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Phosphate source (was: Staghorn algae (was bgrey brush))

Dave K wrote:
"Only phosphate I could get my hands on would be Aquarium Pharmaceuticals PH
6.5 buffer.  Would that be a good source?"

I suppose that it might be - if you could figure out exactly what is in the
product and how much PO4 it might contain (if any). But it was NOT designed
as a plant food and the Aquarium Pharmaceutical's website cautions AGAINST
using it in a planted tank as overdosing can lead to trace element
deficiencies with zinc and iron. Proper pH (and other phosphate buffers) can
also precipitate out the Calcium and Magnesium in your water, causing
further problems for plants when added in large amounts.

Again, the problem lies in discovering what the chemical formula of the
buffer is and determining its concentration. If you can do that, it would be
a simple matter to figure out a "safe" dosing level. Without that
information, you're flying by the seat of your pants and that doesn't come
with frequent flyer points.

I don't know where you live, but Seachem products are pretty widely
available. Have you looked for the new Seachem Flourish Phosphorus? It ought
to be widely available thru mail order channels, at least. And it would be
safe to use in a planted tank.

If you are absolutely looking for an off-beat phosphate source which will
allow you to calculate dosage, go to the local drug store and pick up a
fleet enema. Fleet enemas contain a mixture of monosodium (NaH2PO4) and
disodium (Na2HPO4) phosphates. You'll have to determine if they are hydrated
or not - both monosodium and disodium phosphate are avaiable in anhydrous
form or hydrated (+ H2O) to figure out the percentage of PO4 on a per ml
basis. Ignoring the water of hydration in your calculations (if present)
could throw off your dosing. The website of the manufacturer states that
each "dose", which is 118 ml (when used as a laxative) contains 19 g of
Monobasic Sodium Phosphate and 7 g of Dibasic Sodium Phosphate. It doesn't
say anything about whether the chemicals are hydrated or anhydrous - maybe
an email to them would answer that.

James Purchase