dosing lots of baking soda
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Old 03-31-2013, 04:00 AM   #1
Gold Finger
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dosing lots of baking soda


Would dosing high levels of sodium bicarbonate as a carbon source for an algal filter in a tank with low water changes cause an increasing and harmful level of sodium? If it is harmful can algae also use calcium carbonate and would it be a safe option?
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Old 03-31-2013, 04:18 AM   #2
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Default Re: dosing lots of baking soda

Why not just buy some bulk glutaraldehyde and make your own carbon source? What do you mean by "high levels"? If you keep dosing large amounts of baking soda into a tank without water changes, your carbonate hardness is going to rise very quickly.
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Old 03-31-2013, 07:46 AM   #3
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There are only a few plants that are known to be able to strip the carbon molecule from bicarbonate (and even then, their ability to do so is not solidly backed up).

Adding sodium bicarbonate to your aquarium will only cause the carbonate hardness (and TDS) to increase. The added sodium is also undesirable, as you have mentioned.
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Old 03-31-2013, 02:22 PM   #4
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I do not think that any fresh water algae can use carbonates as a carbon source.

As noted above, all you will see is rising KH, and highly likely rising pH.
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Old 04-01-2013, 04:18 AM   #5
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Sure they can. Well, some can. Brian Moss had a wonderful study published on the subject in England's "Journal of Ecology" back in 1973. Some can use bicarbonates and some can use carbonates. Algae are pretty capable little buggers. Some can be grown in complete darkness, and some are C4 plants. Oh man, don't get me started! anyway... Sodium? Buildup? Will mega dosing S. bicarb. accumulate sodium? I am trying to find the answer myself but my head starts swimming when I read sciency people's stuff. I'm not that clever.
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Old 04-01-2013, 08:02 AM   #6
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Quote:
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Sure they can. Well, some can. Brian Moss had a wonderful study published on the subject in England's "Journal of Ecology" back in 1973.
Do you have a link to said article? I would be interested in taking a look.
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Old 04-01-2013, 03:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkblade48 View Post
Do you have a link to said article? I would be interested in taking a look.
Sure, but if you are interested based on my question in this thread I think I have figured out the answer: Algae in scrubbers don't crash pH and don't use carb or bicarb because they have access to atmospheric CO2 which they prefer. And if you are just generally interested this is the tip of the iceberg. Algae are fascinating. We use them in space in life support systems, in nanobiotech as the silicon exosketelons of diatomes contain useful valves (it is this exoskeleto which clued us in that silicon based life is possible)... and in bio fuel/food reactors... We may well be burning algae fuel instead of fossil, eating it instead of meat, and reversing the accumulation of greenhouse gasses in the process. If we are facing catastriphic self-induced events in the next few decades, algae are likely to be centrally involved in the solution to some of those problems.
Here's the link, but theres tons of stuff on this and other algae related topcs:

http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.230...21101961141161
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Old 04-01-2013, 05:11 PM   #8
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The study is geared more towards defining PH as a limiting factor of algae growth. The primary goal is not how microalgae can extract CO2 from multiple sources. It is however interesting. The full source can be found here without registration. Jstor requires membership, and unless payment is provided, only 3 articles every 14 days may be checked out.
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Old 04-01-2013, 05:40 PM   #9
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I know it is not the main idea of the report. I misspoke, but it deals with and addresses the topic of bicarbonate use extensively and references studies which focus on that. I could not think of one which had that as the main focus. Also, thanks for the link. There's tons of great stuff you have to pay for and its nice to get around that. ( I am not above downloading free music either. Mwa ha ha! )
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Old 04-01-2013, 05:42 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorfox View Post
The study is geared more towards defining PH as a limiting factor of algae growth. The primary goal is not how microalgae can extract CO2 from multiple sources. It is however interesting. The full source can be found here without registration. Jstor requires membership, and unless payment is provided, only 3 articles every 14 days may be checked out.
Do you have experience with scrubbers?
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Old 04-01-2013, 06:29 PM   #11
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No I have no experience with algae scrubbers. Although, years ago when I kept reef tanks I used a refugium with caulerpa to reduce nitrates. It worked quite good. Now I'm more interested in eliminating algae growth while maintaining nutrients for the plants. Kind of the opposite lol.

I have been reading studies on the relationships of macrophytes to algae. It seems the seasons alter the biomass of each at a regular frequency. There are many references to lake matoaka which seems to have an abundance of plant mass and low algae which is what we want. Here is one article where a researcher is trying to develop a mathematical model of that relationship in greater detail than previous models. I think having a good understanding of that relationship will go a long way at balancing the two. Besides, if anything else, it's just interesting reading.
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Old 04-01-2013, 06:36 PM   #12
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I don't mean you, but what do you think would result if a person who wanted fair plant growth and low tank algae growth in a non CO2 enriched tank used a scrubber to keep the water column as nutrient poor as possible while isolating the plant food in the substrate by using pool filter sand and root tabs?
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Old 04-01-2013, 06:54 PM   #13
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I think providing nutrients via the substrate in a non-CO2 enriched tank will tip the competion scale in favor of plants that utilize roots as a primary nutrient source. The problem arises when we keep a variety, some of which rely on water column soley for nutrients. Then those plants can suffer as a result although there is leeching of nutrients from the substrate which sustains those plants. It seems to me that several methods could exist based on the plant varieties we are trying to grow. Presently, to grow a variety, the best solution is to dose both the substrate and water column. In that system, a large biomass of plants we want will outcompete the algae, which is what has been stated by the experts time and time again. It seems the more I learn the more I say to myself "huh that's what that guy already said"
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Old 04-02-2013, 01:04 AM   #14
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Hah! I agree. In fact, I think I said the same thing once.
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Old 04-02-2013, 01:21 AM   #15
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Zorfox: I think the relationship between algae and macrophytes is very interesting in the way they are antagonistic to one another but they mutually manage the nutrient loads. Do we really understand the way plants combat algae? If so, what is the main mechanism? Why is a high density of healthy plants a deterent to algal growth?
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