There are a number of ways to control phosphates in a reef tank. A protein skimmer and regular water changes will help to keep phosphates in check as will bio pellets. You can also use macro algae in an algae scrubber, algae reactor or refugium. Another alternative is Granular Ferric Oxide (GFO) in a media reactor. All of these options were discussed in a prior blog post.
But one option not discussed was the use of Lanthanum chloride. Lanthanum chloride works by binding and exporting phosphate in a reef tank. A number of companies have Lanthanum chloride based products that were designed specifically for use in aquariums.
Tread Lightly – There are Risks
You do have to be careful when using these products so it is very important to read the directions. The key is to not allow Lanthanum chloride to precipitate out into a display tank. A slow drip over time is essential. The product should be dripped into a very fine filter sock (5 – 10 microns). The filter sock acts as a mechanical filter to trap the fine precipitate. If these particles make their way into an aquarium then fish can perish, especially tangs. Fish essentially choke from the lack of oxygen since the substance impacts their gill plates.
Corals can be effected as well if phosphate levels drop too fast. Alkalinity should also be monitored and supplemented since these products will lower that parameter.
Commercial Grade Lanthanum Chloride
An even more aggressive option is to use commercial grade Lanthanum chloride such as the one sold by SeaKlear. This type of product is riskier since it is not meant for aquarium use and does not have specific instructions for that application. However, it can be more economical to use for reef keepers with larger tanks, public aquariums or commercial coral or fish operations.
The bottom line with Lanthanum chloride….be very careful when using the product. It is extremely important to do the necessary homework to become familiar with the pitfalls.
If you would like some help with a new tank build, including help designing a custom aquarium, or help re-configuring your current setup then you can visit this page for more information. And if you are looking to add some equipment, I do sell GHL, Pax Bellum, Reef Octopus Calcium and Kalk Reactors and Royal Exclusiv products, including Dreamboxes, which is the equipment I use and recommend. I also sell Reef Brite metal halide and LED fixtures as well as Maxspect & IceCap Gyres.
As for additional insights and information, please explore my many other reef tank and SPS related articles as well as my YouTube channel. For an even deeper dive into reef tank care you can check out my Reef Keeping Master Class. This online course is an immersive and one of a kind educational tool designed to help reef aquarium hobbyists build and maintain a beautiful SPS reef tank. The course is a series of video presentations with some supplemental video from my YouTube channel. There are also quizzes to help students retain and understand the information presented in the course.
Need some frags…..I can help with that as well 🙂 Please visit my SPS Frag store to see what is available.