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Food, phosphates and test kits

>You never really mentioned what "ails" you. I am assuming by your high
>phosphate counts, that
>you are plagued by some type of algae.....
>A few comments here about test kits. If you are using the Tetra test for
>Nitrate, at least the ones I have
>seen, is a high range test kit. Measuring 10ppm would be tough to see.
>than zero, the next value is 12.5 ppm. You may want to invest in a low
>nitrate test.
>The only real phosphate test kit I have found worth while was seachem. It
>includes a resin that contains
>1 ppm of phosphate for calibration and testing. (I usually end up buying at
>least three different test kits
>to validate the other two to determine which ones are the most accurate. I
>really should post my
>One other comment. If you vacuum your substrate, you will end up with high
>phosphates because they
>exist in the substrate. I only vacuum my substrate once every 6 weeks.
>Afterwards, I exchange about
>70 - 80% of the water on my 135gal. I have measured .05 phosphates before a
>substrate cleaning.
>Immediately after my phosphates will skyrocket to 3.0 ppm. With my
>this could cause a
>tremendous algae bloom. Multiple water changes of 25 - 30% showed no
>in phosphates.
>Only after a very large water change (70  - 80%) did the phosphates reduce
>to a more manageable
>value. One time I even took a gallon of the water and began a little
>experiment. I changed 25 % of the
>1 gal of water and tested phosphates. No change. I changed 50% of the
>previously changed water. Phosphates did not drop. Not until I changed 75%
>of the water, did the phosphates begin to decline. Try this with your own
>tank.  I use RO water so 70 - 80% water change is no problem. If using tap
>water, this could be disastrous to your fish.
>So, the next time you need a substrate cleaning, be prepared to change a
>large amount of water. This took me several months to figure this problem