View Full Version : Ace's N/P Test Log

08-27-2012, 11:30 PM
In an effort to get more information out there I am encouraging everyone to start their own N/P Test Log to document results. This is my idea of a Log post. Each week I will provide updated test results and mention any changes I have made to the tank (flow, lighting, feeding, additional filtration methods).

60G mixed reef. Tank has been run on a ATS only using a 42w CFL light on each side of a 10x12 screen. One month ago I removed the reactor I was using with phosguard. I had my phosphate levels down to .13 the day I removed the reactor. ATS screen grows very good and healthy each week. No water changes in exactly 12 months. Screen cleaned yesterday.

75G mixed reef. Tank has been run on ATS using LEDs on a 8"x8" screen + skimmer for the past 30 days. When I turned off my reactor with phosguard my phosphate readings were .09. No water changes in the last 18 months (other than when I used dirtier water out of my clownfish tank). Phosphates have really spiked in the last 7 days, last week it was about 1/2 if what it is today and last weeks test were actually lower than the weeks before, so I thought I was on a down slope, even tested twice to make sure, but obviously something has changed in the last week. This fluctuation could be caused by my change in lighting in the last month (adding 420/660 LEDs to the display) and my tank going through ups and downs in a bacteria phase. One other variable to throw in the mix, I have been running a fan over the ATS for the last 3 weeks during the day (dark period for algae). Screen cleaned yesterday and it was one of the healthiest/heaviest harvests I have had in a while.

Floyd R Turbo
08-28-2012, 07:01 AM
I should do this too...

08-28-2012, 07:38 AM
I'd like to see it a bit more on the UAS. I'm comfortable that the waterfall scrubber drops phosphate to manageable levels and removes Nitrate completely, but I haven't seen any evidence to suggest that the UAS even significantly removes Nitrate effectively.

08-28-2012, 11:36 AM
I should do this too...

Same here... We need to track these things better.

09-01-2012, 04:04 PM
Running my test in a little bit and will post results later tonight. In the mean time I just wanted to throw out a vid update of a new fish I bought today. I successfully weaned a pair of orangespotted filefish from eating SPS corals to eating pellets, and they are fat and happy, so I decided to try another 'not reef safe' fish to see if I can do it again, and I have always wanted some type of butterfly fish, this ones common name is a Spotband Butterflyfish.


09-02-2012, 12:27 PM
75G Test Results - Changes: Added 3 cups of phosguard in a filter bag on Friday (doesn't appear to have made any difference unless my phosphates were a lot higher than my last test when I added the media). Experienced minor bacteria bloom on Wed, had white sticky film on glass, but after cleaning it has not returned. Algae in display appears to be dying off slightly in the last couple days. 60G test results to follow, then screen cleaning. This week I wanted to run my test before I cleaned the screen to see if there was any major difference.

Nitrate - 0
Phosphate - 0.45
Calcium - 360/380 (2 different tests, strontium test has you doing a CA test as a first step)
Alkalinity - 5.3
Magnesium - 1110
Iodine - .06 (perfect)
Strontium - 16mg/L (perfect, PAIN IN THE BUTT TEST!)
Silicates - 0

Conclusion: Alk, CA, and Mg are all on the very low side of acceptable, so I will be working on raising all 3 over the next week. I have been slacking with making kalkwasser top off lately and have just been dosing 2 part but it is obviously not enough to keep up with demand on this system. Adding fresh kalkwasser top off should also help with lowering phosphates. We will see come next week, by then I should have my potassium test kit and supplements to try out also.



09-02-2012, 12:31 PM
Bloody hell Ace. I know you like to keep your ALK low, but that is really low.

09-02-2012, 12:59 PM
I agree, that is me balancing on the edge of a cliff that results in a tank crash. I will try and raise it up to the 7-9 range over the course of the next month, along with calcium in the 440 range and magnesium in the 1400 range.

60G Test Results - Only change this week was I added 2 cups of phosguard in a filter bag on Friday. It appears to have done some phosphate removal compared to last weeks readings.

Nitrate - 0
Phosphate - .30
Calcium - 415
Alkalinity - 5.6
Magnesium - 1170
Iodine - .06
Strontium - .14
Silicate - 0


09-03-2012, 12:30 AM
For how long alkalinity is beeing so low ? I feel like it can be somehow related with your big P problem.

09-03-2012, 06:47 AM
Pretty much as long as the tank has been setup, so 5 years now. Here is a picture of earlier days when I ran my tank at Alk 5.0, CA 380, Mag 1250, N/P 0 and SPS corals grew like crazy, so fast I had to trim them weekly. Alk can go as low as 5 and still be acceptable.. but drop anywhere below 5 and you can have serious problems, so it isn't recommended to run it that low.


09-03-2012, 08:31 AM
I've actually seen some of the best polyp extension when my alk was at 5.4... Since discovering it was low I slowly raised it a point and now it doesn't seem the sps corals like it much.

09-03-2012, 11:23 AM
Nice picture of nice tank.
What filtration were you using during that period and when did rised P situation started to occur ? What are your thoughts at the moment on all this ?

09-03-2012, 11:29 AM
I've actually seen some of the best polyp extension when my alk was at 5.4... Since discovering it was low I slowly raised it a point and now it doesn't seem the sps corals like it much.

Most people think that massive polyp extension is a good sign. However it MAY mean that they are struggling. Only if the extension is accompanied by zero tissue recession and good growth tips can it be assumed to be a healthy sign.

09-03-2012, 12:15 PM
Nice picture of nice tank.
What filtration were you using during that period and when did rised P situation started to occur ? What are your thoughts at the moment on all this ?
This is how my tank used to be setup, 15G sump under the stand with an external 1400GPH closed loop pump hidden behind the sump. The biggest problem with my old setup was the sump was too small, but the only size that would fit under my stand.. but in the case of a power outage the back siphon of water would overflow about 2 gallons onto my floor. I use a UPS to solve that problem but there were a couple times things didn't go as planned and I ended up with water on the floor.

and closeup of the sump.

The reason I don't go back to that method is due to cost. I contribute a large part of my past success to doing 50% weekly water changes, but my budget no longer allows for that these days (50+ gallons a week between 2 tanks). Things started to go 'bad' in respects to phosphates once I stopped doing water changes and tried to go without using any media to remove them. Previously with large water changes I could go 30 days using GFO to maintain phosphates at 0.00-0.03 levels consistently. Today if I use GFO it seems to only last 3-4 days on my system now so using GFO to solve my problem is actually more costly than doing water changes, but my goal is to find a different/natural solution to the problem that doesn't require constantly spending $.

Most people think that massive polyp extension is a good sign. However it MAY mean that they are struggling. Only if the extension is accompanied by zero tissue recession and good growth tips can it be assumed to be a healthy sign.
Like this. ;) I had to give this entire colony away in less than 9 months because it grew way to fast for me, it was bigger than a softball when I gave it away and was taking too much real estate for something I didn't think looked that nice compared to other corals I would rather have in its place. I agree though, sometimes polyp extension can mean the coral is starving, but that is not a common occurrence IMO.

09-03-2012, 02:01 PM
where is the algae scrubber?

09-03-2012, 02:06 PM
When my tank looked and ran its best, it ran off of caulerpa algae as its algae filtration, and also GFO, filter socks, Ozone, lots of kalkwasser top offs (lived in a hot area where 5 gallons a day of top off on a 75G wasn't unheard of) and regular weekly water changes. But again, I don't think the type of algae was a major factor in my past success, or my issues today, it is just one part of the overall puzzle.

Floyd R Turbo
09-06-2012, 12:14 PM
So do you have an algae scrubber on this tank now?

09-06-2012, 12:25 PM
Of course I do. :) The tank in question is the one with the LED ATS + skimmer. My other tank (60G) just has an ATS w/ 42w CFLs on each side.


09-06-2012, 12:43 PM
Do you feel that skimmer is helping somewhat ?

09-06-2012, 12:49 PM
Honestly, no, not one bit. My readings are identical between tanks, one with a $300 skimmer, the other with nothing.

09-06-2012, 04:37 PM
What is the water change schedule between the 2?

09-06-2012, 04:41 PM
Last water change with good clean water on the 75G was February 2011. I did 'swap' water out of a dirty clownfish breeding tank a couple times back in March but the water going in was much worse than water coming out.

Last water change on my 60G was 1 month after I set it up (I did 4 10G water changes the first month I set it up), so August 2011. Both over a year since last water change.

09-07-2012, 03:45 PM
Got tired of doing nothing and kind of wanted to get my levels a little more closer to 'good' before I started dosing K tomorrow. Sooooo... 25ml of Lanthanum into a 1 micron filter sock and 1 hour later, I dropped my P in 1/2 on my 75G. I can already tell my SPS corals are liking it, I am starting to see the first hint of polyps coming out. On my garf bonsai it is really noticeable since it has bright green polyps on a purple base. Side note, some reason I went from having one of by best 'growth' weeks on my ATS, to last week being by far my worst week. No idea why but I will see if dosing K helps.

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8038/7952123448_9a86d20366.jpg http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8306/7952091402_53a8293809_n.jpg

09-09-2012, 01:22 PM
75G Test readings for 9/9:

Alk - 7.2
CA - 370
Mag - 1150
PO4 - .18 (tested 12 hours apart to ensure stable reading)
K - 340

Currently dosing full strength kalk top off water for the past 7 days + added 50ml of K today. No other dosing/phosphate reducing methods are being used at this time in order to test if raising potassium levels decreases phosphates naturally.

09-09-2012, 01:24 PM
Ace - do you allow the Kalk to settle for a few hours before you dose it ? I don't, and find my mag stays at 1350 ish.

09-09-2012, 01:27 PM
I usually let the kalk settle for 24 hours before I carefully scoop out the top 1/2 and pour it into my ATO bucket.

I have been dosing 75ml of Tech-M every day for the past 7 days.. doesn't seem to have made much difference. 525ml worth of Tech-M raised my Mag 40 points.

09-09-2012, 01:32 PM
Thought so, after all it's what you are advised to do. However the naturally present magnesium is precipitated out into the sludge rather quickly because of the high pH. I supposed you ain't got much choice if your putting it into an ATO. The container I use is caked up good, it just syphons Kalk straight into the display each night.