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How to Remove Silicates From an Aquarium

Updated July 20, 2017

Keeping pet fish is a hobby enjoyed by many, but caring for the delicate ecosystem of an aquarium is a challenging task. Water temperature, chemical balances, lighting and circulation are just a few of the concerns when maintaining both freshwater and saltwater fish. Silicate is a chemical compound found naturally in many soils, and when it is present in high levels in your tank, you will end up with brown, slimy algae. Removing silicates from your aquarium will help your pet fish flourish.

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  1. Put on rubber gloves.

  2. Place the phosphate sponge material in the mesh bag or canister filter. Check the phosphate sponge packaging for quantity to use based on your aquarium's volume.

  3. Place the phosphate sponge-filled mesh bag or filter in a large bucket.

  4. Use the deionised water to rinse the phosphate sponge-filled mesh bag or filter in the bucket. The sponge material may become very hot when first exposed to water so do not remove your gloves until the heat dissipates.

  5. Remove the phosphate sponge-filled mesh bag or filter from the bucket and place it in your tank directly in the flow of the aquarium's water supply. Be sure the water is flowing through the bag or filter and is not just passing around it. Your fish can safely remain in the aquarium at this time.

  6. Leave the phosphate sponge-filled mesh bag or filter in place for 8 to 12 hours. This removes the phosphates from the aquarium, which must occur first.

  7. Test the water in your aquarium using a phosphate and silicate test kit. When the phosphate reading is 0, you can proceed to Step 8.

  8. Repeat Steps 1-5 with a new dose of phosphate sponge to remove the silicate from the aquarium's water.

  9. Monitor your aquarium's silicate levels with the testing kit and replace the phosphate sponge when the silicate and phosphate readings begin to increase again, since the sponge material has a limit of what it can adsorb.

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Things You'll Need

  • Marine phosphate sponge product
  • Mesh aquarium bag or canister filter
  • Rubber gloves
  • Plastic bucket
  • Deionised water
  • Phosphate and silicate test kit

About the Author

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