D-D ROWAphos Phospate Remover/Absorbent Information

ROWAPhos Phospate RemoverRowaphos Phosphate Absorbent, used in freshwater and saltwater aquariums reduces the main cause of algae problems-phosphate. It acts as an absorbent sponge, removing phosphate caused by decomposing food or overfeeding, bringing the concentration back to a natural level and never releasing the phosphate back into the water.

Rowaphos Phosphate Sponge is a new filter material developed for Weil Industrieanlagen GmbH, Germany, and should be used both when setting up the aquarium, and on a permanent basis, to avoid high phosphate concentrations.

ROWAphos is a completely new manmade ferric hydroxide material specifically produced for efficient removal of phosphates, arsenic and silicates from fresh and saltwater bodies. The filter material was originally developed in Germany by Weil Industrieanlagen GmbH,Osnabrück to eliminate phosphate in their main water supplies. In a recent Independent series of tests carried out by the Berlin Technical University on the five most commonly used phosphate removers, ROWAphos was found to be the most efficient in removing phosphate from water. Other medias tested reached only 30% to 40% of it ’s removal capacity by weight. Additionally, ROWAphos was found to continue to remove phosphates at lower concentrations and had a higher maximum holding capacity. Through its outstanding qualities it has the ability to bind large quantities of phosphate by absorption without negatively influencing the water in the aquarium in any way. Phosphate (PO4)in the aquarium is caused by the decomposition of organic substances. Especially in the confined habitat of an aquarium several of these decomposition processes take place on food surpluses, dead plant matter, excretions etc.

Admittedly phosphate is an important component of life, but it is harmless only in low concentrations. Natural waters that have not yet been affected by human interference show very low PO4 concentrations. It is nearly impossible to maintain this ideal in an aquarium without artificial aid. Phosphates are introduced into the aquarium from a wide range of sources such as: from fresh water supplies that have not used R.O.water, from decomposition of un-eaten food or fish waste: from death of plants and animals in the tank: from impure aquarium chemicals such as cheap activated carbon: or by slow release of absorbed concentrations from rocks and tank substrates.

Within the reef aquarium, phosphates will greatly affect the formation of hard coral skeletons by reducing calcification by over 50% and by inhibiting the deposition of strontium. It is suggested by Borneman that phosphates are a direct poison to calcification. A rise in the concentration leads to unwanted algae growth and to the inhibition of lime synthesis in certain specialized organisms in seawater, such as calcareous algae and stony corals. To evolve these phosphate-induced problems it is recommended to keep the concentration of phosphate always below 0.015 - 0.3 mg/l. For the aquarist with fresh or salt water tanks the main drive behind the purchase of ROWAphos is to control the growth of Nuisance algae within their aquariums, which can in some cases overrun plants and expensive corals spoiling the aesthetics effects and in extreme cases killing the inhabitants.

Phosphates are food for nuisance algae along with other nutrition such as nitrates and light. The problem often becomes worse or apparent when changing to more intense lighting such as HQI or T5 Units. Tullock states that there is no simple way of controlling excess algae, as there are a number of factors involved, however in most aquarium situations the limiting nutrient ion in terms of algae growth is Phosphates… This target of reducing Phosphate levels can be reached easily with ROWAphos, the highly active filter material, which can be used in fresh water as well as saltwater. In particular neither phosphate nor any other substances are released back into the water after the saturation of the filter material. ROWAphos can even be used in aquaria with very sensitive fish or in marine aquaria with less complex organisms.

Each Pack of ROWAphos clearly states the volume of water that the contents of the pack will reduce in phosphate concentration by 1ppm. Note that it is 3 times more effective in fresh water than in salt water. In reality most people starting to use phosphate removers for the first time will have levels in excess of 5 ppm in their systems requiring a pack size for removal of 1 ppm from 5 times their tank size or more to bring the initial concentration under control. The reality for someone blindly using ROWAphos is that if they start off at 5 ppm and reduce it to 4ppm by using the wrong size pack, which they will replace in 2-3 months by which time, the phosphate concentration has returned or exceeded the original concentration. Phosphate Levels must be reduced to Zero or at least below 0.03 ppm in order to STARVE the ALGAE!

Unfortunately in our opinion there are only two testing kits on the market that are sensitive enough to measure phosphate concentrations accurately down to the required levels. The Merck test kit is a laboratory grade professional test kit. Most ROWAphos retailers should have one, which they can use to test a sample of customers water that is brought into the store. The second recommended test kit is the one manufactured by Salifert, which is also sensitive at low levels but in our opinion still makes it difficult to differentiate between the colors due to the poor optical clarity of the sample container.

ROWAphos can either be placed in a canister as a separate slow phosphate filter or can be utilized at the end of the main filter process as the final unit after a biological and mechanical filter. The way that ROWAphos works is by chemical absorption onto the surface of the media and hence for it to work properly it is necessary for water to flow around and through the pouch. It is also recommended that the media is regularly disturbed to prevent compaction and expose new areas or the surface to the general water flow. The material can either be applied in the filter net enclosed in the pack or between two layers of fine filter wool (on the incoming and outgoing flow). The second way for using ROWAphos is in a conventional canister filter. It is possible to put the sock straight into the canister however this has a tendency to channel or compact, which is exacerbated by the use of kalkwasser, which can solidify the media in the same way that it does so to the sand in a plenum system. It is therefore preferable to layer the ROWAphos between sponges or floss to create a more uniform flow and show a higher surface area to the water. The third, easiest and most effective, but most expensive way is to fluidize the ROWAphos in a suitable reactor. Fluidization keeps the media constantly moving and the water column in constant contact with the whole of the surface area. As ROWAphos is a relatively light compound compared with some sands it is important not to over fluidize it and send the whole contents into the aquarium. For this reason Deltec has developed a range of fluidized reactors specifically designed to allow a high water flow without over fluidization.

It is very important to note …. For use in a fluidized reactor we recommend that you wash the media in R.O. water prior to use to remove the fines, which would otherwise over fluidize and end up in the aquarium. If this happens it WILL NOT cause any harm to the inhabitants. For all other applications we recommend that you follow the instructions supplied with the pack and DO NOT WASH ROWAphos as you will be removing active materials and may deplete the capacity by removal of phosphates from the water that you are washing it in. The unwashed material will initially color the water brown but with good water flow will quickly disperse and have no negative effects on the health of your aquarium.

The lifetime of the filter material depends entirely on the PO4 concentration in the aquarium. However, regular controls with a precise and reliable phosphate test will show the extraordinary effectiveness of ROWAphos. In addition this will indicate in advance when the filter material has to be exchanged. If used for initial higher levels, having done it’s job, it could become saturated relatively quickly. Depending on the phosphate concentration, once the phosphates have been controlled, ROWAphos can work for up to several months in the aquarium, before a renewal is necessary. It is important to consider that in some aquaria, especially those that have been exposed to high phosphate concentrations for a long time, extremely high amounts of PO4 may have built up in the decorations and ground cover etc. In a canister or fluidized reactor, when used at the correct levels, the return water back to the tank should always read zero or at least less than the background level within the aquarium. It is possible to reduce the flow through the reactor until the return water measures zero phosphate or to increase the amount of ROWAphos to achieve the same result. As soon as the media starts to become loaded the level will rise to the same level as within the whole system and should be changed.

ROWAphos will work straight away in reducing phosphate concentrations in the aquarium. If the media is used properly it will reduce phosphate levels to zero and you will see immediate reduction in many types of algae however some others may take several weeks before they disappear all together but will come back if the strict regime of monitoring and media replacement is not adhered to.

Use ROWAphos instantly when setting up a new aquarium! This ensures that no high PO4 concentrations can arise in the first place. To eliminate phosphate successfully it is also necessary to use ROWAphos in a new or matured aquarium on a permanent basis. Once Phosphates have been absorbed it is a lot harder to reduce the tank concentration to zero as the phosphate continues to slowly leach back out over time feeding local algae populations. People with planted freshwater tanks will find that it can take a surprisingly long time to reach equilibrium but having achieved it can expect healthy weed free growth of their plants rather that a continual dieback with subsequent phosphate release from concentrations stored in the leaves. Once established ROWAphos can be used continuously on your tank as it has no harmful affects on it’s inhabitants.

Tips for Use:

To obtain the best results from RowaPhos and to keep your tank at zero phosphate levels it is important when starting up a new tank or a tank with phosphate levels in that has matured, to use RowaPhos on a permanent basis.

RowaPhos will absorb phosphate, silicates and arsenic. It is entirely safe in both fresh and saltwater systems. It does not release, when exhausted, any chemicals back into the water. ie phosphate, silicates or arsenic.

It is currently being used on a saltwater fish tank and has been for the last four years with five times the recommended requirement and it is only changed when phosphate levels coming out of the canister, where it is placed, begin to rise after approximately six to seven months.

How to use:
  • It must be kept damp at all times. It is not effective if it dries out.
  • Unused ROWAphos should be kept sealed in it's original container until required
  • Place between two layers of wool in the filter canister
  • Do not sprinkle into the aquarium
  • Do not place in the filter without using the filter sock or surrounding it with wool
  • Change the ROWAphos when a rise in phosphate levels is indicated
  • When placed in the canister it is possible to measure zero phosphate leaving the canister, the flow should be turned down until that is achieved
  • For a short time the aquarium water may turn slightly brown in color, because of flushing out some fine material. This is not harmful to fish or other organisms, and will disappear after a short period of time.

Unfortunately, most phosphate test kits available are not capable of reading low levels of phosphate. It is necessary in a saltwater fish tank to always keep your levels below 0.015ppm.