Phosphate problem? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-27-2005, 04:11 PM Thread Starter
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Phosphate problem?

Hi everyone,

My plants are growing nicely but I'm having a really bad case of hair algae. I remove them by hand, twezzers, and wrapping it around a toothbrush. I test it and it's scary, it's at 10 ppm or more, the color of the testing is just as dark or more than the color chart.

Is it true that high phosphate levels cause algae? One guy told me that changing water only worsens the level of phosphate.
(I find that hard to believe.) He suggested a phosphate sponge or buy a R.O. unit to change water.

My parameters is as follows:

40 gallon tank....mostly moneywort, riccia, glosso, baby tears,
(and 1 more, I forget) Fish in the tank includes: about 10 red cherry shrimps and babies, 6 ottos, 5 small albino cory cats, 10 neons.
Ph - 6.8/7
Ammonia: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 0 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Kh: 3/4
Phosphate: 10 ppm or more!
(I tested the NYC water right out of the tap, and it's about 2-3 ppm)
Wpg: 4.8
Water changes: Do about 50% every 3-4 days
I follow the recommended doses of Flourish iron, potassium,nitrogen off the bottle label)

I was using a Carbo Plus which I don't anymore, I'm adding Marc Weiss Living Water Vital until I decide which unit to go with a Co2 system. This seems to work much better than the Carbo Plus, at least I can get the riccia to pearl. I'll probably get the Co2 unit in a couple of weeks.

Ok, I covered everything about my tank. If there's something that I missed such as I'm not testing something else or I'm not adding some other nutrients that I should, then I'm actually not doing it.

Just let me know.

Please help me fix my tank online through the forum.

Hehehe...I hate the fact that since I don't have enough posting, I'm known as an algae grower because, that's exactly what I'm growing.

Thanks for everyone's help in advance.

- eeng168
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-27-2005, 04:23 PM
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You are going to need to get your Co2 going for a tank with that much light. PO4 causeing algae is slowly being debunked. Hair algae is usually always related to low CO2. With your lighting I would say that is the prob. Also you say your Nitrate is 0. Plants need NO3 to survive. I would suggest doing some reading on EI. You dont have to follow the regiment, but at least understand what plants need to survive. will show you EI. Read that stuff and ask some more questions. Good Luck
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-28-2005, 01:19 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, I'll read up on it. Do you know if there is any truth in the level of phosphate is compounded by water changes?

Any other thing I can do besides the phosphate sponge?
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-28-2005, 02:19 PM
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If you have 2-3ppm of phosphate in your water, changing the water will lower the amount in the tank, but as Jason has said, it is now accepted that algae is not caused by excess nutrients. The opposite has been found to be true. Having excess of ALL nutrients allows the plants to thrive and out-compete the algae.

Jeff B
Algae farmer Extraordinaire
29gallon - AH Supply 1X55w 5500K, 1X13w Red (Night) CP -- pressurized C02, milwaukee regulator, DIY inline C02 Reactor -- Rena XP1
Hygrophila polysperma 'Rosanervig'
Echinodorus Uruguayensis "Amazon Sword"
Bacopa monnieri "moneywort"
Cryptocoryne wendtii ''brown''
Cryptocoryne wendtii ''green''
Hygrophila Difformis “Water Wisteria”
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-29-2005, 02:39 AM
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Hey there- I had a phosphate problem like yours from using a ph changer/neutral regulator. It took months of water changes and using PhosGuard, changing it every 4 days on the dot to get my phosphates down. I also did weekly 50% water changes and deep gravel vacs. I couldn't get a handle on the phosphates without the phosguard!
Now I actually have to add a little when fertilizing.

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.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-30-2005, 06:20 AM
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I had the same problem back in the day with PO4 levels off the charts with my Neutral Regulator!! I was getting ready to throw out my old bottle of Neutral Regulator, until I ran out of phosphate ferts and needed to buy more. It was then that I realized that in DIY tanks that I don't need to calculate CO2 in (just pump as much as I can into them), Neutral Regulator in very small amounts makes an almost infinite PO4 fert supply. I wouldn't use it in my 75 because I have automated CO2 in there, but for my smaller tanks, just pulling the NR out of the cabinet gave me enough PO4 for the rest of my life.

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.
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