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Unread 06/14/2004, 10:30 AM   #1
JB NY
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Let talk about water quality in an SPS tank.

OK the lighting thread brought up lot's of questions about the water quality in our tanks when it comes to keeping Acroporids. IMO water quality is the factor when it come to health, growth and color in the tank.

So let me start with what I consider high quality water parameters.

Testing the water
SG: 1.024-1.026 Close to NSW levels.
Temp: 78-82
Ammonia: 0
NO2: 0
NO3: 0 or the absolute lowest level on the test kit.
PO4: 0 While you might have some phosphates in you water, they should never be high enough to register on a test kit.
Ca: aprox. 400
Alk: 8-12 dKH
Mg: aprox. 1300
pH: 8.0-8.3 should fluctuate as little as possible, typically no more than 0.2.

Very important. Those levels should never stray much at all. This is what we mean by a stable tank. Nitrates that go up and down, alk and ca the go up and down, all add stress to the corals. When we talk about keeping SPS only after the tank has matured, mostly it's about keeping things stable. New tanks and new reef keepers tend to have a learning curve that causes the parameters to fluctuate. After time, the tank settles down and the parameters should stay rock solid over a long period of time. That's what you need to achieve, stability.

Algae
You should have no nuisance hair type algae in your tank. Some cynobacteria, in small areas, seems to be prevalent in most tanks, I think that is ok.

Clear water.
What I mean is, you should be able to take a white piece of paper and looking at it through the long side of the tank and it should look white. Also, you should be able to read the paper even with small type.

RO/DI water for all water going into the tank.

What did I miss? And what else is there to water quality?


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Last edited by JB NY; 06/20/2004 at 10:58 AM.
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Unread 06/14/2004, 10:51 AM   #2
jersey
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I would add stable water temperature to the list of desirable qualities.


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Unread 06/14/2004, 10:51 AM   #3
reefcam
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Hey Joe,

Good pick on the topic. Another element that I also test for is Silicate in the water. Also what would be interesting is to see the media (and if we can, call out to the brand we use) to mitigate the problem.

Jim


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Unread 06/14/2004, 11:30 AM   #4
JB NY
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Temperature. I forgot about that. I usually go with 78-82. My temp is raised and lowered during summer and winter purely for electricity concerns. Again IMO stability is key, my temp never fluctuates more than 1.6 degrees before a heater or chiller turns on.

Jim, I am completely ignorant of silicate testing what it's importance is and/or what problems it can cause. I've never tested for it.


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Unread 06/14/2004, 11:36 AM   #5
Rurouni Kenshin
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Silicates, As I understand fuel algea like Diatoms


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Unread 06/14/2004, 11:40 AM   #6
Lostmind
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My tank fits all those param's except for 1 thing - my water column has *stuff* floating in it.

I run an aqua c skimmer and no other form of filtration (just lotsa flow - about 35x turnover - and a skimmer). I think I will add two powerhead filters with carbon and filter floss to clean up the water further and hopefully give better light penetration.

Any reason to not do this?


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Unread 06/14/2004, 11:56 AM   #7
mhurley
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Joe,

Do we want to consider water movement a parameter of water quality? or do you want to keep environmental and chemical separate?

Looks good.


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Unread 06/14/2004, 12:10 PM   #8
Tom Berry
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By the way Joe,

how did the Purigen end up working for you?

Tom Berry


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Unread 06/14/2004, 12:19 PM   #9
JB NY
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Quote:
Originally posted by mhurley
Joe,

Do we want to consider water movement a parameter of water quality? or do you want to keep environmental and chemical separate?

Looks good.
Let's keep it separate. Maybe we do a talk about water movement after this one.

Tom, So far I haven't noticed a huge difference with the Purigen. But I'm not using it in a reactor yet. I just have it in a bag in the sump. Hopefully I'll put it in a fluidized chamber in a week or so.


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Unread 06/14/2004, 01:20 PM   #10
Tom Berry
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Yeah,

I am beginning to think that it needs to be run in a fluidized bed in order to get the results I have seen recently. It's also possible that your nutrients are already so low that it won't make much difference.

I found in a search that you used PO4-Minus before you started with the iron base PO4 removers. I ordered some to try, since I have sworn off Rowaphos.

Tom


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Unread 06/14/2004, 01:59 PM   #11
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Tagging along as I think that all of the critical water quality perameters have been hit on. Now we need to discuss how to achieve these parameters. I am seeing a lot of people using he iron based phosphate removers as a cure. I see them as a band aid until the real problem can be identified and corrected.

Walter


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Unread 06/14/2004, 02:07 PM   #12
aquariumclown
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On achieving good water quality, since I'm in the process of buying a ro/di unit, what ro/di units are you guys using for those who have good water quality as a result?


Leo


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Unread 06/14/2004, 02:12 PM   #13
Tom Berry
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While I have decided not to continue using Rowaphos, I am not sure we can lower phosphates to the necessary levels through RO/DI, water changes, detritus removal, macroalgae, not overfeeding etc.. Especially if we want to keep fish.

Tom


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Unread 06/14/2004, 02:14 PM   #14
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I went with an AquaFX with a spectrapure high reject 100gpd ro membrane and 5 canister DI. After a friend of mine had his tank distroyed by the water autority using high levels of chloramine to treat the water I decided to take his advice and step up from a 2 to 5 stage DI. In total I have an eight stage unit.

Walter


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Unread 06/14/2004, 02:18 PM   #15
reefcam
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Joe, Rurouni Kenshin has it right on silicate fueling diatoms. That's all I'm testing it for. I found my tap water and when my DI resin is exhausted can cause a high level of silicate through the top off water.

Quote:
Originally posted by henkelsfamily
I am seeing a lot of people using he iron based phosphate removers as a cure. I see them as a band aid until the real problem can be identified and corrected.

Walter
Water, I don't see using Phosban or Rowaphos as a band aide to the PO4 problem. PO4 can come from many sources and for many, it can come from the food we feed our inhabitants. Other source can come from Live Rocks. I'm sure someone else will chime in on this, but not a chemist, I haven't seen any natural way for us to remove PO4. Unlike Ammonia or Nitrate that has a life cycle to reduce the level.

Jim


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Unread 06/14/2004, 02:35 PM   #16
JB NY
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Tom, I think the PO4 minus product works great in helping the skimmer export phosphates. I had used it for almost two years with good results until I switched to using GFO products to control phosphates.

I still use the PO4 minus, when I remember, the day after cleaning my skimmer. I generally find my skimmer takes a few days to start getting good skimmate after a cleaning. When I add the PO4 minus I generally get the skimmer to start skimming well the day after it is added. HTH


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Current Tank Info: 270G SPS Tank, 140G sumps, 35G Frag Tank, Ultra Reef Akula UKS-200 Skimmer, Apex, Giesemann Spectra 3x250W MH 4x80W T5, 2xReefbrite Tech 72" Blue LED, Triton Dosing, ARID C30 Algae Reactor, Maxspect Gyre

Last edited by JB NY; 06/14/2004 at 02:54 PM.
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Unread 06/14/2004, 02:44 PM   #17
JB NY
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I also agree with the phosphates removers being needed and not just a band-aid. Phosphates comes in almost everything we add to the tank, it's not always possible to remove enough PO4 through skimming alone. I also believe that PO4 becomes more critical when the rest of the levels, esp nitrates, are so low. The ratio of PO4 to NO3 becomes much higher when NO3 is near zero.

You should be wary of all things that are added to the tank that can contain PO4 and do your best to both remove phosphates both before it gets in the tank as well as those that are already there.


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Unread 06/14/2004, 02:46 PM   #18
Tom Berry
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Take macroalgae for example; if the phosphates are lowered below a certain point, the macroalgae will die off. You cannot lower phospates below this point using macroalgae.

Granted, we don't want to (and probably can't) lower phosphates to absolute zero because sps need a very low level of phosphates to survive as well. However, this level is much lower than that required by macroalgae.

Tom


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Unread 06/14/2004, 02:48 PM   #19
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what is po4 minus?where can i get some ?thanks


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Unread 06/14/2004, 02:56 PM   #20
invincible569
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I consider water in an Aquarium like Oxygen for humans. The more humid it gets, the harder it is to breathe. the higher the altitude (pressure), the harder it is to breathe. ... and so on. Now, if we live in a beautiful atmosphere, smog free, 70 degrees weather, then we become more healthy. Same goes for any animal in its environment. If not we become ugly people! JK


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Unread 06/14/2004, 03:14 PM   #21
reefcam
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Quote:
Originally posted by invincible569
Now, if we live in a beautiful atmosphere, smog free, 70 degrees weather, then we become more healthy. Same goes for any animal in its environment. If not we become ugly people! JK
That's why the Oregon Tort is the best looking coral...haha LOL

Also, there have been cases where carbon, that have been deem PO4 free, have leeched PO4 back into the tank.


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Unread 06/14/2004, 03:21 PM   #22
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Shouldn't ph be on the list?


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Unread 06/14/2004, 03:39 PM   #23
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I also want to remind everyone that having nitrate and phosphate levels at or near near zero only means that they are being used up at about the same rate they are being added. So even if your nitrates or phosphates currently measure "0", working to reduce them further through water changes, improved export, and better maintenance habits can still pay dividends.

Mike


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Unread 06/14/2004, 03:53 PM   #24
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...not to mention that the sensitivity of test kits for nitrate and phosphate is well above the threshold needed for algae growth.

I think dissolved organics is a big one - and goes hand in hand with the clear water thing. DOs are a huge group and accurate testing for them is not really very accessible to the hobbyist (that I know of). I'd bet that many "unexplained" negative phenomena may just be a result of DO toxicity. With the wide array of chemicals labelled "DOs" and the lack of suitable testing, one would expect them to be somewhat "mysterious" players...


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Unread 06/14/2004, 05:08 PM   #25
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For those of you keeping a tight lid on your water chemistry, what test kits are you using? I'm especially interested in the kits you guys are using for Nitrates, PO4, and Magnesium.


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