Protien skimmer or GFO

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by Kim, Aug 20, 2017.

  1. Kim

    Kim Secretary Staff Member

    Hiya,

    So, I was in Paradise Pets yesterday to see if Kevin had a skimmer for the bio cube. He said I really need a GFO for the bio cube and not a skimmer. So, which is better the skimmer or putting a GFO in it?
     
  2. huntindoc

    huntindoc RRMAS BOD Membership Director Staff Member

    It's not an either or. GFO is used to reduce/control your PO4. A skimmer removes dissolved organics which include lots of things including nitrates and phosphate.

    Not sure what he is thinking but you should use which ever one you need to use or both. GFO can be run in a bag in one of the chambers of your AIO but it's more effectively used in a reactor. Chemipure Elite contains GFO, Rowphos also contains GFO.
     
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  3. LJC6780

    LJC6780 Well-Known Member

    What is the problem? I understand GFO to lower phosphates. I run mine if they get over 0.08 or so. Actually got it down to zero and had to turn it off for a while.

    Protein skimmers will probably lower that as well as nitrates as it pulls out the uneaten foods and poop and stuff like that that are free in the water column.

    I personally have both and use as needed. I'd think it would depend more on what your stock, feeding and parameters are rather than the specific tank. I could be wrong though.
     
  4. LJC6780

    LJC6780 Well-Known Member

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  5. Kim

    Kim Secretary Staff Member

    I use the chemipure elite in both my tanks and replace it every 60 days. So, I guess I really do need a skimmer. I only have one fish in the tank. I did some rock work and haven't seen my pistol shrimp's partner the last couple days. Major sad face!!! :( So the only fish in there is a damsel.

    Thanks!!!
     
  6. LJC6780

    LJC6780 Well-Known Member

    Are you having a phosphate or nitrate problem?
     
  7. Kim

    Kim Secretary Staff Member

    Hiya,

    Probably nitrates. I don't feed that often, and need to do more water changes. 5 gallons every other week isn't working.
     
  8. huntindoc

    huntindoc RRMAS BOD Membership Director Staff Member

    Probably? I can check your nitrates for you at the next meeting. We could even do a demo on test kits.
     
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  9. LJC6780

    LJC6780 Well-Known Member

    You are in Benton, right? I can bring over my test kits if you don't have any. We can see what nitrates and phosphates are running.
     
  10. Kim

    Kim Secretary Staff Member

    Hiya,

    I could take a water sample to Paradise pets and test for nitrates. I'm 90% sure that's what it is. I disturbed a lot of rock work and substrate in the tank last weekend. I'm seeing hair algae now. I need to get a protien skimmer and put it on there.

    Though, I wouldn't object to someone bringing test kits and refractometer to double check my levels.
     
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  11. huntindoc

    huntindoc RRMAS BOD Membership Director Staff Member

    I'll be happy to Kim. If it is your nitrates, a skimmer alone is not going to fix the problem more than likely. I will make a guess that the biggest factor is high phosphate. I've had my tank be relatively algae free with a nitrate of 12 but I've also had it over run with hair algae with a phosphate of 0.10 or less.
     
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  12. LJC6780

    LJC6780 Well-Known Member

    Yep, and unless they use a Hanna checker (or there may be one other sensitive test- not API) you won't get a reading that low.

    Might be good to get your own test kits to have on hand too.
     
  13. Brian

    Brian Active Member

    not sure what API is, but it looks like you can get a complete marine test kit for the price of one hanna checker (which only checks one thing).
    and then again, the LFS is free. I like free.
     
  14. LJC6780

    LJC6780 Well-Known Member

    Yes, you can, but I've heard by many that API is not as accurate on Saltwater. (I believe they are highly recommended for Freshwater though, especially over strips) I have gotten away from using them for the most part. I use salifert and Hanna. The reason I use Hanna for the phosphate is that it's a difinitive number and not a "guess the color" reading and it is sensitive enough to read down to 0.01 where other tests are not and API is way off or will read zero because it is not very sensitive. Seems like there is one other brand that is fairly sensitive but I still think it's a "guess the color" test.

    And for me, the free fish store is only as good as their test kit and the person doing it. I've had people at fish stores test my water for me and have watched them miss drops or just flat out not follow the directions ... I'm very consistent and always follow the directions exactly, therefore, I trust myself more. JMO.
     
  15. Brian

    Brian Active Member

  16. huntindoc

    huntindoc RRMAS BOD Membership Director Staff Member

    The problem with API for phosphate is that it can't even detect it in the range we need to keep our tanks. The problem with it for other parameters is it's very inconsistent.
    I agree with the article, use what you can use and get repeatable results. Over the last 5 years I've used a lot of test kits and what I look for is ease of use and precision rather than accuracy. Precision means that the test kit will read very close to the same number for a given sample every time. Accuracy means it reads close to the actual content of the sample.

    For instance if you take a sample with a phosphate of o.10 and test it with two different kits. Kit #1 is very precise. You do 3 tests and get 0.16, 0.17 and 0.16. Kit # 2 is accurate. You test with it and get 0.07, 0.12 and 0.14. Which one would you choose? Kit#2's average reading is 0.11 which is very close to the actual #. Kit #1's average is 0.16333 which is much further from the actual #. Problem is you don't check 3 times every day. The precise kit can be "calibrated" by knowing where your tank is "happy". If you try to adjust dosing by a kit like #2 you will drive your self crazy trying to achieve stability.

    If you know where your tank is happy....precision is more important as stability is what we're trying to achieve.

    The kits I have faith in...are(in order of preference). Alkalinity.....Hanna/Salifert, Calcium....Salifert/Red Sea, Magnesium.....Salifert/Red Sea, Nitrate...... Red Sea/ Salifert, Phosphate.....Hanna ULR/Salifert. I will say I actually prefer API for ammonia. Very sensitive and easy to use.
     
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  17. Brian

    Brian Active Member

    Trend analysis. Regardless of the actual number, is it going up or down. Which direction does your reef need you to go? Whatever you are using, obviously not lab grade test, does trend analysis pan out to take you to the range you would like to be.
     
  18. LJC6780

    LJC6780 Well-Known Member

    That is what I was trying to say but in much better detail!!! Thank you for that explanation @huntindoc !

    As you've done more research and self use of different tests than I have, I'm glad to see that I'm using all of your favorites except I use the salifert for nitrate. What is it that you like about the Red Sea over the salifert for that one?

    And I agree with the consistency over a specific number. I have noticed that with trying to achieve certain ranges my corals have started to grow faster but I'm no longer trying to make it all perfect. Holding steady in a healthy range and watching the tank's growth is becoming easier as I gain more experience.
     
  19. huntindoc

    huntindoc RRMAS BOD Membership Director Staff Member

    Really those two are 1 and 1A for me. I just am able to see the Red Sea a little better due to how you do the comparison. Those two always agree for me.
     
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  20. LJC6780

    LJC6780 Well-Known Member

    I see. Yeah, the way it's thinner in the center and thicker on the corners makes it hard for me to decide which color to use since obviously the thicker area is darker.

    I really like the ones that have a difinitive color change ... like from pink to blue, since they are not just shades of the same color.
     
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