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

SludgeMunkey

New member
Joined
Nov 11, 2008
Messages
2,299
Reaction score
73
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
54
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.
  • Toothpickthelotl:
    Also, she was fine at the higher temperature. Perfectly healthy and never showed signs of de stress. Just thought it being colder would make her happier and digest a little slower! (She’s a pig :p )
    +1
    Unlike
  • SubZero:
    is it normal for a tiger to jump at you from being the glass
    +1
    Unlike
  • Murk:
    @Paige1warren That should be fine. I wouldn't suddenly put her in very cold water without acclimatisation, but a few degrees over the course of two hours shouldn't be a problem at all.
    +1
    Unlike
  • AlexisJG:
    Is anyone online? I need help badly
    +1
    Unlike
  • AlexisJG:
    I have had my 2 axolotls since June 2020 and I had hoped they would mature the same gender but unfortunately they are not. I am currently on vacation and planned to separate them once I returned, my axolotls are currently being cared for by a friend who knows the basics to care for them properly. A melanoid and a leucistic. I had a feeling but didn't prioritize it enough and now I have many many eggs in the tank with both of my axolotls. I have zero experience with eggs and cannot really care for juvenile axolotls but I really DO NOT want to kill them. What should I do? Are my axolotls okay being in the same tank with them? would the eggs be okay all together in a tank by themselves? Where can I find someone to care for them and hatch them?I'm so stressed and worried I just want the best for them all.
    +1
    Unlike
  • axie owner:
    you are going to have to get a bucket and put the eggs in that. they can hatch anytime between 11 and 20 days. order in brine shrimp eggs and get your friend to watch a video on hatching them. make sure your friend does 100% water changes every day. keep the water around 64digres and make sure your friend sends daily updates on them. i found kitchen salt works for the brine shrimp eggs. hope this helps.
    +1
    Unlike
  • Gots2knowme2:
    I am a new owner of two juvenile axolotls that are Lucie's. One has black eyes and one has silver eyes. Is that common or rare?
    +1
    Unlike
  • FP.Foxy:
    A few days ago, my Axolotl was about to die, there was something wrong with the water but he’s doing fine now. His skin is still cracked and his red things are still white
    +1
    Unlike
  • Toothpickthelotl:
    Hi guys.. I might of made an error and need some advice. One of the hides in my tank is too small for my axie now, but I did not want to buy another hide because they are expensive, so I decided to DIY one. I used a Tupperware (cut into a little home) and glued rocks from outside and plants on it. The problem is, I washed the rocks with soap and hot water. I completely wasn’t thinking. When I washed them there was no soap residue that was visible on the rocks, and the rocks have been drying for 3 days on the container. So it has been 3 days since I washed them. I used aquarium safe silicone to glue them on. It was fully dry tonight so I decided to put it in my tank. I had it in for about 3 mins until I realized j had washed the rocks in soap, and I took it out immediately. Should I be worried??? I’m really freaking out, I don’t want anything to happen to my baby! I was truly not thinking. I also read that it was safe to use rocks from outside, but now I’m not sure? Can anyone help
    +1
    Unlike
  • Saturn:
    @Paige1warren, Since you took it out straight away it should be ok but I'd still be doing a big water change. When I was a teen, I took some rocks from outside, washed them (probably in soap) and put them in my turtle tank. He died a week or so later and I've never used any rocks from the garden since because you just don't know what's been on them, such as pesticide and I suppose the mineral composition of the rock comes in to play too. Letting them dry for a few days before adding them also would have helped so you should be fine
    +1
    Unlike
  • Toothpickthelotl:
    @Saturn, okay, thank you so much! Firstly, I’m so sorry about your turtle :(. My lotl seems to be fine, I haven’t noticed any changes or signs of destress. I do 25% weekly water changes (I have a fully cycled tank), but I will do a 50% change today. I hope that everything turns out fine. Axies are pretty good at showing they are not well or stressed so I’m hoping that I got the rocks out fast enough. Thank you again!
    +1
    Unlike
  • Saturn:
    @Paige1warren, Thanks hun and you're absolutely right, axolotls are so sensitive it would've showed signs. Glad your lotl is ok :)
    +1
    Unlike
  • Pookisoo:
    Hii my tiger salamander has a black bump on his head, its looks like a little spot but its forming into a bump and its like making a hole..? You can tell i need help , please help😁
    +1
    Unlike
  • Pookisoo:
    Do i just give him a salt bath?
    +1
    Unlike
  • madcaplaughs:
    You need to take him to the vet if there's a hole that's forming in his head.
    +1
    Unlike
  • Tanker:
    New to site. Have a Golden Albino and a Black Melanoid
    +1
    Unlike
  • Tanker:
    Tank size 40 gal. 2 filter pumps /substrate roughed ceramic easy to clean / feed each one night crawler every 3 rd day
    +1
    Unlike
  • Murk:
    Ceramic substrate? That sounds interesting. What should I imagine by that?
    +1
    Unlike
  • AMurry24537:
    Can't say if this is what's being referred to, but I had some ceramic tiles in an aquarium for a while. I used a silicone sealant to secure them to the bottom and to each other. It worked well for about 6 months, but eventually a little water got through my imperfect seal and started creating mold problems
    +2
    Unlike
  • Murk:
    Ooh, tiles of course. I was thinking of those ceramic rings/balls you can buy as filter medium, but tiles make more sense. Thanks
    +1
    Unlike
  • Stacy:
    Hi there, I am a new Axolotl lover & owner of two cuties! They are little over 6 months old now. I have a divider and decided to see how they would be together because they always tried to get to each other threw the border/wall.
    +1
    Unlike
  • JoyJiang:
    In PowerSchool, what is your current grade for this class?Do you have any missing or incomplete assignments for this class?If yes, what assignments do you plan to complete before the end of the marking period (March 25th)?What can I do to help you get your grade to where you need it to be before the end of the marking period?
    +1
    Unlike
  • JoyJiang:
    Oh shoot wrong thing
    +1
    Unlike
  • Unlike
  • JoyJiang:
    Looolllllll
    +1
    Unlike
    JoyJiang: Looolllllll +1
    Top