Chaeto or GFO? What would you do?

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by kinetic, Aug 25, 2017.

  1. kinetic

    kinetic Webmaster

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    I don't even have my tank yet, but thinking about picking up a mini BRS reactor and packing it half with Carbon and half GFO.

    The Reefer 170's sump doesn't have a dedicated fuge area, but might be enough space for me to stick a ball of chaeto into. It just won't be rolling and I'll probably have to get a light for it. I just dislike all the algae growth that might get into the sump with that light. I'm considering just putting a DIY macro algae reactor together, or plumbing a small fuge on the side.

    Anyway, I've never NOT had phosphate issues, so I'm thinking of either just dealing with constant GFO media changes (pricey, but probably pretty effective), or wondering if a chaeto reactor or something would be even better (probably less pricey, run an LED strip light, give away chaeto balls and get some karma points).

    I used to run GFO in bulk from BRS, and it helped a lot. Though my skimmers never really pulled any skim (just overflowed every few days). So this time I might be in luck.

    Long question short: would you run GFO or chaeto? Both?
     
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  2. roostertech

    roostertech reef noob

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    I run both. With chaeto alone my nitrate was none existence but phosphate keep on rising.
     
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  3. JVU

    JVU Supporting Member

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    I think roostertech's experience is pretty common. There is an imbalance between nitrate and phosphate because they both are consumed by chaeto (eg refugium) and by bacteria (eg carbon dosing) in proper ratios, but nitrate is also converted to nitrogen gas in anaerobic zones without similar phosphate loss. So people who want low phosphate often need to either run GFO or dose nitrate in addition to their biological control to get them both down.
     
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  4. kinetic

    kinetic Webmaster

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    Good thoughts! Thank you guys. I'll probably start off with chaeto, and if tank conditions require it, I'll run some GFO if needed. I just remember GFO was huge in destroying my hair algae problems. If I remember correctly, I only had to run it once or twice and the hair algae never came back (could have just been build up over time).

    I was going to make another thread, but how key is it to have chaeto tumble? I've seen some people's chaeto just constantly roll in a fuge. I'm guessing that keeps detritus from building up and allowing for the best absorption of nitrate/phos? Is it just totally useless if it doesn't? I can probably put a ball in my sump, but without a dedicated space, it's going to catch on something and not roll for sure. A reactor could be good since it forces a ton of flow through it.
     
  5. roostertech

    roostertech reef noob

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  6. kinetic

    kinetic Webmaster

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    Nice. My tank (reefer 170 that is yet to be delivered) has a small 2g ATO reservoir. I guess I should just use that. I'm freaked out about drilling through glass though...
     
  7. DEATH BY SNU SNU

    DEATH BY SNU SNU Guest

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    I am Chaeto heavy and also experience the problem of 0 nitrates with 0.15 ppm phosphates. I have to dose nitrate in order to help balance things out, but I do it slowly so as not to raise nitrates too high that would kill corals. How much ppm nitrates can corals tolerate? I know fish can tolerate a lot of nitrates but coral are more sensitive.
     
  8. DEATH BY SNU SNU

    DEATH BY SNU SNU Guest

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    Question: When you ran half carbon/half GFO, I know GFO is to remove phosphates, but what is the purpose of Carbon? My LFS told me NOT to run carbon which is why I ask...
     
  9. DEATH BY SNU SNU

    DEATH BY SNU SNU Guest

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    Thanks for sharing that pic. That light green/almost white color of the Chaeto on the top part of the clump is classic case of what we are talking about, it shows that the Chaeto is starved for Nitrate. My tank is like that also, it's nitrate limited. When I dose nitrates I know my Chaeto is sucking up the nitrate because it turns a deep dark green color. Within a day of dosing nitrates, the Chaeto darkens. Hope this helps.
     
  10. Gablami

    Gablami Guest

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    There is no right answer to this. Some amazing tanks have very high nitrates and their corals thrive. Also not all corals are equal; sps seem more sensitive to these levels.

    In regards to your other question. Carbon is used to remove impurities, toxins and other substances from the water. It can clarify yellow tinged tank water to clear, which can improve the intensity of lighting. However you can also be overaggressive in running carbon to the point where it can be harmful to fish and overly strip the water of elements for corals.


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  11. DEATH BY SNU SNU

    DEATH BY SNU SNU Guest

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    Is anyone carbon dosing in addition to the above?
     
  12. Gablami

    Gablami Guest

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    I am running a small chaeto chamber, gfo reactor, a filter bag of carbon and dosing a carbon source in no3po4x.


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  13. RandyC

    RandyC Supporting Member

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    I have chaeto, gfo, carbon and biopellets running.
     
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  14. DEATH BY SNU SNU

    DEATH BY SNU SNU Guest

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    Hi Gablami, do you mind sharing your dosing regimen for NOpox? how many mls/day do you dose and do you drip dose or manually pour in tank?
     
  15. JVU

    JVU Supporting Member

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    The NOPOX instructions are super simple, just put in the dose based on your reef type, tank size, and nitrate level. It's either 1, 2, or 3 ml per 25g. It is fine to dose once a day, it's also fine to split doses (what I have been doing) or automate it (like Gabe does and I plan to do). You don't need to ramp up dosing, mess with skimmer settings, or any other manipulation like you do with other methods to be successful.

    I started at 2 ml/d/25g when my nitrate was 5-10 ppm, but now that my nitrates are <1 ppm, I decreased it to 1 ml/d/25g.
     
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  16. Gablami

    Gablami Guest

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    +1 on what @jvu said. Super easy and I have it on my Neptune dos, so it delivers the daily dose throughout the day. The daily dose is adjusted periodically depending on my nutrient levels.

    You need to have a skimmer when carbon dosing.

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  17. DEATH BY SNU SNU

    DEATH BY SNU SNU Guest

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    I must have overdosed because I developed this black cyano-like film on my sandbed...... yikes
     
  18. JVU

    JVU Supporting Member

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    I think that's not uncommon, I would just vacuum it up, make sure I have enough clean up crew and keep dosing. I just think of it as the carbon dosing is stimulating bacteria to grow and consume nutrients, and unfortunately sometimes cyano fills that roll while the "invisible" benign bacteria ramp up.


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  19. Gablami

    Gablami Guest

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    If you're dosing and your nitrate drops to zero and phosphates are still elevated, those conditions can prompt cyano growth.

    I have always had a lot of turbulent flow throughout my DT, so I have only seen cyano in my fuge.


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  20. DEATH BY SNU SNU

    DEATH BY SNU SNU Guest

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    That makes so much sense when you explain it like that. I appreciate the feedback.
     

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