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Re: APD V3 #1397 - phosphorus and phosphorus control

> Date: Wed, 17 Nov 1999 22:14:58 -0700 (MST)
> From: Roger S. Miller
> Subject: phosphorus and phosphorus control
> Recently I spent some time pondering the role of
> phosphorus in aquariums.

OK - my nights are fairly sleepless, too...

> The sketch shows each of the four major types of
> phosphorus, the major sources for each type, the
> interconversions between them and the possible
> fates of each form...The pathways shown with double
> lines of symbols are pathways that might be promoted
> to reduce problems with dissolved phosphorus levels
> in an aquarium.  The pathways shown with single
> symbols are pathways that might be supressed to
> reduce phosphorus problems.

Your double-line pathways seem to indicate the simplest solution is the
removal of excesses through tank cleaning and water change-outs. Unless, of
course, one is able to facilitate the conversion of one form of phosphorus
to another, say DOPs to DIPs:

> *Dissolved organic phosphorus* is biologically available
> to bacteria and possibly to algae...Bacterial and algal
> phosphatase activity convert dissolved organic
> phosphorus to phosphates.

This tells me that unless I can control the bacterial make-up of my system,
the only other possibility of facilitating the conversion is (maybe) an
added systemic complexity through the construction and use of an algal turf
scrubber. I'll be the first to admit that, considering the number of tanks I
maintain and their diverse biotopical make-ups, this isn't a very likely

Your other charted option is the conversion of DIPs to PIPs, a biologically
inactive form whose conversion route is through "sorption and
precipitation". Would this be simpler and less potentially damaging than
balancing the system to the point of having the higher-level plants control
the level of DIPs?

As to the single-lined supression routes, the only option you've charted
outside of controlling inputs through foods or additives is the conversion
of POPs to DIPs. This coversion of a botanically inactive form is achieved
through specific zoological factors that include detrivores and bacterial
activity...hmmm...perhaps I should limit my snail population?

Don't take me wrong, despite my seemingly facetious response - there is
definitely a level of interest here. But perhaps a better introduction to
the topic would have been a clue to the insight that necessitates this
mental exercise in the first place...


David A. Youngker
nestor10 at mindspring_com