Hey Guys! We’re going to talk a little about phosphates and their role in your reef tank… First off, every living organism in every ocean requires phosphates to live. It’s plays a fundamental role in cell energy and is essential for growing tissue. Excessive amounts, however, present two major problems in a reef system: algae and slow coral growth. Phosphates are a major nutrient for algae and, in excess, will impede calcification in corals. Algae uses phosphates essentially as fertilizer; more phosphates means more algae. Furthermore, they prevent corals from pulling calcium carbonate out of seawater and stops calcification at a coral’s growing surface.
So where do phosphates come from and how do we keep them at desirable levels? They come mainly from any food source introduced into a tank and from fish waste. Well we obviously can’t stop feeding and prevent our fish from making waste, so the best approach is to remove the phosphates as they’re introduced. Lower the phosphates and we will limit algae and increase coral growth. Two effective ways to accomplish this: add a refugium with a manageable algae or add a phosphate binder to the system. Refugiums with macro algae such as caulerpa and chaetomorpha pull phosphates out of the water before the undesirable algae can grow. Phosphate binders use ion charges to bond with the free-floating particles of phosphate. An excellent binder is Granular Ferric Oxide or GFO.
GFO can be added to any system with minimal effort. Reef keepers can begin simply with a media bag and GFO, placing it in the same location as carbon bags. For a more efficient and effective removal strategy, a GFO media reactor increases the water’s interaction with the media in a controllable manner. We carry an excellent one from Two Little Fishes. Come by our store today and we’ll get your phosphates within check ASAP!!!