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Removing phosphates

802 Views 7 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  jaidexl
Hi, I have a 10g sand bottomed tank which has been cycled for 2 years. It has a regular flourescent light switched on for 12 hours per day. It has several kinds of shrimp, but most of all it has RCS. It also has 1 bamboo shrimp, 3 amano shrimp and around 40 RCS. I also have cabomba, duckweed, and some java moss in this tank. I also have Malaysian trumpet snails to stir up the sand.

After about 8 months phosphate levels seem to rise and I start getting more BGA (cyanobacteria), especially in areas of high light.

Is there a natural way to get rid of phosphates besides doing water changes? Is there a plant which really likes to suck up phosphates?

I'm trying to go the "natural" way without buying phosphate remover.
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I would say the best natural way would be to stuff a LOT of plants in it and see what grows best. I don't know which like phosphates more than the other, but some good fast growers that are relatively easy to keep alive are hygrophila difformis, vallisneria, sagittaria, aponogeton, ceratopteris to name a few.
What are you dosing?
BGA can result from low Nitrates, which would also limit your plants ability to take in phosphates.
I dose some commercial fertilizer drops (yellow bottle, unknown brand, perhaps Tetra brand?) but only once every few months. However in the last 6 months I have not dosed at all and I still have phosphate levels slowly rising as I noticed more and more BGA growing on the filter intake screen (a mesh bag) above the waterline (which is closest to the light).

Nitrates are about 40 last time I tested. Ammonia 0, nitrite 0. I don't normally test unless animals are dying.

The filter intake mesh bag wicks water above the waterline and the BGA gets plenty of moisture. The odd thing is no BGA grows below the water line on the mesh bag.
BGA likes to collect where there are no or low water movement.

What is your phosphate in ppm? That's not the reason for BGA.
You have to figure out your water params, lights, and CO2.

But first things first... remove the BGA. and do a blackout for 3-4 days.
Low phosphate has caused more problems for me than high ever has (GSA)
It's a small 10 gal tank, get a bucket or a hose, do a water change, clean etc, 10 minutes the issue will be solved.

As the tank plant biomass increases or decreases or the rate of growth changes, so does the NO3/PO4.

If you want less of these w/o WC's, add more plants and take care of them.
K+, Traces and GH still need added.

Tom Barr
You'd probably have some nicer looking plants with lower nitrates around 10, too. More water changes, plants, and some K&P and trace dosing, hopefully you'll still be getting PO4 from somewhere and won't have to dose it.
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