High Phosphate Content of Tap Water

PhillyB

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Dec 27, 2006
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In the Philadelphia area the phosphate content of my tap water is consistently 2.0 ppm per testing. The water quality report does not show these levels, instead it simply states that phosphate is added to the water to prevent lead leaching into the water supply.

I was previously using a phosphate absorbing material in my canister filter to reduce the phosphates in my 29g tank. I have since removed the material since I believe my H. Difformis is letting me know that was a bad idea. My phosphate are currently measuring at 0 ppm. All tests were done using a AP test kit. I know these test kits are not necessarily very reliable. But...

Has anyone else had experience with tap water that is high in phosphate (even > 2.0)?

I am going to begin this weekend with 50% water changes and no additional effort to reduce the phosphate levels. If my dosing of other elements is sufficient I am beginning to believe this will simply meet my phosphate requirements for the tank as it will essentially provide 1ppm of phosphate.

Rock On,
PhillyB
 

VaughnH

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Jan 24, 2005
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2 ppm of phosphate isn't too high. You probably should be dosing phosphate, since the plants use up what's in the tap water as they grow. Relying on the tap water for a nutrient is like only dosing a fertilizer once a week (assuming weekly water changes.) Why are you so interested in reducing the phosphate level?
 

PhillyB

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Dec 27, 2006
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VaughnH;12862 said:
Why are you so interested in reducing the phosphate level?

I guess this is an old habit from previously having little or no plants in my tanks. It was my previous understanding that phosphate caused algae, and removing the phosphate was a way to prevent this. With a planted tank, I am beginning to understand this should not be the case.

I guess one of my problems is I am/was trying to be too preemptive as opposed to reactive to the situation.
 

reiverix

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Jan 29, 2005
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My tapwater PO4 comes out at around 2ppm. I don't bother testing it nowadays. For a planted tank it's free food. I still dose during the week to keep the levels up.

You won't get algae with high phosphates (assuming everything else is in balance) but letting them bottom out is not a good thing.