Phosphate can cause problems in marine aquaria, especially reef aquaria if allowed to build to levels above 0.1 ppm as orthophosphate. Elevated phosphate levels will fuel unwanted algae growth and interfere with the calcification processes of corals and coralline algae.
Phosphates are present in many forms in the aquarium, and not all of them can be easily measured. The majority of phosphate test kits used by aquarists measure only inorganic phosphate (orthophosphate) and ignore organic phosphates. This often leads to the observation that although there is no measurable "phosphate" in the wrater, an aquarium still has microalgae growth. These organic sources of phosphate can easily be converted into inorganic forms by the algae and can thus be utilized. The real trick to maintaining low phosphate levels is to minimize the inputs and maximize the removal.
Top-off water can be a significant source of phosphate, as municipal and rural water supplies often contain phosphate in a variety of forms, both organic and inorganic. Use reverse osmosis or deionization to eliminate this potential source of phosphate. Some trace supplements and salt mixes may contain measurable
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