How to solve excess nutrients problems (PO4/NO3/SiO3)

Many reefers battle against high nutrients, because they have a fundamental problem.

The way to find the problem is by elimination. Here are are some basic steps to walk through.

Use the right (accurate) testing tools:

Not all test sold are accurate for saltwater and just because one test from a brand is fine, it doesn’t mean all their test are fine. Here is a list of tests approved by  DSR.

Check for water quality to prevent more decay:

Salinity = 32-35ppt  (~1.0235)
PH = 7,7-8,3
KH = 7-9dKH  
Ca = 400-480ppm
Mg = 1200-1500
PO4 = 0,04-0,1ppm
NO3 = 0,5ppm – 5ppm

Use the DSR ppm convertor to add elements.

Re-Check the RO system:

RO water should be pure without any PO4,NO3 and SiO3. Monitoring the water quality can save you a lot of headache. This can be checked by using a (double)TDS meter on the output of both the membrane and the DI filter. The output should be  zero (0) TDS.

Usually this results in replacing the DI resin every 1500-2500 liters RO water.

Check for lighting type and age: 

Preferably use T5 lighting or The "DSR approved" JMB aqua light (T5 bulbs has to be replaced every 6 month for optimal SPS growth and coloring).

Check for detritus deposition:

Use enough alternating flow to keep detritus suspended, so it can be removed by a Power Filter. Preferably use 3-4 alternating pumps to achieve Optimal Flow.

Re-evaluate you fish population:

Most reefers have to much fish or the fish have outgrown their tank. Removing some large fish may relieve the tension on the system’s ability to control nutrients.

Re-evaluate feeding pattern:

Beside large and way to many fish, most problem arise with the introduction of NPS corals and the heavy feeding they require. Feed wisely or choose not to start with those expert species.

Re-evaluate Skimmer:

Check of the skimmer up to it’s task. Check the specs. Check for functioning and walk through the plumbing, venture and needle wheel can be clogged up with dirt, chalk or bacteria. Soak those part in muriatic acid and use a small interdental brush on the venture. 

Minimal requirements:

DSR system are simple, but still have basic requirements.

These are:

Tank, sump, skimmer, 3-4 alternating streamers, 2-3cm coral sand bed (2-3mm grain), limited use of live rock, UV lamp (against fish parasites), power filter (1000-3000l/h), preferably "DSR approved" JMB aqua light or T5 lighting (proven concept)

If al above requirements and problems are solved go through the next steps:

Start daily dosing: DSR CarbonVS, this will build op a healthy bacteria population and remove Nitrate.

Start daily dosing: DSR Fe+, this will precipitate phosphate from the water, making it harmless for the corals.

Also available: DSR EZ-Carbon, which does both PO4/NO3 reduction, while maintaining a stable reef system

Interested to learn more about sustainable reefing?

Start reading about the Dutch Synthetic Reefing method and the DSR-EZ dosing system, both proven ways of reef keeping without regular water changes.

High nutrients

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