Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources (
-   Beginner Planted Aquarium (
-   -   who here thinks high nutrient levels CAUSE algae? (

baron von bubba 10-15-2009 07:47 AM

who here thinks high nutrient levels CAUSE algae?
and why do you believe what you do?

1077 10-15-2009 08:08 AM

I believe a nutrient imbalance,too much light,too much waste,to little filtration, all contribute to algae growth. Why do I believe this? Cause fixing the afore mentioned works for me.

Jack Middleton 10-15-2009 09:06 AM

There is a poster on this forum whos name im not going to reveal, but everyone thinks he knows everything, i know for a fact he doesnt and im sure he would agree with me!

This person constantly states that a nutrient imbalance causes algae, if the nutrient is ammonia then fair enough, but if he is referring to nitrate and phosphate he is incorrect.

He also stated that high levels of nitrate is bad for plants, rubbish!

I know for a fact after reading various papers on the barrreport, that nitrates and phosphate dont cause algae.

1077 10-15-2009 09:48 AM

When considering all of the minerals that are found in fish foods,. as well as plant fertilizers, and some substrates, it doesn't sound to me,, to be too much of a stretch to consider that an over abundance of nutrients or,imbalance ,,ie(more than plants can use) that this could contribute to algae growth.
Combine this with too much light,wrong kind of light, over fertilizing, waste laying on the bottom of tank,and water changes too few and far between,and I believe you could call this an imbalanced system that would be ripe for algae growth.

aunt kymmie 10-15-2009 10:12 AM

And just to add my 2 cents: In a heavily planted tank your not going to have any nitrates. The plants consume nitrates at a much faster rate than the nitrates can multiply. An inbalance of a particular nutrient, such as potassium, can cause an outbreak of algae. Inadequate lighting with an excess of nutrients, or vice versa, can cause an algae outbreak. I haven't read any of the reports or papers y'all have been referring to and I'm basing my statements on my actual experience. I suppose I should go back and read the articles you are referring to but since my tanks are now exactly where I want them to be I'm afraid to input anymore info into my brain that might confuse me. I'm easily confused. :lol:

Byron 10-15-2009 11:28 AM

Algae is a plant. All aquatic plants grow by photosynthesis which is the process they use to make glucose (sugars) that is stored and used as a food source for energy to grow new leaves and flower/reproduce. Photosynthesis requires light and 17 chemical elements as nutrients. The nutrients include carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen, and other macro-nutrients and micro-nutrients. The rate of photosynthesis is affected by light, temperature, CO2 levels, and nutrients. [References for more detail: Peter Hiscock, Encyclopedia of Aquarium Plants; Diana Walstad, Ecology of the Planted Aquarium.]

Plants, including algae, use nutrients. In a well-planted aquarium, plants are able to outcompete the algae for nutrients. One of the essential nutrients is nitrogen, and plants can use ammonium (NH4+), nitrite (NO2-) or nitrate (NO3-) as their nitrogen source. Most aquatic plants, including algae, have been found to substantially prefer ammonium over nitrates [Walstad, ibid., p. 107] especially to produce their proteins [Walstad, ibid., p. 111]. In acidic water, ammonia (which is highly toxic to all fish and plants) changes into the less-toxic form ammonium, and the plants grab it. In basic (alkaline) water the plants either convert ammonia to ammonium through the cell structure of their leaves, or they use it to synthesize proteins. Plants are so effecient at grabbing the ammonia/ammonium they out-compete the nitrosomonas bacteria. This is because it requires less energy for plants to directly use the ammonium or convert the ammonia than it does for plants to use the nitrates resulting from the nitrification cycle of bacteria and convert them back to ammonium. Plants are also believed to be capable of using nitrite as a source of ammonium, and again in preference to nitrate [Walstad, ibid., p. 22-23]. This explains why in a planted aquarium nitrate levels are always low, unless something occurs to destroy the biological balance.

It is no surprise that in a non-planted aquarium, algae is much more of a problem than in a planted aquarium. The nutrients that come from the fish, fish food, water, and biological and bacterial processes are readily available for algae without competing plants. Light is also required for algae; diatoms (brown algae) will occur under low light, green algae under bright light. In a well-planted aquarium where everything is in balance, algae is never a problem; it only becomes one when something is done to upset the balance.


WisFish 10-15-2009 12:42 PM

Ditto to what Byron said, except I'd change the statement "algae is never a problem" to "there will always to some algae present, to what degree depends on how balanced the tank is"

Also, I hope I'm not the one Jack is referring to :-?

aunt kymmie 10-15-2009 12:52 PM


Originally Posted by WisFish (Post 257790)
Ditto to what Byron said, except I'd change the statement "algae is never a problem" to "there will always to some algae present, to what degree depends on how balanced the tank is"

Also, I hope I'm not the one Jack is referring to :-?

Yes, that added statement makes the post complete!
(Are you sure Jack wasn't referring to me?? The boyfriend would confirm that I *think* I know everything...:lol:)

Byron 10-15-2009 01:18 PM

[quote=WisFish;257790]Ditto to what Byron said, except I'd change the statement "algae is never a problem" to "there will always to some algae present, to what degree depends on how balanced the tank is"

Yes, that is what I intended when I said algae is never a problem... but the additional words make that clearer. Algae is always present, but in reasonable quantity as part of the natural order; only when the balance goes haywire does algae become problematical. B.

WisFish 10-15-2009 01:40 PM

Good post Byron. Didn't mean to nitpick.

As for the algae issue. I had an all-crypt tank using less than 1 watt per gallon for years. Then about 2 years ago I decided I wanted to grow more plants than just crypts. So I upped the lighting to about 2 watts per gallon, added a few plants and some ferts and went on a 1 week vacation. When I got back I had a lot of algae growing on the glass. I never had that much algae with the old setup.

So remembering what I read from someone on this site ("whatever nutrients that plants don't use the algae will") I added more plants. Now I only have to clean the glass every 2-4 weeks. Just 2 weeks ago I tried dosing ferts twice a week instead of just once a week and boom, the algae came back after just 1 week.

This clearly displayed the whole "everything in balance" theory to me.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:11 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2016 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome