How Does Phosphate Get Into A Pond
Ponds under attack from green water, poor coral growth, algae and cyanobacteria and are the things that are responsible for your dying fish. These are factors that generally leave aquarists frustrated, and most of them, are brought about by the presence of phosphate in water.
What Are Phosphates?
Phosphates are naturally occurring compounds, which commonly form in water bodies. This is largely due to a number of sources, the major one being water sources. Soil and salt mixes that are swept into the water as a result of rain or wind are a major responsible for phosphate infestation in ponds and these are usually harder to control than aquarium water.
It’s important to note that phosphates are the active ingredients in fertilizers. That being said, salt mixes that could be found in rocks surrounding the pond may be the reason why your water is choking.
How Can You Identify High Phosphate Levels?
Identifying the signs of high phosphate levels can be obvious (if you know what to look for), or they might be a bit more subtle and hard to recognize but here a re a few:
- The water color
- Predominant presence of nuisance algae
- Poor coral growth
Your water could indicate the presence of phosphates and if your pond is pea green, you need to think about phosphate testing. Nuisance algae predominance is also a good sign that your water is thriving with phosphates, since like already mentioned; it is the active ingredient in fertilizers and therefore, encourages growth of plants. And Algae of course is a plant.
Types of algae to look out for are black hair algae and slime algae as well. You can also identify signs of poor marine, such as unhealthy corals and poor survival rates of invertebrates, such as shrimp and snails. There is several phosphate testing kits you can use to identify phosphate presence in your water.
How to Remove Phosphate
Eliminating phosphates can be quite tricky and before you can conduct any elimination process, you need to first identify the cause. If you throw frozen foods into your ponds, this may the reason why there are high levels of the compound.
You may want to consider rinsing foods before feeding your fish or simply avoiding frozen foods. The water that frozen foods are frozen in sometimes has high phosphate concentrations. Are there golf courses, farms or even fertilized gardens and lawns around your pond? If yes, run offs from the rain are washing these phosphates into your pond.
Once you’ve identified (and hopefully eliminated) where the phosphate is coming from, you can start getting rid of what you already have. Water changes with phosphate-free water can help cut down on your levels but can take time before you see a noticeable difference. In saltwater aquariums, protein skimmers can help remove wastes and decrease the phosphate levels, and refugiums can be used in freshwater and saltwater tanks. There are various products in the market that can help you get rid of phosphates. These mediums act to absorb the compound or trap it for removal.
When a phosphate remover is applied into the water, it basically traps the phosphates and immobilizes them, making them insoluble nutrients. Phosphates in ponds are harder to eliminate, since you cannot control what products people use in their lawns and farms.
That said, you can control the levels by always ensuring that your pond is clean and using a phosphate remover often. With persistent testing and removal, your pond can have a good water quality for your fish and other marine species to thrive better.
Clifford Woods is the CEO of Effective Environmental Services and Organic Environmental Technology.
Find out more about pond care at http://www.effens.com
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