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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

My tapwater has really high phosphate level, it maxes out my test kit after 2 minutes, someone pointed out to me that why think you would need to do a big water change because you are just sticking more phosphate into the tank. I know you can use rowaphos to remove it but I'm thinking of either getting a tapwater filter or even an RO unit so I can get my water right before it goes in. That way if I need to add things like phosphates etc or nitrates at least I can add these rather than trying to take them away.

What do you guys think?
 

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Hello, Manchester United, (NeilW),

Have you checked with your local water supplier for the Greater Manchester area? After all they do bill you for water usage in these 'privatized' days - therefore, they should be able to provide some sort of water contents/quality report. If you get a report, you will have an insight into the situation in general. I did a Google search but all I could locate was a water supply quality report for Manchester New Hampshire - which is not much use to you! Perhaps email the company.

I find PO4 kits hard to read accurately. But if you're sure your kit is up to date and that the sample was read properly, the RO will bring you back to water which you can make additions as necessary.

Why does Manchester have a high level of phosphate in the water? Is the water from resevoirs? and the PO4 via local run off? What are the nitrate levels like?

Andrew Cribb
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hi pineapple, thanks for your reply.

The water here is from the Lake District so it will be reservoirs and lakes really, a couple of my friends also complain about the high phosphates in our water. There are some nitrates in the water too, I can't remember the exact amount I guess I will have to test that as well, the nitrates in my tank are always pretty low but I realise I will need some nitrates in there. I will have to rethink this I think I'm getting confused on fertilising. I'll read around the forums as I found some good stuff last night.
 

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RO sounds like the solution and then fertilizing according to the plant needs. Good luck.

Nice Lake District water should probably be soft, the good news. But the phosphate and nitrate content must come from run-off. I think there are regulations as to how much nitrate there can be in potable water because high levels cause babies to get blue baby syndrome.
"Water Companies therefore have a legal obligation to supply water which meets the 50 mg/l limit" (see link and details below).

Here is a link to the Drinking Water Inspectorate, which also has water reports. I think yours comes under United Utilities.
http://www.dwi.gov.uk/

It's not terribly informative in terms of ppm readings. But, as you say, it does show that the supplier has some problems with compliance on the NO3 and PO4 contents.

http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/water/quality/nitrate/nitrogen.htm
Cause of nitrate problems

1. Nitrogen is needed for photosynthesis by plants and is essential for crop growth. Nitrate is a soluble form of nitrogen (being a compound of nitrogen and oxygen) which occurs naturally in the soil and is the main form taken up by plants. In order to maximise crop yields, farmers apply nitrogen and other nutrients in the form of manufactured chemical fertiliser or livestock manures (some other forms of organic sources, such as sewage sludge are also used). Growing crops are inefficient at utilising all the nitrate available in chemical fertilisers and some nitrate remains in the soil after harvest. In the case of organic manures, nitrogen is converted to plant-available nitrate over a lengthy period of time and it is difficult to manage the effective crop utilisation of the nitrate produced. In addition, nitrate is also produced when organic matter left over from crops such a potatoes, brassicas, sugar beet and oilseed rape is broken down by soil processes; the same effect occurs when grass or clover pastures are ploughed up. It is also the case that large amounts of nitrate can be produced in the soil of intensively managed grassland. Contrary to popular belief, therefore, the use of chemical fertiliser is not the sole cause of nitrate problems; indeed it is subsidiary to organic sources of nitrate.
Andrew Cribb
 

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For another side of the coin... If it were me, I would check with my water supplier and get an analysis from them. You may have fantastic water, in that you dont have to add much of any macros. Unless your phosphates were above 2.5, I wouldn't worry about it. It's one less thing you have to add to your tank.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks guys, I shall read up on that info pineapple!

I'm pretty sure my phosphate levels from the tap are >5mg/l but I'm at work now so I can't be sure until I get home.

I remember watching a very interesting programme on the norfolk broads, which is a large area of marshland and rivers etc in the UK. After a time there were huge algae blooms and fish began to die, the plant life died off too because of the algae and it the end it turned out to be run off from the nearby crops, the main culprit of that being nitrate. I guess it's similar to the Grass Carp story Amano tells in NAW. Anyway I digress yes RO'd water! Cool.
 

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Yes, how right you are. It reminded me of the same thing exactly. The Norfolk Broads used to be quoted a lot as an example of that (and Blue Baby Syndrome).

Now we must get more planted tanks going so we can use more CO2 up and save the planet!

Andrew
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Ah yes, the broads case is an interesting one because it shows how a change can affect the whole system, you can observe the same things happening in a tank but it happens much much quicker in a tank because of the I guess much smaller water volume. Something that would take a few weeks to happen in a tank could take years in nature and I must say I find that pretty amazing.
 
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