High light require CO2 or algae will grow- WHY - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-29-2012, 07:22 PM Thread Starter
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High light require CO2 or algae will grow- WHY

I keep reading how if you have moderate to high light, you need steady/reliable (ie NOT DIY) CO2 or you get algal growth.

What is the reason behind this?

CO2 is supplying growth substrate to the plant life in the tank. Aquarium plants and algae are both photosynthetic.

High light + low Co2= favors algae
High light + high/adequate CO2 = suppresses algae?

Is it that- without CO2 the plants can't photosyntheize as efficiently as algae?

this question has been bugging me!
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-29-2012, 08:28 PM
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Originally Posted by lobsterbib View Post
I keep reading how if you have moderate to high light, you need steady/reliable (ie NOT DIY) CO2 or you get algal growth.

What is the reason behind this?

CO2 is supplying growth substrate to the plant life in the tank. Aquarium plants and algae are both photosynthetic.

High light + low Co2= favors algae
High light + high/adequate CO2 = suppresses algae?

Is it that- without CO2 the plants can't photosyntheize as efficiently as algae?

this question has been bugging me!
if your last question(speculation) was true why wouldnt algae still keep growing with high co2 even if the plants are getting what they need

my speculation is that the plants are adding and/or depleting something/s that the algae needs
and/or the carbonic acid is suppressing the algae and/ or spores
pretty wide speculation lol
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-29-2012, 08:43 PM
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Why not just give the plants good steady light/CO2 and nutrients?
This is the goal, then algae is much less an issue.

The goal is to grow nice plants, focus there.

Regards,
Tom Barr
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-29-2012, 09:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lobsterbib View Post
I keep reading how if you have moderate to high light, you need steady/reliable (ie NOT DIY) CO2 or you get algal growth.

What is the reason behind this?

CO2 is supplying growth substrate to the plant life in the tank. Aquarium plants and algae are both photosynthetic.

High light + low Co2= favors algae
High light + high/adequate CO2 = suppresses algae?

Is it that- without CO2 the plants can't photosyntheize as efficiently as algae?

this question has been bugging me!
Aquatic plants require sufficient light and 17 nutrients in order to photosynthesize; provided all this is available, plants will photosynthesize full out. This works to inhibit algae. The faster the plants grow, the more nutrients they use up, leaving none for algae; emergent and floating plants are especially very fast growing.

As soon as something is no longer sufficient, photosynthesis slows and may stop depending upon circumstances. CO2 is usually the first essential to lessen in natural or low-tech tanks. Plants then naturally slow down photosynthesis, using fewer of the other nutrients. Algae is quick to take advantage, as it can manage in much weaker light than plants, so any light that continues beyond the point at which the plants no longer have sufficient CO2 will only cause algae to increase.

This is the principle behind the "siesta" method of algae control. The mid-day period of no light allows CO2 to rebuild.

So the answer to your last question is yes. I have all natural setups, with minimal light. CO2 occurs solely from natural sources, primarily from the breakdown of organics in the substrate. But at some point it lessens to the point that the plants cannot photosynthesize fully. Once my tanks are established, I sometimes have to fiddle a bit with the light duration. If algae begins to increase, I reduce the light duration slightly, until it stops. Algae has previously increased in the summer, presumably due to the increase of natural daylight in the room (brighter and longer days); this past year I kept the blinds and drapes covering the windows (which face south and west) throughout the summer, and had no incident of algae. I have also had it begin to increase when the tubes are old and no longer emitting sufficient intensity. I believe that light is the governing factor in algae.

Byron.

Byron Hosking, MA
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-29-2012, 09:59 PM
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Sorry, but the using up of available nutrient for algae is a very easy test to falsify.

Example:



Tank has 15ppm of NO3 and 5 ppm of PO4 added 3x a week, and traces added about 5x a week at rather high non limiting levels, algae/specificaly periphyton, has about 3-5x lower range of N and P tolerance than any aquatic plant.

Likewise, a non CO2 tank, has about 10X less dosing, but similar ppm's at the end of the day.


You'd starve your plants long before you'd starve the algae.
This is true in non CO2 methods and Excel methods as well.
CO2 will increase the rates of growth about 10-20X.

I agree that light is a key player, as it drives CO2 demand and nutrient demand, and is about the only thing that algae/plants compete for.

Still, I think simply focusing on the goal, which is growing plants........is the key here. Slower low energy non CO2 methods work well and generally use less light, and generally when done properly, have less algae. But the general methods are still the same, take care of the plants well, you have little algae issues.

Regards,
Tom Barr
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-30-2012, 09:00 AM
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Question for Tom

Tom,

nothing to contribute to the thread, but I have questions about the tanks you showed above.
That first tank is stunningly beautiful with all those red plants. Please, have you perhapy discribed it anywhere else? I'm interested in the plants used, the lighting, the color of the lighting? I would love to hear about that tank (also how it looked later, when all had grown). It would be too nice, if you could answer those questions.

Thank you,
Nix
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-30-2012, 10:58 AM
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Here is the journal on the first tank

PS: sorry to jump in before Tom, but I bet I sleep less

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-30-2012, 11:52 AM
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Thank you very much, OVT!
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-30-2012, 04:51 PM
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I think the answer is that no one knows why this is the case. Think "voodoo" until we have some conclusive scientific evidence.

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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-11-2013, 10:42 PM
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[QUOTE=lobsterbib;1698907]I keep reading how if you have moderate to high light, you need steady/reliable (ie NOT DIY) CO2 or you get algal growth.

What is the reason behind this?

[QUOTE=lobsterbib;1698907]I keep reading how if you have moderate to high light, you need steady/reliable (ie NOT DIY) CO2 or you get algal growth.


What is the reason behind this?




I have read the same statement, however it is confusing since common sense indicates that the more light and nutrients you add to your aquarium's water column, the faster algae will grow.


This has been my experience with the planted aquaria that I maintain.

For example, when I first got back into fishkeeping a few years back after a substantial hiatus, I decided to purchase some plants and do the DIY cheapo method of CO2 based on an article I had read on CO2 via the fermentation method.


My DIY CO2 mixture was not very good and it lasted less than a week. It's bubble production was also very erratic which led to lots of black brush algae growing on the plants.


I had a similar earlier battle with cyanobacteria which literally covered the entire substrate in my 5.5 gallon aquarium within a matter of days. I siphoned as much of it out as I could each morning, only to find that it would grow back and then some by the following day. I was using over 6 watts of T-5 linear fluorescent lighting per gallon of water at the time, which really enabled the bluegreen algae to take over the aquarium.


I finally had to use my old Vortex D-1 diatom filter to get rid of the cyanobacteria.


At the time I was wondering why people would use live plants in aquariums given all the aggravation in trying to establish an ideal water column, which would allow plants to grow at a substantial pace in which to out compete the myriad forms of algae that can quickly takeover an aquarium.

In every situation regarding the planted aquaria that I maintained, when I added injected CO2 - whether it was pressurized or DIY - the same result always occurred - an increase in algae. When I began to add Flourish liquid plant fertilizer the algae blooms became so bad that the water in my aquariums would turn green.


I couldn't even see my fish or plants!


As time went by I decided that while some fishkeepers had developed at outstanding knowledge of botany and knew exactly which plants to match with others, as well as a more than rudimentary knowledge of chemistry, I did not have this luxury.


And I was becoming very disenchanted with the idea of having to spend more time cleaning algae off my plants and the walls of my aquariums, than I was enjoying watching my fishes swim.


Then I began to research uv sterilizers. The more I researched them the more I found that most of the aquarists who use them are doing so for reef aquariums.


There was very little information in regard to the benefits of using a uv sterilizer in a freshwater aquarium, and what little I found made it sound as though it would be not a good idea, since the uv sterilization would kill good bacteria as well as bad bacteria and algae.



I decided to try a uv sterilizer anyway and found that the benefits have been so enormous that I can't understand why uv sterilizers are not recommended as standard equipment in all aquariums.


Since I have installed them in my planted aquaria, algae is no longer a problem. Moreover, because uv sterilizers will also kill off many other pathogens in your aquarium's water column, your fish stay healthier and your plants grow faster, since they don't have to compete with these pathogens or algae spores.


You can even use liquid fertilizers a few times a week without having to worry about your tank having an algae bloom.


And no more having to wash an aggressive form of algae off your plants once a week either.


Moreover, since your plants are propagating so well, they aid your aquarium in regard to the nitrogen cycle, so that even if you stress the bioload in your aquarium (not a good idea by the way) the plants will pick up some of the slack.



If you suddenly get an ammonia or nitrite spike your plants will use this as an opportunity to fuel themselves.


From what I have read the biological filter in an aquarium originates from within its substrate, so these bacteria will remain as long as they don't pass through the uv sterilizer. This is important since your tank's biological filter will be maintained even if you use a uv sterilizer.


It's also a good idea to use another filter which has a biological stage, since it makes no sense to use a biological stage in a filter that has a uv sterilizer, such as some of AquaTop's canister and hob/uv sterilizer filters.

Specifically, why add a biological filter stage to one of these filters only to have the good bacteria killed off as they get passed through the uv sterilizer and back into your aquarium?




DIY CO2 VS A Pressurized System


Once I solved the algae problems in my aquariums I then sought to find an affordable way of using CO2 for four of my planted aquaria.


I had been using a Fluval CO2 88 system with 88 gram cartridges which was convenient. However, they'd only last about a month.


And at $48 for four of them each month the 88 gram C02 system was very expensive. And that was at the $12 per cartridge price. These cartridges can run as much $21 a piece or more.


I had also purchased a 5lb. CO2 tank with a CO2 two stage regulator which worked well for one of my aquariums. However, given the way my aquariums are setup, I would have needed three of these systems or been tripping over CO2 resistant tubing that would have been running from one of these aquariums to the next.


It made no sense to do this for a few reasons not the least of which is the possible danger associated with a CO2 leak or even an explosion.

I was back to considering the lowly DIY CO2 by fermentation method which I was not looking forward to.


At first I just stayed with the original mixture which got me about a week's worth of CO2 bubbles that were never particularly consistent.


By this time I had read a myriad of different articles on injected CO2, many of which focused on DIY systems. It seemed like everybody and his uncle had their own special mixture that would yield at least a week or two of steady CO2 bubbles.


I decided to go with a mixture of 2 cups of sugar, 1 heaping teaspoon full of instant yeast and a 2 liter bottle of warm tap water, filled 3/4's of the way. This mixture got me a bit more than a week's worth of CO2.


However, unlike in the past where CO2 production had been erratic, this mixture was consistent, and the increased plant growth was proof of it.

Yet, I still could not understand how some fishkeepers were getting
three or more weeks out of a single bottle of DIY CO2.


I decided that it must either have something to do with their tap water, or perhaps it was something to do with the yeast they were using.


So when I went to purchase more instant yeast I went to Amazon.com and noticed that a brand called SAF instant yeast was getting excellent reviews.


At the time I was also paying about $3.50 for an ounce of Fleishmann's instant yeast, so when I found that the SAF yeast would cost me about .23 an ounce I was more than happy to give it a try.


As it turns out, the SAF yeast has been far superior, lasting at least three weeks before the CO2 generator needs to be recharged. And now that I have been able to purchase 25 lb. bags of sugar for under $15 each, my annual CO2 expenditure for four planted aquariums runs about $60 a year including the cost sugar and yeast.


CO2 production is consistent, and this system is a lot safer than having
a pressurized CO2 system in your home.


Anyway, didn't mean to run on here, however, I thought this info would be of benefit to those fishkeepers who remain on the fence about using injected CO2, or for those who have decided to do so, yet are unsure of whether they would prefer to go with a DIY CO2 system or a pressurized one.


Both have their advantages and disadvantages.


Regards,


Jimmyblues
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-12-2013, 01:14 AM
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Re: High light require CO2 or algae will grow- WHY

If you find a way to make co2 explode please let me know.

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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-12-2013, 01:31 AM
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If you find a way to make co2 explode please let me know.

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$60 a year for 4 tanks? Not bad, but I'll take my dual stage, timer controlled, laboratory precision metering valve tuned setup any day over some bottles filled with yeast, water and sugar.
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