Comparing NO3: PO4-X to other methods of algae nutrient reduction:

 

Reduction Method
NO3 Reduction
PO4 Reduction
Controlled reduction
Essential equipment
NO3: PO4-X
Yes
Yes
Yes
Protein skimmer
Technical comments

Researched and tested formula that includes all of the necessary elements for the balanced and controlled, long term reduction of both NO3 & PO4 without the need for reactors or replacement media. Each carbon in the NOPOX complex is utilized by different strains of microorganisms while the other organic-bonded elements ensure a steady bacterial propagation and the complete nitrate reduction of nitrate to nitrogen gas as well as the absorption and utilization of phosphate by the bacteria. The fine control of the nitrate and phosphate levels provided by monitored dosing of NO3:PO4-X guarantees the gradual changes and accurate maintenance of the nutrient levels. This prevents the destruction of the Zooxanthellae population that can cause UV shock and starvation of corals

VSV
(Vodka + Sugar + Vinegar)
Yes
Yes
Yes
Protein skimmer
Technical comments
Rapid reduction of NO3 and PO4 however over the long term, a lack of essential elements will reduce effectiveness and may lead to the collapse of the bacteria population.
System can produce H2S which is toxic for corals and fish.
Vodka or EthanolYesNoNoProtein skimmer
Technical comments

Rapid reduction of NO3 but does not reduce PO4. If not combined with additional PO4 reduction the N:P ratio will be disturbed leading to outbreaks of cyanobacteria. Over the long term a lack of essential elements will reduce effectiveness and may lead to the collapse of the bacteria population.

System can produce H2S which is toxic for corals and fish.

De-NitratorsYesNoNoDe- Nitrification reactor
Technical comments

Rapid reduction of NO3 but does not reduce PO4. If not combined with additional PO4 reduction the N:P ratio will be disturbed leading to outbreaks of cyanobacteria.

Carbon Systems: Inherently unstable and difficult to regulate.

System can produce N2O and H2S which is toxic for corals and fish.

Over the long term a lack of essential elements will reduce effectiveness and may lead to the collapse of the bacteria population.

Sulphur Systems: Relatively low maintenance however they easily become clogged and can cause sudden pH drops.

PO4 removersNOYesNoMedia reactor
Technical comments

Rapid but uncontrolled reduction of NO3/PO4 that can easily cause stress to corals.

Some products such as Zeolite/ Ferric Hydroxide ion exchangers typically release undesirable cations.

Lower quality products may also release undesirable metals (Al, Fe).

RefugiumYesYesNoRefugium
 Technical comments

Low maintenance but slow and uncontrolled NO3/PO4 reduction. To effectively treat all of the nutrients generated in a full reef, the size of the refugium will need to be similar in volume to the aquarium itself. Smaller refugiums can be used as a partial solution alongside other methods.

In the event of collapse of the algae population allelochemicals (toxins for corals) are released to the system.