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View Full Version : Need help lowing PO4 ...


lReef_lKeeper
12/04/2015, 12:58 PM
As an old "veteran" of saltwater and never having this issue before ... I need some help from you guys. I've been doing some reading on this subject, but it seems that the vast majority of what I'm reading is based on the PO4 being introduced through feeding. That isn't the case with my current situation, as I have NO fish or coral to feed. I strongly believe that my PO4 is coming from the "Marco Rock" I bought to start a new system free of hitchhikers (never again will I do that after this). So, my question is ... How do I lower the PO4 to an acceptable level and keep it there until it all leaches out of the rock (if it ever does) ?? I'm current running 2x the recommended amount of Rowa-phos in a two little Fishies reactor, running carbon, and skimming with a Bubble Magnus Curve 5 on a 50g system, and its still to high for my liking at between 0.25 and 0.50 (pic attached so you can judge). I'm seriously considering carbon dosing at this point, however all other levels are good to go. Any help you guys can give will be appreciated.

toothybugs
12/04/2015, 01:05 PM
If the tank is still kinda new, I would rip it down and acid wash the rock.

If it's a bit more established, GFO since it doesn't seem you have a nitrate issue as well. Lanthanum chloride is also an option, but GFO is renewable.

lReef_lKeeper
12/04/2015, 01:09 PM
It is a bit more established at 6 months old. The Rowa-phos seems to help some, but not enough for my personal liking.

toothybugs
12/04/2015, 01:15 PM
I vote GFO then. I'd be doing the same thing but I have nitrates too, so I'm going with a vinegar/ kalk mix on a really slow drip when I get home tonight and can play with a new doser.

jason2459
12/04/2015, 01:16 PM
No fish and no coral? What do you have living in the aquarium? Could you just pull the rock out and put into a container to circulate saltwater and dose lanthanum chloride to help pull that phosphate out? Using GFO with leaching phosphates from rocks can add up. LC would be more effective. An acid bath could also help strip the outer layers.

lReef_lKeeper
12/04/2015, 01:21 PM
Just the rock and bacteria are living in the tank, along with snails and a few crabs ... Everything seems to be doing well

jason2459
12/04/2015, 01:28 PM
Personally I'd pull the rocks now and cure them with an acid bath then lanthanum chloride. I went through leaching phosphates from pukani rock twice. I know much better now not to do that. Vinegar is much safer but muriatic acid is quick and be very careful and do it outside out of reach of kids and pets. Lanthanum chloride is safe to use in the container in a garage or basement out of the way. You may just need the acid bath if it's just on the outer layers and not fully soaked into the rocks. Testing will tell. I'd also pick up a much better test kit for phosphates. I'd suggest the Hanna 736 ULR or Elos Pro.

jason2459
12/04/2015, 01:32 PM
Some threads to read through

Acid baths
http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2142685

http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2164678


Lanthanum Chloride curing
http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2107702

http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2049855

bertoni
12/04/2015, 01:37 PM
I probably would try GFO first, and then consider lanthanum phosphate, because I'm lazy and I wouldn't want to tear down the tank, but any of those approaches would be reasonable.

lReef_lKeeper
12/04/2015, 01:37 PM
Thanks man, I'm reading as we speak. I was hoping that carbon dosing or the Rowa-phos would be enough so I could start getting this tank stocked with SPS before Christmas, lol

jason2459
12/04/2015, 01:43 PM
I probably would try GFO first, and then consider lanthanum phosphate, because I'm lazy and I wouldn't want to tear down the tank, but any of those approaches would be reasonable.

lol good point on the lazy aspect. I guess I'm assuming it's the 40 breeder which shouldn't be to bad. If it was a 400g tank and over 300#'s of rock I'd just start dosing LC to the tank and filter it out until the PO4 stopped leaching.

bertoni
12/04/2015, 02:10 PM
Hey, I hold laziness as my best feature. :)

lReef_lKeeper
12/04/2015, 03:18 PM
Ok guys, so how does this stuff look to you ?? http://www.saltwaterfish.com/product-atm-agent-green-lanthanum-chloride-phosphate-remover-4-fl-oz?gclid=Cj0KEQiAkIWzBRDK1ayo-Yjt38wBEiQAi7NnP6dRcrYtbYAW5VnDEM5k1ax8XqRclcimkgj70ALmqZoaArzu8P8HAQ

wakesetter
12/04/2015, 03:48 PM
I vote for Lanthanum as well. Minus the fact that product says ATM on it, it would probably be great. Are you going to drip it and use a 10 micron sock, or just put it straight in the tank since you have no livestock?

lReef_lKeeper
12/04/2015, 03:51 PM
I'm thinking I'm just gonna dump some in, according to the directions of course. After looking at my test results again ... I'm thinking I'm between 0.00 and 0.25 so the whole process shouldn't be to bad. I'd rather stay clear of the acid bath unless absolutely necessary.

jason2459
12/04/2015, 04:19 PM
I'm not familiar with the ATM brand but it looks like expensive lanthanum chloride. Many have used seaklear and phosfree. I've used phosfree in the past and still have the jug.

lReef_lKeeper
12/04/2015, 04:20 PM
Available at pretty much any pool supply store ?? If so, I'll be going to get some in the morning

jason2459
12/04/2015, 04:22 PM
I imagine one of the two would be. I would stay away from anything saying plus or the commercial/pro brand of the phosfree. The standard and extra strength look fine.

lReef_lKeeper
12/04/2015, 04:32 PM
http://www.lesliespool.com/natural-chemistry-pool-perfect-plus-phosfree-phosphate-remover/pool-perfect-plus-phosfree.html

jason2459
12/04/2015, 04:37 PM
http://www.lesliespool.com/natural-chemistry-pool-perfect-plus-phosfree-phosphate-remover/pool-perfect-plus-phosfree.html
I'd stay away from the plus.

Regular phosfree of the extra strength on this page would work. Amazon is cheaper.
http://www.lesliespool.com/algae-control.htm?Chemical%20Type=Phosphate%20Removal

dkeller_nc
12/04/2015, 09:10 PM
Before you go to lengths to "cure" the tank of phosphates, I'd make sure that you actually have something to cure. My interpretation of your picture is that your phosphate concentration by the API test is 0 ppm.

If you're going to keep SPS, then you're going to need a decent phosphate assay anyway. Many use the Hanna 736 ULR for this; I prefer the Hanna 713 LR because I had issues with reagents for the 736 in the past. Either, however, will give you a much better determination of your water's actual PO4 content.

I would personally not suggest that you directly dose the tank with LaCl, even with no significant inhabitants. It's unclear what the effect might be of having a good bit of precipitated LaPO4 in the tank's substrate over time, and presuming your tank has an overflow, it's pretty easy to put the output drain into a 10 micron sock and slow drip the LaCl into the sock.

lReef_lKeeper
12/04/2015, 09:14 PM
You are correct, this will be a 95% SPS tank with a very select few LPS. As far as substrate, I'm running bare bottom. Looking into a Hanna 713 LR right now ...

dkeller_nc
12/04/2015, 09:33 PM
One other thought is that with a 50g system, especially one with no inhabitants, you could easily drop the PO4 concentration in half with a 50% water change. Doing a large water change is generally recommended anyway after cycling with dead rock and an organic source (like a table shrimp) or inorganic ammonia.

Also realize that you can regenerate GFO with two easy to purchase (and inexpensive) chemicals - pure lye and some hydrochloric acid. The basics are to put your exhausted GFO in a large mason jar, rinse it with RODI, add some 0.01N HCl to remove any precipitated calcium carbonate, then go through three successive soaks with a 1N NaOH solution, waiting at least a couple of hours in each successive 1N NaOH soak.

Hydrocholric acid can be obtained at any pool supply store (sometimes sold as "muriatic acid"), and a lot of hardware stores and even some grocery stores will have pure lye. To make the 0.01N HCl solution, dilute the concentrated HCl 100:1 with RODI (recommend you do this outside because it will generate some fumes). To make the 1N NaOH solution, dissolve 40 grams of the lye in 1 Liter of RODI. This is about 2 tablespoons of lye per quart of RODI, and it doesn't need to be precise.

After the last soak in 1N NaOH, rinse the GFO with copious amounts of RODI, and it's ready to go again. Take reasonable precautions - dishwashing or janitorial rubber gloves to protect your skin, and safety glasses.

jason2459
12/04/2015, 09:34 PM
No doubt I would still filter out the Lanthanum Chloride. I believe I said that but definitely didn't stress it like I normally do.

The 713 would certainly do and be much better then the API.

Both the 713 and 736 have had issues with bad reagents. At the same time so has most all other test kits. I do prefer the 736's resolution, reference solutions, and that the reagents dissolve better IMO.
My review of a few different PO4 kits.
http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2540702

lReef_lKeeper
12/04/2015, 09:39 PM
Thanks for all of this info !! I made an offer a Hanna 713 on eBay. I'm going to wait it out and see if I actually NEED to do ANYTHING. After looking at the pic again ... I agree ... It looks to be closer to 0.00 than anything.

jason2459
12/04/2015, 09:48 PM
After that 50% change or more is where having a reliable test kit comes in. Measure before the water change, right after the water change, and then I would test again in aroud 12, 24, and 48 hours to see if it rises significantly to see if the rocks are still leaching phosphates.

If you are feeding those crabs or snails that would rise the results. If you've fed recently eventually any left would decay releasing PO4 and what ever eaten would eventually be defecated and release some PO4.

If you go the regeneration approach please safeguard yourself and others and pets. But some have been able to regenerate high capacity GFO up to ten times significantly reducing it's cost.

dkeller_nc
12/05/2015, 05:26 AM
If you go the regeneration approach please safeguard yourself and others and pets. But some have been able to regenerate high capacity GFO up to ten times significantly reducing it's cost.

By the way - Here (http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2010/10/chemistry) is the original article on regeneration of GFO. Do not follow the procedure in the article, at least from the standpoint of filling a reactor and recirculating 1N NaOH solution through it. Doing so offers no advantages over the batch method from the chemistry standpoint, and it's dangerous to pressurize/pump concentrated sodium hydroxide solutions.

The "allow it to set in a mason jar" procedure is quite safe; sodium hydroxide solutions don't produce any fumes or vapors and you simply want to keep it off of your skin and out of your eyes.

Any lye that is advertised as 100% pure for use in drain opening, soap making or food manufacturing is suitable for use in GFO regeneration. Ideally, you want to find it locally because it's shipped with a hazardous material waiver, which can make the shipping pricey.

jason2459
12/05/2015, 07:28 AM
I'm very cautious with kids and dogs in the house. Sodium hydroxide, lye, muriatic acid, etc and even my mag chloride/sulfate mix I don't want them touching unsupervised. Now that my son wants to help use my test kits I'm even careful with how he handles those reagents and storing them away where they are out of reach.

dkeller_nc
12/05/2015, 07:52 AM
I'm very cautious with kids and dogs in the house.

Excellent policy. I posted the above for the OP's benefit, I just quoted you as a reference. ;)