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High Phosphate after 24 75% water change

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by herns, May 7, 2008.

  1. herns

    herns Guru Class Expert

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    ALright,I have 20G planted tank and for two weeks now Im having a problem of high phosphate after huge water change of 75%. I made a test after 24 hours and it was very high .My test kit is 1 to 5ppm range and surprisingly, the color test came out a little bit darker than 5ppm color chart! This doesnt happens in the past.

    Just last PWC, I took out from my aquarium one small wood branch that I suspect responsible for leaching phosphate, and again did 75%. After 24 hours the Phosphate is off the chart again. This is happening for 2 weeks now. Weeks prior to this, I have 15 neon tetras that slowly decrease in numbers to about 8 but I couldnt find the dead neons due to heavy plants. I have a feeling this is the cause of high phosphate.

    I dont have algae in my tank except for some very few that are growing on the tip of my hairgrass. with very high Phosphate Im a little worried taht algae will soon take over my tank.:(

    can anyone share how to control my phosphate level before algae start to show up?
    Thanks!
     
  2. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    Is the phosphate also in your tap water? Test some other water with your test kit that you know isn't high phosphate....it could be faulty. Test kits are really unreliable. I just had to throw out a nitrate test kit when it gave me three totally different readings on the same water.

    High phosphate won't necessarily cause algae. I dose lots of phosphate in my tanks, I don't have a test kit so I just add what amounts to probably too much, plus whatever is in my tank/tap water besides that, and I've never been able to induce algae that way.
     
  3. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    First, you need to calibrate the phosphate test kit with solutions having known amount of phosphate in them. Otherwise, you can't know if it is a test kit problem (very likely) or a problem with some rocks or substrate leaching phosphate into the water (not very likely), or a tap water problem.

    If you search for it, there is at least one post on the forum telling how to make known phosphate concentration solutions, and how to use them.
     
  4. herns

    herns Guru Class Expert

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    There was no Phosphate leaching in my rocks and substrate neither in my tap water. I did test after I was surprised for the result that after 75%, in almost just 24 hours!, i have way off chart Phosphate result. This is not a reocurrence problem but the very first time in my 2 year old planted tank.

    But thats a good advice to check the test kit. At least, It eases me with my worries of high PO4 in my tank.

    Thanks for the info!
     
  5. herns

    herns Guru Class Expert

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    I would rather post this question here than making another thread., so...what PO4 test kit everybody is using here?
     
  6. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    It doesn't really matter in that you still need to calibrate the kit, whether it is one people use a lot, or one no one uses. I don't test for phosphate at all, so I have no idea which is the best kit.
     
  7. herns

    herns Guru Class Expert

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    Ive read this before from the other forum sites but its been a week now I just could not find it.

    Sometime things shows up when you dont need them. But when time comes that you need them the most they dont show. :mad:

    Thanks for your advices anyway.
     
  8. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    I can't find that post either:confused:

    Maybe who ever wrote can remember where it is?
     
  9. JDowns

    JDowns Lifetime Charter Member
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  10. JDowns

    JDowns Lifetime Charter Member
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    Do you use activated carbon in this tank? Only reason I ask is some low grade activated carbon brands us phosphoric acid in the activation/washing process.
     
  11. herns

    herns Guru Class Expert

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    I only use seachem purigen and Chemipure in my filter. No activated carbon.

    Thank you for your help posting that link.
     
  12. herns

    herns Guru Class Expert

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    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Here's a way to make 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0 and 5.0 ppm PO4 reference solutions:

    Add 1.433 g of KH2PO4 to 1 L DI/RO water. This makes a 1000 ppm PO4 solution. (It's really a 1000.09 ppm solution.)

    Add 1 mL of the 1000 ppm solution to 9 mL of DI/RO water. This makes 10 mL of a 100 ppm PO4 solution.

    Add 2 mL of the 100 ppm solution to 18 mL of DI/RO water. This makes 20 mL of a 10 ppm PO4 solution.

    To make a 1.0 ppm PO4 solution:
    Add 1 mL of the 10 ppm solution to 9 mL of DI/RO water. This makes 10 mL of a 1.0 ppm PO4 solution.

    To make a 2.0 ppm PO4 solution:
    Add 2 mL of the 10 ppm solution to 8 mL of DI/RO water. This makes 10 mL of a 2.0 ppm PO4 solution.

    To make a 3.0 ppm PO4 solution:
    Add 3 mL of the 10 ppm solution to 7 mL of DI/RO water. This makes 10 mL of a 3.0 ppm PO4 solution.

    To make a 4.0 ppm PO4 solution:
    Add 4 mL of the 10 ppm solution to 6 mL of DI/RO water. This makes 10 mL of a 4.0 ppm PO4 solution.

    To make a 5.0 ppm PO4 solution:
    Add 5 mL of the 10 ppm solution to 5 mL of DI/RO water. This makes 10 mL of a 5.0 ppm PO4 solution.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Pardon me for my ignorance...can you please tell me which solution to make per the lists above?
     
  13. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    Make the one that will be easily detectable by your test kit.
     
  14. herns

    herns Guru Class Expert

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    I have a test kit of 0.0-5.0mg/l, therefore I would go to make 10ml of a 100 ppm of PO4 solution?
     
  15. JDowns

    JDowns Lifetime Charter Member
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    Its just showing you the dillutions.

    You start out by making a master mix of 1000ppm.

    From there you are dilluting down to 100, 10, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 ppm solutions from the 1000ppm 1l solution with RO/DI water.

    If you really are intent on testing PO4 you can use the 1000ppm solution to make stock reference solutions. Get some empty bottles and store stock solutions (5,4, 3, 2,1 ppm ). From that chart even making 1/2 solutions (4.5, 3.5, 2.5, 1.5, .5) to be even more accurate. So before you test your tank water have plenty of vials ready. Then test your tank water and stock solutions at the same time. Then you can match to the closest solution. The point being that you are not using a color chart but a closest match to known solutions.

    So to be partially acurate at 1/2 ppm intervals from .5 - 5 you will be making 10 seperate solutions plus the tank water so a total one time test of 11 vials.

    I can't see being accurate by making a solution of say 3ppm. Checking the color chart and going off of that. Most if not all of the hobbyist grade PO4 tests are
    1) innaccurate
    2) have poor color charts to determine PO4 levels
    4) Have wide gaps in the chart once you are over 1ppm.
    API - 0 - 0.25 - 0.5 - 1.0 - 2.0 - 5.0 - 10.0
    Salifert - 0 - .03 - 0.1 - 0.25 - 0.5 - 1.0 - 3.0
    5) Matching colors to these charts is problematic at best.

    This is why I can only see making as many reference solutions as possible and testing all at the same time. Otherwise IMO you are going to be wasting your time.

    Your readings can vary for alot of reasons. Some tests require shaking the bottle vigorously prior to use. What happens if you forget? What does that do to the solution the next time you use it? So if you only do a one time calibration and continually go off of that reading, IMO you are just fooling yourself. API's Nitrate test kit comes to mind. I found Silifert's PO4 to be the easiest but still very difficult to get consistant readings from known stock solutions due to the damn little spoon and large granual reagent.

    What I"m trying to get at, and I'm not trying to dissuade you from testing if you truly feel the need to. Hobbyist test kits are very problematic and to test properly with them requires a great deal of effort to calibrate them to get an accurate reading. Hope this helps and good luck.
     
  16. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Unless you enjoy doing testing, calibrating the test kits, calculating how to correct what the test kits tell you, etc. you are much better off using the test kit for a book end, and not testing. If you have a problem the plants will very likely tell you about it much more accurately than the test kit will. As far as I can see you don't have a problem, so relax, enjoy pruning the plants, watching the fish, and keeping those books upright with the test kit.
     
  17. JDowns

    JDowns Lifetime Charter Member
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    +1

    Very well stated.
     
  18. nickmcmechan

    nickmcmechan Prolific Poster

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    when i first set up at tank i test frequently for the first 3 months or so

    after that i only test when there are issues i can't get to the bottom of, e.g. fish death for unexplained reasons

    i'm actually more likely to test tap water than tank as well, i can tell you that my tap water is 7.2pH, kH and gH < 20ppm, 0 nitrite, 0 nitrate but couldn't tell you what any of my tanks are sitting at right now although i know what i'm aiming for in my malawi tank

    test kits are essential for setup and issues, otherwise why bother?
     
  19. David Hui

    David Hui Lifetime Charter Member
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    Are you using ada soil? If you are, it releases P into the water.
     
  20. hani

    hani Lifetime Charter Member
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    I use lamotte test kit, had same problem, i dont know why but i cut down on my po4 to once a week about 2 month ago, so far so good, i did not caliprate the kit, i have the water company test results saying 0 po4, which my kit say. am not an expert, i dont pother with callipratin, i just use the ket to tell me if things are very low, ok, or very high, you can calliprate if you need acurrate results, i did caliprate in the past but really did not make much of a diffrent.
    if your kit above the sclae you are most likely at the high end.
     
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