Phosphates - The Planted Tank Forum
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-21-2005, 01:45 PM Thread Starter
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 33
Phosphates

Ive recently discovered the cause of my high phosphate levels, (Seachem Neutral Regulator), and today will be my second 50% waterchange in 3 days in hopes of lowering these levels. My question is, if any of you have had this same problem, generally how long will it take to correct and get reasonable levels? Also, what other products do you know of that use Phosphate buffers or add phosphate to the water? I personally wont be using any PH altering products, but it may help for referance.

Another question about Phosphates in general. Its understood that phosphate buffers throw the PH, KH, CO2 relationship off, but should one assume that CO2 levels are higher or lower compared to the calculator/chart?

My tank stats: 55g, DIY CO2 injected into XP3 cannister, 160 watts
PH - 6.8
KH - 4
GH - 6
NO3 - 10ppm
PO4 - 10+ ppm

According to the charts, i would have 19ppm of CO2. Would this level actually be lower due to the fact that a phosphate buffer is present? Any comments, questions, or suggestions are welcome. Your input is appreciated.

~Jim
BigJimSTL is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-22-2005, 02:23 AM
Planted Tank Guru
 
Rex Grigg's Avatar
 
PTrader: (65/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Portland Orygun
Posts: 9,600
You should have lower levels of CO2 than what the charts show. Anything that lowers the pH other than CO2 will cause you to think you have more CO2 because of the pH/kH/CO2 relationship.
Rex Grigg is offline  
post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-22-2005, 04:07 AM
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
g8wayg8r's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: St Charles, MO
Posts: 517
The best additive to reduce pH is CO2. The only additive you may need with tap water is a chlorine/chlorimane treatment. Start with a DIY set-up and go from there. It's a good project and you can always go high pressure if you don't want the bother with it anymore. Although I am very conservative about adding fertilizer, you may find out that you will need to add a little (a very little bit of) phosphate to your tank to keep the plants and algae growth in good shape.

Andrew, MASI Treasurer

This message is always under construction: 75-gallon tank; 2, Eheim 2026 filters - one twice broken; Tek Light with 4, 54W T5s (6000K) ; Sand on top of 4:1 sand:clay mixture; Milwaukee CO2 controller; PlantGuild vortex CO2 reactor; pH = 6.6, kH=70mg/l, GH=120mg/l; EI; Flourish excel on 50% weekly water change: AGA Member.
g8wayg8r is offline  
 
post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-22-2005, 04:11 AM
Planted Tank Guru
 
WfxXx's Avatar
 
PTrader: (125/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: USA
Posts: 3,037
Jim,
How does your tank and plants look?

Craig

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
WfxXx is offline  
post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-22-2005, 07:02 AM
BSS
 
PTrader: (12/100%)
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 1,600
Regarding your first question about how long should it take, assuming your tap water doesn't have any phosphate in it, every 50% water change should drop the PO4 level by 50%. Per above, you're sitting at 19 ppm. Water changes should drop it to approx 10, 5, 2.5, 1.5, .75. So, five more water changes should get you in a good range.

Is that what you were asking??
Brian.
BSS is offline  
post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-22-2005, 09:30 AM
Wannabe Guru
 
Hypancistrus's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: West Michigan
Posts: 1,032
Seachem's "Regulator" products are all phosphate based. They are best in fish only tanks.

Seachem's "Buffer" products are all carbonate based. They do not invalidate the CO2 chart. Seachem Acid Buffer converts kH into available CO2. It's really meant to be used with Seachem Alkaline Buffer to target a specific pH when reconstituting RO water.
Hypancistrus is offline  
post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-24-2005, 07:17 PM Thread Starter
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 33
Hey guys, thanks for the replies. More water changes it is! CO2 will certainly be the only way i lower my PH from now on. My tap water isnt too bad as far as PH is concerned, in the area of 7.5. Right now, im using four 2 ltr bottles for DIY but maintaining a good constant output is tough in the winter im finding out. Luckily i have a decent tax return comming very soon and a pressurized setup is in the cards for me! Ive had my eye on a combo from aquatic-store and theyre out of St. Charles which is close to me.

As far as the tanks health is concerned, I do have good growth from my plants. Stem plants are growing fast. Im getting good reds out of L. Repens and lots of side shoots. I also have very nice pinks in R. Indinica and its crawling all over the substrate. Swords are throwing up new leaves every couple days also. I have serveral others that are growing quite well also, if youd like a list, I can do that. Unfortunately I also have a fair amout of algae, but this is my first true planted tank and the tank is fairly new (3 or 4 months) so thats just the nature of the beast . Ive ordered a few SAE's to help my oto's combat the problem because I cant find them here locally, and most of the algae is bba. Ive also ordered a few plants i cant find locally with the SAE's figuring if im goning to pay the shipping, I might as well make a haul.

Anyway, back on topic... would it be safe to do these waterchanges every other day, or would that be too much too quick?

Thanks for all the help. A newbie appreciates it.

~Jim
BigJimSTL is offline  
post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-24-2005, 09:43 PM
BSS
 
PTrader: (12/100%)
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 1,600
I recently battled some ich. For that, I raised the temp and did 50% water changes every other day. It actually helped me combat some algae I was having problems with and the plants seemed to love it. So, IME, every other day should be fine!
BSS is offline  
post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-25-2005, 02:21 AM
Wannabe Guru
 
Aphyosemion's Avatar
 
PTrader: (5/100%)
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 1,073
Send a message via Yahoo to Aphyosemion
BigJim, YES, I had the exact same problem! I used neutral regulator for a long time and could never figure out why my tank looked like a big, green algae swamp, until I finally heard that it might be phosphate based, which it turns out it was. That, along with blue-green algae colored my first attempt at plantkeeping very unpleasant, indeed.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but those phosphate levels aren't coming down anytime soon. In theory, everytime you do a 50% water change, you should reduce the phosphates by 50%, right? Unfortunately, I discovered through endless cycling and head scratching that the gravel was acting as a phosphate battery, replenishing my phosphate levels within a day, everytime I cycled. It would go down a little and then spring right back up to something higher than what the test kit could measure. After several months of cycling my ass off, I finally took down my smaller tanks and rinsed the gravel in each one and set them back up from scratch. With my 75 gallon tank that would take me a week, especially since I have a very deep gravel bed in there, so that wasn't an option. I finally just loaded my canister filter to the brim with PhosBan and PhosGuard from petwarehouse.com. I'm guessing if I took out all the phosphate remover stuff, the levels STILL might go back up, but as it is now, they run at .5 PPM on a regular basis, which is a very comfortable level.
I highly suggest you either take the tank down and rinse the gravel thoroughly or just take the lazy route and pack your filter full of phosphate absorbing media.
-Aphyosemion

Two 1 GA desktops, a 5 gallon, a 2.5 gallon, a 10 gallon, a 20 gallon, a 25 gallon, and two 75 gallon tanks, all planted.
I am an expert on algae, so ask me if you have questions. I know how to grow it, just not how to get rid of it.
Aphyosemion is offline  
post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-25-2005, 04:26 AM
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
g8wayg8r's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: St Charles, MO
Posts: 517
BigJim

This is my tap water in St Charles, which is probably pumped out of the same hole are yours. What they do with it after that is hard to tell.

ph: 8.4 or higher measured with a Wardley high range kit.
kH: 70 mg/L with a Hagen kit.
GH: 160 mg/L with the same Hagen kit.
ammonium (from chlorimane): 0.25 to 0.5 mg/L with an Aquarium Pharm kit
PO4: 0 with a Red Sea test kit.

Frankly, I wouldn't worry about pH if it wasn't the easiest way to get some idea of how much CO2 I've got in my tank. I've never seen any of my cats or tetras mind whatever I have in the tank, form 8.4 to 6.4.

I've started two tanks here and both have had there time with BBA and other types of algae; with and without fish in the tank. I've clipped off leaves that are too covered to save but time seems to cure the algae problems. A couple of Otos are helpful for light detail but its healthy growing plants that solve the problem.

In the past I haven't dosed ferts except for trace elements and my plants seem to grow well and without algae. I've started adding PO4 to get about 0.5 mg/L because I read that the nitrate/phosphate ratio should be about 10:1. It was 40:1 and it's at 20:1 now so I'll see if that helps. Anyway, a recent article in the aquatic plant journal reports that ammonia and other living waste is the real culprit, if you had to pick one.

If you need some plant clipping or advice based on experience with our water, let me know. It will be worth every penny you pay for it.

Andrew, MASI Treasurer

This message is always under construction: 75-gallon tank; 2, Eheim 2026 filters - one twice broken; Tek Light with 4, 54W T5s (6000K) ; Sand on top of 4:1 sand:clay mixture; Milwaukee CO2 controller; PlantGuild vortex CO2 reactor; pH = 6.6, kH=70mg/l, GH=120mg/l; EI; Flourish excel on 50% weekly water change: AGA Member.
g8wayg8r is offline  
post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-25-2005, 04:45 PM
Wannabe Guru
 
Hypancistrus's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: West Michigan
Posts: 1,032
I had high phosphates too. I tried this and it worked. I followed the label directions.

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...Np=1&N=0&Nty=1
Hypancistrus is offline  
post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-25-2005, 10:50 PM
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
PTrader: (20/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 474
Great

I used the Seachem stuff too for awhile when Proper pH stopped working for me. Now, I have plants everywhere, algae.... and the thought of rinsing all my gravel doesn't look too appealing to me....
Wonder what that phosphate eliminator is? Looks like I'll have to make ANOTHER order
New 2 fish is offline  
post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-29-2005, 05:23 AM Thread Starter
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 33
OH MAN!! Taking the whole tank down?!?! Thats not good at all! Ive tried
a single bag of phosphate remover, but to no avail. Packing my canister with a phosphate remover might set me back a pretty penny. I have been chasing my tail with waterchanges like you mentioned though and youre right, doesnt wanna come down. I was doing 30% twice a week, but Ive done 50-60% every other day this week and it *seems* to be working. After a 60% change today, I tested my water 10 hours later, (10 minutes ago) and im reading 5ppm. Thats the lowest ive seen it in over a month. Ill test again sunday before another big change to see if its bounced back. Until then, Ill have my fingers crossed. It would make sense that a porous substrate such as Flourite would retain the phosphate. Ive been doing some massive gravel vaccuming, to the point that even from the bottom of the gravel im not pulling out mulm and stuff, so thats good. Ill keep your updated.

g8wayg8r, nice to hear from someone in the area. Im a little south of St. louis, in Fenton. Im getting pretty soft water out here. Ill have to do tests on it to refresh, but PH was 7.4 to 7.6, KH 3-5, GH 6-8. Ill run the tests, and let ya know, and thanks for offering the help. I really appreciate it. Make sure you stay in touch!

And as always, thank all of you for your input. It helps so much to hear a lot of others experiances because a lot of experiances are different. Thanks a bunch and Ill keep ya posted.
BigJimSTL is offline  
post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-29-2005, 06:11 AM
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
PTrader: (20/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 474
Thanks for keeping us updated; I've been wondering. I've been doing my normal water changes, but have given up on even testing for phosphates, assuming it's still off the charts. I may get bored and test it this weekend, just to see where it is. My water is all cloudy and I've got some serios type of brown algae everywhere.... it's frustrating. The thought of taking the whole tank down and rinsing the gravel is not a happy thought!
Let us know how your readings keep going!

30g planted with cories, white clouds, Harlequin Rasboras ,ottos.
10g planted with glowlight tetras and an otto.
Outdoor pond with one common goldfish and comets.
5.5g with endlers.
New 2 fish is offline  
post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-30-2005, 03:17 AM
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
PTrader: (20/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 474
Ok....

I got inspired and checked my phosphates... without even waiting the three minutes, it was at 10ppm, which is as high as it goes. Now, I must admit thankfully that it wasn't as totally dark as it had been on previous tests, so it's improving! (May be down from 50! lol)
I've done at least 3-4 30% water changes since I tested last.... I'm not ready to take out all the gravel and rinse it, or get one of the phosphate removing products. I know me; if I get online with an aquarium supplier, I won't buy just one thing! A half coconut shell cave for my fish? What the... how did this get in here?
Just thought I'd update you on how it was going over here with the same problem!

30g planted with cories, white clouds, Harlequin Rasboras ,ottos.
10g planted with glowlight tetras and an otto.
Outdoor pond with one common goldfish and comets.
5.5g with endlers.
New 2 fish is offline  
Reply

Tags
None

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome