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Test Kits, Chasing Numbers and Phosphate

Discussion in 'Filtration / ULNS' started by Galvinized, Feb 11, 2014.

  1. Galvinized

    Galvinized Registered

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  2. StarfishEnterprise

    StarfishEnterprise Registered

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    in short (IMO) yes :thumbup1:
     
  3. r21

    r21 Registered

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    Great article, it is a very good point home test kits should only be used as rough indicators , I now tend to test only once a week but will run the test twice, this gives me an average and hopefully a more accurate result, I use these results as trends and adjust manual dosing accordingly.....saying that my kh and cal drop very little over a week as it's mainly frags and I may need to adjust this process once demands increase to better establish stability
     
  4. Galvinized

    Galvinized Registered

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    I came across a similar article on RC a few months ago, can't remember the exact number they were suggesting for phosphate levels in a aquarium (it's was a lengthy scientific paper, and I zoned out a little). Think it was 0.09ppm but might be wrong, can't find the thread that had the link.
     
  5. aelred

    aelred Registered

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    Interesting reading,
     
  6. tyger

    tyger Registered

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    What a great read.....even the experts don't fully understand, so what chance have I got. I am guilty of chasing numbers my PO4 was at 0.84 and I am bringing it down slowly ....why....because I keep reading what it should be!! at no point have I had any algae or problems, its now down to 0.35 and the tank still looks the same, why am I bothering?
     
  7. Jamie@Vertex

    [email protected] Registered

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    I think one needs to keep this all in perspective. Nutrient levels have two sides: one is as nutrition, the other is as waste products. The ability of an aquarium to assimilate nutrients is key. If you have a tank with many takers, then the nutirent levels can run higher as there is a constant in-out with the various molecules. We have an advantageous situation. If the nutrients become a stagnant part of the tank, then we see algal blooms and slowed growth in all living creatures. What happen is an unadventageous general chemistry.

    In short, it is more complex than just a case of PO4 and NO3 levels. They are part of a much more complex equation. Monitoring these levels is of great benefit, as some information is certainly more useful than none, but the information may be difficult to put in its proper place.

    As a somewhat silly analogy, if you put the required amount of food on your dinner table your family will be properly nourished. Put too much and they will start to over eat. Put more than could be consumed and you have a surplus that will simply be waste. The nourishment hasn't actually changed, only the ability for it to be put to good use. If your family is very athletic and active, then they will be better able to utilize the offered nourishment. If they are couch potatoes, the assimilation will be less productive. I would liken this to general tank environment, such as proper oxygenation, water movement, gas exchange, general bio-diversity, temperature, salinity, available metals (Ca, Mg, etc). The full complexity.

    For most aquarists it makes sense to keep nutrient levels as low as possible and, more importantly, stabile! What is too little or too much is not an exact science for us, although, with full-spectrum testing, we would be able to have more control and understanding. What we do have available are relatively accurate tests that give us an overview of what is possible in our tank(s).

    I suspect we do worry too much. From my own experiences, I have had excellent coral growth and colour with PO4 at 0.15 all the way down to 0.02. At the lower level the corals grew well, but were pale for my taste. At the highest levels colour was darker, intenser, but growth was fine, as long as water movement was excellent. What one did observe was what happens to new corals added from different tank chemistries. Often a shock was noted, sometimes a real spurt in growth! Paling, browning, RTN, etc. can all be observed, but the actual nutrient levels could not be easily co-ordinated to what happened. This leads one to believe the adaptation process is the critical factor and it is influenced by the various water chemistries involved and general environmental changes. Certainly nutrient levels play a role, but are part of something more complex. It makes sense that corals transfering from one similar system to another similar system will have less stress. If we all keep our tanks under the same conditions: nutrients, lighting, water movement, filtration, etc., we would see a general rise in success. But we don't!

    All this said, we do have extraordinary success with marines in the 21st century. We learn more all the time and probably the most important ingredient is patience, coupled with observation.

    Jamie
     
  8. tyger

    tyger Registered

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    Brilliantly put jamie. Thanks.
     
  9. mo_bhaiyat

    mo_bhaiyat Registered

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    What I found interesting about this read is the bit about having iron present for algae growth. I always think that you don't need to hit the magic numbers but keep things stable, constant and at what you find to be an acceptable level for your tank. Only you are got to judge this. I now wonder if it is PO4, NO3, FE, a combination of them or possible something else that caused nuisance algae to go nuts.
     
  10. tyger

    tyger Registered

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    Possibly, that is why I don't understand this side of things as mentioned before my Po4 was at 0.84 with no algae issues at all and a healthy looking tank, I am guilty of currently trying to bring it down...Why? .....because the books say I should. I thought [MENTION=17595]jamie[/MENTION] explained it very well, so although I will continue to monitor the parameters I will stop worrying about numbers and assume my tank is well balanced.
     
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