What is "phosphate remover"?

kansas

Media that removes phosphates, I guess. I have a pad labeled as such in the Fluval canister filter I just got.

Why is it in there? I don't test for phosphates, my animals and plants are dong fine. I don't have a test for it and I don't want to have to learn more about water chemistry. Use it? Through it away?
 

MacZ

It's in there because of marketing. There are more than enough people that buy fluval equipment that either have use for it or that are targeted by them this way to get into high-tech stuff. Which in turn is flushing more money in the company's pockets.

I would still learn some water chemistry, knowing that stuff yourself makes you much more independent in managing your tank and decision-making.

So in the end, it's not like you need that thing. Your choice if you want to use it or not.
 

RayClem

There is a test kit for phosphates. It is primarily used by those with saltwater reef aquariums because corals do not like phosphates.

In a fresh-water aquarium, live plants will often consume phosphates. If you have excess phosphates, you will often get an algae bloom. The same thing can happen in lakes and rivers. However, some aquariums with plants can be deficient in phosphates, which are one of the macronutrients plants require. Some fertilizers contain phosphates to be used in aquariums with a phosphate deficiency

If you do not intend to purchase a phosphate test kit, then there is no reason to spend your money on phosphate removers, whether impregnated filter pads, ceramic beads or granular ferric oxide. Without a test kit, there is no way of knowing if you need to add or remove phosphate or whether your media is still effective.
 

kansas

Thanks for responding. I've got along fine without it in my small tanks and I'm aware of how the companies want you to buy stuff you don't need.
 

PAcanis

I just picked up a bottle of Phos-Guard just in case.
If I suddenly experience a red or green algae bloom I want something on hand until I get things figured out if the phosphates and silicates are coming from my well or I'm over feeding or too much waste... I've got two tanks with no "cleaners" and it seemed like a good product to stick in the back of the cabinet unless needed. That's what I would do with your Fluval stuff. Keep it if needed.
 

ruud

Phosphates do not cause more algae in a planted tank by definition. That's one of those stories in the hobby that seems to be true because everyone is telling it. If you have phosphates and your algae is increasing, you most likely miss another key nutrient for your plants.
 

PAcanis

". Too much phosphorus can cause increased growth of algae and large aquatic plants, which can result in decreased levels of dissolved oxygen– a process called eutrophication. High levels of phosphorus can also lead to algae blooms that produce algal toxins which can be harmful to human and animal health."

Leave it to the EPA to be passing out false information...

Indicators: Phosphorus | US EPA
 

ruud

Haha, you just googled and copy/pasted the first result ;)
Every story is flawed by its equation and context.
 

MacZ

Phosphorus and phosphate are not exactly the same and it's a difference if you look at a whole ecosystem or a fish tank. Phosphate is definitely a macro nutrient and whatever is in the water that uses it, be it algae or higher plants, will have grow better with it.
Phosphate surplus in a tank usually only results in algae growth if the mass of higher plants is too small. Leaving that qualifier out, that's why people came to the conclusion it promotes algae growth. Usually these people simply have too little plants in general.

So in the end: Algae growth is rarely just because of a general surplus of nutrients, it's because of a surplus of nutrients with a lack of competition.

The EPA is right with what they say, but it applies to ecosystems that have massive influx of phosphates due to agricultural use of fertilizers.
 

ruud

Phosphorus and phosphate are not exactly the same and it's a difference if you look at a whole ecosystem or a fish tank. Phosphate is definitely a macro nutrient and whatever is in the water that uses it, be it algae or higher plants, will have grow better with it.
Phosphate surplus in a tank usually only results in algae growth if the mass of higher plants is too small. Leaving that qualifier out, that's why people came to the conclusion it promotes algae growth. Usually these people simply have too little plants in general.

So in the end: Algae growth is rarely just because of a general surplus of nutrients, it's because of a surplus of nutrients with a lack of competition.

The EPA is right with what they say, but it applies to ecosystems that have massive influx of phosphates due to agricultural use of fertilizers.
And importantly lacking macrophytes as many of these studies are based on large bodies of water at higher latitudes (temperate conditions) and limited light (deep waters). Far different from the planted tanks we keep, or at least the OP keeps, that don't require phosphate removers. Most likely, the opposite applies.
 

PAcanis

Haha, you just googled and copy/pasted the first result ;)
Every story is flawed by its equation and context.


Actually, I think SeaChem's site was the first link. "haha".
I know what did not come up, your reply saying it's not needed ;)

Many aquariums that are being kept are microcosms of larger body's of water. Lighting, substrate, plants, livestock. I'm not understanding your seeming to brush off other vetted sources saying a phosphate and silicate remover could provide help in dealing with an algae bloom. So what if it's a fish tank?
It's really no different than a person dosing Prime until they figure out their source of ammonium or nitrite and get it under control.

I just hate to see closed minded arguments. The OP should be aware it was not thrown into his filter because Fluval wanted to give it away. The decision to use it or not in the event of an algae bloom is ultimately his. Like anything we do with our aquariums.


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New Reply
Phosphorus and phosphate are not exactly the same and it's a difference if you look at a whole ecosystem or a fish tank. Phosphate is definitely a macro nutrient and whatever is in the water that uses it, be it algae or higher plants, will have grow better with it.
Phosphate surplus in a tank usually only results in algae growth if the mass of higher plants is too small. Leaving that qualifier out, that's why people came to the conclusion it promotes algae growth. Usually these people simply have too little plants in general.

So in the end: Algae growth is rarely just because of a general surplus of nutrients, it's because of a surplus of nutrients with a lack of competition.

The EPA is right with what they say, but it applies to ecosystems that have massive influx of phosphates due to agricultural use of fertilizers.

Exactly.
And since many aquariasts (is that a word?) use liquid fertilizers and root tabs it goes without saying that you have a small sample size of a larger ecosystem in a tank.
 

MacZ

Exactly.
And since many aquariasts (is that a word?) use liquid fertilizers and root tabs it goes without saying that you have a small sample size of a larger ecosystem in a tank.
The difference is: While in a tank you can simply leave the fertilizers and let the plants use them up to reduce them or do a waterchange, agriculture will not stop using fertilizers. They will still be flushed into bodies of water. Downside of feeding millions.
 

ruud

Actually, I think SeaChem's site was the first link. "haha".
I know what did not come up, your reply saying it's not needed ;)

Many aquariums that are being kept are microcosms of larger body's of water. Lighting, substrate, plants, livestock. I'm not understanding your seeming to brush off other vetted sources saying a phosphate and silicate remover could provide help in dealing with an algae bloom. So what if it's a fish tank?
It's really no different than a person dosing Prime until they figure out their source of ammonium or nitrite and get it under control.

I just hate to see closed minded arguments. The OP should be aware it was not thrown into his filter because Fluval wanted to give it away. The decision to use it or not in the event of an algae bloom is ultimately his. Like anything we do with our aquariums.


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New Reply


Exactly.
And since many aquariasts (is that a word?) use liquid fertilizers and root tabs it goes without saying that you have a small sample size of a larger ecosystem in a tank.
The OP wants to know what to do with phosphate remover. The OP has a planted tank that is doing fine. In which case I would suggest not to use phosphate remover; it might actually be worth adding more phosphates to the tank to prevent an algae bloom from occurring. But for this I would need to know more about the tank.

It is perfectly fine of course to restrict the scope to only phosphates and algae. To refer to case studies that have shown a relationship between them (as a relationship between phosphates and almost all forms of life, including humans, can be found for that matter). To link this to the fact that filter suppliers don't provide phosphate removers just for nothing (they also add activated carbon for a reason). And that it is up to the OP (who is asking for guidance) to decide what to do. If that open-mindedness is favored, then I apologize for my narrow-mindedness.

So in accordance to vetted sources, I too agree that phosphate and silicate remover could provide help in dealing with an algae bloom. Just as turning of the lights will help as well. But in your situation, OP, I would not do either.
 

PAcanis

The difference is: While in a tank you can simply leave the fertilizers and let the plants use them up to reduce them or do a waterchange, agriculture will not stop using fertilizers. They will still be flushed into bodies of water. Downside of feeding millions.


Yup.
I'm pretty sure that is why there are nitrates in my well water.
New Reply
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So in accordance to vetted sources, I too agree that phosphate and silicate remover could provide help in dealing with an algae bloom. Just as turning of the lights will help as well. But in your situation, OP, I would not do either.

True. Never fix what isn't broken as they say.
But a lot of people also believe in preventative measures and I would not fault their philosophy either.
 

ruud

If the philosophy is to use phosphate remover as a preventative measure in a planted tank that is doing fine at the moment, I believe the OP is entitled to hear other opinions, such as actually adding more phosphates (provided the ratio's with other macro and micronutrients and light makes sense). The discussion should serve the OP, not the general public and all sorts of other circumstances.

Let's put this to rest, shall we.
 

PAcanis

If the philosophy is to use phosphate remover as a preventative measure in a planted tank that is doing fine at the moment, I believe the OP is entitled to hear other opinions, such as actually adding more phosphates (provided the ratio's with other macro and micronutrients and light makes sense). The discussion should serve the OP, not the general public and all sorts of other circumstances.

Let's put this to rest, shall we.


You have an interesting way of spinning what I have written.
I made no such suggestion. I was the one that told him to put it in the back of the cabinet unless he thinks he needs it.

Really, this back and forth is getting old. Something must be getting lost in the language difference.
 

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