High Phosphate removal - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-08-2015, 11:49 PM Thread Starter
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High Phosphate removal

I usually just use the basic water testing kit, but I was in need of a new kit, so I decided to add some extras this time as my tank has been giving me grief. Upon first test, my phosphates are off the chart (10+). My tap has zero phosphates. Upon testing immediately after a 70% WC today, the tank is still at 10+. This likely explains the problems I have been having with certain plants as the phosphates outweigh my other nutrients by quite a bit.

I had hoped the WC would lower my phosphates a bit and I could adjust other nutrients. But since it didn't budge, I would like to use a phosphate remover to get back on track. I don't want to spend an enormous amt of money, and there are a wide range of prices. What do you recommend? It is a 20g for what it is worth. Is adding media better than liquid forms?

I understand many of the reasons for which this happens, but the tank is super clean. I did have an episode a couple months ago in which I accidentally switched the EI NO3 and the PO4. I was assured it wasn't a huge issue, lasting affects weren't mentioned. Could this be the source of the problem? Are there any precautions I should take with my canister filter, or is just adding a media bag of the remover enough (not sure if I should toss anything...I'm assuming not). What if I go the liquid route?

Also, would high phosphates cause fish to flash? Most are fine, but there are a couple having issues.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-09-2015, 12:05 AM
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If the tap water has zero, then do a couple of big water changes back to back. Like 2 x 90%.

However, there are phosphate removing sponges or pillows you can add to the filter. If you can do a couple of big water changes, then use one of these to get it down even lower, that would probably be the best use of the media.

What other products have you been using in the tank?

KH2PO4 is certainly phosphorus, so stop this until you get it under control. Switching the dosing of these several months ago would have raised the phosphorus at that time, but if you are also doing the 50% weekly water changes I would think it would have gone down by now.
Some pH regulating materials are phosphorus based. (Seachem Discus Buffer is)

If the phosphorus is not in a form that drops the pH, I do not know why they would flash. Low pH can make them flash, ammonia is another irritant that could do this.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-09-2015, 12:23 AM Thread Starter
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I've been doing 50% every week for prob 2 mos after the overdose. I was shocked to see it that high when I tested.

Only products I use are:
Prime
Epsom Salt
Plantex CSM+B
Potassium Nitrate
Monopotassium Phosphate
Calcium Chloride
(all dry form)

I had planned to stop the phosphate for a bit, but since after a WC and not having it change a bit and plants suffering (and perhaps fish), I hope to fix this a bit more quickly.

Perhaps the flashing is unrelated. After a month of this I was concerned enough to do a dose of PraziPro. The first dose didn't make a difference. Before my WC today, there was a gross line of planaria in the corners and at the water line. I haven't seen this in any the tank before, so I would think something about the water quality is sending them toward the surface. Nothing in my tests is giving me any clue though.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-09-2015, 01:07 AM
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Take a look into barley straw to remove phosphates there's good articles on line about it if you search check it out
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-09-2015, 01:21 AM Thread Starter
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I know of a place locally, but I live in an apt. Even if it is cheaper to do barley, I don't have room for the waste on my patio. It seems like most places only deal with large amts.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-09-2015, 01:50 AM
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I was speaking with someone else a while back about the straw they said you may be able to find it in small amounts in the big box pet stores in the rabbit food section might be worth a look
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-09-2015, 02:25 AM
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Quote:
Prime
Epsom Salt
Plantex CSM+B
Potassium Nitrate
Monopotassium Phosphate
Calcium Chloride
So, at this point, stop the phosphate.
Do a couple of really big water changes.
Why go shopping for something else, when the answer is coming out of the faucet?
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-09-2015, 06:46 PM Thread Starter
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I've been doing 50% WC for months and I still have super high phosphates. I doubt doing a few more is going to have much effect and I don't want to still be dealing with this months from now. Perhaps my filter media absorbed it and needs to be replaced?
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-09-2015, 06:50 PM
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How do you know you have high phosphate? If it is from testing the water with your test kit, I suggest you do a crude calibration of the test kit to be sure it is indicating correctly. See https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...ad.php?t=83545 for one way to do this.

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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-09-2015, 06:59 PM
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Water changes are a simple math exercise. If you do a 50% WC, your phosphates should be cut in half immediately. What throws that simple equation off is the phosphate content of your source water. Try testing your tap water. If your tap water reads minimal phosphate levels, I would question the test kit or the way you're conducting the test. Phosphate kits aren't fun to use. There are certainly phosphate-absorbing products that have already been suggested here, but I would take a look at your source water first and think about having your LFS do a phosphate test for you with the same water.

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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-09-2015, 08:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
How do you know you have high phosphate? If it is from testing the water with your test kit, I suggest you do a crude calibration of the test kit to be sure it is indicating correctly. See https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...ad.php?t=83545 for one way to do this.
Why was that thread not stickied? One of the great threads of TPT IMO

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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-09-2015, 08:57 PM
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Originally Posted by anastasisariel View Post
Why was that thread not stickied? One of the great threads of TPT IMO
It is stickied... It is one of 3 links in the "Fertilizer and Water Parameters FAQ" sticky...

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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-09-2015, 11:45 PM
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Guess I better renew my prescription.

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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-10-2015, 01:06 AM Thread Starter
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I see what you are all saying about test kits being off (especially since mine is API). I calibrated the test today. Is step six is supposed to read 10ppm instead of 25ppm? I imagine it is a typo and treated it as such. Below I have a picture of my results. 5ppm isnít dead on, but everything looks pretty damn close. The one on the right end is from my tank today. Thatís with a 70% WC yesterday and no phosphates added since.



Again, my tap water is at zero, so I am at a loss here. I certainly canít be sure that my fert mix up months ago has anything to do with this. Like I mentioned earlier, my only thought is that filter media could have absorbed a ton of it, but I have never heard of this happening. I donít use root tabs or anything like that either.
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