High Phosphates...Is it truly something to worry about? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 50 (permalink) Old 08-02-2012, 10:26 PM Thread Starter
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High Phosphates...Is it truly something to worry about?

So I just purchased a phosphate test kit the other day and just used it tonight for the first time. I was informed on here that a phosphate test kit and a nitrate test kit are good tools to tell the parameters of the fertilizing process and how much your tank is consuming. My water parameters are:

PH: 6.6
Nitrate: 2.5
Nitrite: 0
Ammonia: 0
Phosphates: 10+

Tank setup includes:
90 gallons
3xT5HO 6700K and 1x T5HO Actinic
Pressurized C02 at 1-2 BPS

Fertilizers:
3/4 tsp KNO3 3x/week
1/4 tsp KH2P04 3x/week
1/4 tsp Plantex CSM+B 3x/week

I have no algae bloom going on and can't really see any algae problems going on in the tank besides little black dots that form on the leaves of my Amazon Swords but only when the leaves are dying which I remove when I do my weekly 25% water change. Is there any concerns over having this high of phosphates in the water? Do I increase my KN03 supply by another 1/4 tsp 3x/week to ensure that there is enough in the water column?

Just looking for any and all advice as the phosphate test kit is new to me. Thanks!
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post #2 of 50 (permalink) Old 08-03-2012, 12:25 AM
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I used discus and neutral regulator buffers in my water on suggestions from one of the local fish gurus. I did not know that they were phosphate based but upon looking it up the reasoning was that it helps maintain buffer capacity. So far in my tank, I have not had any algae blooms either. I don't know how much my phosphate is per se but I would imagine its higher than normal. Just my 2 cents into the phosphate deal


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post #3 of 50 (permalink) Old 08-03-2012, 12:41 AM
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I would just say you may not need to dose phosphorous for awhile until it drops down a bit, but no it shouldn't an issue. As Tom would say, he doses a bunch all the time as per EI and it's never caused algae.

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post #4 of 50 (permalink) Old 08-03-2012, 12:47 AM
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i would just say you may not need to dose phosphorous for awhile until it drops down a bit, but no it shouldn't an issue. As tom would say, he doses a bunch all the time as per ei and it's never caused algae.
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post #5 of 50 (permalink) Old 08-03-2012, 12:54 AM
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I would kit the nitrate up to 5 - 10 ppm, and just stop dosing phosphates until it comes down below 3 ppm or so.

Standard 10 Gallon (20 x12x12).
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Eheim 2211, and Aqueon Quietflow 10.
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post #6 of 50 (permalink) Old 08-03-2012, 01:14 AM
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I have the same high phosphates. Could API pH 6.5 be to blame?


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post #7 of 50 (permalink) Old 08-03-2012, 02:47 AM
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I wouldn't worry so much. Check your water source and food also if you want to find out.

Plants fix their own P with the help of ectoenzymes and such at root level. So as stated above, you may be getting enough with those and can skip dosing.

There is no problem with high phosphate IME.


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post #8 of 50 (permalink) Old 08-03-2012, 03:20 AM
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Did you calibrate the kit with a known solution? That's your first step.


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post #9 of 50 (permalink) Old 08-03-2012, 03:33 AM
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If you really have 10+ ppm of phosphate in the water, each water change drops that by about 25%, assuming your tap water is not the source for the phosphate. After 8 water changes, 8 weeks, you would be back down to 1 ppm of phosphate, with no consumption of phosphate by the plants and no dosing of phosphates.

If the plants are growing as fast as they should be, given the very high light you have, they should be quickly using up the phosphates you are dosing. But, you don't have nearly enough CO2 to allow them to grow that fast. Something isn't fitting right here. Exactly what light fixture do you have, and how far above the top of the tank is it?

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post #10 of 50 (permalink) Old 08-03-2012, 03:47 AM
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The only way I could see you not co2 limiting is because you are limiting nitrates, and/or the plant species you are keeping have very low co2 requirements. Regardless, it seems you may be walking a tightrope or just plain lucky with the balance you have going and no algae.


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post #11 of 50 (permalink) Old 08-03-2012, 04:31 AM
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Phosphate is generally harmless to fish. Too much may lead to an algae outbreak.

If you are trying to grow shrimp on the other hand, this is what I've found out through tragic experience:

CRS and Babaulti Green - Highly sensitive
Neos and Tigers - Adults don't seem to mind it. Tiger babies don't seem to like it.
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post #12 of 50 (permalink) Old 08-03-2012, 04:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThatGuyWithTheFish View Post
I have the same high phosphates. Could API pH 6.5 be to blame?
Yes. API PH 6.5 is a phosphate based buffer.
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post #13 of 50 (permalink) Old 08-03-2012, 05:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AquaPipes View Post
Phosphate is generally harmless to fish. Too much may lead to an algae outbreak.

If you are trying to grow shrimp on the other hand, this is what I've found out through tragic experience:

CRS and Babaulti Green - Highly sensitive
Neos and Tigers - Adults don't seem to mind it. Tiger babies don't seem to like it.
Hi, sorry to hijack.

How sensitive? I mean ppm.

Thanks'


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post #14 of 50 (permalink) Old 08-03-2012, 03:02 PM
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Depends.....too much of any one chemical can cause your plant having difficulties to use another. I generally keep my level around 5 to 10. Since your kit only goes up to 10, you can't really know how much phosphate you have. I would avoid using any additives containing phosphate. Test your tap water for the phosphate level too. I use Phoslock on my treated water to remove any phosphate as much as possible, down to 1 or 2 ppm. Then, I would add additional phosphate from EI (about 3ppm).


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post #15 of 50 (permalink) Old 08-03-2012, 10:16 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HolyAngel View Post
I would just say you may not need to dose phosphorous for awhile until it drops down a bit, but no it shouldn't an issue. As Tom would say, he doses a bunch all the time as per EI and it's never caused algae.
HAHA yea. I didn't dose any today and a water change comes tomorrow.

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Originally Posted by livingword26 View Post
I would kit the nitrate up to 5 - 10 ppm, and just stop dosing phosphates until it comes down below 3 ppm or so.
I put in an extra 1/4 tsp in today so we'll see how it goes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pejerrey View Post
I wouldn't worry so much. Check your water source and food also if you want to find out.

Plants fix their own P with the help of ectoenzymes and such at root level. So as stated above, you may be getting enough with those and can skip dosing.

There is no problem with high phosphate IME.
I have to check my tap water yet. I forgot to test it yesterday so tonight or tomorrow I'll get it tested.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcgd View Post
Did you calibrate the kit with a known solution? That's your first step.
I did not know I needed to calibrate it...maybe that's my problem?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
If you really have 10+ ppm of phosphate in the water, each water change drops that by about 25%, assuming your tap water is not the source for the phosphate. After 8 water changes, 8 weeks, you would be back down to 1 ppm of phosphate, with no consumption of phosphate by the plants and no dosing of phosphates.

If the plants are growing as fast as they should be, given the very high light you have, they should be quickly using up the phosphates you are dosing. But, you don't have nearly enough CO2 to allow them to grow that fast. Something isn't fitting right here. Exactly what light fixture do you have, and how far above the top of the tank is it?
I'll keep an eye on what happens after water changes to see what happens with my phosphate levels. It could also be like jcgd mentioned about calibrating the kit. I'm going to look into it.

I just recently upped my lighting from using only two of my lights to using all 4. The reason I'm only running 1-2 bps is because my PH dropped like crazy to around 6.2 so I cut it back a bit. This was also when I was only using 2 bulbs though as well. The light isn't the greatest quality. It's an Odysea fixture so the reflectors aren't anything as the nicer fixtures. It came with the tank when I bought it. That's the reason I have it. The light is just sitting on the tank so it's only about 1"-1.5" off the top. Since upping the light my growth has increased and the pearling has gone crazy at night.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcgd View Post
The only way I could see you not co2 limiting is because you are limiting nitrates, and/or the plant species you are keeping have very low co2 requirements. Regardless, it seems you may be walking a tightrope or just plain lucky with the balance you have going and no algae.
So if I up the nitrates I should up the C02? Is that what you are saying? Again as mentioned earlier, I am afraid that my PH is going to drop like crazy again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tetra73 View Post
Depends.....too much of any one chemical can cause your plant having difficulties to use another. I generally keep my level around 5 to 10. Since your kit only goes up to 10, you can't really know how much phosphate you have. I would avoid using any additives containing phosphate. Test your tap water for the phosphate level too. I use Phoslock on my treated water to remove any phosphate as much as possible, down to 1 or 2 ppm. Then, I would add additional phosphate from EI (about 3ppm).
I am ceasing all usage of phosphates for now until I get this whole test kit figured out just in case. We shall see how it goes.
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