TABLE OF CONTENT Silicate, Phoshate, and the Minimum Set of Test Kits

Phosphate

Silicate

Nitrite and Nitrate

Test Strips

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Silicate, Phosphate, and The Minimum Set of Test Kits

Silicate and Phosphate are nutrients of different kinds of bad algaes and they can be removed by adding Silicate Remover and Phosphate Remover corresponding. These two are the other chemcial levels that you must keep an eye on besides the usual nitrite, nitrate, etc. Silicate should be gone once the cycle has been properly established. Phosphate will come back again if the pH level is low.
In the long - run, you should have a set of test kits to constantly monitor your tank and to identify the problem once you see something is wrong in your tank. Unfortunately, there are too many test kits in the market and they are all useful. (It is unfortunate because it is expensive to get the complete set.)

However, we want to recommend you a minimum set of test kits: Nitrate, Nitrite, pH, and Alkalinity. This minimum set, of course, does not give all the information for you to find out the cause of problem in your tank. But they are good enough to maintain your fish tank.

If you are getting corals later on, then it is necessary for you to add a few more test kits to give the basic parameters. If you are interested and ready for a reef tank, you will need other test kits, such as the Calcium and Magnesium, etc.

Phosphate

Phosophate are set free in the decomposition of plants, and other dead micro-organisms. (Remember the nutrient bombs issues.) What may not be commonly known is that there is a pool of phosphate present in the tank at all time. The phosphate molecules are commonly found in water in the form bound to the other chemicals. The interesting point is that the pool of phosphate is inversely related to the pH level in the tank. That is, more phosphate molecules are released if the pH level is low than if the pH level is high. Since phosphate is an essential nutrient to algaes, the release of the phosphate molecules will result in an uncontrolled growth of algaes. This gives another reason for you to monitor your pH level closely. (Fortunately, phosphate molecules can be removed effectively by protein skimming.)
Phosphate Test Kit

Above is a picture of a Phosphate test kit from SALIFERT. You can see the 2 chemical solutions that you will need to do the test. The general testing procedure is very easy. Add the required amount of your water into the plastic container (the top one) and mix it with the chemicals. Wait for the water to change its color and match the result with the color chart shown.What we want to show you here is that as you can see it is very difficult to tell your result when you try to match the water sample with the color chart provided. This is the major drawback of this and many other similar kinds of test strips. First, they are complicated to use. Second, it is difficult for you to tell the result of the test by matching the colors of your result and the color chart. This can really damage the the accuracy of your test.


Phosphate Remover

As you have probably known, silicate and phosphate are chemicals that will show up in your initial water tests when you just set up your tank.
Let us review about Phosphate brieftly here. What is it? Why do you want to remove it? Phosophate is simply one of the nutrients that are set free in the decomposition of plants, and other dead micro-organisms. What is different between Phosphate from Silicate is that there is always a pool of phosphate present in your tank. The interesting thing is that the pool of phosphate is inversely related to the pH level in the tank. That is, more phosphate molecules are released if the pH level is lower than before. Since phosphate is an essential nutrient to algaes, any extra phosphate in your tank leads to an uncontrolled growth of algaes. If you have an effective protein skimmer, the excess phosphate can be removed as one of the nutrients by the skimmer. This is because phosphate usually combines with other chemcials when it is dissolved in the water. However, if the pH level has not been set such as in the case of setting up a new tank, the 2 phosphate remover products can be quite handy.

Silicate

Silicate (SiO2) are most commonly encountered in setting up a new marine tank. Silicate is the nutrient of a type of algae called diatoms. Diatoms make use of silicate molecules to construct their cell walls. As a result, excess silicate leads to a bloom of diatoms in the tank. The diatoms are usually not a problem once the biological cycle is established and the other types of algaes dominate the tank. Thus, we see that the diatoms, in fact, are constantly competing with the other algaes, such as the red and brown algaes for the dominant position. Excess silicate that leads to the diatoms dominating in the tank discourages the normal growth of the other good algaes. Remember algaes are good for photosynthesis and partly responsible for the chemical decomposition in the tank.

Nitrite and Nitrate

Nitrite (NO2-) and Nitrate (NO3-) are correspondingly the immediate and the end products of the Nitrification process. Nitrification process, if you remember, is the process of turning ammonia and ammonium into nitrite and nitrate and they are also nutrients to algaes. However, nitrite does impose a more serious threat than nitrate in that a high concentration of nitrite inhibits the nitrification process and nitrite poisoning can generate respiratory difficulty for your fishes. This can easily kill your fishes.

Test Strips

As you can see that most of the test kits available are quite complicated and tedious to use. The test kits that you see so far on this page usually has 3 to 5 different chemicals that you must mix with during the test. In fact, you can do better than this! Below is a picture of such a product:


The first four on the left are different test strips for pH, Alkalinity, Nitrate, and Nitrite. The other two are eliminators. The eliminators are to be used when the result of your tests showing that one, or more, of the chemical levels have been exceeding what it should be. To preform the test, all you need to do is to dip the end with chemical on it into the water and hold it for a few seconds and wait for the chemical to turn its color once you have taken it out of the tank. The results are quite accurate and the colors are quite easy to distinguish. If you have used any test kits before, you know that it is sometimes quite difficult to match the color of the test result with the color chart included in the test kit. These test strips have also solved the problem for you. Because of these two advantages, they have become the most popular test kits in our shop!
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