nitrate/phosphate to high. What can i do?
The cause of this issue is one or more of the following criteria:
- Water used contains Nutrients (tap water used, water purification doesn’t work properly)
- Nitrogen cycle of your tank does not, or not yet work as it should (e.g. start-up phase of a tank)
- Objects in your tank emitting e.g. Phosphates (so called Phosphate depots) (e.g. poor quality live rock, old live rock or even stones that should not be used within reef tanks)
- Objects acting as “nitrate catapult” (mechanical filters like blue platic sponges, bio balls, Syphorax , … which are NOTeven cleaned on a frequent base)
- Some areas in your tank with limited current flow -> detritus can assemble.
Solutions based on natural effects (Recommended!)
Optimize your tanks current/flow (see also separate point of this FAQ)
- Improve area for settlement of bacteria (best is high quality live rocks!) and add bacteria. After adding you might need a steadily feeding of your bacteria.
- Reduce bringing in of nutrients(use purified water only, use salt mixtures free of any Phosphates, use food low on nutrients and wash frozen food)
- Balance the origin of nutrients coming from your fishes. (Avoid to many and to big fish within your tank)
- Discover and remove „Phosphate depots“ of your tank (highest risk factor is for “old live rock” and “rotting sand)
- Discover and remove or regularly clean „Nitrate catapults“ (blue plastic sponges, bio balls, …
Fast solutions in case of emergency
- Do water changes with a high percentage of your tanks volume to “thin” the concentration of nutrients (use purified water only!)
- example 1: 50% water change -> Reduces nutrients by/to 50%
- example 2: 20% water change -> Reduces nutrients to 80%, (100% - 20%) / 100% => 80%
- Use zeolite powder or liquid zeolites (Easy life, Ultra live, …) together with good skimming
- Dose bacteria
- Important: Stick to the instructions from manufacturer!
- Absorbers must be within the current to work properly
- Important : Watch your Phosphate concentration!
- If it gets to low, remove Adsorber
- Hint: Silicate Adsorbers also remove Phosphates and vice versa
- Use Zeolite-Filter system together with other measures according manufacturers recommendations (like special type of bacteria, food for bacteria, amino acids as coral food)
- Algae filters or refuge reduce also reduce Nitrates and Phosphates