Phosphate

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mojoreef

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I did a thread on another board in regards to P and rowaphos, so I thought I would copy it here.
part 1:

Ok let me see if I can explain P with out screwing it up to much.
First lets look at the types (with out going to deep and getting into strains).
Dissolved inorganic phoshorus
Is biologically available and essential to plants and algae. It is mostly dissolved phosphates. It enters the aquarium from tap water, sometimes from water treatments like pH buffers, it is wasted through the gills and kidneys of animals, it comes on seafood as a wash/enhancer, on food as perservatives, In our salt mixes and is
produced in aquariums from organic phosphorus by bacterial and algal
phosphatase activity. It is converted to particulate inorganic phosphorus
by sorption and precipitation.

Particulate inorganic phoshorus
Is mostly not biologically available. It is phosphate associated with phosphate minerals and adsorbed on metal hydroxides and other solids in the aquarium. It enters the aquarium mostly in fish food and animal feces and it can be removed by siphoning out detritus and cleaning filter media. It also enters our tanks by adding argonite sand and LR.It is formed within an aquarium by sorption and precipitation of dissolved inorganic phosphorus.

Dissolved organic phosphorus
Is biologically available to bacteria and possibly to algae. It enters the aquarium from animal waste. Bacterial and algal phosphatase activity convert dissolved organic phosphorus to phosphates.

Particulate organic phosphorus
Isn't available to plants and algae, but is available to animals. It enters the aquarium as plant detritus, fish food and feces. It can be removed by siphoning and filter cleaning. It is converted to dissolved phosphates by phosphatase activity. The phosphatase activity is partly due to detritivores but also to bacteria and possibly algae.

Mike
 

mojoreef

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OK part 2. what does it do when its in thier

when available P enters the tank, bacteria are the first inline, they immediatly go after it. Now bacteria just cant eat it they have to create a liquid soup (for lack of a better word) with in this soup they can disovle and store P and use it. When they do this they allow for the growth of more bacteria and thus more of this bacterial bile. It just keeps growing and growing. Now these bacteria and thier bile are covering all surfaces of our reef tanks, from rocks to sand to power heads. Anything that maybe percipated out of the water column (say such as kalk and P) will not make it past this biofilm of bacteria and bile. they need it and want it and not much will stop them. So even if its percipatated as a solid it will be broken down with in hours.
Ok so this is happening everywhere in our tanks constantly. In the rocks this is also the case. the bacteria continue to mass and to create more of this biomass with in the rock, as it masses it begins to move to the outer surfaces of the rock, we call this bacterial tugur. Once it reaches the surface of the rock it begins to shed off, most folks call it detritus, it is actual bacterial flock (died bacteria, bacterial shells, unused organics, particulate dust, and bacteria fuilds) it is also heavier then water so it will sink once blown free on the surface, if not blown of it will become food for algae (usually). This process is a constant 24/7/365 type of thing.
Ok in sand beds, Same concept with one BIG exception. With the population growth of the bacteria and the soup it uses and needs in which to live it also pushes out and up. The problem is that our tanks have side walls and a bottom, so when that is hit it pushes in the only direction left...UP. As time goes by this mass of bacteria, soup and all of the above begins to reach the surface. Once thier it will begin to leech into the aquarium. Now this P in all its forms and conditions is still trapped with in its biofilm and not available to our test kits (well some of it is but only if you draw the sample form the bed) Once on the surface it will become available to higher organisms such as algae. Cyano first them the more common types including hair algae. Since the sand is not a fixed thing this means that it will not all come up at once, first over here, then thier, then all over the damm place. then all over everything.
A sand bed has no method for dealing with it, so it doesnt matter how well set up the thing is, it does not work biologically. What its will do through the above mentioned processes is to facilatate it to be removed. Translated= it will bring the available P to the surface where it will be converted to OP by absobtion into the tissue of algae from which you can harvest. Read between the lines of the dsb experts, they even say that themselves.

Mike
 

mojoreef

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Part 3 How do we deal with them.

Ok once we have an understanding of them as above we can try to fight them where we can. Also we can see that thier is not going to be one way to do it, we must battle them on alot of different fronts. So lets take a peek.

INput:
A great start, we use ro/di to stop ortho P from entering that way. We rince our seafood mush in ro to rid ouselves of the wash used to perserve seafood. We watch which salt mix we use as some contain large ammounts. We stop using foods that contain high ammounts (frozen cube foods, and flake). the use of carbon that is washed in P. Maybe the sand that is used in dsb (ok I had to throw that one in, lol)

Ok even though we do all that we are not going to beat it. it will still enter and or be produced. So what next. Lets go back to its forms.
Organic= bound up in bacteria and algae or associated with extra food/detritus (as i bacteria are on it and eating it and creating thier soup). So if we remove this stuff we remove it in many forms, Particulate inorganic P (ie: microscopic argonite dust tha thas attached to organics) Particulate organic P (ie the food or waste blob, baterial soup, bacterial floc and so on) Disolved organic P (more parts of the soup and enzynes used by bacteria and or P that is in transistion) organic P (the little bast*** bacteria and cyanos that are loaded with it) .....by simply syphoning/skimming/socking and whatever from the tank directly prior to it entering into any cycles.
Next would be for the dsb folks do as much of the above as you can including input, and then just harvest the algae once it begins to form. other then that pretty much the same concepts.
Ok so lets bring this back to the original posting Ferric Oxide (RP) at certain point in the P cycling and all the other processes listed previously, thier are points where the P is inorganic and available. this is where a product such as RP can come into play. At certain points (say when IP first enters the tank, or it is unbound by bacteria and not used or not needed as thier populatio is in a state fo flux) RP can act as an absorbant to remove it. So....just one small part of the over all battle against Phophate saturation.


Anyway Clear as mud now??????


lol


Mike
 

Witfull

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mojoreef said:

Anyway Clear as mud now??????
nah,,,, clear like Rio Negro silt. you know how cut through the $1000 words and babblygook and make us feel like we can get into da club!

thanks
 

northstaraquatics

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Mike ,
Pardon my imperception of the total concept. Use a Phosphate remover, kill the algae, release the phosphate, start all over again. DSB should be a phosphate sink, unless you disturb, stir or siphon, thus reenter it into the water column. I seem to forget whatever processes are naturally ocurring in a DSB that would normally allow phosphate to become available again to algae. I have to appologize for stirring the sand bed as I've stayed out of, never read the DSB controversy. Sorry, I just reread part 3 above.
Algae has to be the biggest plague I've ever encountered... It's like they are all feeding off the byproducts/death of each other with no end in sight. Now where's that siphon hose...

Jon
 

Yellotang

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Do not mean to start a controversy, but once I pulled my DSB. My algae was much less and a lot easier to control. In fact my whole system is much cleaner and clearer. Corals are doing great and I don't have all that junk to deal with.
 

Scooterman

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Phosphates, you can't live with them, & you can't live without them, so you learn to control or limit them.
Since I removed my DSB, I removed a huge place to store them. Removing my DSB, I lessened greatly food for algae. I can actually feed my fish more with less side affects, they are always hungry looking lol. Corals seem to like the cleaner water also, if anything they look healthier.
 

Dr B

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as mojo has stated the phosphates will sink into a DSB temporarily. Eventally they end up getting released up into the water column. There is a pretty vicious cycle that goes onw ith DSB's.
 

mojoreef

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Hi Jon. I wrote the discription of Phospahtes in our tanks to discribe the many forms and methods the P enters and is generated in the tank. And to show someone that a P remover is just one small part of the overall limiting and removal of P. On the DSB the concept is exactly the same as in LR. the only difference is that a LR will shed the detritus and a DSB can because it is confined by the bottom and side walls of the tank.
On the processes that enerate or allow P to leech from a dsb or LR, are a few fold. 1: the sand folks use to create a dsb is argonite either mined frm above ground or collected from below the water. this sand is completely saturated with P from biological processes or run off from the above water sources. this P is bound up in the sand and not available, so no worries at the begining. As the bed matures you will begin to have a large population of bacteria that will use thier enzynes to free up the bound P and use it as a food source, also the PH of the water will lower, causing the sand to also melt (the so called buffer capability of the sand) as this happens the P that was once bound now becomes free. As the populations of the bacteria begin to increase so does the byproducts they use in order to eat. Now the combined action of the bacteria population increase along with the biofilm and fuilds they use will drive out wards and upwards (basically amass) in the case of LR it will cause detritus to shed, in the case of sand substraights it causes the mass to move upwards as the sides and bottom of the tank force it into that direction. Eventually (based on bioload/feeding/maintence) this mass will reach the surface, it is at that point it becomes available to algae and so on.

Hope it helps


Mike
 

northstaraquatics

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What kills me is that I have zero algae growing in the DSB. I've upped the output on the streams in the past couple of days and am still waiting for xenia to migrate off the skimmer to repair the beckett valve that fell off the input. I may have to give it some help. I saw your suggestion for ice on anemones, Do you think it would work on xenia?
On DSB, I again have no detritus accumulation anywhere I can see. Still no Phosphate test kit to check any theory. (I still don't think a P test kit would tell me anything important) Just another theory...

Jon
 
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mojoreef

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Jon what the P test will tell you is where it is coming from. If you test the bed, then right on the rock and in the water column, it will give you a picture of where the most concentrated value is. If you have no algae on the bed I would imagine that it is on the rocks then. If so its most likely a build up of shedding detritus coming from the rock itself. the only way beyond controlling input is to harvest the algae and begin to blow the detritus off the rocks, and keep it off as best and as often as you can. I would suggest the testing also, it should answer some questions.

take care


Mike
 

northstaraquatics

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northstaraquatics, how long has your DSB been up?

About a year I think. I bought the Sand from Mike - Or was that 2 years ago... My timeline is fuzzy and I don't keep records.

Jon
 

Dr B

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Yea Ive had my DSB for a year too... still sitting in the bags even! No problems here =D
 

Yellotang

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After I started the thread on reefcentral about DSB's
DSB Related Journals, Newspaper Articles, ETC...
I came across some very interesting information about Phosphates and sediments.

After the collected knowledge of some of the worlds leading scientists, I came to the conclusion that alot of my problems were because of phosphates and my burping bed of sediments.
 
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