HEY! What are your phosphate levels? Mine have been crazy for years!

SludgeMunkey

New member
Joined
Nov 11, 2008
Messages
2,299
Reaction score
72
Points
0
Location
Bellevue, Nebraska
Country
United States
Display Name
Johnny O. Farnen
Less a discussion and more a heads-up:

Check your aquarium/pond water phosphate levels! Mine have been through the roof ever since I moved to Nebraska. I was never able to determine why as I often cannot see the forest for the trees.

I knew that our tap water here was loaded with silicates, which I remedy by the addition of horsetails (a semi-aquatic plant) int the sand and gravel stage of hacked critter my water treatment system. This easily helped lower "brown algae" numbers which are actually silicate base diatoms.

After suffering HUGE cyanobacter, dinoflagellate, and green algae blooms in my outdoor enclosures and ponds, I was shocked to find out that our local tap water phosphate levels are through the roof @ 8ppm +/- 2ppm !!!! (Due to water volume required I am forced to use tap water and the garden hose for my outdoor ponds, tanks, and enclosures...I cannot collect enough rainwater and snow melt to get through the summer here...)

A bit of research and college level chemistry led me to aging all tap water with my usual regimen plus the addition of aluminum oxide to remove the obscene levels of phosphate.

Edit: Please note I used our municipal water reports for the last ten years AND the Aquarium Pharmaceuticals brand phosphate test over a period of six months to gather accurate data.


I had no idea our phosphate levels were so high. Until the last month or so, phosphate was just not a component of water chemistry I ever bothered to examine. If blooms of the type I described above are an issue for you, test your phosphate levels!

If you have a problem like I do, which is a big issue in water supplies in agricultural areas, you need to invest in a good aluminum oxide or iron 3 oxide neutralizer. You local water chemistry will dictate which version to use.

Please note that for maximum effect and minimal risk to you amphibians you need to age with the previously mentioned oxides BEFORE you treat with chlorine/chloramine/metal neutralizers. This takes much more time, but is safest for your critters.

Due to volume I am forced to buy bulk aluminum oxide "gravel" (purchased as 35lb sacks of sandblasting media on eBay), but small scale (aquarium) testing shows that Seachem Brand PhosGaurd is the best OTS product for the average, non-basement dwelling science geek.
 

TristanH

New member
Joined
May 28, 2007
Messages
60
Reaction score
5
Points
0
Country
United Kingdom
Interesting - wow, that's a lot of phosphate. Here in the UK we routinely have sewage plants that discharge effluent at 1.5 ppm, so 8ppm is really high.

Soluble phosphate is not actually toxic though, it just stimulates a lot of algal growth. Have you experimented with using zooplankton (Daphnia etc) to control the algae? Great fishfood too. You could also harvest aquatic plants to remove phosphate from the water.

You should be a bit careful with aluminium as it can be quite toxic to aquatic life. Alternatives include bentonite clays, which are more or less inert. There is also a product called Phoslock which is a lanthanum enriched clay that is apparently non-toxic, but I don't think it is available for domestic applications.

Regards
Tristan
 

herpvet

Veterinarian
Joined
May 7, 2007
Messages
156
Reaction score
25
Points
28
Age
53
Location
Oxford, U.K.
Country
United Kingdom
Display Name
Bruce Maclean
Interesting - wow, that's a lot of phosphate. Here in the UK we routinely have sewage plants that discharge effluent at 1.5 ppm, so 8ppm is really high.

Soluble phosphate is not actually toxic though, it just stimulates a lot of algal growth. Have you experimented with using zooplankton (Daphnia etc) to control the algae? Great fishfood too. You could also harvest aquatic plants to remove phosphate from the water.

You should be a bit careful with aluminium as it can be quite toxic to aquatic life. Alternatives include bentonite clays, which are more or less inert. There is also a product called Phoslock which is a lanthanum enriched clay that is apparently non-toxic, but I don't think it is available for domestic applications.

Regards
Tristan
Hi,

Just a comment on this - you should perhaps be aware that high phosphate is potentially toxic - it is believed to at least potentially contribute to a calcium deficiency ("metabolic bone disease") by reducing availability. Something to consider if you have high levels, and those do sound very high. May be worth considering even check radiographs of bone density of your amphibs?

Hope this helps,

Bruce.
 

TristanH

New member
Joined
May 28, 2007
Messages
60
Reaction score
5
Points
0
Country
United Kingdom
Hi Bruce, thanks I wasn't aware of this. However, I think this mainly relates to dietary phosphorus?
Early death by junk food? High levels of phosphate in sodas and processed foods accelerate the aging process in mice

As it turns out there is some research on this looking at tadpoles of a tropical treefrog. Judging by the abstract this suggests there isn't much toxic effect at levels up to 200mg. Perhaps this is because the P is in the water column rather than concentrated in specific foods, as is the case with humans eating crisps, fizzy drinks etc?
An Error Occurred Setting Your User Cookie

Perhaps I should have said that phosphorus is not very toxic at levels normally found in the environment, even those where it acts as a pollutant by increasing nutrient levels.

Regards
Tristan
 
General chit-chat
Help Users
  • No one is chatting at the moment.
  • Murk:
    Hi Nerdybirds - open a thread, that usually gets more views and also allows you to post pictures and give more background information: water parameters, age, etc.
    +1
    Unlike
  • Roadrunner:
    My axolotl can you all take a look at that thread, I am freaked out about my axie
    +1
    Unlike
  • MVM1991:
    His gills seem kinda small, I don't think that's normal but I'm not a huge expert on axolotls
    +1
    Unlike
  • Roadrunner:
    Yeah his gills is kinda small and it can be caused by nitrate level, I am taking care of it atm, I am worried about his weight, is he only overfed or are there any kinds of problems there ?
    +1
    Unlike
  • MVM1991:
    Well, again, I'm no expert. But I did just read axolotls are supposed to have a body about as wide as their head. The gills I'd say are the biggest problem, which could reduce oxygen intake, which could make a whole mess of problems.
    +1
    Unlike
  • Roadrunner:
    Thanks for the help then, I will deal with his gills in no time
    +2
    Unlike
  • Chat Bot:
    Bri the axolotl mom has left the room.
    +1
    Unlike
  • Chat Bot:
    Bri the axolotl mom has joined the room.
    +1
    Unlike
  • nerdybirds73:
    Any one have advice on feeding a tubbed axolotl?
    +1
    Unlike
  • nerdybirds73:
    mine hasent eaten in weeks and im not sure what to do
    +1
    Unlike
  • LauraLobster:
    Hello, I am a new owner of a 3 month old axolotl, and although I have done a lot of research on axolotls, I can barely find any for babies. If anyone can help me with these questions, I would be super happy. How many hours do baby axolotls tend to sleep per day? How many times should I feed it and what would be considered too much (it's current diet is freeze-dried brine shrimp and blood worms, and I currently feed it around 3 bloodworms since they are not that big)? How many times a week should I change the water and how? I have a good filter and use Prime as my conditioner to remove the chlorine and other chemicals, but I still need to figure out how to deal with ammonia and such in the water. How do I clean it's waste (should I use a dropper to easily pick it up)? I need a better cooling system because currently I use ice packs on the side of the tank and I make sure to angle my ac so that it hits the tank.
    +1
    Unlike
  • LauraLobster:
    I also leave the lid open during the day so that evaporation can cool down my tank. I want to buy a fan, but since winter is coming I won't have to buy one yet. Lastly, what water testers are effective and affordable for a broke student like myself? Please, if anyone has any advice I will love to hear it. I care for this creature too much at this point, but I have no one to help me with caring for it other than the internet :,)
    +1
    Unlike
  • EmilyP:
    Hi LauraLobster I am a new owner of axolotls myself and have been getting advice from things like this, I feed mine twice a day on blackworms and brine shrimp blood worms are more of a treat food, a question on where you are keeping you axolotl are you keeping it in the main tank or in a tub also if in the tank did you cycle it first? and if not i suggest tubing it until the tank it cycled, mine are still tubed since I was given bad advice by the shop people about cycling my tank and am still in the process of cycling it. I use pipettes to clean up the mess of my axolotls. I use the API mater test kit for freshwater tanks I am also a student and had to look around to find it the cheapest I could.
    +1
    Unlike
  • AnimeDan:
    Hi LauraLobster, like you I got my first ever Axolotl back in July. Iv found that he has enjoyed and eaten red wigglers well. They are a good source of protein and help provide the nutrients a young lotl needs to grow up big and strong. You will probably need to break it up into smaller pieces until they get bigger but they are what I have primarily fed my buddy since I got him. He’s actually so picky that he won’t even eat his pellets anymore and will hold out till he gets his favorite wormy.
    +1
    Unlike
  • Readysalted:
    Hi I would like to know how you treat nea
    +1
    Unlike
  • Readysalted:
    Hi I would like to know how you treat newt inflamtion I've got one and recently it's started to develop an inflammation on its throat can someone please tell me how you treat this I've also checked if he had something stuck but I didn't se anything
    +1
    Unlike
  • Cjbond:
    Anyone have any Notophthalmus viridescens for purchase to a loving home?
    +2
    Unlike
  • Grantsky:
    Hi, I’m not sure if this is the right place to post this as I am new to the site, b
    +1
    Unlike
  • ltoloxa-:
    Hey, can anyone recommend a good fan/cooler in UK?
    +1
    Unlike
  • Nycolebayne:
    I’ve got proven female axolotls available if anyone is interested.
    +1
    Unlike
  • Mark.H:
    Hey, does anyone know if shale is ok for long-toed salamanders?
    +1
    Unlike
  • MVM1991:
    As long as its cleaned yeah! You can even make overhangs if you have enough pieces to make nice caves and platforms
    +1
    Unlike
  • Mark.H:
    Ok, thanks!
    +1
    Unlike
  • MVM1991:
    My pleasure! River rocks work well too, and go rather well with all kinda lung less salamanders,
    +1
    Unlike
  • Mark.H:
    Great! I'll use some of those too. Thanks for the help. :)
    +1
    Unlike
    Mark.H: Great! I'll use some of those too. Thanks for the help. :) +1
    Top