Within the reef aquarium, phosphates will greatly affect the formation of hard coral skeletons by reducing calcification by over 50% and by inhibiting the deposition of strontium. It is suggested by Borneman that phosphates are a direct poison to calcification.
For other aquarists with fresh or salt water tanks the main drive behind the purchase of Rowaphos is to control the growth of nuisance algae within their aquariums, which can in some cases overrun plants and expensive corals spoiling the aesthetics of the tank and in extreme cases killing its inhabitants.
Phosphates are food for nuisance algae along with other nutrition such as nitrates and light. The problem often becomes worse or apparent when changing to more intense lighting such as to HQI or T5 units.
Tullock states that there is no simple way of controlling excess algae, as there are a number of factors involved, however in most aquarium situations the limiting nutrient ion in terms of algae growth is phosphate.