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RowaPhos Phosphate Removal Media

RowaPhos Phosphate Removal Media

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RowaPhos is a unique man made ferric hydroxide material specifically produced for efficient removal of phosphates, arsenic and silicates from fresh and salt water, having initially been developed in Germany for treating mains water supplies. As such it should not be confused with natural materials, which are generally based on aluminum oxide, (zeolite).

RowaPhos is manufactured using a Patented process which makes it physically and chemically completely different to the vast array of other iron based media which have sprung up to ride on the sucess of the Rowa product. Most of these products are iron oxide based and have a higher capacity for phosphate than aluminum based medias but do not touch the engineered properties of RowaPhos.

In an independent series of tests carried out by the Berlin Technical University on the five most commonly used phosphate removers at the time, RowaPhos was found to be the most efficient in removing phosphate from water. Other medias tested reached only to 30 – 40 % of its removal capacity by weight. Additionally RowaPhos was found to continue to remove phosphates at lower concentrations and had a higher maximum holding capacity.


  • 100ml, 250ml and 500ml

Tips For Use

To obtain the best results from RowaPhos and to keep your tank at zero phosphate levels it is important when starting up a new tank or on an existing tank with phosphate levels to use RowaPhos on a permanent basis.

RowaPhos will absorb phosphate, silicates and arsenic. It is entirely safe in both fresh and saltwater systems. It does not release, when exhausted, any chemicals back into the water. ie phosphate, silicates or arsenic.

It has been used continuously on David Saxby's tank for many years at five times the recommended requirement and it is only changed when phosphate levels coming out of the reactor, where it is placed, begin to rise after approximately six to seven months.

  • Never wash the product unless fluidizing.
  • It must be kept damp at all times, it is not as effective if it dries out therefore, replace the lid if not using all of the container.
  • Place the product between two layers of filter wool in a canister filter.
  • Do not sprinkle into the aquarium.
  • Do not place it into water without surrounding it with filter wool.
  • When placed in a fluidized reactor or canister filter it is possible to measure zero phosphate leaving the canister, the flow should be turned down until that is achieved.
  • We recommend that you use a small quantity and replace regularly rather than a large amount and infrequently.

We recommended that you maintain your phosphate levels as follows:

In saltwater aquariums below 0.015ppm (P) (0.05ppm (PO4))

In freshwater aquariums and ponds below 0.03ppm (P) (0.1ppm (PO4))

Use of large quantities may cause a temporary drop in pH which will return to normal after a number of hours.


How much should I use?

Each pack of RowaPhos clearly states the volume of water that the contents of the pack will reduce in phosphate concentration by 3 ppm. Note that it is 2 times more effective in fresh water than in salt water.

Many people take this stated volume, often on the smaller packs, and see that it is the same size as their own tank. They then hand over their money, take it home and pop it into their tank to be forgotten about for the next few months before beginning the cycle again.

In reality most people starting to use phosphate removers for the first time will probably have concentrations of phosphate in excess of 5 ppm in their systems and even more bound up within the rocks and media requiring a pack size suitable for removal of 3 ppm from 2-5 times their tank size or more to bring the initial concentration under control.

The reality for someone blindly using RowaPhos is that they start off at 5 ppm and reduce it to 4 ppm by using the wrong sized pack, which they replace after 2 – 3 months by which time the concentration has returned to or exceeded its original level.

Reduction to 4 ppm was a total waste of their time and money, as the phosphate levels must be ideally reduced to almost zero or at least below 0.01 ppm as PO4 (0.03 as P) in order to starve out the algae.

How do I use RowaPhos?

There are several ways of using RowaPhos depending on the aquarium size or the budget.

The smaller packs of media, which are often used by people with smaller tanks or those first starting to control phosphates contain a net sock into which the media can be placed.

The way that RowaPhos works is by chemical adsorption onto the surface of the media and hence for it to work properly it is necessary for water to flow around and through the pouch. It is also recommended that the media is regularly disturbed to prevent compaction and expose new areas of the surface to the general water flow.

The second way of using RowaPhos is in a conventional canister filter. It is possible to put the above sock straight into the canister however this has a tendency to channel or compact, which is exacerbated by the use of Kalkwasser, which can solidify the media in the same way that it does so to the sand in a plenum system.

It is therefore preferable to layer the RowaPhos between sponges or floss to create a more uniform flow and show a higher surface area to the water.

The third, the easiest, and the most effective, but most expensive method, is to fluidize the RowaPhos in a suitable reactor. Fluidization keeps the media constantly moving and the water column in constant contact with the whole of the surface area. As RowaPhos is relatively light compared with some sands it is important not to over fluidise it and send the whole contents into the aquarium.

For this reason Deltec have developed a range of fluidized reactors specifically designed to allow a high water flow without over fluidization.

Do I wash the media first?

For use in a fluidized reactor we recommend that you wash the media in R.O. water prior to use to remove the fines, which would otherwise over fluidize and end up in the aquarium. If this happens it will not cause any harm to the inhabitants as it is inert but may look unsightly for a while.

For all other applications we recommend that you follow the instructions supplied with the pack and do not wash RowaPhos as you are removing active material and may deplete its capacity by removal of phosphates from the water that you are washing it in. The unwashed material will initially color the water brown but with good water flow will quickly disperse and have no negative effects on the health of the aquarium.

How long does it last?

If used for initial higher levels, having done its job, it could become saturated within a few days or may last for months once the aquarium has reached zero.

Unfortunately there is no substitute for regular testing and changing of the media once levels start to rise.

In a canister or fluidized filter, when used at the correct levels, the return water back to the tank should always read zero or at least be less than the background level within the aquarium, (assuming that that is not also zero).

It is possible to reduce the flow through the reactor until the return water measures zero phosphate or to increase the amount of RowaPhos to achieve the same result. As soon as the media starts to become loaded the level will rise to the same level as within the whole system and should be changed.

How long will it take to work?

RowaPhos will work straight away in reducing phosphate concentrations in the aquarium but I don’t suppose that that is the meaning of your question. How long will it take to remove the nuisance algae is what people want to know which is harder to answer.

Most people if they use the media properly and reduce the phosphate concentration to zero will see an immediate reduction in many types of algae however some others may take several weeks before they disappear altogether but will come back if the strict regime of monitoring and media replacement is not adhered to.

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