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Old 01-16-2008, 10:44 PM   #1
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Continual Phosphate Problem

I thought I had this solved but apparently not. I thought changing the resin in my ro/di unit would help but it really hasn't made a dent. I just got done testing my water--

Ammonia - 0
Nitrite - 0
Nitrate - 10 mg/l
Phosphate - 1.0 mg/l (no, that's not a typo)
Alkalinity 3 mEq/l
Ph - right between 8 and 8.2
Calcium - 375 mg/l
1.025

I've been doing my pwc's of 20% a week. I've been so concerned that I've done 3 pwc's in the last week (20% each). I don't want to loose any critters and I'm concerned with a phosphate level this high I might start. I've cut WAY back on feedings. I change my rowaphos (in the phosphate reactor) about every 10 days to 2 weeks.

On a positive note...my new protein skimmer is working great.

What would you suggest as a next step? I've never been a follower of adding "stuff" to my tank but I did go look at something called phos-busters.

HELP!!!
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Old 01-17-2008, 12:03 AM   #2
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Any way you can test the ro/di water for phosphate? Something is adding alot of phosphate into your system.
As far as the Rowaphos, is that the brand GFO your using? How much are you using in your reactor? What kind of flow do you have going thru it? FWIW, I use 9 tablespoons of PhosPure from Dr F&S for my 75 and I change that out every month. Flow thru the reactor is very slow. The GFO barely tumbles in the reactor.
I've read a little about those liquid phosphate removers. They have something in it that supposedly binds the phosphate, but it doesn't take it out of the system. Just a band-aid fix IMO. The GFO is expensive enough, I wouldn't waste money on the liquid quick fix.
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Old 01-17-2008, 12:18 AM   #3
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Any way you can test the ro/di water for phosphate? Something is adding alot of phosphate into your system.
As far as the Rowaphos, is that the brand GFO your using? How much are you using in your reactor? What kind of flow do you have going thru it? FWIW, I use 9 tablespoons of PhosPure from Dr F&S for my 75 and I change that out every month. Flow thru the reactor is very slow. The GFO barely tumbles in the reactor.
I've read a little about those liquid phosphate removers. They have something in it that supposedly binds the phosphate, but it doesn't take it out of the system. Just a band-aid fix IMO. The GFO is expensive enough, I wouldn't waste money on the liquid quick fix.

Thanks much for the prompt reply. I change out 250ml every 2 weeks (mainly because my phosphates are so high). I'm filtering some water right now and I'll test it tomorrow morning and post.

The flow through the reactor is possibly set a wee-bit too high (compared to your description). The top inch of gfo is at a "slow boil".
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Old 01-17-2008, 01:57 AM   #4
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Sorry to hear it's still an issue. It's hard to believe that it's your source water, but it sure seems like it's the culprit since you're not reducing the PO4, even with that many water changes.

You didn't wash out whatever you store your fresh water in with detergent, did you? I'm thinking you didn't, but figured I'd ask. Any detergent residue would be a PO4 source, big time.
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Old 01-17-2008, 11:22 AM   #5
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You didn't wash out whatever you store your fresh water in with detergent, did you? I'm thinking you didn't, but figured I'd ask. Any detergent residue would be a PO4 source, big time.

Thanks for asking but unfortunately I didn't (oh no, that would have been too easy darnit!)

I just got done doing a test for phosphates again (directly from the ro/di water w/o any salt added) and it came up with .2 mg/l

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Old 01-17-2008, 11:39 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by MsBeanCtr View Post
Thanks for asking but unfortunately I didn't (oh no, that would have been too easy darnit!)

I just got done doing a test for phosphates again (directly from the ro/di water w/o any salt added) and it came up with .2 mg/l

Are you having any algae problems in the tank?? I don't know the back story so I'm not sure if you are having any issues. Have you tried using another test kit or having the LFS test for you?? Just wondering if your kits are bad.

Seems like a .2 ppm reading coming straight from the ro/di would not be accurate unless the ro/di is not working properly. What is the PO4 level from your straight tap water?? What about the level just after you add salt?
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Old 01-17-2008, 11:45 AM   #7
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I just got done doing a test for phosphates again (directly from the ro/di water w/o any salt added) and it came up with .2 mg/l

Can't remember... do you have a TDS meter? If so, what are your tap water levels compared to the output of your RO/DI?

Even if your RO membrane is shot, if you just put in fresh DI resin, that should strip anything and everything from your water just on its own. At least for several dozen gallons or so!

Hmmm... that is strange.
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Old 01-17-2008, 12:32 PM   #8
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Hmmmm.....don't even know what a tds meter is therefore; I don't have one.

I will test later today on the tap water.

Oh, and the ro/di water that I tested was the 10th gallon after changing out the resin.
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Old 01-17-2008, 01:59 PM   #9
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TDS = Total Dissolved Solids

You can learn all about them and how they work at http://www.tdsmeter.com/

Then you get one for under $20.00 on eBay
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Old 01-17-2008, 02:16 PM   #10
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Also make sure you get the calibration solution.
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