View Full Version : Phosguard - Possiblly Not Safe For Reef Aq.


Tony_Caliente
01-19-2012, 7:09 AM
During another club's reekeeping discussing om phosphate removal, it was stated that Phosguard is not safe for reef aquaria due to its aluminum content. I plan to call/write Seachem today. I have been using it Phosguard for over 2 years without any apparent ill-effects (as recommeded by several sponsors). Any opinions on this?

Garibaldi
01-19-2012, 7:18 AM
Seachem already has a response to this issue on their website under 'Support', see below.

Q: I've contacted Reef forums and I was told that your product releases aluminum, which will close corals for weeks and might even damage them! How can something like that not be stated on the package?

We do recommend rinsing/immersing the product in a double volume of freshwater which should remove most of the fine dust particles that can cause temporary irritation to some soft species. With regards to the release of aluminum, we are aware that it has been shown that under certain conditions aluminum is able to affect some soft species. However this is in no way conclusive as there are a number of other situations where a product such as PhosGuard has had no such negative affect at all. Based on the evidence it would appear it is more than a simple "aluminum from phosphate removers is the sole culprit". We are looking into the matter more closely so that we can provide a meaningful cautionary statement (i.e. "use of this product under _this set of conditions xxxxxxx_ can have a deleterious affect and should be avoided).
With regards to the false advertising claim I can assure you that was certainly never the intention. The statement "it will not release anything in to the water" is made in reference to it not being an exchange resin to further underscore the difference between it and an exchange resin: by their nature exchange resins release an equivalent amount of material for every piece of material they absorb. PhosGuard does not release anything into the water upon phosphate or silicate removal... in other words the extremely low level of aluminum leached is not correlated with its phosphate or silicate removal activity. Furthermore, the amount of aluminum that is released is in the microgram range. In other words, an extremely low level that from a chemical standpoint would be characterized as "non-soluble" i.e. non-soluble material is not released into the solvent (i.e. water). Any search on the solubility characteristics of aluminum oxide would show it to be considered completely insoluble in water.
The bottom line is that if the directions are followed and the product is well rinsed in freshwater, any deleterious effects should be minimal to non-existant and temporary

I'd like to know if there is any problem as I was going to start using it also.

LiveRock27
01-19-2012, 7:21 AM
I have been running phosguard through out the years on all of my setups with no side affects, but have also been reading a number of threads on different forums on the aluminum being harmful to reef tanks.
I had been considering switching over to GFO for my new tank and with all that I have read I decided to order some GFO the other day from BRS and will be making the switch when it arrives.

Tony_Caliente
01-19-2012, 7:43 AM
I am going to do the same. Thank you (again!) am surprised that at least two very knowledgeable and selfless sponsors recommeded it.

JennM
01-19-2012, 7:49 AM
I've been using Phosguard for 12 years in home systems, store systems and in 50 or more maintenance tanks, with no issues. We rinse it first, as we do with any media.

Jenn

ichthyoid
01-19-2012, 8:02 AM
"Furthermore, the amount of aluminum that is released is in the microgram range. In other words, an extremely low level that from a chemical standpoint would be characterized as "non-soluble" i.e. non-soluble material is not released into the solvent (i.e. water). Any search on the solubility characteristics of aluminum oxide would show it to be considered completely insoluble in water.
The bottom line is that if the directions are followed and the product is well rinsed in freshwater, any deleterious effects should be minimal to non-existant and temporary."

This material is a form of 'activated' ceramic (microporous), also called alumina (Al2O3). Alumina is considered to be inert (non-reactive). There will be some free aluminum present left over from the manufacturing process.

Just because we can detect it, does not necessarily mean it causes a problem.

As stated by the manufacturer...'use as directed, and RINSE WELL'.

I have used it, with soft corals, without incident. I do not currently use it, but as stated, there are many others that do.

MY bottom line: please be very careful of 'witch hunts'. Most of what goes wrong in an aquarium can be traced back to basic maintenance, -jmho.

126 reef
01-19-2012, 10:12 AM
When ever I have use it my Gonipora and a few others close up for days. I don't use it anymore

Amici
01-19-2012, 11:11 AM
I've been using Phosguard for 12 years in home systems, store systems and in 50 or more maintenance tanks, with no issues. We rinse it first, as we do with any media.

Jenn

Agreed. If it goes in my tank it gets a through rinse in rodi regardless if it's media or equipment.

Skriz
01-19-2012, 11:24 AM
I have been running phosguard through out the years on all of my setups with no side affects, but have also been reading a number of threads on different forums on the aluminum being harmful to reef tanks.
I had been considering switching over to GFO for my new tank and with all that I have read I decided to order some GFO the other day from BRS and will be making the switch when it arrives.

GFO is much harsher ad you'll find more negatives against it than you will phosgaurd.

mysterybox
01-19-2012, 12:02 PM
GFO is used for Human Drinking water.

Aluminum (http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2003/7/chemistry)

versus

Iron (http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2004-11/rhf/index.php)


phosguard is sooooo 2003.......
I don't understand why Seachem hasn't made the switch as they continue to be the only company that uses Aluminum (after many user issues) versus GFO.

ichthyoid
01-19-2012, 5:09 PM
GFO is used for Human Drinking water.

Aluminum (http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2003/7/chemistry)

versus

Iron (http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2004-11/rhf/index.php)


phosguard is sooooo 2003.......
I don't understand why Seachem hasn't made the switch as they continue to be the only company that uses Aluminum (after many user issues) versus GFO.

So is alumina...to detoxify it -

http://www.deltaadsorbents.com/water_treatment.html

Just for the record, activated alumina catalysis is a much newer technology that GFO. Not that 'that' necessarily makes it any better, but it is.

..."activated alumina is a best available technology (BAT) that is used in municipal and bottled water facilities"... (and EPA approved for just that purpose)

Skriz
01-19-2012, 6:06 PM
Why would Seachem downgrade medias? Maybe they should start using inferior carbon too; since everyone else does, right?



GFO is used for Human Drinking water.

Aluminum (http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2003/7/chemistry)

versus

Iron (http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2004-11/rhf/index.php)


phosguard is sooooo 2003.......
I don't understand why Seachem hasn't made the switch as they continue to be the only company that uses Aluminum (after many user issues) versus GFO.