Easy Reefs Phosphate K.O is a powdered clay material aimed at removing phosphate from aquariums. We spotted it at Interzoo in May and although there are lots of ways to remove phosphate, this is the first product we’ve seen in the reefing market that uses clay to bind it.
The product is ionically modified bentonite which is highly absorbent and adsorbent at the same time. When placed in water it reacts with phosphate creating a new insoluble element that prevents it from returning to the water column, and results should come within three hours of the product being added to the tank. It’s inert, so shouldn’t cause a negative alkalinity shift and one kilogram can remove more than 30 grams of phosphate, according to its makers.
How you add it is different too. Instead of mixing it with just enough water to become a solid (like Masstick,) you mix one part powder with four parts water and administer it in liquid form. You could stir the solution up in a jug and pour it in but interestingly, Easy Reefs say that you can add it via a standard dosing pump, offering a novel hybrid method between liquid phosphate removers and solid ones. Once saturated the clay won’t leach, and we presume that if kept in suspension by high flow rates it could then be caught and removed by mechanical filtration, exporting the bound phosphate with it at the same time.
When we first laid eyes on PKO it reminded us of Montmorillonite clay, which is used by Koi aficionados to condition their prized pond fish. There it is used to bind toxins, clear water, and add minerals like calcium. Montmorillonite is a major constituent of Bentonite clay and Bentonite itself is used for everything from oil drilling, to winemaking to cat litter. Changing over to PKO from Wet ferrous oxide or aluminum-based phosphate removers may require some initial PO4 testing to establish the right dosage, but it’s an interesting take on phosphate removal and will appeal to those who auto-dose as much as they can on their reef tanks.