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#540033 09/25/21 07:58 AM
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I recently read somewhere, may have been PB magazine, that 1lb of phosphorus equals 500lbs of vegetation.

Does anyone know the phosphorus "content" of fish?? In other words, if you remove 100lbs of fish from the water how much phosphorus is removed from the water?


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Good question! I don't know the answer (yet).


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The nitrogen and phosphorus content of two temperate fishes, Rutilus rutilus and Perca fluviatilis, and six tropical fishes, Oreochromis niloticus, Cichla monoculus, Serrassalmus rhombeus, Plagioscion squamosissimus, Prochilodus brevis and Hoplias malabaricus, were investigated to test the hypothesis that variation in body P content and N:P ratio is related to body size. Regressions of %P and N:P ratios against fish size (length and mass) confirmed the hypothesis for P. fluviatilis and P. squamosissimus, suggesting that body size is an important factor driving body P content and N:P ratios in some fishes. Moreover, significant increases in %N and N:P ratio with body size was found for H. malabaricus, a common piscivorous fish of the Neotropics. Interspecific variation in %P and N:P ranged two-fold and significant differences (P < 0·05) were found among the tested species. The mean ±s.d. elemental content across all fishes (n= 170) was 10·35 ± 1·29% for N and 3·05 ± 0·82% for P, while the N:P ratio was 8·00 ± 2·14. Data on fish body nutrient content and ratio will improve parameterization of bioenergetics and mass balance models and help clarify the role of fishes in nutrient cycles in both temperate and tropical freshwaters. Nitrogen and phosphorus content of some temperate and tropical freshwater fishes M. C. Dantas, J. L. Attayde, First published: 04 January 2007

The nitrogen and phosphorus level in fish tissues of Clarias gariepenus and Lates niloticus harvested from Zaria eutrophic waters were investigated for a year. Results showed high percentages of moisture and organic contents during the rainy season, while high percentages of dry matter and ash contents were observed during the dry season. The results also showed high mean percentages of water content in flesh (79.81±0.25%) at E2 with highest wet season range as (80.10 – 80.30%), dry matter content in heart (28.04±0.15%) at E2 with highest dry season range as (28.30 – 28.70%), organic content in kidney (94.80±0.12%) at E2 with highest wet season range as (94.80 – 95.50%) and ash content in gills (10.61±0.17%) at E1 with highest dry season range as (9.90 – 10.40%). There were no significant differences in the proximate composition between fish tissues and between species (P>0.05). The result also revealed high mean concentration of nitrogen (2.155±0.259%) and phosphorus (0.083±0.02%) all at E2 in Kidney. Nitrogen is significantly higher in the fish tissues (P<0.05) in all the sites. The results also showed that the levels of nitrogen and phosphorus in the tissues of the species harvested from eutrophic waters is above that of tissues from fresh water, but is within the recommended level for human consumption. From Chemsearch Journal 1(1): 19 - 23 Received: October, 2009 Accepted: May, 2010


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Thanks Scott

Need a little clarification. Is this saying 3.05% P content for their average in fresh water and 8.3% for eutrophic? So in 100lbs of fish removed, 3lb to 8lb of P removed as well?


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Originally Posted by wbuffetjr
Thanks Scott

Need a little clarification. Is this saying 3.05% P content for their average in fresh water and 8.3% for eutrophic? So in 100lbs of fish removed, 3lb to 8lb of P removed as well?

Correct, but look at the article to see what specific species of fish they tested. That may make a difference too.


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I have a hard time believing those numbers. Humans only have 1-1.4% of their weight as Phosphorus. And 85% of our Phosphorus is in our teeth and bones (according to a quick search). Is there any other article in the archives that might have data to back up this claim, or correct it?


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Ecology -

CARBON, NITROGEN, AND PHOSPHORUS STOICHIOMETRY OF CYPRINID FISHES
Robert W. Sterner,Nicolas B. George,


Cyprinids had the following mean composition: carbon, 46%; nitrogen, 9.7%; and phosphorus, 1.5%. The cyprinid molar C:N:P ratio was 242:16:1. These values make cyprinids relatively low in phosphorus compared to other fish that have been previously studied, especially members of the Percidae and Centrarchidae.


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Factors influencing carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus content of fish from a Lake Superior coastal wetland
Authors: Danny K Tanner, John C Brazner, and Valerie J BradyAUTHORS INFO & AFFILIATIONS
Publication: Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences • June 2000


The narrow fish nutrient ranges (C, 42.8-48.4%; N, 9.6-12.7%; P, 1.91-2.74%) in this study suggest that overall mean values are adequate for quantifying movement of C, N, or P as part of fish-mediated nutrient transport. We measured C, N, and P in 20 species of Lake Superior coastal wetland fish to better understand variability in fish elemental content caused by differences in species, habitat, season, life stage, or size. ….

Elemental content averaged across all fish (n = 192) was 45.1% for C, 11.3% for N, and 2.45% for P. We did find significant differences (p 0.05) among nine tested species. However, less than one third of the analyses were significant for effects of location or date of capture or fish length on fish nutrient content and nutrient ratios. Regressions of N:P ratios against growth rate indices and, separately, fineness ratios were significant, suggesting that growth rate and body shape are important factors driving N:P ratios in fish.

Keep in mind that water contains P (often very low) as well - see below normal amounts of elements.

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Last edited by ewest; 09/27/21 01:19 PM.















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Thanks you Eric.


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Thanks Eric!

Elemental content averaged across all fish (n = 192) was 45.1% for C, 11.3% for N, and 2.45% for P.

So according this probably safe to assume removing 100lbs of fish will remove ~2.5lbs of phosphorus??

One more question... What is the relation between phosphate and phosphorus in water?? A water sample I took from my spring had .06 mg/l of Phosphate. That was straight out of the ground. A google search says natural waters contain .02ppm of phosphorus. Mine is 3x that right out of the ground if phosphate = phosphorus.

Last edited by wbuffetjr; 09/28/21 12:09 PM.

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Thanks Eric!!!


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Originally Posted by wbuffetjr
One more question... What is the relation between phosphate and phosphorus in water?? A water sample I took from my spring had .06 mg/l of Phosphate. That was straight out of the ground. A google search says natural waters contain .02ppm of phosphorus. Mine is 3x that right out of the ground if phosphate = phosphorus.

Great question - and beyond my ability (limited chemistry) to answer. I can tell you that I looked at several studies /articles on that subject and it is complicated. We need a good water chemistry expert. I will add a few things I found - they are not answers. Bill would be a better source on this topic.

PO4 (phosphate) Almost all of the inorganic phosphorus (P) in water is in the form of phosphate (PO4). Units of measure for phosphorus may be as phosphate (mg/L) or based only on the phosphorus ion (mg P/L). Thus, 1.000 mg/L of phos phate is equivalent to 0.326 mg P/L. Much of the phospho rus in surface water is bound to living or dead particulate matter. It can be stored in the bottom sediments of ponds. Phosphorus is an essential plant nutrient and, because it is often in limited supply, adding phosphorus to water will stimulate plant and algae growth. This growth of algae can be undesirable, as in the case of pristine clear-water streams and lakes, or desirable, as in ponds for fish culture. The typical range for surface waters is 0.005 to 0.5 mg/L. Groundwater in certain aquifers may contain significant concentrations of phosphorus because of local geology. Ponds in watersheds fertilized with poultry litter or livestock manure may be fertile (or excessively fertile) because of the influx of phosphorus from animal wastes. Similarly, in urban settings, phosphorus from lawn fertilizers or leaking septic systems can cause algal growth in waters.

The geochemistry, availability and abundance of different forms of phosphorus in soil, water and sediments are reviewed. The present knowledge of phosphorus pathways in ecosystems and their regulation is discussed.
In a drainage basin, anthropogenic phosphorus is brought into the system mainly as fertilizers and detergents. Sewer systems and outwash processes transfer the phosphorus from the terrestrial environment to the aquatic part of the ecosystem where an accumulation occurs in the sediments of the watercourse.
A great part of the phosphates in soil is sorbed to soil particles or incorporated into soil organic matter. The release and export of phosphorus from uncultivated soil is a function of the geology and soil composition, but also of the air temperature, precipitation and the hydrological condition, pH etc.
The solubility of phosphates is controlled by either sorption-desorption or precipitation-dissolution reactions depending on the environment in the soil or sediments. In soil and sediments with large amounts of iron and aluminium hydrous oxides, sorption-desorption reactions are largely responsible for determining the level of orthophosphate in the solution at equilibrium.
Algal availability of phosphorus associated with soil-derived materials present in aquatic systems deserves more research. In addition, processes responsible for transport of phosphorus from cropland to aquatic systems and chemical and microbial transformations of phosphorus in lakes and streams deserve more attention.



An exchange mechanism exists in lake water between phosphate and plankton, but the excretion of an organic phosphorus compound by the plankton is also a significant process. It results in the extracellular formation of a colloidal substance, and most of the nonparticulate phosphorus in lake water is in this form.






The change in concentrations of four phosphorus fractions (total phosphorus, total dissolved phosphorus, total reactive phosphorus and dissolved reactive phosphorus) commonly measured in natural waters were measured in two lake water samples after storage at 4°C. After 4 h only total phosphorus had not significantly changed. The other phosphorus fractions showed decreases of between 25 and 54%.

Last edited by ewest; 09/28/21 05:40 PM.















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Eric I am going to have to read that a few times. I really appreciate the effort and the info.


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Not sure any answers are included.
















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Well I guess one thing I need to do is get a Total Phosphorus test done. A test like that needs to be sent off somewhere, right??


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Have never done that but I am sure it is done.

















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