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Topic Review (Newest First)
09-01-2011 03:14 AM
talontsiawd
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffww View Post
I think you're the assumption I'm just starting this out (;. I've got a decent amount of experience under my belt and I can proudly say my algae problems are limited to a few tufts of bba that have been there and done nothing since day 1. My goal is to explore new routes for our hobby. Although this project is on hold until I decide to set up a new planted tank and encounter problems(breeding fish really takes up some serious space). The goal is only unachievable if no one tries.
I don't know if you were referring to me but I think you were. I wasn't making any judgement on you, and read how you have been successful in improving the balance of your tanks.

I was just speaking generally, and posting my experiences. One key point (for me) I made, that I didn't make a key point is this though. If you are truly methodical on your quest to use chemical means to kill algae, you have the right mindset to just do things right. The only problem is, lights are expensive, CO2 setups are expensive, chemicals are not. So, if you pick the wrong light, can't afford a CO2 setup, you have a financial decision to make, assuming you can't raise the lights or turn off a bank of bulbs.



This is a whole other can of worms but I am going to make an assumption that I bet is true. If every light fixture on the market was dimmable, and perfectly from max light to none on a graph, more than half on this forum would not dim there lights and battle algae because of it.
09-01-2011 02:59 AM
acropora1981 I think chemicals can be an acceptable way to help expedite the eradication of algae once the tank has been returned to/brought to a balance. However, if the tank isn't returned to balance (CO2, light, nutrients) then the algae will simply return. Sometimes though to save your plants, excel and H2O2 can be very useful tools to kill off large amounts of algae.
09-01-2011 02:52 AM
Jeffww
Quote:
Originally Posted by OverStocked View Post
It sounds as though you've already found this balance you're so against...
Just because I can grow plants doesn't mean I have to adhere to the method I've found to be successful. If anything that's more reason to do something different. I approach my tanks without any starry eyed ideas of a perfect harmony or anything. I understand the concepts that good plant growth = less algae whether due to competition or allelochemicals. They're little boxes with more tubes than an ICU patient keeping them up and running.
09-01-2011 02:49 AM
OverStocked It sounds as though you've already found this balance you're so against...



edit, forgot smiley!
09-01-2011 02:30 AM
Jeffww I think you're the assumption I'm just starting this out (;. I've got a decent amount of experience under my belt and I can proudly say my algae problems are limited to a few tufts of bba that have been there and done nothing since day 1. My goal is to explore new routes for our hobby. Although this project is on hold until I decide to set up a new planted tank and encounter problems(breeding fish really takes up some serious space). The goal is only unachievable if no one tries.
09-01-2011 02:16 AM
talontsiawd The reason people say that balancing a tank is more important than killing algae is simple. You don't have to kill algae.

Anything you buy in a bottle to kill algae is harmful to both your fish and your plants. It is especially harmful to shirmp, and they die, been there. Just because something doesn't kill your plants doesn't make not harmful.

I don't do Excel spot treatments anymore. I have melted enough plants to stop. I am willing to do H2O2 but it depends on what it is for. When I know what caused the algae (making adjustments, missing doesing, etc), I will use it as a quick fix to just get it out. If I don't know why it is there, I try to let it linger.

I have gassed my fish pretty bad too. I don't recall if I ever lost any, I probably have, but I defineatly made them suffer. I can admit that as well.

In general, when I started I made mistakes, for the sake of algae, that killed the animals (and sometimes plants) I was keeping. It's just not a good idea. Maybe you can get away with it if you are very methodical but with that approach, you are likely someone who is patient and can achieve a balance.

Anyway, more of my point is this. When I started, I was using everything under the sun to try to keep algae at bay. Not only was it a ton of work, my tank eventually just crashed. My next tank, it never crashed but it just was never in the state I wanted.


After that, I really challenged myself to do non CO2 tanks. Not necessarily low light, defineatly not "low light plants". I used stems that are said to need CO2, massive amounts of ferts, and crazy amount of light. I successfully kept 3 tanks without a major algae outbreak. In fact, the little ones I got were always from an experimental perspective.

I would add light and see how much I could use before something bad would happen. I don't think I ever got more than some algae on the glass. I would reduce light (most were using screw in CFL bulbs so that was easy), and things would go back.

I unintentionally learned that lighting can control every other factor. Before, I was trying to use CO2, ferts, and anything else to control both growth and algae, while having too much light. I did have a long run with 108 watts of T5 lighting over a 29 but it crashed. My non CO2 ones never change.

Now I am learning to apply this to high tech tanks. It's a much more delicate balance (IMO). But, the same rules apply. Honestly, one great thing is that we have so much information on algae. I have found that algae is a "telling sign". I now am able to understand by research what I lack in my tank and make adjustments (one by one, never doing an "algae war"). I learn something each time I get algae and successfully get rid of it.


At the end of the day, I may use H2O2, but that is it. It's not to mask the problem, it's to save time. I do have one tank right now that isn't balanced, and I get more algae than I would like. I am playing a game though. I am seeing if I can get away by adding plants. I have put a screen under the light and in 3-4 days, my algae was cut down so significantly, it was shocking to me. I don't mind experimenting, but I like to know my "way out", not constantly working towards an unachievable goal.
08-28-2011 08:43 PM
DarkCobra Nah, that's not too crazy. I'd do two things differently:

1) Remove the filter media and run the filters during treatment. This'll clear out algae in the plumbing during treatment, and help to circulate the dechlor.
2) Test for ammonia spikes for a few days afterwards, just in case. There is a significant amount of nitrifying bacteria on substrate and other surfaces, not just the filter media.

I recall seeing a fellow who wiped out algae in his plant/fish tank by just failing to dechlor his heavily chlorinated tapwater. Though I wouldn't recommend that at all. Even if the chlorine doesn't kill fish right away, the damage to their gills is reputed to be cumulative.
08-27-2011 08:25 AM
RoyalFizbin Let me tell you guys what i did last sunday. You'll all think im crazy for doing this but I bleached an entire tank with plants in it. I had hair algae in my fisidens and just couldn't eradicate it.
I over dosed excell, I spot treated with h2o2 but it would always come back. Then i read a topic at APC about bleaching all your plants and then puting them back. Hair algae and other filamenous algea as i understand it, are introduced with plants or water from another tank. It doesn't grow from floating spores. If you totally eradicate it, you shouldn't have a problem with it again untill you introduce it again. I turned off my filter to prevent my bacteria from from dying then i dumped half a bottle of bleach into my tank waited 4 minutes and did 4 water changes, finishing the last change with declorinator. The recomended proceadure was to use a 20:1 ratio and bleach dip for 3-4 minutes. The way i did it, my plants got way more than 4 minutes because it takes time to syphon that water out. If i had to do it again, i would start syphoning as soon as the bleach went in. All my plants suffered but it's all groing back.
08-26-2011 01:54 AM
JeffHB Folks, hasn't this topic been beaten to death....i mean tomato tomaato or what?...To be frank, I really wish our forum gurus would spend their energy dealing with unresolved issues rather than philisophical arm wresting on this debate...
08-25-2011 03:40 AM
Sharkfood I've often been one of the first to point out that an aquarium is in no way similar to a natural ecosystem. If you've seen most natural ecosystems, they certainly aren't the way most of us would like our aquariums to look.

Personaly, I've spot dosed with exel many times in the past, and I have to magfloat the glass in my main tank every couple of weeks (In my defense I'm often away for days or weeks at a time, in which case my tanks aren't well fertilized or topped off/WC).

I can't speak for everyone here, but the main reason I tell people to avoid using "chemicals" as we call them is that I think they will find the results dissappointing in the long term.

I don't think most of us have an elitist aversion to using medications. In many cases we have tried these in the past and have found them not to be a viable long term means of control.

In a well maintained aquarium, even when algae is present, it's usually on the glass or substrate, and almost never growing directly on the plants themselves.

I would say if you are going to use something like an antibitotic, you would want to use it hard, as in medicinal practices. Any algae, bacteria, alien invaders that survive the initial treatment are likely to be resistant the next time around.

On a side note.
Cladophora has grown in containers to which I have only added dried Daphnia epiphytes and hair algae in tanks before I have added plants and fish. Or do those not count as filamentous algae? (I don't think I've seen hair algae mentioned so far.)

I would hypothesize that these algae likely flowed in from the tap.
08-25-2011 03:26 AM
Jeffww Ah but this algae you speak of isn't the nuisance algae in our tanks! Many people are missing the fact I'm calling out the filamentous algaes in my war against them. The air born pathogens are impossible to prevent but they're also the least invasive unless your parameters are completely out of whack. Cyano, bad gda, gsp, diatoms and a very few select species of filamentous algae are impossible to keep out of a tank but they're also the easiest to control.
08-25-2011 02:50 AM
Sharkfood
Quote:
Now I'm no jedi but I'm just curious...why aren't chemicals the answer in combating algae. A systemic treatment of chemicals could easily eliminate the algae problems and as long as no other filamentous algae are introduced to the tank via fish or plants (easily preventable) then the problem is done
You forgot tapwater and airborne spores for ways to get algae into your tank.

The amount of "chemicals" needed to eliminate 100% of the spores already in the tank would eliminate 100% of the fish and plants as well.

Algae grows in my hydroponics trays, and they have never seen a fish or an aquatic plant. If algae can survive chlorinated tap water, as well as being dried out, how to you plan to eliminate it with chemicals? The spores will always be lurking, waiting to grow into vast mats of slimy green muck. I flood my trays with undiluted H2O2 between crops also.
08-25-2011 02:19 AM
mistergreen
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkCobra View Post
When I set up my 46G, I was having problems because I had too little light. Everyone was repeating the above advice so frequently I never even considered the possibility. And neither did anyone else. People were still telling me less light, more ferts, and it just wasn't working. Even though I posted my full tank parameters multiple times, no one caught the true problem for months. Those were the most frustrating months of my entire time in this hobby, and I fully believed that you and others were completely full of bull pucks.
Some algae as you know are incurable. Black Beard Algae will be in your tank forever once they take hold, no matter what the light situation. This algae is the exception. It'll do fine in low light as well.
08-25-2011 01:30 AM
Jeffww I agree with darkcobra's take on the issue. If we can limit the problem and stifle algae before it gets to epidemic levels, getting a handle on the situation is much easier. However in any case constant observation is necessary. When a tuft of bba appears. There's a reason to its existence and good reason to believe more is on its way. In this cause using immediate chemical control is probably the wisest course of action. Dosing immediately will let you get the upperhand on the situation before an outbreak occurs and you're just tearing things up and replanting anew.

I would personally risk a tank of plants with an algaecide if I'm going to throw them out anyways since they've become infested.

Now I can't speak from experience. I'm relatively new to the plant scene(2-3 years) and I've never experienced bad algae before. And when I do encounter algae it normally goes away on its own. So I can't really say X will work against Y.
08-25-2011 12:27 AM
DarkCobra Plantbrain, I couldn't agree with you more! Although I question this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by plantbrain View Post
Yea, at 1st glance this sounds all warm and furry........but then these same folks run around telling every other newbie to do the same cotton picking thing..........and then you end up with folks not growing plants very well if at all..and spouting off how great chemical controls are.........
Yes, we need to state and stress that good plant husbandry is always the top priority, to hopefully discourage this kind of behavior.

But it's also possible to stress that too much. Enough that we can come across as harsh, unreasonable, biased, and unwilling to consider any alternative. If as a result, those people simply turn their back on us instead, then we have no further hope of doing any good for them; which is contrary to what we're trying to achieve. They will forever keep doing things the wrong way, and telling others that's proper.

Of course, some people are just hopeless. But if even one person who is trying hard to do things the right way, and just hasn't succeeded yet but has the potential, turns their back on us for every ten hopeless people, then I think that is the greater loss in a hobby as small as ours.

Part of the issue is that we too frequently speak in absolutes. If your tank is balanced, you will NEVER get algae. Algaecides are NEVER the solution. And, to borrow a quote:

Quote:
Originally Posted by mistergreen View Post
I'm sure somebody mentioned this but the 'answer' is LIGHT... Got algae? Remove, clean, and reduce the light in addition to provide CO2 and nutrients for the plants.
Anotherwards, light reduction is ALWAYS the answer.

Regardless of whether we're doing it to stress a point, out of brevity, or some combination thereof; there are usually valid exceptions. Even you admit to using chemical control; although less than 1% of the time, in those exceptional cases you must have chosen it because it was the most practical option. Less than 1% of a forum with thousands of users is still a significant number of exceptional cases we must consider.

When I set up my 46G, I was having problems because I had too little light. Everyone was repeating the above advice so frequently I never even considered the possibility. And neither did anyone else. People were still telling me less light, more ferts, and it just wasn't working. Even though I posted my full tank parameters multiple times, no one caught the true problem for months. Those were the most frustrating months of my entire time in this hobby, and I fully believed that you and others were completely full of bull pucks.

So that is why I supplement the standard advice, with simultaneously playing "devil's advocate" for exceptions and lesser considered options. Someone needs to.
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