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Discussion of th Week ~ Phosphates~

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mojoreef

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Well I have been a little lazy on changing the topic, sorry folks. Lets talk a little about phosphates. They are one of the big players in our tanks. They can be the cause of algae blooms, they can cause calcium to percipatate, yet tey are needed to in every form of life in our tanks. We can measure form them really, so whats the story???


MIke
 

mojoreef

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Chuckie a DSB is only one source my friend, you get it from foods, additives, salt mixes....even your plumbing pipes on the tank leach it. Once in the tank it can be devastating, it will screw with your calcium, cause your SPS to go brown and degrade the health of the tank in a heartbeat.
Lets break it down and list the sources and the fixes to limit it, then we got a good chance to beat it.


Mike
 

jmaxwell

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Mill Creek, WA
Phosphates

I have never measured phosphate levels in my tank. What is a good test available to do so? What are acceptable levels?

Jim
 

esmith

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Jim, I like the Salifert, it's quick and easy to read. In my experience Saliferts are always the most accurate as well.

HTH

Eliyah
 

Macbeth417

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Here is a good acrticle Randy Holmes-Farley wrote for Advancedaquarist's Online Magazine, that aproaches this topic with algae in mind. I found it to be an excellent starting point.

CHEMISTRY AND THE AQUARIUM, Phosphorus: Algae's Best Friend:
http://www.advancedaquarist.com/issues/sept2002/chem.htm


-Erik
 

mojoreef

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Erik, Jim all the hobbist kits including salifert only test for inorganic phosphates. The vast majority of phosphates in our tank are in the form of organic phosphates and cant not be measured. Thier is one thing you can be very sure of though when measuring for inorganic phosphate and that is if you test for inorganics and get any form of measurement your organic phosphate levels are so maxed out that they can no longer bind any.


MIke
 

reedman

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OK, so how do you limit that which you cannot measure oh great one?

Seriously, if you cannot measure a chemical content in your water, how can you determine if it is in the correct concentrations? Personally, I think that I have more than I need, only because I have some nuisance algae going and it is my understanding that Phosphate contributes to this.

Good topic Mojo.
 

mojoreef

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Seriously, if you cannot measure a chemical content in your water, how can you determine if it is in the correct concentrations? Personally, I think that I have more than I need, only because I have some nuisance algae going and it is my understanding that Phosphate contributes to this.
its a little tricky Reed but it can be done no problem. the way you deal with it is by eliminating the sources of it. or at least reducing them as much as you can. alot of the things we use or add to our tanks are loaded with phosphates, reducing or eliminating them will reduce the concintration we have. A few small examples.
>lets start with Artifical saltwater mixes:
by researhing the differing salt mixes available as in here ( http://www.animalnetwork.com/fish2/aqfm/1999/mar/features/1/photo11.asp ) we can tell that Corallife and Tropic Marin have high concintrations or phosphates. So if one desired one could reduce thier P input by avoiding these particular mixes.
> If one is using a fresh seafood blender mix, one must understand that 99% of all seafood is sprayed with a phosphate chemical as soon as it is caught, it is done to keep moisture in the food and perserves it until it reaches the counter. A way to deal with it if you use it is to soak the frozen cube of it in Ro/di water, this will draw most of the phosphate out.
>Another example of what we could do is to look at the food sources we add to our tank. Studies show, Phosphorus is present in very high concintrations is alot of the foods folks use, here are a few examples.
ok reference point NSW has a P reading of .0012. Lancefish/silversides has 4400ppm, formula 1 or 2 has 1200ppm, golden pearls has 15000ppm, saltwater staple has 15000ppm, nori has 6400, (these measurements are per 5 gram samples.
>even kalk is not free of it.
>How about calcium reactor media??? lets say over the coarse of a year with normal use = Koralith will put about ppb where as Natures ocean will put in about 2500ppb.

Anyway thier are a couple things to ponder. If one really takes a good look at the things one adds to the tank, it could be pretty easy to try to limit the inputs.

Mike
 

Mushroom Boy

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Let's assume inputs are inevitable. What would be an appropriate means of export? Caulerpa farm with regular prunings? Algal turf scrubbers? Phosphate sponges?

The notion that it can't be measured points me in the direction of thinking that multiple approaches would be appropriate in minimizing its possible effects (i.e., caulerpa, running a remote and removable/replaceable DSB...). A complete system/ecosystem would be ideal in acting as a pro-active approach to phosphate control. Am I off base here?

Also, what is the relationship between calcium and phosphate?
 

mojoreef

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Let's assume inputs are inevitable. What would be an appropriate means of export? Caulerpa farm with regular prunings? Algal turf scrubbers? Phosphate sponges?
See with all of what you are saying Paul you are creating a complex series of checks and balances. All of the above come with thier pros and cons. Its like building blocks each one is relient and affected by the next system. and now you have to create some more checks to keep an eye on the checks you already have. Wow I dont know if that made sence or not, lol.
The problem with most ecosystems is that they are not designed to export they are designed to recycle, and on top of that they will even excrete thier own phosphates (bacteria secrete phosphates in the production of enzynes). \
The tank needs an ammount of N and P the concept is to make sure it is not to much. I think the best thing we can do is to identify where the external phosphate is coming from and eliminate it or reduce it as much as we can. Paul on the calcium issue, the presence of phosphate on the ecf and on the crystals of calcium carbonate will inhibit the percipation of it. Or in simple terms if it is present it will not allow and/or will severly decrease calcification of corals.
Lets come up with some inputs and then find the fix needed to eleiminate them.

Mike
 

mojoreef

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Dean thats more of a personal call. I am not a big fan of any, but I do keep a bag of IO around just incase. I will give you a link to a study done on various salt mixes so it can help you analyze which is best for you .

http://www.animalnetwork.com/fish2/aqfm/1999/mar/features/1/default.asp

Hope it helps

mike
 

mojoreef

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My original water is from the Public Aquarium. So in my tank right now about half is about 3 years old and the other half is about a year and a half and both originated from the quarium.


Mike
 

Scooterman

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Mike, it seems we have good reason to check our input but where can we get a listing of food phosphate if it isn't listed on the package? Also when we do find a lower product of phosphates, at what level is considered an Ok amount to use, because regardless whatever we feed it will contain some amounts. Without test kits, how can we tell we are doing good practices in controlling the amounts we put in?
 

Maryrosi

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I'm having phosphate issues right now. I put some of Sprungs Phosban in my sump, but my Euro-Reef skimmer went crazy, so I left it off. I do feed frozen and now rinse it in RO/DI but is there anything that can help the flake food feedings? This is about the third time in two years that I am battling this issue. Also, I usually run carbon since I have both softies and SPS. Should I keep running that? I change that weekly or bi-weekly. Great Topic Mike!
 

mojoreef

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Scooterman it is an up hill climb for sure but can be done. We are not trying to eradicate P (everything we keep needs it) we must just keep it under control and with in tolerence. I will assemble some lists of foods, additive and salt mixes. In order to control its level we must try to understand how it live and reacts in our aquariums. Let go foods for a moment. Most foods have ammounts of P in them, soaking in ro/di water will help bleed some off as the P binds to the striped water, so that is a good tool. Knowing what you are putting in is another. Example, Phytoplankton is almost pure P, using it comes at a very high price. If you have critters that absolutly require it then target feed and then remove the balance, I have gone as far as to not bother in the keeping of such critters. One thing to keep in mind is that P and N are always associated with detritus, food and waste. so we can deal with it by reducing the ammount of this in our tanks, remove the waste, remove the detritus and make sure you only feed what your tank need and then do the best you can to remove any left overs, slow feedings really help with this. When you drop in a chunk of food it will be loaded with inorganic forms of P, once it hits the water the bacteria are on it and converting it to organic forms, so the process is quick, slow feeding will allow the fish and such you need to feed getting the majority of it, thier waste (containing P) can be remove via good flow to a good skimmer.
The use of Kalk is another good weapon we have, the calcium will percipatate the P, you calcium input will take a bit of a hit, but better their the at the coral that is trying to calcify. The use of a Phosphate remover is another option, but can be pricy and once again will only go after the inorganic forms. I use it as kind of a last line of defence, but do not rely on it. Salt mixes have to have either P or N or a combo of both in them. An example would be this. Tropic marin salt has a high level of phosphate in it, Instant ocean doesnt have P but has a high level of N in it, HWmarine has medium levels of both. We know we can deal with N no problem with bacteria, so I would go with the salt that had it over the one that has P.
We must also avoid things that will harbor P, things like sand, which actually bind it, then as the sand particle drops the the lower levels of the bed and the PH goes down release it into the tank. or will trap it with in its self and create a perpetual cycle between animal and vegitable.
Anyway ponder this for a bit and I will try to put some kind of list together for you that has P levels.

Mike
 
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