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NOPOX Overdose!!!

Discussion in 'Tank Chemistry' started by Shredder, Jun 19, 2016.

  1. Shredder

    Shredder Registered Users

    I could kick myself (and am). I have had an algae bloom (your basic green) going on for about a month. Endless battle - I vacuum it up and do a 25% water change and in about a week it started up again. Each week, I took a different approach in addition to the vacuuming and water change. One week I cut back on feedings - no change and the fish were pretty much jumping out of the water and fighting for food when I did feed; not a pellet fell to the bottom. I tried using snails - the peppermint shrimp thought they were delicious! I dropped my lighting down to four hours for a week - no change and I started to worry about the effects on my corals; even if it did work, this was not going to work long-term. This takes me to last night...a night that will live in infamy.

    I finally decided to go the chemical route to try to lower the nitrate and phosphate. I picked up some NOPOX last night and read through the manual. I did not have a current phosphate reading so I figured I would go with the lowest recommended dosing and give it a day or two to see how things were going. I misread the dosing instructions and added 10ml to my 25 gallon Nano when the recommended dosage was 3ml! I think I was looking at the liter chart. Bottom line, I put in 3X the recommended dosage. When I came down this morning all fish were dead and the water was very cloudy. The anemone appears to be OK and interestingly, the corals seem absolutely normal (for now).

    Yes I am a noob (10 months), yes it was stupid, yeah I feel like an idiot. Please save the deprecating comments, I have beat myself up all morning. What I need advice on a fix pronto! I have three options I am considering; let me know your thoughts:

    1. An almost wholesale water change to the tank, somewhere between 80-90% and leave the corals in, hoping that the preservation of some of the natural bacteria and "reef soup" left in the tank will be preserved and benefit them
    2. Remove the corals to a secondary tank with fresh saltwater and let the tank cycle for a day or so and then do a big water change. Thought being that these couple of days will solve my algae issue
    3. Remove the corals and nem to a secondary tank, break down the whole tank, thoroughly rinse/clean the whole thing and start over. This is obviously the least desirable as I would have to recycle the tank, but if everything in the tank has been seriously screwed with, I am wondering if this would be my best option.

    If you agree with any of the above or have a better solution(s), I would greatly appreciate it.

  2. TheRealChrisBrown

    TheRealChrisBrown Barracuda M.A.S.C Club Member

    My knee jerk reaction was to recommend the large water change, but then considering the corals are looking ok for now and the nem too...I think I would try something like daily 10% to 20% Water changes. Since there are no fish left, it sounds like you are primarily interested in keeping the corals so I would monitor their overall appearance during this transition. I think going the smaller route would prevent another cycle.

    This article http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2005-10/rhf/ has some good graphs that helped me visualize how things like nitrate and phosphate decrease during water changes over time. I don't see what that wouldn't apply to the NOPOX in this situation..

    Good luck, keep us posted. We've all been there at one point in out reef keeping adventures!
    Zatalo likes this.
  3. Fitz19d

    Fitz19d Sardine M.A.S.C Club Member

    Regarding original problem. Once things go wrong, patience is needed. Its like getting obese, you can start feeding right but it can take months to correct. even if you did do a 90% change, and we're feeding correctly you can still have nutrients locked up in the rock. I'm assuming the link shows that singular larger changes will do more for reducing levels than many smaller changes.

    For your current situation I would still recommend a large water change because while the corals are okay now you surely I would imagine have all kinds of nutrients In water that is just going to start another algae bloom and affect the corals as time goes on
  4. rjl45

    rjl45 Copepod

    I'm not familiar with nopox but I would go with the daily water changes for a time.

    Looking to the future, managing nitrate and phosphate in a nano, can be a little tricky. I have a 24gal nano. We don't have the luxury of a sump, refugium or various reactors to help with nutrient export due to the limited space. I built myself an upflow algae turf scrubber that is small enough to fit in the back compartment. Works like a champ! Went from high nitrates and phospahtes to zero in about 12 weeks. It took some time to pull all the bad nutrients out of my rock. Suggest reading up on ATS. Fantastic method of managing nutrient export for a small tank, in a natural way. Good luck!

    Sent from my SM-P900 using Tapatalk
  5. Shredder

    Shredder Registered Users

    UPDATE - OK, so I pulled a 90% water swap out. Corals were out of water for less then two minutes before I covered them up with fresh salt water. Refill complete and pump and protein skimmer are up and running. Water is a little cloudy, but I am guessing that is due to all the turbulence of the water change. It's not milky like before, just a little cloudy. Corals appear to have pulled through - heads open, tentacles out, etc. I did lose the nem, all fish and all inverts with the exception of a large Cowrie snail that just popped out of the sand and started plowing around the bottom. I hadn't seen him in months, I actually thought he was either eaten or crawled in to sump.

    Unless anyone thinks otherwise, I am thinking this is a waiting game until tomorrow and then run some water tests. Thoughts?

    RJ, I would love to hear more about your algae scrubber.
  6. jda123

    jda123 Tuna M.A.S.C Club Member

    NOPOX is a carbon source. It fueled a bacterial bloom and that bloom used up all of the oxygen by outcompeting your fish. The overdose is done and the tank should be oxygenated again.

    There is no shortcut to algae or problems. Heavy skimming, reasonable bioload and feeding, fuges (growing and exporting algae), water changes and mechanical filtration always have and always will work - they work the best. Carbon source is not a good idea in any reef tank - it is very risky.

    What is going to happen next is that the water might test low for phosphate right now. In a few days, phosphate will unbind from the aragonite in the rock and sand to equilibrium with the water column and the phosphate in the water will rise. Eventually, you can get most of it out of the rock if you do water changes often.
    JuanGutz likes this.
  7. Fourthwind

    Fourthwind Amphipod M.A.S.C Club Member

    So here is where pictures may be of help. going back to your original "algae" problem. Are you sure it was algae and not green cyano? if you were able to vacuum some I question if it was true algae.
  8. Fitz19d

    Fitz19d Sardine M.A.S.C Club Member

    I didnt know much about the NOPOX, but yeah, vodka/vinegar and other carbon dosing can be overdosed for a bacteria bloom OP. What JDA says here is spot on and kinda what I was fumbling to mean.
  9. Shredder

    Shredder Registered Users

    Thanks JDA, water is clearing and all corals seem happy. I will do some water testing tomorrow to see where I am at, although I don't have a phosphate tester. I am guessing it's pretty darn low :smug: I will take a sample in to a local shop for that.

    I am pretty sure this was a common algae based on what I have seen on the net and the pictures that I showed to the guys at Neptune's and Stone Aquatics. I couldn't totally vacuum it up; it was more of some vacuumed and some of it broke up.

    As I have a 24 gallon JBJ with a 3 built-in chambers; I don't have a ton of space for fuge's, sumps, etc. I run a three tier rack in the the first chamber with a bag of carbon/filter pad in the first slot, ChemiPure Elite in the second, and a bag of Purigen on the third. Second chamber holds the heater and a basic sponge. Third chamber holds the pump and protein skimmer. I am open to reasonable ideas with the space I have.

    Similar to when I had a cheap heater fail, this has been a hard lesson, but my reef is not done with the hobby, nor am I.

    I greatly appreciate everyone's feedback!

  10. Balz3352

    Balz3352 Marlin M.A.S.C Club Member

    I ran a gfo reactor on my biocube when it was first getting going because algae was so bad and only took up as much space as. The pump I used. I used an mj 1200 probably way overpowered but worked. Perhaps this could help. It also helped to toothbrush or plastic "wire" brush (bristles were plastic not metal) and vacuuming above where I was scraping to remove algae.
  11. Balz3352

    Balz3352 Marlin M.A.S.C Club Member

    But if there is any!! Space for a small fuge or ats it will make a life changing difference. I now only run that no reactor.
  12. rjl45

    rjl45 Copepod

    Glad things are looking better. I wrote a thread documenting my experience with my algae scrubber. Haven't updated in a while (probably should) but I kept good notes for the first 12 weeks. Let me know if you have any questions. Be happy to help.

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