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Thread: Tips & FAQs on using Aqua-PHOS Fe and Xtra

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    Default Tips & FAQs on using Aqua-PHOS Fe and Xtra

    TheReef distribute two grades of phosphate removing media...

    Aqua-PHOS Fe is our original, and most affordable, phosphate removing media, which competes head to head with the most popular UK brands for value. However, while our premium grade Aqua-PHOS Xtra media is twice the price of Fe it delivers over 5 times higher performance, which we believe makes it the best value for money phosphate media of any in the UK! The chart shows how much more you would have to spend using other brands to achieve the same reduction in phosphate as 1 litre of Aqua-PHOS Xtra...
    Cost premium chart.jpg

    However, to get the best out of either of these medias you need to ensure you use the appropriate quantities for your system with the correct flowrate through the media.

    How much media should I use?
    In marine systems we recommend you use 150ml of Aqua-PHOS Fe, or 100ml of Aqua-PHOS Xtra, per 100 litres of water. If your system is heavily stocked/fed, or if you wish to reduce phosphate levels more quickly you might increase this to 200ml of Aqua-PHOS Fe, or 133ml of Aqua-PHOS Xtra, media per 100 litres of water, but do so gradually and monitor system values carefully as rapid reductions in phosphate levels can be harmful.

    How much flow should go through the media?
    This is critical! The greater contact time the water has with the media the more effective it will be at stripping out phosphate. We therefore recommend a maximum flow of no more than 10x the volume of Aqua-PHOS media used - so a flow of no more than 10 lph if you are using 1 litre of Aqua-PHOS media. The optimum flow is around 2x, but somewhere between 2x and 10x usually seems to work fine. If you run these medias at more than 10x they will still work, but not as well, and you should expect to see a drop off in performance.

    How can such a slow flow work?
    When used as directed with a slow flow, Aqua-PHOS medias will remove ALL of the phosphate from the small volume of water passing through it. So long as this extraction rate is higher than the rate phosphates are being added back into the water (by feeding) then phosphate levels should fall slowly but remorselessly until they reach a point of equilibrium. The chart illustrates this process for Aqua-PHOS Xtra.
    PO4 reduction chart.jpg

    Note how the rate of phosphate reduction gradually slows as overall phosphate levels fall. It is an inherently safer way to reduce phosphate. The slow flow creates a gradual reduction in phosphate levels over a period of days, which means corals and other livestock will not be stressed. The slow flow system also cannot strip out all of the phosphate from a system, which would be fatal. Instead a healthy equilibrium point will be reached - the exact point being determined by the volume of media used and the amount of feeding.

    How can I boost the capacity of my phosphate media?
    Granular Ferric Oxide (GFO) medias like Aqua-PHOS Fe and Xtra also have affinities for heavy metals, silicates and some organics, as well as phosphate. However, Aqua-PHOS Xtra has been designed to have a much stronger affinity for phosphates over almost all other ions so is much less affected by this. Even so pre-filtering the water with carbon before it reaches the Aqua-PHOS medias can help ensure that the phosphate absorbing capacity of both medias is maximised.

    Could I link my calcium reactor with the Aqua-PHOS Xtra media reactor?
    This can be a convenient way to use it as the flowrate for a calcium reactor is usually quite low, and fortuitously tends to be around an appropriate rate for the volume of Aqua-PHOS media you'd typically use. This is the way we have used it on our own systems - running the water feed first through a couple of refillable DI pods (the first filled with Aqua-CARB and the second with Aqua-PHOS) before then entering the calcium reactor - allowing us to kill two (or three) birds with one stone.

    My media is exhausted. Can I recharge it?
    While theoretically possible, we don't believe it is worth the effort, risk, or expense in our opinion. But don't throw your old media away when it appears exhausted. It will probably still have some capacity left (particularly if you've been running it at a higher flow rate) and can continue to passively absorb some phosphates, just very, very slowly. So leave it in a bag in the sump for a month or two before finally discarding it.

    Can the exhausted media release phosphate back into the water?
    No. The phosphate will always remain bound to the media in the conditions found in marine aquaria.

    How much phosphate can Aqua-PHOS Fe and Xtra absorb?
    We hesitate to answer this, because any answer can be misleading. The technical data indicates that 1 litre of Aqua-PHOS Fe will absorb well over 14 grams / 14,000mg of phosphate (PO4) while Aqua-PHOS Xtra will absorb almost 80 grams / 80,000mg. However, you should take all such statistics with a very large pinch of salt because these are laboratory results, and conducted in freshwater. GFO medias like Aqua-PHOS Fe, Xtra and all the others on the market, simply don't work as well in saltwater because organics and pH levels can affect their absorption abilities, as will the presence of other ions such as Arsenic, Silicates, Lead, Nickel, Copper, and Zinc which can also be absorbed to an extent. So a large part of any medias theoretical capacity to absorb phosphate can in practice be used up by these other ions. However, because Aqua-PHOS Xtra has been manufactured to have a much greater affinity for phosphate over than other ions it is less affected by these factors, however its performance in saltwater will still be significantly less than in freshwater.


    Happy reefing!
    Last edited by TheReef; 04-01-2013 at 11:12 AM.
    51AUY28CeFL - Tips & FAQs on using Aqua-PHOS Fe and Xtra

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