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Old 01/09/2008, 05:42 PM   #1
awatson72
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Simple and effective phosphate removal ?

I'm dealing with a phosphate problem (hair algae outbreak) and have done some research to understand my options but am still unclear on what's considered the best approach.
I have a refugium which I suspect is not "tuned" adequately to export the neccessary amount of phosphate, I'll be addressing that later, but in the meantime, I'd like to try a phosphate removal media. Looks like a lot of folks use a phosphate reactor, which I'm not sure I want to get into, more plumbing, pumps, and complication that I'd like to avoid if possible. What would be a nice simple option for proactive phosphate removal? I don't have a mechanical filter, just live rock. I see that you can buy a phosphate sponge, but it seems like a lot of people don't think they work very well.
Any suggestions appreciated!


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Old 01/09/2008, 05:57 PM   #2
Snowboarda42
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Why do you think that its that much more plumbing to add on a phosphate reactor? Its two lines and a MJ400, the benefits are by far worth it.

Give us some other details about your tank as well:

1. Size
2. Livestock - Fish, Clean up crew, etc.
3. Feeding - how much and what
4. Water Changes
5. Live rock
6. Time - how long you've had it up and running
7. Flow
8. Skimmer
9. Water Params
a. Ammon
b. Nitrite
c. Nitrate
d. Phosphate - Get your water sample from really close to the rocks
10. What you're doing to try and combat this problem


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Old 01/09/2008, 06:05 PM   #3
m2434
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I agree there shouldn't be much plumbing and it's just tough to beat GFO in a reactor...
1-Phosphate has a very high affinity for GFO.
2-GFO does not seem leach anything that might irritate corals.
3-GFO may also help remove other contaminants such as heavy metals.
4-relatively inexpensive.
5-lasts a while, some media needs to be replaced within days.
-does not leave precipitate in the aquarium.

However, there are still a few issues, that I would mention.
The flow needs to be slow, in order for #2 to be true - 90gph seems good.
You should also start small, adding too much at once can remove a lot of phosphate quickly and has been reported to occasionally "shock" corals. Also, you will need to watch alkalinity, it tends to drop and GFO seems to cause slightly increased precipitation of calcium carbonate.


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Old 01/09/2008, 06:14 PM   #4
awatson72
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Sure - more information no problem.

A small tank -20 G long with 10 G Sump/fuge, with only 12 inches of clearance over the water surface (which I believe presents a problem for a phosphate reactor)
Livestock - 2 fish - a clown and a basslet
Basic cleanup crew
Mushroom corals 4 polyps
Live rock / sand
Up and running for 10 months
No skimmer - CPR Overflow box
About 400 GPH total flow, maybe a little more
Water parms all nominal -
Nitrates 0
Phosphates test at 0, but I take with grain of salt
Sailinity 1.024
Temp 76
No ammonia

I did a three day lights off period which did an excellent job of killing of a good portion of the algae, but it grew back within a few days.
I feed the fish 1-3 times per day, they finish within 60 seconds.

I'm not against a reactor, if I can fit it in my confined sump space, but was wondering about other viable options


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Old 01/09/2008, 07:08 PM   #5
m2434
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PO4 reactors are typically pretty short. The phosban reactor for example is ~14.75 and 12" of clearance is plenty...

I didn't realize that you don't have a skimmer. A skimmer can be, as effective, if not more effective than a PO4 reactor. This is because it can remove organic compounds, that contain high amounts of phosphate, before they break down and release PO4 in the more troublesome, inorganic form.

Do you use RO/DI water? Water typically isn't a major source of PO4 compared to food, but can still contain significant amounts.

Macro algae refugiums are also very effective as is decreased feeding and increased water changes with RO/Di water.

Out of the choices I think a skimmer is my top preference.

Second would be a fuge or a PO4 reactor (which would not be much plumbing at all...)


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Old 01/09/2008, 07:16 PM   #6
stuccodude
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blue life phofate control, i used it once and my phosfates did go down a little but i havent used it again, others says it works well, i really dont like using additives. good luck


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Old 01/09/2008, 07:27 PM   #7
Ralph ATL
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1. skimmer
2. 2 little fishes phosphate reactor (very simple setup)


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Old 01/09/2008, 07:55 PM   #8
LockeOak
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I just got a phosphate reactor, it's a really simple piece of kit. The long canister hangs on the side of the sump (or sits in it), both the input and output tubes go in the top. Just need about 1 foot of 1/2" flex tubing on each end with a Minijet 404 (~$15). Piece of cake. You can put them just about anywhere, even hang them off the back of the display if you want.


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Old 01/09/2008, 08:55 PM   #9
steelerguy
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Phos-Buster Pro worked well for me. It creates a precipitate though so if I didn't have a skimmer I may not use it.


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Old 01/09/2008, 09:04 PM   #10
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I'm not a fan of bulky and complicated gadgets and plumbing either, but as others have said, the Two Little Fishes PhosBan reactors are small, very easy to set up and work really, really well.


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Old 01/10/2008, 07:31 AM   #11
awatson72
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OK, I think I'm sold on the TLF Phosphate Reactor. Does anyone know of an article that talks about "Reactor Usage 101" ? I have questions about media selection, plumbing, etc, that I'd rather not bore people on this forum with, because they are really basic questions that highlight my cluelessness about this aspect of reefkeeping.

Thanks.


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Old 01/10/2008, 11:12 AM   #12
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TLF comes with instructions, or I think you can view them via thier website. Really simple to hook up and use. Main install point is to put the valve between the pump and the canister on the in line, as putting it on the out line would add backpressure to the canister, making potential for leaks at top or the line connects. I had a Kent with a twist clip lid I did not like and did not trust. Switched to running GFO in a canister filter and found it MUCH less effective. I recently went back to a phos reactor, TLF brand and love it. Better built, seems to flow better, and the lid screws down so it wont get bumped off. What kit did you test phosphate with? If it shows zero, then why use a phos reactor? If you use a good kit and have phosphate, you will get a reading for sure as it does not take much to show color on the test.


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Old 01/10/2008, 11:53 AM   #13
awatson72
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The test kit I use is a Red Sea test kit. I've read that you will often get a zero reading if you have an active algae outbreak. I don't know how good the Red Sea test kits are.
My latest dilemma is that by the time I buy pump, tubing, media, reactor, valve, etc. I'd only have to add a few more bucks, and I'd have a decent skimmer, which might be a better overall investment. The problem is, both the reactor in the skimmer would go in my sump, which as I mentioned, is super cramped. It's basically shoehorned into the cupboards in a built in bookcase. I should post a picture. The cupboard is about 20 inches tall. The water in the sump is about 8 inches deep.


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Old 01/10/2008, 12:48 PM   #14
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There are different types of Phosphate (organic/inorganic) that require different tests to detect, but I think Phosphate tests are a waste. Just look at your tank. If you have hair algae you can be assured you have a Phosphate problem regardless if what the tests say.

You can get a complete reactor rig with everything you need, including media for less than $100 dollars. The cheapest protein skimmers around are still more than that.


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Old 01/10/2008, 02:10 PM   #15
tigereye37
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I actually just setup my TLF phosban reactor today. It was real easy, but i wish i had ordered a few elbows and extra plastic clamps. I got a great deal on it, $51 for a kit including the reactor, maxijet 400 pump, and a can of phosban from JC Aquatics.


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Old 01/10/2008, 02:28 PM   #16
down and outman
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Just cleaned out my TLF phosban reactor and changed the media. Took all of 20 minutes. been running for a couple of months since the last time I fooled with it. I also cleaned out my maxijet last night. Soaked it in white vinegar. All the scum came off. Just got GFO pellets from www.bulkreefsupply.com, formerly two part solutions. Why the change? I don't know, but my bookmark sent me there instead.
I also ditto a protein skimmer. You would not believe what crud can come out of your aquaruim.


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Old 01/10/2008, 09:34 PM   #17
JillNairn
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Feeding the fish three times a day might be part of the problem as well. And it really depens on how much your feeind. If its pellets and each fish is getting one or two its not so bad. But each time and each are eating ten or so pellets, are ten are so pieces of flake food, then in that small of a system I think your going to have problems keeping them down in the long run, even with a skimmer. Unless you go barebottom, with tons of flow to get everything to blow out of your tank to go your skimmer.


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