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Where Can I Read About How Algae Works?
I have a small algae problem and I'd like to read the latest theories on the Internet about it so I know what I'm doing.
I have a medium planted 10 g with a 15W 18" T8 Radeon light photoperiod 10 hours, inert natural gravel (a little too big), AquaClear 30 HOB on low, adequate submersible heater (circa '91)
Nh4 0, NO2 0, NO3 0, KH 1, GH 5, pH 7.2
- Trimmed the plants a few days ago
- added 1 dose Flourish Comprehensive Supplement For The Planted Aquarium
- reduced photoperiod to 9 hours
- floated pieces from trimmed Water Sprite (cover end where algae is)
- increased photoperiod back to 10 hours when I saw the algae
- lost a dead neon two weeks ago (killed by a zebra shortly after introduction)
- it has been very warm around here lately
The tank has been running no algae since 4/18. I found a small rectangle of green algae on the substrate yesterday. Makes me hesitant about using the Flourish for the time being. I'm looking at this as a big problem because I think if I don't get to the cause the algae might take over, although it seems very restricted at the time being.
I'd be happy to read a short treatment of theory on algae growth if you feel like it as well and tell me exactly what I did wrong.
It provided me with some insight on various form's of algae.
Thank you! I found it last night. I'm going to read it again. There's other interesting stuff on there too.
What type of algae?
In planted tanks, all what we may term green algae (whether green, red, "black") is due to light being greater (in intensity, and/or duration) than what is balanced by nutrients. Stopping the fertilization, if such is needed for the plants (it may or may not be), will only make green algae worse, since this deprives the plants of nutrients and they can use the light even less.
Algae is natural in any aquatic system, but it should be under control. It is a truth that in a balanced planted tank, algae simpy willnot be an issue. I have found it increases only when the light increases beyond the balance.
When I went to remove the algae, I couldn't find it. Haven't seen any other algae in the tank but I moved some stem plants around this morning and some Cabomba didn't have any roots. Probably not any cause for worry, but it worries me that I can't vacuum around the plants. I hear though that plants bring oxygen to the substrate through their roots, so that may be a non-issue too.
vacuume the gravel
I was never able to vac around my plants either and my tank looked awesome for about 1.5 years and then it had a terrible hair algae outbreak. It was planted very dense and I just couldn't get in there to clean it out. I ended up pulling up everything and in the process of restarting again. Next time I plann to vac the gravel out about every 4 months even if I have to pull the plant out and replant it.
Read ths thread before you go jumping off a cliff on this:
By the way, did you fertilize? Have you read anything about dosing? Tom Barr *estimates* his dosings and I guess has had some success with it. Haven't read enough to explain it. Read
Estimative Index by Tom Barr
You might also find it in the newbies' articles
I will give it a read, I am not a chemist however and this stuff can get complex at times. My tank got out of balance for one reason or the other, I assumed that it was due to the gravel as it was nasty when I pulled the plants out. I do add Flourish (I think that is the name) once a week. The tank looked awesome for a long time, it had snails for most of its life, I took them all out and possible lost interest for a short period and I just lost control. This algae was some bad stuff to. No way to remove it off the plants, I threw away some once beautiful plants.
It seems that dosing the tank with the correct amount of macro and micronutrients to get plant growth and avoid algae is the thing today in planted tanks. I read somewhere to do a big water change before the next dose so the nutrients in the water get "reset" before you put the new dose in. However, you can't change 100% so they will build up over time. I don't know how they reconcile that - skipping doses?
The only thing you have to learn about chemistry is the names and chemical designations of the water parameters and the macro-nutrient names plus Fe (Iron). You could get most or all of them with one post here.
I would read Tom Barr's stuff and also try to get an idea of what other dosing methods are around (google planted tank dosing methods) or something like that. See what you like and what is easiest with good results.
I'm very sorry about your tank. Hope this one will be better.
As this thread seems to have got onto the issue of nutrients, I will make a couple observations.
First thing is, any method of nutrient fertilization must consider the entire system. The balance between light and all 17 nutrients that plants require is somewhat delicate.
Plants can only photosynthesize if sufficient light intensity is present and all nutrients are available. As soon as one factor, be it light, carbon (CO2), calcium, or whatever, is no longer adequate, photosynthesis slows and may stop completely. It is at this point that algae has the advantage. So long as everything is available, plants will photosynthesize to the max.
Light should always be the limiting factor, meaning the factor that first runs out and thus limits the further growth of the plants. If some nutrient is the limiting factor, and light continues, plants slow or cease photosynthesis and algae will increase. The type of algae can vary due to other biological factors. The only way to control algae--which will and should always be present but not to excess--is by restricting the intensity and duration of the light to ensure that all nutrients are available during the light period.
With respect to nutrients, it is absolutely useless--and rather risky--to load the tank with excess nutrients without these being balanced with each other. Plants have a specific ratio of nutrient needs; some are macro-nutrients which are needed in larger volume than the micro-nutrients. But even within each of these groups there is a proportional relationship. Excess of some nutrients can cause plants to shut down assimilation of some other nutrients, depending upon the nutrients involved. So dumping in unknown quantities of nutrients is risky. And this is the danger with the estimative index method.
This method also assumes carbon is being added. Those of us with natural (or low-tech) method tanks that rely on carbon coming mainly from CO2 occurring naturally within the system cannot be dumping nutrients in ad hoc, or allowing light to exceed the balance. This will always cause excess algae.
In natural systems, if nutrients are needed, it is better to control them. Better for the plants and for the fish.
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