Help Phosphate (po4), What Is Normal??

Sokonomi

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Im having a bit of a heated discussion with my local fishshop and a bunch of people on another forum and I have no idea what to do with it now.

My 70 liter planted CO2 injected tank, still starting up, shows a phosphate level of 1.2ppm.
Im following an EI fertilizing program that targets the following numbers;

22.50 ppm NO3 Nitraat
2.00 ppm PO4 Fosfaat
22.50 ppm K Kalium
0.05 ppm B Borium
0.27 ppm Ca Calcium
0.06 ppm Cu Koper
0.40 ppm Fe Kalium
0.00 ppm Mg Magnesium
0.27 ppm Mn Mangaan
0.01 ppm Mo Molybdeen
3.07 ppm S Sulfaat
0.06 ppm Zn Zink
0.00 ppm dGH Hardheid

My LFS says this is way too high and sold me a 20 dollar jar of crud to filter it out.
A group of people talking about EI fertilizing say its absolutely fine and actually low (should be 2.0ppm).

And im in the middle, sad and confused because I cant have fish for another 2 weeks..
Did the LFS con me into buying something? Or am I gonna kill my fish by listening to people on the internet?

What am I supposed to believe here?
 
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fa4960

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Believe what you see in your tank! Do you have excessive algae growth? If not ignore them....

On a more serious note - depending on how you eventually stock and more importantly feed this could become a problem, i.e. further increase in phosphate.

Another question out of interest - plants tend not to like too soft water, how come you don't add any Magnesium together with Calcium, and also very little Calcium? Is it in your tap water already (Guess so based on 0.00 ppm dGH Hardheid)?
 
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Sokonomi

Sokonomi

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There's a significant amount of diatoms but apparently this is normal for a tank that is starting up.

They told me to use this stuff : https://www.marine-aquatics.eu/en/rowaphos-phosphates-silicates-arsenic-reducer-250g
Double dose in a bag in my filter for 2 weeks, and no feeding my plants during this time.
Im bewildered by them being alarmed, because my EI fertilizer recipe aims for 2.0 ppm phosphate.

Theres already trace amounts of magnesium and calcium in my tapwater.
Heres a rundown of my tapwater : https://www.brabantwater.nl/PompStationInfo/Roosendaal.pdf
 

fa4960

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Ok, tap water explains the Mg/Ca question.

Don't know how you add your fertilizer but it you mix it yourself you can control all components and maybe reduce phosphate for a period of time?

Also, how's your light schedule? Need 6 - 8 hours per day to reduce diatoms...
 
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Sokonomi

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I mix my own Estimative Index formula;

Macro (weekly amount):
  • 480ml osmosis water
  • 10,28 grams Potassium Nitrate (KNO3)
  • 0,8 grams Potassium Phosphate (KH2PO4)
  • 4,68 grams Potassium Sulfate (K2SO4)
Micro is just 480ml water and 2.92 grams Tenso cocktail.

Macro dosage is 40ml on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday
Micro dosage is 60ml on Monday and Wednesday.
Friday and Saturday are rest days.
50% water change on Sunday.

The result should be the figures mentioned in the starting post.
2 weeks ago it was at 0.6ppm and today it was 1.2ppm (off the JBL droptest scale...)
So it was on its way to hit what I was supposed to hit, according to this recipe.

Lots of places say phosphate doesnt harm fish at all,
but my local fishshop reacted little short of a freakout..

So im kinda stuck between two places telling me opposing things..
 

fa4960

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Staying on the Phosphate discussion. My go to calculator is rotalabuttefly.com and it says:

To reach your target of 2ppm PO4 you will need to add 2.41 grams (equivalent to 1/4 tsp + 1/8 tsp + 1/32 tsp + 1/64 tsp ) of KH2PO4 to your 480mL dosing container. Add 40mL of that mix to your 70L aquarium to yield:

You seems to be way below that with 0.8 grams so I wouldn't worry too much about it.
 
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Sokonomi

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Right? And its not even pure PO4.

So thats why im confused about them declaring it an emergency,
and telling me to use some weird filter crud to remove it,
while starving my plants for 2 weeks.

What should I do now though.. They seem to think that amount of phosphate will be bad for fish,
so I kinda feel like I cant really go in there anymore to buy fish until I meet their weird standard..
 

fa4960

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Right? And its not even pure PO4.

So thats why im confused about them declaring it an emergency,
and telling me to use some weird filter crud to remove it,
while starving my plants for 2 weeks.

What should I do now though.. They seem to think that amount of phosphate will be bad for fish,
so I kinda feel like I cant really go in there anymore to buy fish until I meet their weird standard..
As I said before. Trust what you see in your tank. Trust fishlore also. Although recommendations sometimes can be questioned at least we are not in the business of selling you (unneeded) stuff....good luck
 
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Sokonomi

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I would much rather believe an unbiased source like you guys,
but the dropper test they were using turned a color that wasn't even on the chart,
and that scared me a bit..

Plus I think I'll catch a lot of flak if I go there, tell them to stick it with the water test,
and that I just want to buy the fish regardless of whether they say its safe.

I don't think I can trust what I can see, since I have zero experience on it. :')
I can wait till my fish start floating and conclude that the water was indeed bad,
but I dont think you meant that? :')
 

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Does your lfs require a water sample to buy fish? I've never been stopped from buying fish until I provide a sample.

Your fish will be fine at that level. When I first started out using dry ferts, I ended up over doing it on the phosphate and my fish all survived my learning curve.
 

fa4960

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I do think it is nice to see a "responsible" LFS trying to make sure their fish do get a good life with their new owners but these guys are over the top. They should stick to making sure they don't sell a red tailed catfish, a common pleco or 2 discus to someone with only a 20 gal tank.

Being in Netherlands I don't think distances are that much of a problem? Why don't you find another LFS or order online?
 
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Sokonomi

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I do think it is nice to see a "responsible" LFS trying to make sure their fish do get a good life with their new owners but these guys are over the top. They should stick to making sure they don't sell a red tailed catfish, a common pleco or 2 discus to someone with only a 20 gal tank.

Being in Netherlands I don't think distances are that much of a problem? Why don't you find another LFS or order online?
But those arowana's are so cool and cute, a 20 gal is enough right?
Theres plenty of other stores, but I kinda dont want to lose the convenience of having a fishshop 5 doors down from my home.
So id prefer to keep them in good favor..

To me it is caused by old school thoughts about nitrates and phosfates should be 0.0 to prrvent algaegrowth.

As said by others : your tank is telling it all.
Listen to your tank, not to people, is what they say.. bit of an oxymoron, but there's truth in it.
My tank has a lot of diatoms going on, but thats normal for a starting tank.
Plants are going absolutely bananas, my ludwigia tripled in size since I started.
But theres no telling what the fish are gonna do..

I've ordered my own dropper test so I can get more accurate readings (tetra sticks arent that great),
and ive 'stolen' a bit of water from somebodies 10 year old beautiful healthy tank.
If that old tanks phosphates are as high or higher as mine, im gonna ignore the LFS.
 

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But those arowana's are so cool and cute, a 20 gal is enough right?
Theres plenty of other stores, but I kinda dont want to lose the convenience of having a fishshop 5 doors down from my home.
So id prefer to keep them in good favor..


Listen to your tank, not to people, is what they say.. bit of an oxymoron, but there's truth in it.
My tank has a lot of diatoms going on, but thats normal for a starting tank.
Plants are going absolutely bananas, my ludwigia tripled in size since I started.
But theres no telling what the fish are gonna do..

I've ordered my own dropper test so I can get more accurate readings (tetra sticks arent that great),
and ive 'stolen' a bit of water from somebodies 10 year old beautiful healthy tank.
If that old tanks phosphates are as high or higher as mine, im gonna ignore the LFS.
Wished phosfates in my tanks would be 2.00 constantly.
 
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Sokonomi

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Little update;
Went to the store, happened to bump into the owner of the store,
explained my case and got my money back without upsetting anyone.

My water values are currently;
0.0 NH3 Ammonia
0.3 NO2 Nitrite
25 NO3 Nitrate
2.0 PO4 Phosphate
7.0 pH Acidity
9.6 dH Hardness

So im still not there with the cycle, but its getting close.
Its noteworthy that ive added my macro ferts 5 hours prior to doing the test.
 
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