PPS Pro Phosphate Levels - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-30-2014, 03:24 AM Thread Starter
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PPS Pro Phosphate Levels

Hello TPT,

Although this is one of my first posts on this forum, I am certainly not new to online aquarium forums, nor am I to planted tanks.

I have a question about phosphate levels. Actually, a number of questions. First of all, many members of other forums have told me that they keep their phosphate levels WAY higher than I have ever heard of, yet have beautiful, algae free tanks. I've heard things like 4-6 ppm of it from people who have hundreds of gallons worth of planted tanks, so I assume it can't be wrong. I was wondering if you all support this notion. It was also interesting to me because I had usually heard that your phosphate needs to be at a certain ratio with your nitrate, many say 1 ppm of phosphate for every 10 ppm of nitrate. Many of these people say that they dose 3 times the amount of phosphate recommended by PPS pro. So I was wondering if:

a) they are very simply wrong
b) the PPS pro recipe is outdated
c) you can dose with lots of flexibility and both ways are fine

Another thing that I had heard on a thread about EI dosing was that you must dose macros and micros on alternate days because phosphate and iron bind to form a precipitate that is unusable to plants, thus causing iron and phosphate deficiencies. I don't know if this is true, but if it is it would be quite startling. Because PPS pro demands dosing every day, there wouldn't be much of a feasible way to get micros and macros in the water without that precipitate forming. So here are my questions:

1. What are your targeted levels of phosphate, nitrate, and iron?
2. Do you, and if so how much, modify the PPS pro recipe to increase/decrease phosphate/nitrate/iron?
3. Are the people recommending 4+ ppm of phosphate correct?
4. What is, if such a ratio exists, the recommended ratio of nitrate to phosphate?
5. Is the iron/phosphate precipitate occurrence true? Would that occur in the aquarium or only when the two substances are put in the same bottle?

Thanks!
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-31-2014, 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Aquarium_Alex View Post
1. What are your targeted levels of phosphate, nitrate, and iron?
CO2 range 25-35ppm
NO3 range 5-30ppm (KNO3)
K+ range 10-30ppm (K2SO4 or GH booster)
PO4 range 1.0-3.0 ppm (KH2PO4)
Fe 0.2-0.5ppm or higher (?) (Plantex CSM +B)
GH range 3 degrees ~ 50ppm or higher (GH Booster)

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Originally Posted by Aquarium_Alex View Post
2. Do you, and if so how much, modify the PPS pro recipe to increase/decrease phosphate/nitrate/iron?
I don't use PPS pro. Instead, I use EI dosing. IMO PPS limits PO4 because it was once considered to cause algae. It does not. Outdated? Many still use it. You decide. I simply prefer to dose all nutrients at non-limiting levels. It's the logical approach.

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3. Are the people recommending 4+ ppm of phosphate correct?
Nothing wrong with it at all. Many tanks don't need levels that high but it won't hurt anything.

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Originally Posted by Aquarium_Alex View Post
4. What is, if such a ratio exists, the recommended ratio of nitrate to phosphate?
Ratios are for farmers fertilizing 1,000 acres at a time. In the planted tank forget the ratios completely. It has no direct influence on plant growth. Supply all nutrients at non-limiting levels regardless of ratios. Check out Liebig's law of the minimum. Here is a post I made explaining the concept of non-limiting nutrients in the planted tank.

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5. Is the iron/phosphate precipitate occurrence true? Would that occur in the aquarium or only when the two substances are put in the same bottle?
Iron and phosphate will precipitate if the concentrations are high enough. Generally, you can dose them on the same day without problems because the volume of the water in the tank decreases the concentrations lower than are required for significant precipitation to occur. You cannot however mix them in the same bottle due to the high concentrations.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-07-2014, 02:53 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Zorfox View Post
CO2 range 25-35ppm
NO3 range 5-30ppm (KNO3)
K+ range 10-30ppm (K2SO4 or GH booster)
PO4 range 1.0-3.0 ppm (KH2PO4)
Fe 0.2-0.5ppm or higher (?) (Plantex CSM +B)
GH range 3 degrees ~ 50ppm or higher (GH Booster)



I don't use PPS pro. Instead, I use EI dosing. IMO PPS limits PO4 because it was once considered to cause algae. It does not. Outdated? Many still use it. You decide. I simply prefer to dose all nutrients at non-limiting levels. It's the logical approach.



Nothing wrong with it at all. Many tanks don't need levels that high but it won't hurt anything.



Ratios are for farmers fertilizing 1,000 acres at a time. In the planted tank forget the ratios completely. It has no direct influence on plant growth. Supply all nutrients at non-limiting levels regardless of ratios. Check out Liebig's law of the minimum. Here is a post I made explaining the concept of non-limiting nutrients in the planted tank.


Iron and phosphate will precipitate if the concentrations are high enough. Generally, you can dose them on the same day without problems because the volume of the water in the tank decreases the concentrations lower than are required for significant precipitation to occur. You cannot however mix them in the same bottle due to the high concentrations.
Thank you very much!

This helped me a lot. I am now going with EI instead of PPS Pro. I contacted Tom Barr to help me out with it but now that I read the threads you linked I think I understand it now.

~Alex
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-03-2014, 04:33 PM
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I apologize for bumping an old thread, but I did a search on 'harm from phosphates'.
My API test for phosphate says my target value for them is zero.
Yet this thread talks about levels of 4ppm being fine.
Is this water component good or bad?


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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-03-2014, 05:02 PM
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Plants need phosphate... it is a macronutrient essential to their growth and vitality.
Trying to zero phosphate in a planted tank will kill your plants. Period.

Reef aquariums commonly target super low levels of phosphate, but that advice is absolutely not appropriate for a planted freshwater aquarium. Reef aquariums lack plants that consume phosphate, so the only thing in them using it is algae. No benefits, all drawbacks, may as well use it as an algae regulator in this situation.

Using low phosphate as an algae regulator in a planted tank results in regulating both algae and plants, or perhaps just plants.


Fertilizer runnoff of phosphates may be an environmental problem, but natural environments already contain sufficient phosphate on their own. Fertilizer runoff is just adding more where it is not needed.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-03-2014, 05:09 PM
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It is an essential macro nutrient for plants so you definitely do not want zero. (as mattinmd just said while I was typing) Mine stays close to the 5.0 color on the API test.

I would suggest reading through the links Zorfox posted earlier. They are both very enlightening.


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Last edited by burr740; 12-03-2014 at 05:10 PM. Reason: added note
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-03-2014, 05:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishbone11 View Post
I apologize for bumping an old thread, but I did a search on 'harm from phosphates'.
My API test for phosphate says my target value for them is zero.
Yet this thread talks about levels of 4ppm being fine.
Is this water component good or bad?
As stated previously phosphates are needed for proper plant growth. I don't know exactly what my phosphate levels are in my tank, I don't even own a phosphate test. I dose EI,and my dosing regime is quite high for a non CO2 tank (1/8 tsp of everything 3x wk) no serious algae problems in my 40b. Oh I get some spot algae on the glass that one can't even really see until your running a yellow pot scrubber along the glass during cleaning. It's been proven to me through personal application that excessive nutrients DO NOT cause algae growth so long as plant growth is healthy
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