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Will Phosphates Effect Carbonate Hardness? Or Hurt Fish?


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#1 tled6448

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Posted 05 June 2009 - 03:44 AM

I have high Phosphate levels and I was wondering if it effects carbonate hardness. Will high levels of phosphates effect fish? I used a discus buffer to lower the ph, which is phosphate based. I want to add discus to my aquarium but I dont want to kill them due to incorrect parameters. I tested the phosphate levels and they are off the chart. I tested the carbonate hardness and it is very high also. I added Black Water Extract because of the peat to lower the ph. Will it lower the carbonate hardness?

Edited by tled6448, 05 June 2009 - 03:59 AM.


#2 joecoral

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Posted 05 June 2009 - 10:38 AM

Where are you located? To be honest, I wouldn't bother mucking around with your pH, most discus available to us in the UK will happily breed in whatever the local tapwater is. Stability is the key, as opposed to keeping it at a specific level

#3 blue acara

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Posted 05 June 2009 - 01:30 PM

Black water extract and phosphate wont effect KH. High levels of phosphate will promote algae growth. I dont think phosphate is toxic to fish. While you have high carbonate hardness(KH) you will not be able to change pH much at all so using the discus buffer/ black water extract is a waste of money.
What is the pH of your water? as jc says it might be ok for discus, water stability is most important.
If you want soft and a low pH water a reverse osmosis (RO) unit is the easiest way.

I have high Phosphate levels and I was wondering if it effects carbonate hardness. Will high levels of phosphates effect fish? I used a discus buffer to lower the ph, which is phosphate based. I want to add discus to my aquarium but I dont want to kill them due to incorrect parameters. I tested the phosphate levels and they are off the chart. I tested the carbonate hardness and it is very high also. I added Black Water Extract because of the peat to lower the ph. Will it lower the carbonate hardness?



#4 aaronnorth

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Posted 05 June 2009 - 04:19 PM

High levels of phosphate will promote algae growth.


:no:

PO4 doesnt affect fish, or at least it doesnt up until 10ppm which i know some people run it at :P

#5 tled6448

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Posted 06 June 2009 - 12:03 AM

My boyfriend and I have added lots of phosphate removers, ph decreasers, and we have removed the heavy metals from the water so it shouldn't be to hard to fix the ph now since there is no heavy metals in the water now, right? We stopped using the discus buffer because we don't want lots of algae. We have gotten the ph down to around 6.5 now. It was alot of work but we finally got it to there. We are going to let the water clear up because we used lots of additives. Will high amounts of additives hurt the fish? I was afraid of this, and if it does I was going to let the water filter for a couple weeks before I add fish.

#6 aaronnorth

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Posted 06 June 2009 - 09:21 AM

I think you are overthinking it here.

My boyfriend and I have added lots of phosphate removers, ph decreasers, and we have removed the heavy metals from the water so it shouldn't be to hard to fix the ph now since there is no heavy metals in the water now, right?


it sounds as though you are going through a lot of trouble, it would be easier to buy an RO (reverse osmosis) unit as it will be much simpler, and quicker.

We stopped using the discus buffer because we don't want lots of algae

.

PO4 doesnt cause algae.



We have gotten the ph down to around 6.5 now. It was alot of work but we finally got it to there. We are going to let the water clear up because we used lots of additives. Will high amounts of additives hurt the fish? I was afraid of this, and if it does I was going to let the water filter for a couple weeks before I add fish.


Messing with your water chemistry is more likley to kill your fish rather than a high pH. If you acclimatise your fish correctly then they will happily survive in your water. Ok so you now have pH 6.5, what is your tap water? If this is going to be higher then you have immediatly wasted your time in trying to bring it down, as the next water change it will just rise again
You also need to cycle your tank, have you though how you are going to do this?

Can you give us the details of your tank AND tap water.

pH, KH, GH

Discus are a lot tougher than most people think. PM rabbut or Mike Os as i think they know their stuff about discus, or alternatively, PM a mod to move it over to the new world cichlids section where you may get better answers.

thanks.

#7 blue acara

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Posted 06 June 2009 - 03:52 PM

PO4 doesnt cause algae.


If you are running a planted tank with decent plant growth then PO4 will not cause you to get algae, I even added the stuff to my planted tank. However we dont know if the ops tank has any plants in it and I would only add it if I were running high light co2 and a good amount of plants.
http://www.water-res.../phosphates.htm
http://ezinearticles...i...&id=2137181

tled6448 one of the most important things when keeping discus is changing lots of water in their tank, I change water every day on my discus tank. It will get expensive using all these products every time you perform a water change. You say you will let the tank water filter for a couple of weeks before you add fish...you will need a mature filter than can process the fishes waste, i.e ammonia and then nitrite before adding them. That is vital.

Edited by blue acara, 06 June 2009 - 03:54 PM.


#8 tled6448

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Posted 07 June 2009 - 02:05 PM

All the other parameters in the tank are perfect except for the phosphate levels and carbonate hardness. The phosphate is more than 10ppm and when I test it, it looks black in the test tube. The carbonate hardness is just as bad. I am thinking about doing a water change because I can get water from a spring with 6.9 ph and add it to the aquarium. The ph is very high in the water we added to the tank before we changed, but we are going to use the spring water when we do water changes before we get the fish because its carbonate hardness and phosphate levels aren't outrageously high.

We can't get tap water to our house. The only water we can use is well water unless we want to use a 5 gallon bucket and make 15 trips to the spring and to the house.

We started out and we had the tank full of spring water once, but we used the wrong type of substrate. It made the whole tank cloudy and the filter couldn't even filter it out. So we drained it and got all the substrate out. We started again by adding fine gravel we got at our local aquarium store. We then filled it with well water. Well now we are having lots of problems with the well water too. The well water is full of heavy metals, high in phosphates, and is very hard. The ph in the well water is over 8.0.

We decided we are going to buy an RO unit. This aquarium has turned out more costly than it should have been.

What will the RO unit make the ph in the aquarium?

#9 aaronnorth

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Posted 07 June 2009 - 02:59 PM

PO4 doesnt cause algae.


If you are running a planted tank with decent plant growth then PO4 will not cause you to get algae, I even added the stuff to my planted tank. However we dont know if the ops tank has any plants in it and I would only add it if I were running high light co2 and a good amount of plants.
http://www.water-res.../phosphates.htm
<a href="http://ezinearticles.com/?Phosphate-in-Swi...&id=2137181" target="_blank">http://ezinearticles.com/?Phosphate-in-Swi...&id=2137181</a>

tled6448 one of the most important things when keeping discus is changing lots of water in their tank, I change water every day on my discus tank. It will get expensive using all these products every time you perform a water change. You say you will let the tank water filter for a couple of weeks before you add fish...you will need a mature filter than can process the fishes waste, i.e ammonia and then nitrite before adding them. That is vital.



they don't take into account the fact that they rip all the 'weeds' out of these water courses regularly and never let anything grow properly. Therefore low plant biomass causes the algae. Then the algae FEEDS off the nutrient as there are not enough plants competing with it.
i have been over this subject many times so if you want more in depth answers take a look at some my previous posts. There is by far more than enough evidence in them. Loads of people manage to keep algae free (or just a bit of growth) in their tanks, and they have PO4, not everyone has a tank full of plants either ;) in fact most people are sensible enough not to waste their money on test kits.
For even better answers PM Tom Barr ('plantbrain' on forums) and good luck explaining to him PO4 causes algae. Or there is his webste the barr report, he releases scientific journals every month for a small subscription fee, Or their is Clive (ceg4048) on UKAPS who can equally give you a detailed answer.
The people who tend to get algae are the ones worrying about various elements, not taking into consideration the basic facts, they try & mess with the water and just make life hard for theirself, exactly the same way when trying to lower or raise the pH with off the shelf chemicals and then wonder why they get more problems than they started with :rolleyes:
biochemistry is so complicated and have so many variables that it's easy to come to invalid conclusions.

I am not having a dig at you personally, but it just gets a bit boring and repetitive posting out the same information day in day out.
Thanks.

#10 blue acara

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 01:00 AM

If you are running a planted tank with decent plant growth then PO4 will not cause you to get algae, I even added the stuff to my planted tank.



they don't take into account the fact that they rip all the 'weeds' out of these water courses regularly and never let anything grow properly. Therefore low plant biomass causes the algae. Then the algae FEEDS off the nutrient as there are not enough plants competing with it.


This is my exact point. When you have little to no plants and no growth only algae is going to be using the excess PO4. When in ideal conditions plants will outcompete algae for PO4+NO3 and you will have a lush tank! Im not bashing E.I...I use it myself. The op has never said anything about keeping plants in the tank.

#11 blue acara

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 01:13 AM

So you dont have mains water at your house? RO units require water being pumped into it at fairly high pressure usually through 1/8 inch RO tubing which connects to the mains. pH from RO will be 7.

All the other parameters in the tank are perfect except for the phosphate levels and carbonate hardness. The phosphate is more than 10ppm and when I test it, it looks black in the test tube. The carbonate hardness is just as bad. I am thinking about doing a water change because I can get water from a spring with 6.9 ph and add it to the aquarium. The ph is very high in the water we added to the tank before we changed, but we are going to use the spring water when we do water changes before we get the fish because its carbonate hardness and phosphate levels aren't outrageously high.

We can't get tap water to our house. The only water we can use is well water unless we want to use a 5 gallon bucket and make 15 trips to the spring and to the house.

We started out and we had the tank full of spring water once, but we used the wrong type of substrate. It made the whole tank cloudy and the filter couldn't even filter it out. So we drained it and got all the substrate out. We started again by adding fine gravel we got at our local aquarium store. We then filled it with well water. Well now we are having lots of problems with the well water too. The well water is full of heavy metals, high in phosphates, and is very hard. The ph in the well water is over 8.0.

We decided we are going to buy an RO unit. This aquarium has turned out more costly than it should have been.

What will the RO unit make the ph in the aquarium?



#12 tled6448

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 02:11 AM

Acid buffer sent us over the hill on hardness and ph; ph=6.3 kh= 9 gh=? (we dont have an immediate means of testing) but phosphate is still over 10ppm. we've added several filter media to our filter to try to bring the levels down, will over 10ppm phos. be toxic?

#13 aaronnorth

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 09:19 AM

If you are running a planted tank with decent plant growth then PO4 will not cause you to get algae, I even added the stuff to my planted tank.



they don't take into account the fact that they rip all the 'weeds' out of these water courses regularly and never let anything grow properly. Therefore low plant biomass causes the algae. Then the algae FEEDS off the nutrient as there are not enough plants competing with it.


This is my exact point. When you have little to no plants and no growth only algae is going to be using the excess PO4. When in ideal conditions plants will outcompete algae for PO4+NO3 and you will have a lush tank! Im not bashing E.I...I use it myself. The op has never said anything about keeping plants in the tank.



they dont outcompete for PO4 & NO3, plants outcompete for Ammonia. The ammonia causes the algae, the excess PO4 & NO3 feeds the algae.

Ok so you can take away their source of food though rowaphos or nitrazorb etc, but then again low PO4 causes Green spot algae, and low NO3 cause cyanobacteria so it works both ways lol.

#14 blue acara

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 06:41 PM

The ONLY time I have seen green spot algae is in tanks with high light levels. Cyanobacteria could be caused by low NO3 but this is not a problem in most tanks with a decent stocking of fish. I had cyanobacteria in my tank a while back and it had 40 ppm of nitrate. (same as my tapwater)

#15 aaronnorth

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 06:56 PM

The ONLY time I have seen green spot algae is in tanks with high light levels. Cyanobacteria could be caused by low NO3 but this is not a problem in most tanks with a decent stocking of fish. I had cyanobacteria in my tank a while back and it had 40 ppm of nitrate. (same as my tapwater)


yes there are lots of other factors that contribute to algae growth, i was just sticking with PO4 & NO3 for now.




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