help! phosphates out control!

umneycreep

New member
i recently had a copperband die so we took the water to the LFS and they said we had high phosphate levels... and that it would kill all of the fish eventually.
i have tried using phosguard, salifert phosphate eliminator, Kent Marine Phosphate Sponge, and two more powerheads to create more current as they had suggested at the LFS...
anyway, i keep measuring the levels and there seems to be no change it keeps sitting at 3 ... i have a salifert phosphate test kit.
how can i win the battle against phosphate? does anyone have suggestions?
thanks!
 

boodwah

New member
What do you top off your water with? I'm not an expert but from what I gather you can drastically reduce that number by doing water changes with RO/DI water then always doing your topoffs with that. I'm sure you will get some good advice here, I'm replying to bump your post up so more people will see it.
 

whiteshark

New member
A good protien skimmer. Maybe a PhosBan reactor (i've heard they work well). Feed less. Water changes (make sure there is no phosphate in the water you are using for water changes).
 

whiteshark

New member
Remember also, if you have live rock in your tank, the phosphate will have been absorbed into it. It may take many water changes to see results because as you take the old water out and put the new in, the phosphates will leach out of the rock back into the water. Long sentance eh?
 

sinder255248

New member
phosphates

phosphates

I has mega phosphates in my tank due to a faulty RO unit. Many water changes and two lots of rawphos running in the canister cleared it up.
 

cheeks69

New member
Phosphates will not kill your fish.

Is this a reef or FO ? Do you have an algea problem ? How big is the tank and how many fish do you have ? How often do you feed ? How often do you do water changes ? Which skimmer are you using ? What are you dosing ? What are your parameters ?
 

umneycreep

New member
it is a FOWLR tank... and there are 4 fish... blenny, yellow tang, naso tang, (copperband RIP), yellow-eyed tang...
algae isn't a problem...
it is a 72 gallon bowfront...
using the prizm skimmer
ph 8.2, ammonia 0, phosphate 3
kent probuffer dkH
kent liquid calcium
kent tech I
kent essential elements
kent strontium and molybdenum
if phosphates won't kill our fish then what would u think really killed the copperband... does the high phosphate level harm the fish in any way... like lower their immunity level making them more susceptible to diseases?
should i even worry about high phosphates?
 

whiteshark

New member
Phosphates will not harm your fish. It is good to keep them down to prevent problem algae. High phosphate levels may also inhibit the growth of coralline algae. It is worth the time t keep em low or nonexistant.
 

cheeks69

New member
I would double check that test kit ! A PO4 level of 3 is very high and I can guarantee that if it was that high you would a serious algea problem, but it won't harm your fish. What are your nitrate levels ? High nitrate levels can be stressful for your fish.

CBB's are very delicate fish and very sensitive to water quality...was it eating well before it died ? How long did you have him ? Was he being bullied by his tankmates ?

I would be very careful adding all those elements to your tank not only can they mess up your water chemistry they will add PO4 to your tank. Remember trace elements are called that for a reason !
 

fsn77

New member
Phosphates will not kill your fish -- and certainly not at 3 (ppm I'm guessing). While 3 ppm would be considered high in terms of trying to prevent unwanted algae, it's by no means deadly to your fish.

When you say your tap phosphate is 0, are you talking about your RO/DI source? I only ask because you didn't say RO/DI and any city water will have phosphates in it -- they add it during the treatment process.

I've used PhosGuard successfully to reduce phosphate levels of 5 ppm down to 0.5 ppm. It's important to put it in an area of high flow, test regularly, and be sure to change it out often enough.
 

NeilPearson

New member
I agree phosphates won't hurt your fish. CBB usually die of starvation because they are slow eaters and generally can't compete with the other fishes eating habits.

That said, it is a good idea to reduce phosphates anyway and it sounds like you are doing it right. You may not see a change for a while though. As your media absorbs phosphates, your rock and sand can release just as much... but eventually, the rock and sand can run out of phosphates and you will notice a difference.

I battled phosphates and for weeks I didn't see the levels change at all and then suddenly within a few days phosphates went from 1ppm to 0.
 

Alaskan Reefer

New member
If there's any room for chaetomorpha it will feed on phosphates. A skimmer upgrade would help also. It won't kill your fish, but will eventually lead to a hair algae outbreak.
 
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