Algae Risk Is Making Me Nervous.
I'm planning on changing my gravel and planting my 29gallon, however I am getting nervous at the algae risk that could be involved with the peat plates that I want to lay down (under the gravel) even though I will be putting less in and the extra nutrients as well. For some reason I also keep thinking that a planted tank brings a greater risk of an algae outbreak (and I'm excluding the extra nutrients that might be added to the tank). Has anyone with a planted tank experienced a bad algae outbreak or am I being paranoid?
Generally speaking, there is (or should be) less risk of algae overtaking an aquarium if it is relatively heavily planted. The plants use nitrates, micro- and macro-nutrients (including CO2) and light to photosynthesize (grow) and being higher life forms than more simple algae usually consume these first. Provided the light balances the available nutrients (light should ideally be the limiting factor in plant growth, not any of the nutrients) algae will be minimal and certaily no more than in any non-planted aquarium.
If the light is not the limiting factor, algae has an advantage because it is better able to convert carbon from carbonates than plants, and thus in an aquarium with too much light (=more than what the plants can use in balance with the nutrients) the algae sneaks in and thrives on the excess light (or nutrients if they exceed the available light). But it is easy to control the light.
As for peat plates, I personally have no experience with these, but I would expect they are comparable to any substrate fertilizer/additive; they must be sufficient to balance the light for the plant's needs, and not beyond. While it is not possible to "remove" substrate additives like peat plates, it is possible to control the light and without light to balance the peat would have no benefit to algae any more than the plants. So I wouldn't worry on this account.
As mentioned at the start, the trick is to plant fairly heavily. Any number of plants will require the same intensity and duration of light to photosynthesize; a few plants in a 50g aquarium will not make full use of the available light necessary to sustain the few plants so algae will. But where the plants are relatively heavy, algae is going to be in second place when it comes to nutrients and light.
Thank you very much for this information =D. I am wanting to heavily plant it and will be doing so soon . I'm also guessing that I will have some trial and improvement to get this right.
Im not sure about the avaliability of different types of lighting fixtures at my LPS but can leaving lights on for a ceartain amount of time also be helpful (so if the lighting is too strong then it can be left on for a shorter amount of time and vice a versa) or is the intensity of the light the more important factor, I will look on my next trip to the LPS as I have to replace one of my lights anyway and I will be getting the plants then.
I do have a liquid fertiliser and I'm wondering if I should use it or not, or can I see what happens to the plants in the first few weeks/months before deciding if adding extra nutrients is needed? I am guessing that this again will be a bit of trial and improvement to get the right amount?
Thank you once again ^_^
Fixtures bought in an aquarium store will be either one or two tube fixtures (fluorescent), for smaller tanks (30g and under) one tube will suffice, but for larger tanks I would go for a 2-tube fixture. Then choose a full spectrum tube, and you're set. The wattage is standard (example, 48 inch tubes are 40 watts, 30 inch are 25w, etc).
Most rooted plants benefit from liquid fertilizer, as all of the necessary macro- and micro-nutrients are not found in tap water, and there has to be a balance of these as well, so a good liquid fertilizer added once (or twice if needed) a week is best. Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Plant Supplement works well, as does Kent Freshwater Plant Supplement. Make sure it is a complete balanced fertilizer like these; dosing with a few minerals hit and miss is not good as plants need several and in balance.
Ok for the lighting I do have two fluoresent tubes that came with the tank so I will check the watts now to try and determine if it is appropriate.
Sadly I do not get a variety of products where I am but the fertiliser I have is meant to have all the minerals required but again I will check this.
Thank you ^ ^
lights that came with your tank should be OK.. but you do need to change bulbs to plant bulbs for max plant growth. that is if you do not have them already. Look at your bulbs .. what does it say on them? Let us know.
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