TABLE OF CONTENT
Silicate, Phoshate, and the Minimum Set of Test Kits
Nitrite and Nitrate
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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.
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
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
of the nutrients by the skimmer. This
because phosphate usually combines
chemcials when it is dissolved in the
However, if the pH level has not been
such as in the case of setting up a
the 2 phosphate remover products can
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 (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.
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!