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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a severe phosphate problem. Until recently, this calendar year, I hadn’t paid attention to phosphate levels. Since January my phosphate level has been off the chart for any test I used. I’ve measured my tap water several times to verify that the tests weren’t defective. My tap water is about 1.00ppm. My other numbers are good (GH 5, KH 7, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrates between 20-40). I’ve done two major (35%) water changes two days in a row; weekly about 20%. When testing on the third day I had to dilute the aquarium water with RO/DI water and use a Hanna phosphate high range colorimeter to calculate an amount of 59.7ppm.

I have a minor amount of algae in my Anubis leaves and some sporadic brown algae. But no algae problem. Nothing on the glass.

I’ve been trying to treat with various phosphate removers. In my FX6 canister filter and a BRS media reactor.

I can’t imagine what would be producing so much phosphate.

Any ideas?
 

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Keep in mind there is a difference between phosphate and phosphorous. Are you perhaps buffering your water and if so with what product(s)?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I use Seachem Neutral Regulator and Alkaline Regulator.
 

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Quit using those.

What are the tap water parameters:
GH, KH, pH?
If these are in the right range for the fish, then use straight tap water.
If they are not right, then lets see what we can suggest to fix that without adding things your tank does not need.
 

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From the Seachem site on the alkaline regulator:

Contains phosphate buffers and conditioning agents
 

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I use Seachem Neutral Regulator and Alkaline Regulator.
I suspected as much but wanted to be sure. While those products provide a strong and stable buffer they do so using phosphates. I used to use them in a couple of planted tanks as well before I knew better. The first time I was away for a week I came back to find them both solid green cubes from the algae lol. They are much better for use in fish only tanks.
You'll find many people here who will advise against altering the pH of your source water. I tend to agree with this if 1) one is just starting out in the hobby 2) you're not keeping very sensitive species (i.e. Discus) 3) you're not concerned with breeding 4) your keeping commercially bred fish. In those situations most fish will acclimate to a wide variety of parameters, the key being just to keep them consistent.
Most of the fish I'm interested in are wild caught and so I do alter my water chemistry using Seachem's Aklaine Buffer and Acid Buffer which I believe are the products they recommend for planted systems.
Also, their customer support has always been very helpful to me in the past so don't hesitate to give them a call if you have any questions concerning their products.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you for the help. It was the use of Neutral Regulator and poor dosing of it on my part.

With phosphate removers and proper RO/DI additives, my phosphates are down to 16 ppm. Still outrageously high; but on the way down.
 
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