Friday, December 23, 2016

Phosphorus: Is it good or bad?

removing phosphates from aquarium

The one chemical that is sure caused a lot of confusion among the aquarists is Phosphorus. Is Phosphorus good or bad for an aquarium? Well, it can be both, depending on the circumstances.

One of the main reasons for algae bloom is an excess level of phosphorus in the aquarium. Most of the time algae take over a tank because of nutrient imbalance in the water. Algae require the same nutrients as our beloved plants do. Algae consume nitrogen, potassium, iron and other nutrients too. But an algae bloom occurs when all these nutrients are present in excess quantities in the aquarium. As there is a large amount of leftover nutrients, algae grow quickly.

What are the sources of phosphorus?

As we know, an excess level of phosphorus tends to grow more algae. Now, the question is how phosphorus comes to our aquarium? A good source of phosphorus can be the water that is supplied by your city. In some parts of the country, water contains an excess level of phosphorus. What is this excess level? Well, anything beyond barely detectable can be excess. Another source of phosphorus can be the fertilizer that you dose in the aquarium. Almost every aquarium fertilizers contain most of the nutrients that are required by the plants. But some fertilizer brands deliberately omit phosphorus as they encourage algae growth. Another source of phosphorus is fish food. Fish food is manufactured to provide balanced nutrients to the fish. Fishes need many nutrients for healthy growth. They need protein, fat, calcium, phosphorus and many other nutrients. Almost every fish food contains 0.5 to 1.0 % phosphorus. You need to check the food label to know how much phosphorus it contains. The less phosphorus there is, the better.

So, when we provide fish food to the aquarium, fishes eat some. They discard the rest via their waste. A recent study showed that fish waste contains an excess amount of phosphorus.

Removing Phosphates from Aquarium:

=>By maintaining a light quantity of fish, we can lower the amount of phosphorus in the aquarium.

=>Overfeeding leads to excess waste in the aquarium. As a result, there will be excess phosphorus in the water column. Overfeeding also results in poor water quality. So, you need to feed your fish in small amounts. A good way to check if you are overfeeding is if there is any leftover food on the substrate. If there is, then you are overfeeding and you should decrease the amount of given food immediately.

=>Sometimes, a good amount of healthy, hungry plants is all you need to prevent excess phosphorus building up. The more plants there are in your aquarium, the more they will absorb nutrients and there won’t be any leftover nutrients to promote algae growth.

=>Perform regular water changes to prevent excess waste building up.

=>As fish foods often get trapped in the filter media of your aquarium filter, be sure to clean the filter media regularly. It will prevent trapped waste materials releasing their contaminants back into the water.

Even after following all of these steps, if excess levels of phosphorus still remain in the water column of your aquarium, you can use some commercial phosphorus removal products. Seachem PhosGuard can be your best bet on this. Many aquarists have used it and got effective result. Click here to check out the product!

Like Phosphorus, Nitrogen also plays a very important role in the balance of nutrients in your aquarium. Click here to know more about Nitrogen, its deficiency symptoms and its importance in the aquarium.

Comment below if you have any question and I’ll try to answer as soon as I can!


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