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Clown79
1 hour ago, seabass said:

Spectracide Stump Remover is potassium nitrate.  However, you should have good access to calcium nitrate.

Ty for finding it. I will look into it.

 

Ouch $42. That's steep.

Its $7 in the US.

 

It's not coming directly from Amazon so it may never cross the border or additional charges.

 

It's not sold in Canadian stores which leads me to think it's not an approved item.

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seabass

Then here you go:

"Potassium nitrate is an oxidizer. Calcium nitrate is an alternative to potassium nitrate for international customers. Aquariumfertilizer.com has a permit filed with the Canadian Department of Natural Resources that allows us to ship potassium nitrate to Canada". - https://aquariumfertilizer.com/

 

Although I don't see why there would be a problem with just using calcium nitrate.  Anybody have any cons to using calcium nitrate in a reef tank?  It seems to me that the calcium component could even be a positive. :unsure:

 

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Clown79
1 hour ago, seabass said:

Then here you go:

"Potassium nitrate is an oxidizer. Calcium nitrate is an alternative to potassium nitrate for international customers. Aquariumfertilizer.com has a permit filed with the Canadian Department of Natural Resources that allows us to ship potassium nitrate to Canada". - https://aquariumfertilizer.com/

 

Although I don't see why there would be a problem with just using calcium nitrate.  Anybody have any cons to using calcium nitrate in a reef tank?  It seems to me that the calcium component could even be a positive. :unsure:

 

Thanks Seabass.

 

I'm not really sure about any cons. I will have to look into it.

 

My biggest question is why I have such issues maintaining nitrates?

 

No refugium, small waterchanges every 14days, feed fish 2 x/day, coral feeding, 4 fish. Media floss, 1 tbsp carbon. Just added a bit of phosguard after a year.

 

I can't wrap my head around it really.

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mcarroll
On 5/11/2020 at 11:41 AM, Clown79 said:

I thought my refractometer was going too, nope just the fluid.

Seems like someone, somewhere along the line taught us that refractometers need to be checked for calibration and recalibrated frequently.  

 

I'm no expert, but I think that someone, somewhere was wrong!  😉

 

I haven't had anything like that happen with mine in the >10 years I've had it.  It's never, ever been calibrated and except when my kid was playing with the set screw one time 😙.  It's calibration has never moved "mysteriously".

 

I understand somewhat why electronic sensors need recalibration periodically.  But a refractometer is a photo-mechanical device – not even vaguely similar.

 

If your refractometer is riding around in the back of your car and subject to lots of environmental stress, then your story may be different.  But sitting on a shelf, I can't fathom a reason that the calibration would change.  🤷‍♂️

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mcarroll
3 hours ago, seabass said:

Then here you go:

"Potassium nitrate is an oxidizer. Calcium nitrate is an alternative to potassium nitrate for international customers. Aquariumfertilizer.com has a permit filed with the Canadian Department of Natural Resources that allows us to ship potassium nitrate to Canada". - https://aquariumfertilizer.com/

 

Although I don't see why there would be a problem with just using calcium nitrate.  Anybody have any cons to using calcium nitrate in a reef tank?  It seems to me that the calcium component could even be a positive. :unsure:

 

I knew there had to be some exceptions.

 

2 hours ago, Clown79 said:

My biggest question is why I have such issues maintaining nitrates?

Maybe try reducing the size of your bio-filter by pulling out some or all of your sand bed?  Hypothetically that should reduce the amount of denitrification happening.

 

Maybe try getting some microscope samples from your sand bed to see what's going on there?  (Maybe nothing, but maybe interesting.)

 

Maybe just try to increase your fish feeding a little more (either just quantity, or frequency too) but don't worry about it after that?

 

When's the last time the tank had a Dino-relapse?

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Clown79
1 hour ago, mcarroll said:

I knew there had to be some exceptions.

 

Maybe try reducing the size of your bio-filter by pulling out some or all of your sand bed?  Hypothetically that should reduce the amount of denitrification happening.

 

Maybe try getting some microscope samples from your sand bed to see what's going on there?  (Maybe nothing, but maybe interesting.)

 

Maybe just try to increase your fish feeding a little more (either just quantity, or frequency too) but don't worry about it after that?

 

When's the last time the tank had a Dino-relapse?

I barely have sand. It's less than an inch, its basically decor to keep my low corals from being knocked over.

 

 

I feed my fish twice a day already and not little amounts. Its done nothing but add phosphate, same with coral food.

 

 

I haven't had a dino relapse. Tanks been great until the last 2 weeks with salinity spike. 

There isn't any stringy algae, no bubbles forming, no brown on my sand.

 

The majority or corals are great except birdsnest, stylo, 2 blastos, and euphyllia.

 

Some are already looking better since correcting the salinity.

 

No new fish, no new cuc, no new corals. Nothing changed.

 

My tanks have always had issue with nitrates. The highest I ever got them was 10 and I actually at that point ran more macro, more waterchanges, more media, fed a lot less, and a lot more cuc.

 

My 20g has the exact same issues with lack of nitrate but normal phos levels. 

 

My microscope broke, cheaply made not cheaply priced for quality. Lasted 2 mnths. 

When I replace it it won't be a cheap one from amazon. 

 

 

 

 

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Clown79
2 hours ago, mcarroll said:

I knew there had to be some exceptions.

 

Maybe try reducing the size of your bio-filter by pulling out some or all of your sand bed?  Hypothetically that should reduce the amount of denitrification happening.

 

Maybe try getting some microscope samples from your sand bed to see what's going on there?  (Maybe nothing, but maybe interesting.)

 

Maybe just try to increase your fish feeding a little more (either just quantity, or frequency too) but don't worry about it after that?

 

When's the last time the tank had a Dino-relapse?

Potassium nitrate and sodium nitrate is permitted with a permit for use, it is not permitted to be sold for general household use.

 

So they can sell it legally if the have a permit but the user also has to be permitted to use it ex. Farmers, nurseries, government. Those are the exceptions.

 

 

It's just like fish meds aren't illegal but you are required to have a prescription and stores can no longer sell medications like copper and antibiotics.

 

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squamptonbc
39 minutes ago, Clown79 said:

Potassium nitrate and sodium nitrate is permitted with a permit for use, it is not permitted to be sold for general household use.

 

So they can sell it legally if the have a permit but the user also has to be permitted to use it ex. Farmers, nurseries, government. Those are the exceptions.

 

 

It's just like fish meds aren't illegal but you are required to have a prescription and stores can no longer sell medications like copper and antibiotics.

 

 

 

 

He is based in Canada, although you did need to provide ID due to the regulations. 

 

https://theplantguy.ca/collections/fertilizer/products/plantguys-potassium-nitrate-kno3-500g

 

 

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Tired

If you're feeding and it's only increasing phosphate, not nitrate, then it IS increasing nitrate and something is using it up. 

 

If the problem is the same in both tanks, something else must be the same. Have you shared materials between the tanks that might have taken some sort of heavily nitrate-draining algae? Is it possible your water or your salt is involved? 

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Clown79
9 minutes ago, squamptonbc said:

 

 

 

He is based in Canada, although you did need to provide ID due to the regulations. 

 

https://theplantguy.ca/collections/fertilizer/products/plantguys-potassium-nitrate-kno3-500g

 

 

Damn! 

 

I understand why we have the regulations but one should be able to purchase limited quantities. 

 

It's like the medication issue. So many ppl are losing expensive fish because they can't get meds because most vets here, they don't deal with fish and can't legally give a prescription without a checkup. 

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Clown79
13 minutes ago, Tired said:

If you're feeding and it's only increasing phosphate, not nitrate, then it IS increasing nitrate and something is using it up. 

 

If the problem is the same in both tanks, something else must be the same. Have you shared materials between the tanks that might have taken some sort of heavily nitrate-draining algae? Is it possible your water or your salt is involved? 

This isn't a new issue. I've gotten my nitrates to 10 3yrs ago and had 0 phos then. It didn't last long.

 

Hell when I had dino's, I severely over fed the tank and no waterchanges- I mean twice a day reef roids, twice a day food, my nitrates after weeks hit less than 5, phos got to 0.03. 

When I started dosing phyto that's when the phos increased but not nitrate.

 

That's when the dino's died.

 

I had no macro in the tank for yrs. Have none in my 20g. Some dragons breath in my 25g but even with none I couldn't get nitrate.

 

I share nothing between tanks. They even have their own basters, siphons, tweezers, everything is separate. 

 

I have a tiny bit of rubble in my back chambers for pod condo's, it's very little. Not even a pound. 

 

That's it. 

 

No skimmers. Barely any media, no chaeto(never could grow it).

 

I'm one of those lucky ppl who want some nitrate but just can't seem to achieve it.

 

My salifert test results there was a minimal tinge of pink so I gather 1-2 ppm

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squamptonbc
39 minutes ago, Clown79 said:

Damn! 

 

I understand why we have the regulations but one should be able to purchase limited quantities. 

 

It's like the medication issue. So many ppl are losing expensive fish because they can't get meds because most vets here, they don't deal with fish and can't legally give a prescription without a checkup. 

 

The lack of fish vets is certainly the big hurdle, vets out my way can't treat or prescribe anything without physically seeing the patient there is no exception for fish, and vets wont typically do house calls, and well I never found one even willing to entertain the idea of treating a fish let alone prescribe medication for one.

 

The law/rules even confuses the government's own people, one store was told they could sell copper and some others by one government inspector, then another said, nope can't sell it, so even the government can't figure out its own rules....

 

If you need copper to treat its not too difficult to make, and what you need is generally sold on Amazon, and recipe for it can be found on other reef forums.

 

 

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seabass

Obviously something is using nitrate.  I doubt that you plan on eradicating whatever is consuming it; so I'd just accept it and dose accordingly to achieve your target level.

 

Not that it matters much, but a carbon source could possibly explain the nitrate consumption.  Maybe look at your additives (or even your salt mix).  Although, just about any photosynthetic organism will utilize nutrients.

 

Randy Holmes-Farley has stated that calcium nitrate is fine to use.  Plus, you shouldn't have any problems sourcing it in Canada.  Dose it if you need to.

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Clown79
1 hour ago, seabass said:

Obviously something is using nitrate.  I doubt that you plan on eradicating whatever is consuming it; so I'd just accept it and dose accordingly to achieve your target level.

 

Not that it matters much, but a carbon source could possibly explain the nitrate consumption.  Maybe look at your additives (or even your salt mix).  Although, just about any photosynthetic organism will utilize nutrients.

 

Randy Holmes-Farley has stated that calcium nitrate is fine to use.  Plus, you shouldn't have any problems sourcing it in Canada.  Dose it if you need to.

Thank Seabass. 

 

I'm gonna do a bunch a research, been a while since I've done some reading.

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mcarroll
On 5/12/2020 at 3:34 PM, Clown79 said:

It's like the medication issue. So many ppl are losing expensive fish because they can't get meds because most vets here, they don't deal with fish and can't legally give a prescription without a checkup. 

The bright spot on that issue is that the hobby does tend to lean too much on the crutch of medication – there are better ways to keep fish that obviate most of the need for meds.

 

So while there are undoubtedly a minority of legit cases of sick fish going untreated, there is also A TON of unnecessary med usage that's being eliminated at the same time.

 

If the same kind of thing could politically be pulled off here in the US, it should be.  (Worry not...it will never happen.)  Many of these meds are illegal for any "off label" use/without a perscription, and for good reason, but still generally available on the internet, or locally.  🤷‍♂️  lol

 

As a result (e.g.) we have folks en masse trying to "cure hair algae" with high-powered antibiotics rather than controlling it with basic husbandry.  (Don't get me started on fish meds...lol)

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Tired

Yeah, I understand that it's hard for people who are losing fish, but antibiotic resistance is a very, very scary thing. Beyond over-reliance on meds, there's a real threat to human life in antibiotic overuse. Better to quarantine fish and treat other ways when possible. And perhaps look into vets (especially now) willing to do video-chat appointments? 

 

IMO, antibiotics in general shouldn't be available to the public without a prescription. Topical antibiotics like Neosporin might be okay, and medical antibacterial soap is important for pre-surgery prep (you wash with it the night before), but just about everything else shouldn't be over-the-counter. We should especially not have people washing their hands with antibiotic soap on the regular! That's just asking to get a medication-resistant disease.

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Clown79
9 hours ago, Tired said:

Yeah, I understand that it's hard for people who are losing fish, but antibiotic resistance is a very, very scary thing. Beyond over-reliance on meds, there's a real threat to human life in antibiotic overuse. Better to quarantine fish and treat other ways when possible. And perhaps look into vets (especially now) willing to do video-chat appointments? 

 

IMO, antibiotics in general shouldn't be available to the public without a prescription. Topical antibiotics like Neosporin might be okay, and medical antibacterial soap is important for pre-surgery prep (you wash with it the night before), but just about everything else shouldn't be over-the-counter. We should especially not have people washing their hands with antibiotic soap on the regular! That's just asking to get a medication-resistant disease.

These are all the reasons why they banned them in stores, main reason- farmers treating livestock with antibiotics without a vet.

 

 

Unfortunately most hobbyists here have found out, there are no vets that treat fish in this province. I know of 1 only. 

 

 

 

 

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Clown79
9 hours ago, mcarroll said:

The bright spot on that issue is that the hobby does tend to lean too much on the crutch of medication – there are better ways to keep fish that obviate most of the need for meds.

 

So while there are undoubtedly a minority of legit cases of sick fish going untreated, there is also A TON of unnecessary med usage that's being eliminated at the same time.

 

If the same kind of thing could politically be pulled off here in the US, it should be.  (Worry not...it will never happen.)  Many of these meds are illegal for any "off label" use/without a perscription, and for good reason, but still generally available on the internet, or locally.  🤷‍♂️  lol

 

As a result (e.g.) we have folks en masse trying to "cure hair algae" with high-powered antibiotics rather than controlling it with basic husbandry.  (Don't get me started on fish meds...lol)

 

 

The issue is, now  stores can't do treatment either which can cause unnecessary death.

 

Bigger problem- vets here are turning away ppl because they have 0 experience with fish and cannot legally prescribe without in person check up. 

 

Not all treatments outside of antibiotics and copper will always work and qt doesn't prevent the new fish from dying

 

I'll be honest, I wouldn't drive hours to get to a vet to pay $65+  for a vet to prescribe an antibiotic I once could have purchased for a lot less the in a store.

 

Once upon a time it would cost $15-$20 for the very few antibiotics available in our stores, now it will cost a lot more. Gas, vet visit, any tests they have to do, then the meds. Well over $20.

 

here, it has far less to do with humans actually using the meds on themselves as it's cheaper to get meds via your employer benefits plud anyone under 25 and over 65 is covered by government for prescriptions

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squamptonbc
21 hours ago, Tired said:

Yeah, I understand that it's hard for people who are losing fish, but antibiotic resistance is a very, very scary thing. Beyond over-reliance on meds, there's a real threat to human life in antibiotic overuse. Better to quarantine fish and treat other ways when possible. And perhaps look into vets (especially now) willing to do video-chat appointments? 

 

IMO, antibiotics in general shouldn't be available to the public without a prescription. Topical antibiotics like Neosporin might be okay, and medical antibacterial soap is important for pre-surgery prep (you wash with it the night before), but just about everything else shouldn't be over-the-counter. We should especially not have people washing their hands with antibiotic soap on the regular! That's just asking to get a medication-resistant disease.

 

The problem is there are so few vets who will even entertain the idea of treating fish, can't get a prescription when vets wont treat fish since the average vet has no education or training in fish diseases.

 

At least in my province, the law is the vet has to see the patient to prescribe medications, as in the vet needs to see the animal in person either in the office or animals home, but of course regular vets don't do house-calls and vets are not for the most part even doing video chat at least in my area.

 

It sucks mostly because the fish come in from suppliers with diseases and now stores can't even treat them which of course then means more sick fish in store tanks.

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Clown79
2 hours ago, squamptonbc said:

 

The problem is there are so few vets who will even entertain the idea of treating fish, can't get a prescription when vets wont treat fish since the average vet has no education or training in fish diseases.

 

At least in my province, the law is the vet has to see the patient to prescribe medications, as in the vet needs to see the animal in person either in the office or animals home, but of course regular vets don't do house-calls and vets are not for the most part even doing video chat at least in my area.

 

It sucks mostly because the fish come in from suppliers with diseases and now stores can't even treat them which of course then means more sick fish in store tanks.

It's all of Canada. It sucks.

 

 

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mcarroll
On 5/19/2020 at 11:55 AM, Clown79 said:

The issue is, now  stores can't do treatment either which can cause unnecessary death.

The store where I worked brought in lots of new fish every week and still didn't use any meds routinely.  On average maybe once a year we'd have to run a fully-monitored course of copper...some years not at all, some years maybe once or twice.  We could have been a lot more strict as well as more complete with our husbandry too....it wasn't like we were doing magic every week, just humans with too much work and too little time like the rest of us.  We were taught a few things about aquaculture when hired, and the store was designed around these basic ideas...I suppose that's what mattered.  Outbreaks under no-med conditions would simply have a different protocol rather than auto-blasting the system with copper.  A lot more emphasis would go on other methods of prevention too.

 

Stores like that wouldn't have too much trouble in the current climate without access to meds.

 

However stores that don't have the systems or expertise to keep fish healthy rely heavily on the routine use of meds.  Things like sub-therapeutic copper to keep their fish alive until sale, just to name one example.

 

Stores like that are most likely having to learn a few new husbandry tricks under your current laws, and that can't be seen as a bad thing IMO.  Also IMO the incapable stores that can't adapt will ultimately shake out, but the rest will do fine.  And in the long run we, and the fish, should all be better off.

 

For what it's worth, good aquaculture guidance is pretty much freely and widely available, even if it's not being waved in our faces like all these magic bullet "cure in a bottle" solutions that get mentioned with regularity.  So there's no informational reason that any store can't bone up on what it needs to do to operate without a dependency on meds, and with alternate procedures for when outbreaks occur, etc....they just need to go outside the immediate boundary of the hobby (or back into some of the more complete books the hobby has produced over the years) for the info.   Granted you'll have to read around a lot of material in aquaculture literature that does concern usage of medications...but that's hardly going to stop anyone from learning the alternative stuff if they are paying attention and interested.  I'm thinking of Ed Noga's excellent fish disease book here....lots of med usage info, but also lots on alternative treatments – info that doesn't get as much attention I think for obvious reasons.)

 

All that said, it seems there are quite a few folks left in the lurch who don't really know what to do....and that is undoubtedly causing localized problems, including some unnecessary fish death.  Whether it would be causing more death than a given store would normally generate is actually hard to generalize about tho, IMO....how many of those sub-therapeutic copper fish that now presumably die in the dealer's tank were simply going on to die in a hapless newb's tank later anyway?  It's no different for the fish, just that now there's a dealer (with a megaphone) that's taking the hit. 😬

 

All I can do to help most of the folks left in the lurch is point to appropriate resources like these:

"The Southern Regional Aquaculture Center is one of five Regional Centers established by Congress through the USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The thirteen states and two territories included in the Southern Region are: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Virginia."

 

I presume there are parallel organizations in Canada, eh?  😉 Regardless, the facts translate...so feel free to use the PDF's from SRAC's database.  You're welcome!  LOL

 

  • The University of Florida's EDIS system has an excellent selection of free PDF's as well which has some overlap and some unique articles.  Lots of links in my blog's "The Fish Guide" are from there.  There are lots of other interesting articles on my blog's Fish section too.

 

  • I mentioned this book:

<span class='search-highlight'>Fish</span> <span class='search-highlight'>Disease</span>: <span class='search-highlight'>Diagnosis</span> and <span class='search-highlight'>Treatment</span>, 2nd Edition

Fish Disease: Diagnosis and Treatment, 2nd Edition

 

I think everyone that's remotely serious about fish (should be close to 100% of us) should have this book (or PDF) and learn as much as they can from it.  It's very expensive (>$150), but you might find older copies for sale, or you may find it in a library.  Be resourceful and find a copy.  But then lots of folks will drop $150 on a single fish or coral frag....so just buy the damn book.  😉

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Tired

Potentially a stupid question: can theraputic levels of copper be somehow gotten out of something like a copper pipe? I'd imagine soaking the pipe in some tank water would get some copper into the water, but I don't know if it could be finangled into something viable for dosing. Maybe by soaking the pipe in a bucket and then pouring the copper water into an aquarium. 

 

And I don't know if the concern re. antibiotic purchase is about people using it on themselves. I'd thought the concern was more about aquarium water with antibiotics in it, going down the drain and exposing all the things in the drain to antibiotics. We want to expose as few bacteria as possible to antibiotics, since the little buggers can swap genes and give it to each other.

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Amphrites
26 minutes ago, Tired said:

Potentially a stupid question: can theraputic levels of copper be somehow gotten out of something like a copper pipe? I'd imagine soaking the pipe in some tank water would get some copper into the water, but I don't know if it could be finangled into something viable for dosing. Maybe by soaking the pipe in a bucket and then pouring the copper water into an aquarium. 

 

And I don't know if the concern re. antibiotic purchase is about people using it on themselves. I'd thought the concern was more about aquarium water with antibiotics in it, going down the drain and exposing all the things in the drain to antibiotics. We want to expose as few bacteria as possible to antibiotics, since the little buggers can swap genes and give it to each other.

You'd likely need some kind of agent to break the copper down, therapeutic levels are quite high and copper is pretty resistant to corrosion.

@Clown79

I have no idea what to tell you and I hope your system starts recovering quickly. I've got a similar issue in my tanks in that my P04 is stable but my nitrates, especially if I skip waterchanges, are prone to bottoming out regardless of feeding routine - the bugger is that the N03 in my system may be consumed quickly enough to cause alk to swings of a point or so (between weekly testings) even with normal dosing regimens.
The most recent swing to zero killed my seriatopora and just about killed a favia... (Monti's blastos, litho's, stylo's all fine)
I wish I were well enough informed, or even knew where to look, to puzzle out why some systems seem to chew through nutrients and denitrify SO much more rapidly than others, but I've not really been able to find much of anything at all.

I really hope things bounce back for you and I'm glad to hear only a few animals were hit, though I'm sorry any were to begin with.

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Tired

When systems are so different in a part of the nitrogen cycle without being visibly different in other ways, it makes me think it's something about the microfauna. I'd love to see an experiment in transferring some of the rock from a high-processing system to a low-processing system to see if that makes any difference. 

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Amphrites
4 minutes ago, Tired said:

When systems are so different in a part of the nitrogen cycle without being visibly different in other ways, it makes me think it's something about the microfauna. I'd love to see an experiment in transferring some of the rock from a high-processing system to a low-processing system to see if that makes any difference. 

You and me both, however the issue is kind of hilarious in that there'd be no guarantee the results indicate anything because of an inability to isolate variables or organisms.

OH, before I forget, and I don't know if this helps, I've always double-checked calibration against Distilled AND my system water, that way if anything in any of my systems or my water-mix is amiss it's immediately-apparent. So, in a way, I use my established systems as calibration fluid, this could theoretically lead to salinity creeping up or down over time, but I get some LFS premixed every couple of batches to make sure everything still lines up.

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