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Thread: How do live rock and susbtrate bind phosphates?

  1. #16
    Goby
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boomer View Post
    Most phosphate issues are the guy in the mirror, not cleaning his/ her tank, over feeding, not paying attention to labels and how much phosphate they have. Most phosphate issues are not from PO4 but from organic phosphates, which your kit can not measure, unless you have the full blown phosphate kit from HACH, for $ 150.
    ........
    I need to revisit this.... I had decided a while back NOT to get a GFO reactor and media because I was not getting any phosphate readings on my test kits (API). But if the primary source of phosphate is over feeding and my test kit doesn't test for this type of phosphate, then I could have a problem which would benefit from GFO, and not know it?
    How do I tell short of buying $150 test kit? The more i think about this the more irritated i get. So I have a test kit for phosphate that doesnt test for the most common type of phosphate I am likely to have in my tank.... nice... got to love marketing people...
    Glass, water, and fish..
    all else is extraneous

  2. #17
    RF Staff
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    Organic P can be used by some life forms without breaking down to PO4. One example is, I thought I already posted it, is Cyanobacteria. They excrete a enzyme extracelluarly that coverts the Organic P to PO4. The organic P in a tank will break down through normal processes converting it to PO4, for life form usage, ie., degradation, hydrolysis, micro-organisms, chemical reactions, etc. As I mentioned before, I think, you can have zero PO4 and still have unwanted algae, even if there was no organic P. As the PO4 can be consumed as fast as it is released. There are countless reefers that have zero PO4 and are plagued by algae and countless reefers that have high PO4 and no algae issues. It has also been shown in a just recent peer-reviewed journal that SPS grow faster in higher PO4 water than lower PO4 water. Contrary to what we thought but still needs more testing.

    Back to the acid bath. Sure it will have an initial effect of the rock not having the very outer surface higher in bound PO4. So what, that rock is still going to go right back to somewhat the way it was, you can not stop. The rock would be less porous to bind up new PO4 but is that what you want ? The purpose of the rock is its porosity to bring about facultative denitrification and you just killed some of it ability to do that. You may as well throw in some granite boulders or better yet, some porous lava rock. They bind about nil PO4. PO4 likes binding to carbonate based rock much, much more, because of crystallography ( < crystal shape and how it grows).

    GFO does not adsorb or does not remove much organic P at all. GAC and skimming will do a better job.
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