Phosphate buffers

Discussion in 'Water Chemistry' started by Themuleous, 16 Jul 2009.

  1. Themuleous

    Themuleous Member

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    Totally random question, but does anyone actually know why/how phosphate based buffers are bad for aquarium plants?

    Sam
     
  2. JamesC

    JamesC Member

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    Didn't know they were bad. Could be because they are sodium salts of phosphoric acid so having a lot of sodium in the water may cause some problems. Only guessing though.

    Curiously I used to add sodium phosphate, aka Fleet enema solution which is a laxative, to my tank in the days before potassium phosphate was easily available.

    James
     
  3. Themuleous

    Themuleous Member

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    Humm I cant seem to find anything on it anywhere, just one of those urban myths perhaps. Its bad because that's just want everyone has come to accept?! :lol:

    Sam
     
  4. JamesC

    JamesC Member

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    Could it be because it's bad to have phosphate in your tank as it will be plagued with algae :lol:

    James
     
  5. Themuleous

    Themuleous Member

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    That seems to come up a LOT! :lol:

    Sam
     
  6. Dolly Sprint 16v

    Dolly Sprint 16v Member

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    That what I having been about / saying but nobody would agree with me - viewtopic.php?f=51&t=6371&start=0

    So here is a question - honest answers required - "Who uses Rowaphos" within their filter unit.

    Regards
    Paul.
     
  7. JamesM

    JamesM Member

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    I think James was being sarcastic, Paul ;)
     
  8. Themuleous

    Themuleous Member

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    I think you're missing the point of James' post, he was joking when he said phosphate causes algae ;) high phosphate doesn't IMHO cause problems. I doubt very much anyone on hear uses rowaphos :)

    Sam
     
  9. plantbrain

    plantbrain Expert

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    The pH/Kh chart used to measure CO2 often is the issue here, this PO4 buffer causes folks to think they more CO2 than they really do.

    Thus with poor CO2, using the pH/Kh chart, they think because their pH is lower, adding it should give them high CO2.
    Obviously this was not well thought out at any level of logic.

    If you want more CO2, well..........add more CO2 gas.
    Not PO4.

    This led to some thinking that because they added PO4, they assumed their CO2 eas also good, then they thought, "See! it's proof that PO4 induces algae!".

    It was not "proof" because they never measured the CO2 or did the other side of the coin.
    If they did, then they would have had very different results.

    The PO4 buffer messes with the Carbonate KH alkalinity(adds KH other than carbonates), that and trying to measure and adjust pH and KH makes it not a good idea, not the PO4 in and of itself.

    You can add it if you do not use pH/KH to measure CO2, I suppose, but I have no idea why anyone would...........CO2 gas does the job and is what plants want.

    If you want lower pH for some reason, just reduce the KH and add RO till you hit the target.
    That is much more to the point and relevant for fish or plants.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  10. Themuleous

    Themuleous Member

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    Right thanks Tom, so phosphate based buffers aren't in themselves bad for plants per se? Its just than people misread the knock on effect of Co2.

    That makes sense, well in so far as I understand the mistake people made.

    Thanks again.

    Sam
     
  11. aaronnorth

    aaronnorth Member

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    not me, i use ammonia remover & purigen as chemical filtration. The ammonia remover will be stopped once i have used it though
     
  12. Dave Spencer

    Dave Spencer Member

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    Paul, if you still have your doubts about phosphates in the aquarium, use the above question to start a new thread. State your reasons/theories for using it and, hopefully, we all may find out something of interest.

    Dave.
     
  13. GreenNeedle

    GreenNeedle Member

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    Aaron. Purigen isn't chemical it is mechanical. Things stick to it and when recharged the bleach 'burns' the nasties off. similar sort of process to carbon (pre exhaustion.)

    Purigen is actually a bag (or loose) teeny plastic balls that attract the ammonia/nitrogen organic compounds.

    AC
     
  14. aaronnorth

    aaronnorth Member

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    Ok, thanks. I thought it used ion exchange.
    Aaron
     
  15. aaronnorth

    aaronnorth Member

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    are you sure? It is listed under the chemical tab on the seachem website? :?

    http://www.seachem.com/Products/Filtration.html
     
  16. Dolly Sprint 16v

    Dolly Sprint 16v Member

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    Dave

    There no point in posting a new thread like you said to do when a reply to the existing thread states the following:

    I was under the impression that the forum was to learn new ideas and pass on information in relation to techniques in growing aquarium plants, keeping fish and especially keeping a healthy aquarium – not posting a thread that contains a very poor joke.

    Regards
    Paul.
     
  17. GreenNeedle

    GreenNeedle Member

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    They do indeed list it under chemicals which I suppose is because it is a synthetic resin but rather than it attacking things like most chemicals it adsorbs like Carbon.

    I remember them replying on an APC thread where a poster was saying they didn't like to use chemicals in their tank and Seachem said something like 'Purigen is basically thousands of tiny plastic beads which adsorb the organic wastes'.

    They are a sponsor on APC and reply to virtually all the threads regarding their product quite honestly. It was indeed them that said you don't need to use a buffer and can use vinegar to return the Ph.

    Quite refreshing honesty as most companies would try and push their buffers rather than saying no a cheap bottle of vinegar will do just as well.

    They do play the 'keep everyone happy' line though as they do state it will raise phosphates. Not because of the product but because most of the buffers that are used are phosphate based and therefore when recharging you filter all your water through phosphate laden buffers. Not that I see this as a problem but it benefits Seachem to play both sides of the card and keep every opinion happy.

    Here is one of their posts where they state it is not mechanical filtration BUT then talk of adsorbing!!! For me I would say if it adsorbs then it is mechanical :) Slightly contradictory me thinks. There is obviously a chemical reaction process but its not as if it is a substance like a chemical additive.

    http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/foru ... ement.html

    AC
     
  18. aaronnorth

    aaronnorth Member

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    Thanks Andy,
    did the malt vinegar work then? lol


    I think Dave meant post a thread on PO4 causes algae, not about rowaphos. There is a thread in my signature that goes pretty in depth about algae & nutrients if it is of any interest.
     
  19. GreenNeedle

    GreenNeedle Member

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    No idea Aaron.

    The first 2 charges I use discus buffer. I have no idea if that worked.

    Water is clear etc. How do you tell if undetectable amounts of ammonia are removed and if the water clarity is 0.5% clearer than before. lol

    Didn't do any harm though.

    AC
     
  20. aaronnorth

    aaronnorth Member

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    thanks, i dont think i will bother soaking it in a pH buffer. The size/ volume of purigen i have against the 200litres of water i doubt will cause any harm to my livestock. I think that is all it is for. I cant see how it would affect the adsorption in any way
     

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