Super High Phosphates - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-19-2015, 01:42 AM Thread Starter
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Question Super High Phosphates



Hey Everyone!

I decided I should buy an API Phosphate test kit (liquid). I just tested my 20 gallon planted tank. I have super high phosphates. 10! Man, what is the proper way to deal with this. My tap water phosphate level is 2. The fish and plants are doing very well. Fertilizers are API Root Tabs and API Leaf Zone. The tank has pressurized CO2, airstone at night. All other water parameters are ok. No algae except a little on a few leaf edges that my Otos will eventually find, and a few little spots of green on the glass that I'll wipe on water changing day (tomorrow). I've read that this is way too high. Please offer advice. Many thanks.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-19-2015, 03:26 AM
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Water changes!
http://www.theaquatools.com/water-changes-calculator



You might want to feed less, or change food or something too if levels keep rising.
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-19-2015, 03:32 AM
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Do a bunch of water changes over the next week and then watch it like a hawk. You are probably over-feeding or something


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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-19-2015, 03:53 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Audionut and klibs!!!

I used the calculator and my end result of "dirt" is 11. I change the water once a week...more if something weird happens. That's only happened once in 6 months. I had a nitrate spike that I could never pin down.

I definitely don't overfeed...more like underfeeding by some folks standards. Maybe I should double check to see what's in the flake, pellet, and wafer bases. I'll do a lot of water changes and watch it.

I appreciate both of you!
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-19-2015, 03:55 AM
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Check the ingredients in the root tabs.
Leaf Zone is K and Fe, does not have P, AFAIK.

Fish food also has N, P, and most traces in generous amounts.

Ditto the water changes.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-19-2015, 04:14 AM Thread Starter
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Total Nitrogen (N) 3.0%:
2.13% water insoluble nitrogen
0.53% other water soluble nitrogen
0.34% urea nitrogen

Available Phosphate (P2O5) 1.0%:

Soluble Potash (K2O) 1.0%

Iron (Fe) 5.0%:
5% Chelated Iron (Fe)

Derived from Urea Formaldehyde, Mono Potassium Phosphate, Iron EDTA (Ferric ethylenediamine tetra acetate)


I'm sure I could use something much better. Something fairly straightforward tip I'm done with grad school in 3 months. Any suggestions?

Thanks so much!
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-19-2015, 01:38 PM
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Is there a reason to be alarmed by that high of a phosphate? Obviously there is no need to have it that high, but from what I have been able to find, high phosphate really does not negatively impact the fish or plants and as long as all the other fertilizer parameters are non-limiting and it is a well planted tank, there is no real negative.

Ben
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-19-2015, 02:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benealing View Post
Is there a reason to be alarmed by that high of a phosphate? Obviously there is no need to have it that high, but from what I have been able to find, high phosphate really does not negatively impact the fish or plants and as long as all the other fertilizer parameters are non-limiting and it is a well planted tank, there is no real negative.

Ben
+1 on this as well.

No harm no foul. If your fish are happy, plants are happy, and algae is kept at bay then don't even worry about it. Trying to make big changes to fix things that may not even be problematic to begin with can sometimes cause new problems.


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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-19-2015, 02:19 PM
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High phos can block the uptake of other nutrients. You want a 10:1 ratio between nitrates and phosphates.

75 Gallon Low Tech w/ Green Terror Pair
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-19-2015, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by philipraposo1982 View Post
High phos can block the uptake of other nutrients. You want a 10:1 ratio between nitrates and phosphates.
Can you provide your source for this? I would be interested in reading about this effect.

Ben
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-19-2015, 04:38 PM
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I had an API test and the highest it could read was 5 ppm of phosphates.

It was reading 5 ppm of phosphates often, people get these results often with the API. Sometimes i have doubts about the API test.

Michel.

Bump:
Quote:
Originally Posted by benealing View Post
Can you provide your source for this? I would be interested in reading about this effect.

Ben
Any nutrient that would be on high level could block uptake of another nutrient but how high PO4 needs to be before affecting uptake of other nutrients i do not know.

Michel.

Plants and algae grower.
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-19-2015, 06:43 PM Thread Starter
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All of this is interesting info. I was concerned because I read that super high phosphates IS an imbalance in the tank ecosystem. I tested my tap water and it's only 2. I still have no clue as to what caused the high phosphate level. But if it is like Audionut's calculator indicates, it was a fast build up over a 1 week period. Since My tank is very well maintained I am still confused by what caused it to happen. Also, though I cannot find the original site at this time, I read that high phosphates could be a reason for fish having clear tail and fins edges. This is one reason why I bit the bullet and ordered a liquid phosphates test kit. Anyway, my fish and plants look great. So I'm just going to keep an eye on things. I will have the Rowaphos on hand, but prefer to do more frequent water changes than once weekly for a while. I don't want to unnecessarily add chemicals. Thanks for the discussion!
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-19-2015, 11:11 PM
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The calculator doesn't indicate a fast buildup. I only put 0.5ppm in the daily addition for something to do. The intent was to show how water changes, even with your source water 2ppm, would reduce the levels.

If you bring the levels down, and they don't rise again, you could probably assume that the source water had even higher levels at some previous time.
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-19-2015, 11:43 PM Thread Starter
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Oh, I see. Sorry to misrepresent you. An easy mistake since I'm so new at all of this. Thank you for clarifying, Audionut.
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-20-2015, 12:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benealing View Post
Is there a reason to be alarmed by that high of a phosphate? Obviously there is no need to have it that high, but from what I have been able to find, high phosphate really does not negatively impact the fish or plants and as long as all the other fertilizer parameters are non-limiting and it is a well planted tank, there is no real negative.

Ben
+3 on this one as well.

What are you using for a buffer if any? There are two basic kinds on the market. One is carbonate based like Seachem Alkaline buffer and one is Phosphate based like API Proper PH 7.0 and most all others that automatically set your PH to a set value like 6.5, 7.0, and 7.5. These also typically neutralize the chlorine from the tap water too. If you are using one of those phosphate based buffers than when you measure your phosphate with the test kit it will read high.

From what you are telling us though your tank is relatively successful and you have no issues, so why are you worried about it?

75 gallon planted low tech
10 gallon quarantine planted low tech
5 gallon planted (sons) low tech
Plant heavily, fertilize well, stock lightly, change water weekly, and most importantly do not use too much light.

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