks by people that don't chase numbers but look at their corals for needs, and have everyone stumped by their tanks. A lot has changed.
Thanks for a refreshing read.


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Old 01/12/2014, 01:53 AM   #116
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Maybe it has alot to do with maturity of the tank and stability and how well adapted the corals are already
that when slowly making changes it doesnt affect them much and still thrive. .


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Old 01/12/2014, 03:00 AM   #117
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Maybe it has alot to do with maturity of the tank and stability and how well adapted the corals are already
that when slowly making changes it doesnt affect them much and still thrive. .
That is exactly it, the colonies have had years to tolerate/adapt to the conditions.

How many wild colonies do you lose Thales putting them straight in? I can't see a colony coming in and keeping colour in those levels, it's not what they are used to.


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Old 01/12/2014, 06:44 AM   #118
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Point made, hard to argue with that! I see a very diverse and thriving reef. Nice job


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Old 01/12/2014, 08:20 AM   #119
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I am loving this post. I've been in the hobby since 2000 and love it when I see tanks by people that don't chase numbers but look at their corals for needs, and have everyone stumped by their tanks. A lot has changed.
Thanks for a refreshing read.
Thanks!


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Old 01/12/2014, 08:27 AM   #120
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That is exactly it, the colonies have had years to tolerate/adapt to the conditions.
I don't think you, or anyone, can say 'that is exactly it' - there are many ideas, none have yet to be shown as the reason. Coral coverage, large feeding feeding, alkalinity, maturity, flow and more have been hypothesized as the reason captive reefs with high phosphate seem to thrive.

I also think people will be surprised to learn that many successful reefs are running with what is considered high levels of phosphate.

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How many wild colonies do you lose Thales putting them straight in? I can't see a colony coming in and keeping colour in those levels, it's not what they are used to.
Why limit that idea to wild colonies? Why wouldn't that reasoning also apply to captive grown frags, aquaculture or mariculture?
I have a 3-4 inch frag of a red stag someone gave me in early December that is doing just fine, and a chunk of Red Dragon (not sure if it was wild or cultured) that I also got in early December that is coloring up and doing just fine.


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Old 01/12/2014, 09:07 AM   #121
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Is it safe to say that there is an exception to every rule? This is one of them but not the only one. At the end of the day the rule is based on what happens in the majority of situations.

Back in the old days I would not run GFO and test for phosphates. Everybody would always complement me on how good my colors were and how thick my acros were. However, my polyp extension was never as good as most other reefers. But then again, why would a person walk around with it's mouth wide open, trying to catch a bug when it's belly is full.


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Old 01/12/2014, 09:29 AM   #122
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What is you alk lvl?? It must be high.
On what I usualy see here, sps with low phosphate love low alk.


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Old 01/12/2014, 09:46 AM   #123
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Is it safe to say that there is an exception to every rule? This is one of them but not the only one. At the end of the day the rule is based on what happens in the majority of situations.
Maybe. At the same time, what is the rule actually based on? Mostly post hoc ergo propter hoc, which is not always a great way to make rules. The .03-.05 range came mostly out of thin air and was quickly bolstered by the idea that coral became 'weaker' (which I have never actually seen defined, and may not actually matter and may be due to increased growth), that colors got 'worse' (which is anecdote and subjective by nature), and incredible algal growth (which has never been always true). In the past, we had rules about inches of fish per gallon, watts per gallon, do feed corals, don't feed corals, the amount of bioballs necessary to run a healthy reef, which additives were 'necessary' (we still have issue with this today), and more - many of these have been replaced with better study, evidence and understanding. Perhaps our terror of phosphate is something we can calm down about. Perhaps it isn't. Perhaps the tanks I mention in the article (and more) that run at 'higher' phosphate levels are all anomalies, perhaps they aren't. I also think that there are a lot of reefs out there that run at higher phosphate, we just don't hear about them for various reasons. Again, in no way am I saying people should run out and ditch their current methodology, just that it seems that our current thinking on phosphate seems to warrant a closer look.

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Back in the old days I would not run GFO and test for phosphates. Everybody would always complement me on how good my colors were and how thick my acros were. However, my polyp extension was never as good as most other reefers. But then again, why would a person walk around with it's mouth wide open, trying to catch a bug when it's belly is full.
You bet. I am not aware of any literature/evidence that polyp extension during the day is an indication of coral health. I understand that some people like it, but that doesn't mean it is any healthier than acros without long polyp extension. This is yet another area that we could use some good evidence/science/trials/study.


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Old 01/12/2014, 10:02 AM   #124
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What is you alk lvl?? It must be high.
On what I usualy see here, sps with low phosphate love low alk.
I think the opposite, that the low alk will be problematic and that higher alkalinity helps calcifying corals in 'higher' nutrient enviornments. In October my alkalinity was 4.8mg/L which is way high and was because of a user error with a calcium reactor controller. Seemed to have no effect on the corals. In December after some adjustment, the alk had dropped to 2.88mg/L which also made me nervous as being to low. I like to run around 3.5mg/L.

The most recent test I have is from December 10. PO43 tested with the Hach ascorbic acid molybdate method 1.134, Alk, 2.88. I should prolly test again and see where the tank is holding now. I'll see what I can do this week.


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Old 01/12/2014, 11:35 AM   #125
Dapg8gt
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Awesome thread and tank =).

I have experienced sort of the same thing with my old 45g it was going on 13 years old simple but effective and p04 and n03 levels were high and colors/growth were great.

Fast forward to my new technological marvel of a tank with all the expensive equipment and ways to completely control nutrients and my colors aren't bad But they Def aren't as good as before maybe just needs some time to mature.

I am focusing on raising my nitrates now as its running too clean under 5 and colors suffered after I dropped them. I think I'll play around loosely with the p04 also without getting out of hand and see if it plays into my color game. I did have algae issues in the old tank though. Not hair algae just the plague of bryopsis.

Are you in the Sf bay area? Good to see some more awesome tanks in this part of Cali=).I like the thread/conversation and I'm gonna follow along and also read the links posted earlier..


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