Aquasonic Phosphate Test Kit
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There are two types, Organic and Inorganic. The type we test for in aquaria is the Inorganic type, PO4.
All living matter contains phosphorus but unfortunately organic phosphate can only be tested for in laboratories using sophisticated testing equipment.
THE EFFECT OF PHOSPHATES
In reef aquariums, levels of phosphates above 0.5ppm can adversely affect the growth of both hard and soft corals. It is recommended to keep phosphates at a maximum of 0.25ppm. In both fresh and saltwater aquariums phosphates above 0.5ppm can cause the growth of hair algae, blue green algae and other types of algae, including green water in ponds and lakes. A side affect of phosphate in saltwater aquarium, is the precipitation of calcium. There is no evidence that levels of phosphates affect the health of fish. High levels, say above 20ppm, may affect growth.
WHERE PHOSPHATE COMES FROM
The sources can be many and varied. Some tap water contains phosphates originating from agricultural run off or added by municipal water authorities to reduce levels of heavy metals. Some phosphates are a bi-product of fish waste or decaying algae. Some aquarium products e.g., pH adjusters, contain some phosphates. Most phosphate, however, comes from uneaten fish food due to over-feeding.