Aquarium Phosphate Remover

Phosphate can enter the aquarium in a number of ways. Common sources are fish food and tap water. An excess of phosphate, defined as any detectable amount in a reef aquarium and any amount greater than 1 ppm in a freshwater aquarium, may contribute to undesirable algae growth. Elevated phosphate levels can directly interfere with calcification in stony corals. Here are the best options for aquarium phosphate remover. Many aquarists therefore find an aquarium phosphate remover to be a desirable component of their fish tank’s filtration system. Several different phosphate removers are available.

Granular ferric oxide (GFO)

Granular ferric oxide (GFO) Removes phosphate from the water by binding it chemically. Capable of reducing phosphate to undetectable levels, the product is most effective if enclosed in a special reactor that helps to prevent clumping. Too much GFO for the tank’s water volume can result in removal of desirable compounds and trace elements. GFO requires regular replacement.

Activated alumina also binds phosphate chemically. It does not clump, so no special reactor is needed. Simply place the product in a mesh bag and place it in existing filtration equipment. Requires regular replacement, thus adding to operating cost for the aquarium.

Phosphate Remover Pads

Remove not only phosphate but also particulate matter. Care must be exercised, as these products may remove other ions. Like any filter pad, the product can clog, and needs regular cleaning and replacement.

Plants in the freshwater aquarium and macroalgae in the saltwater aquarium both remove phosphate rapidly while they are growing. However, other conditions suitable for growth, including sufficient light, available carbon dioxide, and ions other than phosphate, must be provided. If plants/macroalgae are growing steadily, thinning will be required, rather than replacement. Some macroalgae release compounds that must be removed by protein skimming or other means. Rampant growth can smother invertebrates.

Liquid Phosphate Remover for Aquariums

Liquid phosphate remover fro aquariums eliminates phosphate by producing insoluble precipitate. Although regular dosing is necessary to counter phosphate inputs, phosphate levels are reduced within minutes rather than days.

How to Keep Phosphates Down in Aquarium

Regular maintenance, as widely recommended by all experts, can do much to reduce phosphate levels. Partial water changes (using purified water if tap water contains phosphate) physically removes phosphate. Routine removal of microalgae, excess plants/macroalgae, and debris “exports” phosphate from the aquarium, as does regular cleaning of mechanical filtration media to remove debris.

As a general rule, some combination of phosphate removers and routine maintenance will be most effective in lowering phosphate levels and keeping them low in both fresh and marine aquarium systems.