Phosguard with leather corals?

Discussion in 'General Reef Topics' started by nanomania, Jan 10, 2016.

to remove this notice and enjoy 3reef content with less ads. 3reef membership is free.

  1. nanomania

    nanomania Vagabond Butterfly

    Joined:
    May 23, 2011
    Messages:
    1,657
    Location:
    mumbai, india
    Hey guys i know that this a very old question, but in my country we only get phosguard. i know there are mixed reviews more towards the negative side, but i wana know if any1 has has success and how should i use it. Looking for a low maintanance, lowtech basic setup.

    40g, softies only tank and maybe lps in future.
    Medium bioload
    No protein skimmer
    Purigen in reactor
    Activated carbon (in future matrix carbon)
    Phosguard?
     
  2. Click Here!

  3. Eco Marine Reef

    Eco Marine Reef Astrea Snail

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2015
    Messages:
    37
    Hey nanomania, obviously the best way to manage phosphates is to keep up on your general husbandry. However, that wasn't really the question at hand. So I will give you my two cents worth... I find phosguard to be a great product and an equally great alternative to granular ferric oxide (GFO). I actually find phosguard much easier and simpler to implement into my smaller aquariums, one of them being a 40 gallon breeder, because phosguard doesn't need to be tumbled like GFO. For the smaller/nano aquariums, I just find GFO to be too messy and equipment intensive; however phosguard can be a bit pricey. Don't get me wrong, both can be very effective in removing phosphates. If you are looking for a low tech and low maintenance option, I would highly recommend phosguard. You can simply place the media into a seachem bag (or something similar filter bag) and place the bag into your sump/area with relatively decent flow. Yes, this media will be more effective in a reactor; however a bag filled with phosguard is as low tech as it gets and can still work wonders. If you are running your carbon in a filter bag, you can always supplement that with some phosguard (I do this on my 16 gallon).

    Keep in mind that this media needs to be thoroughly rinsed prior to being placed in your aquarium and the continuous use of small quantities is better than intermittent use of larger quantities. Phosguard can be extremely effective at stripping phosphates from your water column. I highly recommend starting with a smaller quantity than suggested by the manufacturer. You wouldn't want to shock and possibly kill your precious inhabitants by stripping all the phosphates from your water column. Some phosphates are actually necessary for our aquarium inhabitants to survive. Later down the road, if you find you a need to bump up the amount of phosguard you can do so slowly.

    Here are a few of the existing arguments against aluminum based products, such as phosguard.
    • Aluminum leaches products back into the water column. Yes, aluminum oxide is not completely insoluble in seawater. If you routinely change your media, say every two weeks to a month, then I have never experienced an issue with products being leached back into the aquarium. If you would like to learn more about aluminum in the aquarium, please read this article by Randy Holmes-Farley (he is a very knowledgable reef chemist)...http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2003/7/chemistry.
    • Aluminum can irritate coral. Yes, aluminum can irritate coral. During a series of controlled experiments, I have only found phosguard to irritate my coral under extreme tumbling. If you tumble your phosguard, be sure to make it nice a slow. Over tumbling can cause these pellets to break down over time, which would lead to irritants (such as aluminum) to be introduced into your aquarium. Again, when rinsed thoroughly and placed in a media bag, I personally have never experienced any issues of excessive amount of aluminum being introduced into the water column, let alone irritating my coral.
    Many, including myself, use aluminum oxide products to help effectively control phosphates. Under normal operating conditions, I have never noticed any ill effects from phosguard. Remember, rinsing the product before use and adding small quantities of phosguard will limit any negative effects.

    Every chemical filter that we implement into our aquariums has pros and cons. Take for example GFO, many are concerned about its ability to add soluble iron to our systems. Iron is a limiting nutrient in the ocean and our aquariums. Having low bioavailability of iron may limit undesirable algae growth in some aquaria, so adding iron might contribute to an algae problem. Additionally, the GFO can cause extensive precipitation of calcium carbonate. Once calcium carbonate precipitates out of solution, it is no longer available to your inhabitants and has the potential to significantly alter your water chemistry.

    I am currently using phosguard (on my smaller aquariums) and GFO (on my larger/heavier bioload aquariums). Both are wonderful products and if used properly can help effectively manage phosphates in your aquarium. If you are looking for a low tech and low maintenance option, I believe phosguard would be an excellent option for your setup. Best of luck with choosing an appropriate chemical filter media and keep us posted as to your success.
     
    Lovemyreef2015, scajeo and nanomania like this.
  4. Jim Bonds

    Jim Bonds Spanish Shawl Nudibranch

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2015
    Messages:
    90
    Wow, EMR, that's two cents?

    So, Nanomania, I agree with EMR completely. Phosguard is pretty great. GFO goes in a reactor, Phosguard goes in a bag. Because Phosguard goes in a bag, I use it with my Matrix in my Seachem Bag. Super easy. I just change them both out every month. It's really not high cost either because I only use about 1/4 cup. Rinse it with RO water instead of tap so you don't waste it. Everything else EMR said is spot on.
     
    Redd, nanomania and Corailline like this.
  5. nanomania

    nanomania Vagabond Butterfly

    Joined:
    May 23, 2011
    Messages:
    1,657
    Location:
    mumbai, india
    Wow that was the exact answer i was looking for... thanks alot.. well i too am a fan of changing media frequently. Is it necessary to use a po4 testkit? I know its a silly question, but po4 test kit available here is api and i dont trust it at all.. ill be using phosguard in media bag and not in a reactor, though im confused as in shud i use in a eheim hob or i also have a finnex xl breeder box, but the flow is too low in breeder box so i dont know how well it will work. Currently i have gac, so ill mix it with phisguard, but after its over ill buy matrix carbon.. is it ok if i change them monthly? Without using po4 testkit? Also i calculate as per total water volume right?
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2016
  6. Eco Marine Reef

    Eco Marine Reef Astrea Snail

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2015
    Messages:
    37
    Glad to be of help.

    One thing before I try to answer your question, do you have an existing algae problem in your tank? Or are you trying to just implement a preventative measure by using phosguard?

    Unfortunately, the answer to your question (is it necessary to use a phosphate test kit?) comes with some debate. It is not a simple yes or no.

    Phosphorus is a major building block for all life. The major problem becomes when we have an excess of amount of phosphorus in our tanks, as it drives nuisance algae problems and inhibits organismal calcification. To prevent these issues from occurring in our reef aquaria, we strive to reduce the amount of phosphorus in our tanks. However, commonly found phosphate test kits only test for a portion of the total concentration of phosphorus. API, along with many other brands test for inorganic orthophosphate and completely disregard organic phosphorus. Measuring organic phosphorus compounds is far more complex than measuring the inorganic counterpart. I won't go into the chemistry behind the two, but for the test kits that do measure inorganic and organic phosphorus, you can be sure that these test kits cost a pretty penny and are quiet tedious.

    I am not saying don't trust your test kit, but be weary as it may not be giving you the whole picture. I do find the average phosphate test kit (API, Salifert, Seachem, Hanna Checker, etc.) give me a general consensus of what is going on in my tank. Is it worth testing your phosphates from time to time? In my experience, I would say yes. In the long run, doing a series of chemical tests like your phosphate test will allow you to hone in on how often you really need to be changing your chemical filtration. Once you have that dialed in, you really only need to check in once in a while (to ensure you're maintaining a balanced and healthy aquarium), unless you drastically alter your behavior/input of phosphates.

    If API is the only brand available, then I would recommend the following... If you can afford to spend a little extra $ (here it is very inexpensive less than $10 US, however that may not be the case for you) to acquire a phosphate test kit, then I believe the phosphate test kit is a wise investment. It may not give you the end all to be all phosphate answers, but it will definitely provide a general consensus of your tank's phosphate parameters. By using the phosphate test kit, you can perform a series of experiments to see if your phosguard will really last a month. For example

    1) With the API test kit, test your newly made salt water. Record your results. This will ensure you're not starting off on a bad foot.
    2) Perform your water change and add a new media bag with phosguard in it.
    3) With the API test kit, test your aquarium water. Record your results.
    4) A week later (most will perform water changes every week or every other week), test the phosphate levels in your aquarium. Record the results.
    5) Repeat this process each week until you notice an increase in the amount of phosphate in your aquarium. At this point, you have found when your media will essentially be exhausted. Whether that be 1 week or 4 weeks, is dependent upon a variety of factors.

    If you would really rather not purchase the phosphate test kit, then try changing your media every month. See how that works out for a little while. If you notice that your aquarium seems to be slowly acquiring more and more algae over time, then you may want to considering changing your media every three weeks. With this method, it is going to be a little more trial and error, but it is definitely feasible and many approach this issue in the same manner. Just keep in mind, the continuous use of small quantities is better than intermittent use of larger quantities.

    As per the placement of your media bag, that is also going to be experimental. I would think the HOB filter would provide more flow through the media than your breeder box as you also suggested. Using your HOB filter with some phosguard in it is a great start. I am sure the HOB filter has more water flow than the back chambers of my AIO nano aquariums. You can't be too cautious however, so just keep an eye on your parameters and the overall health of the aquarium, whether that be through general observation or your phosphate test kit.

    With a few minor tweaks, I think we can make your tank really shine again so you can get back to enjoying your tank instead of having to constantly worry about it. Hopefully that gives you some information to decide what is best for your tank. Keep us posted as to what you decide and how it works out.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2016
    nanomania, scajeo and Jim Bonds like this.
  7. nanomania

    nanomania Vagabond Butterfly

    Joined:
    May 23, 2011
    Messages:
    1,657
    Location:
    mumbai, india
    Hey, once again, u nailed it... thanks buddy. Well there is redsea algae testkit available here costing about 50$, but its expiering in jus 3 months, so waiting for new stock. yup i wont use breeder box. i have an area of high flow below water inlet since im going for sump and not internal filter or hob. Well till the time it comes, im plannin to keep 0 light cycle for 2 weeks and no fish, there after jus 5hrs of light. Also im plannin to jus feed nls food and hikari food, since they have good reviews.
     
  8. Click Here!

  9. Eco Marine Reef

    Eco Marine Reef Astrea Snail

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2015
    Messages:
    37
    Glad it helped :) sorry I have been MIA just been busy.
     
    nanomania likes this.
  10. nanomania

    nanomania Vagabond Butterfly

    Joined:
    May 23, 2011
    Messages:
    1,657
    Location:
    mumbai, india
    I jus bot a salifert po4 testkit
     
  11. Eco Marine Reef

    Eco Marine Reef Astrea Snail

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2015
    Messages:
    37
    how does the tank look after using phosguard for some time now?
     
  12. nanomania

    nanomania Vagabond Butterfly

    Joined:
    May 23, 2011
    Messages:
    1,657
    Location:
    mumbai, india
    Iv not yet used, since im waiting for my fishes.. in india fishes are not easily available.. so waiting.. jis added some softies and tiger turbo snails yesterday.. will be checking my po4 using salifert test kit on saturday and then will add my purigen phosguard and matrix carbon. Only thing is im confused where to add.. or plannin to make some diy stuff for it. .

    Here is my sump pic... any suggestions?

    [​IMG]