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Old 09-19-2006, 04:33 PM   #1
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Removing phosphates

Ok i cant seem to get it down i do HUG PWC until the cows come home
nothing seems to help my tap water is at .5ppm and i feed the fish using tetramin.
is there anything i can use maybe some sort of filter media or something to remove the phosphate with out harming my fish? is the food i feed to high in it?
also i dont dose phosphate ferts obviously

tanks an 80Gal been setup for about 4 months now was somewhat stocked with plants but just fully stocked it this past sat i want to get this down because im battling algae all the time

tank before stocked
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k2...icture3007.jpg

tank after stock
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k2...icture3016.jpg
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Old 09-19-2006, 05:13 PM   #2
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How high are your Phosphates?

It may just be a matter of getting your nutrients balanced so that your plants can start making use of the Phosphates rather than allowing them to constantly build up. To this end some additional information about your lighting, fert schedule, CO2 and Nitrates would be helpful.
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Old 09-19-2006, 05:14 PM   #3
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if you have a cannister filter you can get a phosphate removing pad, i know rena makes them
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Old 09-19-2006, 05:20 PM   #4
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There's also a possibility that your substrate or some other piece of decor like your rocks could be leeching phosphates. If this is the case then you would have a very difficult time getting the phosphates down reguardless of what you do. You could use the bucket test to determine if this is the case. Fill a bucket with water and test to determine initial Phosphate levels. Add either substrate or suspected decor and then test periodically over the course of a couple weeks. If you see a rise in the Phosphate levels you have your culprit.
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Old 09-19-2006, 09:56 PM   #5
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You don't need to do anything to remove the phosphates.
As suggested above, you need to add the N and K to balance what your tap is giving you.
Get the plants growing with a balanced diet and they will take care of the phosphates and the green water will go away.

Are you dosing anything......N, K or traces? If so what and how much?
What is your lighting situation?

Phosphates do not create algae issues. Imbalance of plants>nutrients>light create algae issues. I maintain P levels at 2.0ppm at all times and have zero algae issues.
In a way you are lucky that you get some phosphates out of the tap. This way you can dose less yourself.

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Old 09-20-2006, 03:08 AM   #6
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Lighting of 384 of PC florecents
my phosphates are about 10ppm or over dont know lol
my substrait is black sand

http://www.petsmart.com/global/produ...sand&N=2023693

i know its not the rock i tested that

and i do dose

80 Gallon Aquariums
+/- 3/4 tsp KN03 3x a week .75 4.20g
+/- 1/4 tsp K2S04 3x a week .25 1.50g
+/- ¬ľ tsp (15ml) Trace 3x a week
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Old 09-20-2006, 10:51 AM   #7
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What are your test results for NO3, pH, and KH?
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Old 09-20-2006, 11:22 AM   #8
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I would try a different flake food. I have noticed that some contain far more phosphates than others. I use Big Al's staple flake food and find it contains a high amount of phosphates. I keep my levels around 1-2ppm without any phosphate dosing just with feedings. My tap also has 0.5ppm phosphate.

And if you levels are over 10ppm, you definately need to lower that amount. While it is true phosphate does not directly cause algae, the proper ratio (commonly kept around 10:1, but some keep closer to 5:1) would mean your nitrAtes would have to be between 50-100ppm. While 50 is really not that bad for the fish (I keep my nitrAtes around 40ppm most of the time), 100ppm is probably not a good thing for extended periods of time.

What I'd be interested is a phosphate test RIGHT AFTER a large PWC. A quick experiment you can do to find the source would be to do a large (or several) PWC's back to back to get a usable number (say 1-2ppm which is easy to distiguish). Now wait 24hours WITH NO FEEDINGS AND THE LIGHTS OFF. Then test your phosphates again.

If the levels are the same, you can be pretty sure its coming from the food source. If the levels are slightly higher, you can also be pretty sure its the food source (fish are still creating waste). If the levels are back up above 10ppm, you can be confident your fish food is not the root cause.

How much mulm do you have in the tank? I just separated my anubias that I got way back in March of this year. It had tripled in size and the rhizome which was above the surface with all of its roots had created a large deposit of mulm (fish waste, uneaten food, plant debris). While this is perfect for the plant as it will have a makeshift "root tab", it can play havoc with your water parameters as the rotting can leach large amounts of organics into the water.

It might be a good time for a good substrate cleaning and/or filter cleaning. I notice that I can bottom out my nitrAtes after a good substrate/filter cleaning, whereas it normally rises on its own until a weekly water change. This is due to all the ammonia being converted to nitrAte from the rotting.

Just to get an idea of your phosphate level do a serial dilution to find the actual amount you have in the tank (10ppm is impossible to accurately read with most test kits). Take a shot glass and fill it with tank water. Dump into a larger cup. Now take the shot glass and fill it with tap water (or better yet a water source that has no detectable phosphates like RO, distilled, or bottled water but CHECK the source anyways). Add that to the cup.

Measure the phosphate level. Multiply by 2 for your tank level. If this is still too high for a good value add another shot of non-tank water. Measure. If this value is good, multiply the number by 3 for your tank level.

I would suggest if you are over 10ppm (honestly over 5ppm) to do a large PWC with a good substrate vac and filter cleaning IF you determine the high phophates are NOT coming from your food supply.

High phosphates are also normally present in buffer products, so if you are using them, I would recommend stopping.
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Old 09-20-2006, 02:12 PM   #9
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Well, PO4 is not the issue here, and 10ppm and no sources other than food will not add up, the test kit is much more in error than the PO4 actual reading.

CO2, CO2 and CO2, you have evening thing else in place, adding some more plants etc will help also, they can be slowly phased out as the others grow in.

You can knock the algae back with good water changes, cleanings, etc, and blackout and 2-3x Excel treatment(daily large water changes and add the Excel back and nutrients each time).

That and bump the CO2 up when you return the light.
Watch the plants, not so much the test kits.

You know what you add as far as ppms of nutrients, so the only variable left is CO2/routine mainteance etc.

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Old 09-25-2006, 05:47 AM   #10
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ok well i cant seem to get them down so my next question is will this be worth the money

http://www.bigalsonline.com/BigAlsUS...oslock454grams

because for the time being i cant figure out what else could be causing such a high phosphate its driving me up the wall lol.

Also is there any ill side effects from ODing on potassium???
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Old 09-25-2006, 08:29 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dominick
ok well i cant seem to get them down so my next question is will this be worth the money

http://www.bigalsonline.com/BigAlsUS...oslock454grams

because for the time being i cant figure out what else could be causing such a high phosphate its driving me up the wall lol.

Also is there any ill side effects from ODing on potassium???
I can't comment on the product. I would still like to see the test I described to determine WHERE the problem is coming from. It could be as simple as a food change or tank ornament causing the high levels.

The only *possible* side effects I've seen of high levels of potassium is my java ferns dying. I have way too many other variables to say for sure but the rest of my plants (barring algae) have grown extremely well recently, while my java ferns have withered. I've read one other anecdotal story of possible suceptibility of high potassium levels, but cannot say for sure. And as I said, my other plants are growing great.

I contine to dose high levels of potassium (~20-30ppm during my 50% PWC, then 10ppm every or every other day depending on if I remember), and see no ill effects. It's a great relief to know that my potassium level is NEVER causing a deficiency symptom.
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Old 09-25-2006, 03:53 PM   #12
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Ok i have to wait till this weekend to do the tests, should be simple lol i only have one rock in the tank tho since i started using fert tablets the plants have been looking greener and have taken off at an alarming rate lol
All my parrots feather have doubled in just a few days the swords have gotten greener and the Anubias are going from a yellow to green with new shoots.
And even tho i have high phosphates the green water hasent been back
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Old 09-25-2006, 04:19 PM   #13
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I would suggest not using any phosphate removing "stuff" - it just seems very, very, unlikely that it will remove the right amount. It will either not remove enough or remove all of it. Both possibilities will result in problems.

Unless your tank is way overstocked, I would guess that you should doublecheck your sand and decorations. With as much light as you have, you should have to ADD phosphates.
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Old 09-26-2006, 03:06 AM   #14
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In responce to hashbaz if i bottom out my phosphates i have phosphate fert
tho i dont dose it lol

and in responce to 7Enigma i dont use buffers at all everything else is stable
also 7Enigma can i put some of this food in water that has no phosphates to determin how much its giveing to the tank?
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Old 09-26-2006, 08:14 AM   #15
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I think it would be easier to just not feed the fish for a day or 2 (they won't mind) and monitor your phosphate levels (while continuing to add your other ferts). I think there is a difference between just rotting food and measuring phosphate levels (like you suggest) and actively being metabolized by the fish in the tank.

One other thing I thought of was the possibility that one of your other ferts is also adding phosphate, but I'm pretty sure you would have caught that already (for instance potassium phosphate would do this since with such high potassium dosing you would have a LOT of phosphate present).
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Old 09-26-2006, 03:06 PM   #16
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I think everyone has made it painfully clear to stop worrying about PO4.
This is not your problem with this tank nor over dosing K+, I've gone well above 100ppm and never found any issues with so called sensitive plants.

Blackened Java ferns are generally due to low CO2 and too much organic muck in filters/gravel etc.

Lowering the CO2 in the presence of a lot of other plants will favor them, they are better able to remove CO2 than Java ferns are, although java ferns are tough, they are poor CO2 competitiors.

This observation and experiment is repeatable about the ferns.

I would add 1/8 teaspoon of KH2PO4 in this routine 2-3x a week.
Add more CO2.
50% weekly water change.

And put the PO4 test kit away.
What is the GH of the tap water?

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Old 09-26-2006, 03:42 PM   #17
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I would not add more phosphate to the tank. I would add CO2 to the tank, increase your potassium sulfate dosing, and possibly increase your traces (what are you using? CSM+B?).

Do you see green spot algae in your tank on the glass, slower growing plant leaves?

Your fert tabs appear to be doing a good job of correcting some of the issues present (could be nitrAte related, can you post your nitrAte test results?), which should help your algae issues, but will also increase your CO2 utilization.

Are you on pressurized CO2? Your lighting is so high for your size tank I don't think it would be possible to have a DIY setup supply enough CO2 reasonably (ie under 4 bottles).
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Old 09-26-2006, 04:18 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 7Enigma
I would not add more phosphate to the tank. I would add CO2 to the tank, increase your potassium sulfate dosing, and possibly increase your traces (what are you using? CSM+B?).

Do you see green spot algae in your tank on the glass, slower growing plant leaves?

Your fert tabs appear to be doing a good job of correcting some of the issues present (could be nitrAte related, can you post your nitrAte test results?), which should help your algae issues, but will also increase your CO2 utilization.

Are you on pressurized CO2? Your lighting is so high for your size tank I don't think it would be possible to have a DIY setup supply enough CO2 reasonably (ie under 4 bottles).
Yes im using CSM+B and potassium sulfate all dry ferts measuring out using a gram scale i also have pressurized CO2 also using a fert tab that dose Not contain nitrates or phosphates.

my Kh is about 11d @ 7.2Ph something like 21ppm of CO2?
my nitrate well i just ODed yesterday more than what i usually put in
its hovering about 80ppm

I think i got the green water under control but as you asked i do have spot algae on the glass not very wipe friendly have to scrape it off tho it isent growing quite as fast and also some of it has turned brown.

since the introduction of the fert tabs the swords have gotten better and started growing faster
i just put parrots feather in about a week and a half ago they where baby plants but now the are hitting the top of the water and now need a trimming, speaking of that how do i trim parrots feather lol

and here are 2 pics so you can see what it looks like




TIA
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Old 09-26-2006, 04:30 PM   #19
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You could use some more CO2, but its not that low if your pH reading is accurate. What is your current diffusion method of CO2 in your tank? Being pressurized you should easily be able to get 30-50ppm without any problems, stable as a rock, and be sure that CO2 is not a factor.

If we can eliminate all of the other factors we can be sure the advice being given is the best possible.

If your nitrAtes are indeed ~80ppm, while not great for the fish in the long run, is a pretty good nitrAte to phosphate ratio.

At that level (if your phosphate measurement is accurate which the green spot algae tends to say its not that accurate), the CO2 and potassium or to a lesser extent traces are your possible causes.

Please dilute your tank water 1 to 1 with tap water and take a phosphate measurement. It should only take your a couple minutes, and will help greatly in determining your actual level.

I have noticed the phosphate test is relatively accurate, but unlike ALL the other tests (mine are AP reagents), is extremely time sensitive. You have to take the reading RIGHT at 3minutes for my kit as the color will continue to darken, and a precipitate will form. Most of the other tests you can let develop longer than on the directions and get the same results, but with the phosphate kit, 3 min on the dot.
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Old 09-26-2006, 05:13 PM   #20
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I would do a 75% water changes to reset everything. If you are getting green spot then your phosphates are probably not that high.

I would dose 7-10 ppm Nitrates, .7 - 1.0 phosphates and 10 potassium every other day. I would add traces to .1-.2 fe on alternate days. Take one day off and do a 50% pwc on the next day to reset parameters and start the cycle over. If algae persists or plants don't respond well I would up what ever nutrient seems to be lacking.

Try to get your CO2 up to 30ppm or add some excel to supplement. I have been do this for several months now and I am quite pleased with the results. My algae is almost non existent and my plants are growing very nicely.
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