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Old 11-17-2003, 11:13 AM   #1
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Phosphate Saga Continues!

I have posted two or three other messages regarding my system's phosphate problems. I have a 90 gallon salt water reef system that has been in existence for about 9 months. I went through a period of about a month or two where I was adding water from my RO system and the membrane was bad. My local tap water has a lot of phosphate in it. I have gone through a cycle now three times removing phosphate from my system using a phosphate sponge only to find 3 weeks later that the level has moved up from 0 to 0.03 all the way to 0.5. Apparently what has happened is that the phosphate has precipitated out and is redissolving to its equilibrium level every time I remove it.

My plan going forward is to continue my siphoning with 10% water changes twice a month, continue monitoring the phosphate levels and continue using the phosphate sponge in hopes of removing all of it.

Does anyone have any other ideas on how to proceed? I certainly don't want to remove all of my live rock and substrate and start over. Also, I wish there was a regeneratable phosphate sponge, so I didn't have to keep purchasing new material. Does anyone know of one?

Thanks in advance for any help anyone can give.

awillemd1
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Old 11-17-2003, 11:21 AM   #2
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My plan going forward is to continue my siphoning with 10% water changes twice a month, continue monitoring the phosphate levels and continue using the phosphate sponge in hopes of removing all of it.
Do several large waterchanges 25 -30% weekly for a month with water known to be free of PO4.

What kind of rock is in the system? What and how much do you feed?
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Old 11-17-2003, 12:06 PM   #3
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Thank you for your reply.

I, unfortunately, don't know what kind of live rock I have since the aquarium was given to my by a friend who had it for 5 years. But I know he was successful in raising corals.

I feed typically a flake food from a company called Aquadine. My lfs has a station with about 8 different types of these flakes and I tell him what kind of fish I have and he mixes up some for me. I went to their website and they didn't have any information on what is in their product.

I've actually thought of making a concentrate with the fishfood to try and measure how much phosphate is in there using my testkit, but I haven't done this yet.

I don't see how I could be feeding too much since I only have two fish (a Yellow Tang and a Spotted Hawkfish)... I try to feed once every other day or every third day. (Unfortunately or fortunately, I have plenty of hair algae for my Tang to eat.) I am guessing that I put in about 10 flakes when I feed, but I am really not sure. I just purchased some frozen mysis (sp) shrimp thinking that it would be good to have some variety and that this might have less phosphate in it. Can you advise me on a better feeding schedule and food type?

I noticed in a reply to one of my earlier posts that Timbo2 had a very similar problem with phosphate levels increasing.

I will attempt some larger water changes, but it seems like I should wait until the phosphate levels are high again to do this.?

Thanks again for the help!

awillemd1
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Old 11-17-2003, 12:25 PM   #4
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but it seems like I should wait until the phosphate levels are high again to do this.?
Yes, if your not having a PO4 issue right now, then you should keep your normal routine.

You should be able to take a sample of water (known to be free of PO4) and test, drop in a small piece of the flake food and you'll see the color trailing off the food if there is PO4 in the food.
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Old 11-17-2003, 12:38 PM   #5
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I have some of my old phosphate sponge in there now and it seems to be bringing the level down to the 0 to 0.03 level. I will check again tonight to be sure.

I will go ahead and check the flakes. Do you have any advice on food that might not have any or low levels of phosphate?

Thanks again.

awillemd1
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Old 11-17-2003, 12:53 PM   #6
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Do you have any advice on food that might not have any or low levels of phosphate?

To be honest, I'm not sure, I feed a blender mush of raw fresh seafoods and nori some vitamins thrown in as well and have not had an issue. I also drip kalkwasser nightly which precipitates PO4 out of solution.
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Old 11-17-2003, 12:58 PM   #7
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Would Klakwasser be an option for me? I have a bag for dripping it in. I did it for a while, but I noticed something funny happening with my chemistry and I can't remember what it was. I read somewhere that you need to have sufficient CO2 in your system and since I only had two fish I thought that might have been the problem.

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Old 11-17-2003, 01:03 PM   #8
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Kalk should be dripped slowly into the system, I do it at night, if you have a CA demand on your system, then yes kalk would be an option.
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