does frozen foods up the phosphate levels? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-07-2004, 03:27 AM Thread Starter
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does frozen foods up the phosphate levels?

I have finally managed to get a handle on my bba/hair algae woes by dipping all my plants in hydrogen peroxide. But I can't get my water levels right.

Here's the problem. My tap water is: Phosphates = 0; Nitrates = 0. The phosphates in my 75g tank = 5ppm. I have done daily water changes (20%) and I can't lower the phosphates. I have bought kent phosphate remover, and that does not do the trick. I had stopped the micro-fertilizing. My 75g tank used to be: Phosph = 5ppm, and my Nitrates = 0. I bought KNO3 and have dosed. My nitrate level is = 10ppm. I have lowered the lighting to 1.25 WPG (when my algae problems were at its peak, my WPG = 2.5 WPG).

what is keeping my phosphate levels so high? I don't do any micro-dosing at all. The only thing I can think of is: I feed my polypterus bichirs frozen foods: frozen krill, frozen beefheart, frozen bloodworms. Does frozen foods contain phosphates that up the water levels? Anyone out there have a remotely similar experience? I'm stumped.

Secondly, if I can't lower the phosphates, is having NO3 = 10ppm and Phosphates 5ppm a livable ratio... I mean, can I not have algae and keep the plants growing? I'm afraid to up the lighting because lowering it controlled the algae growth. If I raise the lighting with the Phosphate/Nitrate ratio at 1/2, will my algae problems return? My plants are doing a little bit better since the peroxide dip but I want to get the water parameters right.

Many thanks in advance for any adviced rendered! abc
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-07-2004, 04:36 AM
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I m not sure about frozen food affecting the phosphate levels, but you could always check the packaging for an ingredients list or test a cup of water, add the food then test again. Also by any chance are you useing any tetra brand filters or water conditioners? I have a hunch just about all tetra stuff contains phosphate. - All the Geeky stuff that gets me hot.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-07-2004, 05:49 AM Thread Starter
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tetramin uses riboflavin-5-phosphate as a preservative!!!!

Hey Tommyboy,

Thanks for your post. I don't have any Tetra filter products (I use the marineland biowheel), but when you talked about tetra products having phosphate, I use tetraMin pro tropical crisps to feed my fish. I looked at the ingredients... and lo and behold, it uses uses riboflavin-5-phosphate as a preservative!!!! I have not done a po4 test (it's late, I'm tired, and I'll do it in th morning), but that may be it!!!

I will run a phosphate test on it with my kit to make sure but thanks! if this is the source of my phosphate problems, then I'll keep with the daily water changes, and use something else to feed my fish. Here's to hoping that the phosphate levels will drop! Oh man, if this is it, I can finally start having decent plants without the algae.

Here's to hoping this may be!

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-07-2004, 07:03 AM
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Most fish food (flakes and pellets) contain PO4 anyway. I don't think it increases PO4 level too much though unless you really overfeed your fish. Try drop a cube of your frozen food into a bucket of water and check the PO4 the next day.

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-07-2004, 07:46 PM
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Meaty Foods seem to contain quite a bit of phosphate. What I've read is that it's the water with the frozen cubes that contain most of the phosphate after thawing. So I guess if you could remove the food from the water you thawed in before adding it to the tank. Personally I'm too lazy for that and just dump it all in. Feeding once a day with a heavy fish load keeps my phosphates at 1.0 and I very rarely have to dose po4.


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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-08-2004, 03:24 AM
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Rinse in a fine seive

Best to rinse the food in a fine seive. Or even a brine shrimp net, just to let that nasty water go down the drain.

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-08-2004, 08:58 AM
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What type of activated carbon, if any, are you using in the tank? All carbons will leach phosphate into the water, but some will leach more than others. Some carbons will advertise that they don't leach phosphate, but in reality they do, but the amounts so minor it doesn't much matter. I think Seachem is the only mfg that actually prints on their carbon how much phosphates it contains / can leach ( ).

Also, I believe carbon can remove phosphates from the water only to release them back to the water when they are old / exhausted.

Just a thought... The food might be the main cause of your woes, but sometimes it can be several factors that add up to cause the problem.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-14-2004, 06:39 AM Thread Starter
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finally did some tests on the frozen foods

Well, I finally did some tests on the frozen foods, and boy! they were through the roof.

My PO4 test only measures up to 5ppm (the darkest color), and so all of them tested at 5ppm!!!! That's insane. My tap water is 0.25ppm... can this be right?

Anyways, the phosphates are definitely coming from the frozen foods even if the PO4 kit I have is a bit off.

I do NOT use any carbon in my bio-filter.

I raised the nitrates to 15ppm to offset the high phosphates. I'm struggling to see if I can get a good balance at higher settings even though the phosphates are at 5ppm. My algae problem is still there but getting controllable. Not sure what more to do.

Washing the frozen foods every time I feed is such a pain. Not worth the effort IMO. I'm going to see if I can get a good balance at higher levels of phosphates and see if it works.

Thanks for all the input so far! abc
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