Phosphate/Calcium Issues Continued

Discussion in 'Water Chemistry' started by New2Salt, Oct 3, 2007.

to remove this notice and enjoy 3reef content with less ads. 3reef membership is free.

  1. New2Salt

    New2Salt Spanish Shawl Nudibranch

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2007
    Messages:
    85
    I wanted to create a new post because the old one is too hard to read through. So, I got my Kh to drop from 22 to 13!! Wooo hooo!!! But I am going to my LFS to re-check my Mg, Calc, and Phos levels because I am still showing low Calc (300) and high Phos(2-4).

    I STILL have not added fish to my tank. It has been over 3 weeks. Just so everyone reading knows, I cleaned up an already established 14gal BioCube reeftank, using about 50% of the already-cycled water. The tank had been established for a year, but was not well maintained. I continue to use the original live rock, about 3 pounds of which was broken-down and loaded into the back chamber of the tank. I also kept the elegance and zoanthid corals. also have a coral banded, 8 hermits, and 4 snails. I am planning on getting more snails, (the hermits ate most of the little ones).


    My parameters:
    My (expensive) salt - Tropic Marin
    Temp - 80
    SG - 1.0235
    PH - 8.2
    Amm/Trite/Trate- 0/0/<5
    Kh - 13
    Calc - 320
    Phos- somewhere between 2-4 (funny color)

    I bought "PhosGard," or something along those lines. The little pouch was rated for 30 gallons, and it said not to overtreat the water, so I took out 50% of the contents of the pouch. After 5 days and my Phosphates still sitting at 8, I added the other half of the Gard and did a 3 gal water change with RO. 2 hours later, my Phosphate test kit went from a dark blue to a "not-as" dark blue. 12 hours later, I tested again and it looks like my phosphates dropped to 2-4. My RO water - tested prior to adding to the tank - came back at 0. No phosphates.

    Im hoping to confirm these test results today and report back to you guys for feedback. But hopefully the Phos keeps dropping, and the last LFS that tested my Mg was wrong. Because I can't understand why my Calc won't go up when I add Seachem's Calc supplement if my Mg is at 1450...
     
  2. Click Here!

  3. lunatik_69

    lunatik_69 Giant Squid

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2007
    Messages:
    7,933
    Location:
    Miami, FL
    Hey buddy, your still in the cycling period, so hang on for a little longer. From what you have posted so far, the only thing thats needs correcting is your cal and po4(phos). if your mag is at 1450, thats great. your cal is low b/c of your alk/dkh is high. Im going thou something similar.
     
  4. New2Salt

    New2Salt Spanish Shawl Nudibranch

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2007
    Messages:
    85
    Im still in a cycling period??? Hmmmmmmmmm...

    This tank was established for a year, and I used 50% of the water.

    I haven't had a spec of ammonia or nitrites in this tank for 3 weeks. I started with a reading of .25 for ammonia on days 1 and 2, probably because of some LR die-off in transport.

    I am new to salt, but I have kept fresh water tanks since I was 12 years old, and I completely disagree. In fact, I will come right out and say you are wrong, this tank is not cycling. Testing to see if a tank is cycling is very objective. Test kits remove the guesswork.

    I am well aware the only thing that needs correcting is calcium and phosphates. No offense, but did you read the post? That was the entire basis of this post. I also know that 1450 is great, but I believe either the test tube wasn't clean, or the guy didn't use a full 5ml of my water, because it doesn't make sense that the calcium supplement is doing nothing.

    Thanks for replying, but like I said, there is no cycle going on. When I make it to the LFS late this afternoon, I will figure it out (hopefully).

    With all that said, I created this thread to see if anyone has any feedback, and since you said you are experiencing "similar" things, Im curious to see what you are experiencing. But if your tank is going through a nitrogen cycle, believe me, we are not experiencing the same thing.
     
  5. New2Salt

    New2Salt Spanish Shawl Nudibranch

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2007
    Messages:
    85
    Also, I have read MANY posts where reefers were keeping their Kh at 14 and their Calcium at 450 by using this same exact Calcium suplement from Seachem.

    So if they are able to do it, what is the difference between my tank and their tank? I think it's the Mg.
     
  6. Maudsley

    Maudsley Astrea Snail

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2007
    Messages:
    27
    Location:
    KY, USA
    If I'm not mistaken...phosguard is only suspose to be used for a two day max period then it says it will leach back into the system if not removed and new media put in. If you have kept it in the sump for more than a day or two, I'd say you might be getting some leaching back into your system. I was following the old post..so I'm gonna go reread it again..but usually when your mg is low you cannot raise Ca.
    here is a chemistry calculator.....believe me it works...dose half what it recommends to take into account rocks and such in the tank....see where you stand at how much chemicals you have been dosing and what is recommended...I was never able to get my dosing schedule down until I used this....Reef Chemistry Calculator
     
  7. amcarrig

    amcarrig Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2004
    Messages:
    9,219
    Location:
    CT

    It does not matter how long the tank was set up before you moved it because if you moved it, you're going to have a mini-cycle whether you like it or not. Using 50% of the water from the existing tank doesn't really add any benefit at all as there is no bacteria in the water, only in the rock and sand. If you moved that rock and sand from one tank to another, it doesn't matter how far the move is, you're going to have some die off and as a result, you will have a cycle. How long exactly were the rock and sand out of the water when you made the move and how far did you move the tank to?

    Now, all that being said, you said that the tank wasn't well maintained to begin with so it's quite possible that the rock has absorbed alot of phosphate and other crap which is now leaching back into your system. Ignore the manufacturor's recommendation and run the entire phosphate sponge until it is exhausted and then replace it immediately once it has. Run a good carbon and do water changes with r.o./d.i. water to remove excess phosphates. I assume you're testing your r.o./d.i. water for phosphates, ammonia, nitrates and the like?
     
  8. Click Here!

  9. jimw369

    jimw369 Fire Shrimp

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2007
    Messages:
    307
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    New Salt: If you dont mind what calcium "additive" are you using?

    I just saw seachems Ca. Powder, liquid?
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2007
  10. lunatik_69

    lunatik_69 Giant Squid

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2007
    Messages:
    7,933
    Location:
    Miami, FL
    Hey new, If your going to post a thread and ask for opinions and after words cant handle the comments, I feel feel for you, bro! My suggestion to you is, you need do some more research on SW tanks, no offense;D
     
  11. jimw369

    jimw369 Fire Shrimp

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2007
    Messages:
    307
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    If your Mg is at 1450 that is not the problem. Sounds like you are using a 2 part additive. Just a word of advice with the 2 part especially when using it in a small tank. Add the amount you think you need of part one and wait a few minutes then add part two. If you put them in right after each other the Ca will precipitate out of solution right then and there. If you see white flakes or white things floating around when you dose, this is whats happening. Just a thought.

    And yes, I agree with what the others said about the cycle. You might not be in one after three weeks but yes Im sure your tank had to cycle even if it was a small one.

    Here is a link that might help you understand water chemistry a little better. Good luck! Keep us posted!

    A Simplified Guide to the Relationship Between Calcium, Alkalinity, Magnesium and pH by Randy Holmes-Farley - Reefkeeping.com
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2007
  12. New2Salt

    New2Salt Spanish Shawl Nudibranch

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2007
    Messages:
    85
    It does not matter how long the tank was set up before you moved it because if you moved it, you're going to have a mini-cycle whether you like it or not."

    I would not - in fact - I DID NOT debate this when I initially etup the tank 3 weeks ago and the ammonia was at .25. I figured there would be die-off in the move. We tested the water prior to moving to see if it was worth keeping. The Nitrates were very high. Amm/Trites at zero. That sounds cycled to me. I drove the tank 20 minutes up Route 1. I had brand new painters buckets with his water, his rock, and his corals in their original tank water, fully submerged. Was there some die-off? Yes, I believe so. Is it still affecting the NITROGEN CYCLE over 3 weeks later??? No! I had a reading of .25 after the first full day, and zero ever since. SO again, the tank is not cycling, and yes, it went though a mini when I brought it home.

    "Using 50% of the water from the existing tank doesn't really add any benefit at all as there is no bacteria in the water, only in the rock and sand."

    The tank was using 15# of live rock, 40 bio balls, and a medium-sized bio sponge. There is no doubt in my mind that the beneficial bacteria was present in the tank when I brought it home and set it up. Im telling you, in the shape that tank was in, having the water run through the nitrate factory bio balls was worse than if the water remained non-filtered. In 14 years of keeping tanks, I never saw anything that looks or smelled like that. Which makes your next point a very good one:

    " Now, all that being said, you said that the tank wasn't well maintained to begin with so it's quite possible that the rock has absorbed alot of phosphate and other crap which is now leaching back into your system."

    I agree wholeheartedly 150%. There is no other explanation. I amusing one of the best salt mixes on the market (Tropic Marin). There was no reason I should had been having such high phosphate readings. And in reality, they were not that high. The LFS said they think my test kit (API) was old, tampered with, or not sealed properly (I bought it 3 weeks ago). I took my kit in today during the Phillies game (I knew no one would be at the LFS). The owner and I did the dirty work and determined I did the tests right, but thee was something wrong with the solutions. I was reading high on Phosphates- but they were still present. He said a reading less than one- in a 14 gal tank - is ok. He too thinks it will go to zero after the rock continues to expel the phosphates (if that indeed is the source).

    Long story short, they wont do a Mg test there for free, and I wasn't paying $25 for the kit and $25 for the supplement if my calcium is at 320-340. I will give it time.

    As far as "ignoring the manufacturor's recommendation and running the entire phosphate sponge," the brand is not PhosGard - it's something else that is to be run for a month. So no worry.

    Anyway, I decided to add my first fish since the phosphate was nearly gone. Meet my new friends, and the new soft finger coral!
     

    Attached Files: