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Old 07-30-2013, 04:12 PM   #1
Flear
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thoughts on algae


algae is a plant, that should be obvious.

for the last few weeks i've been intent on intentionally looking up algae, algae for life plant food, algae because i want it, algae, algae, and some more algae.

thread algae, greenwater (not actual algae), red algae (looking into species currently), ...

i've heard people talk about ammonia, nitrates, phosphates, CO2, PH, light, and a whole bunch of cues of "what causes algae", ... and i've heard of people who mention that everything is good and they still can't get rid of the stuff, ...

it's a plant, and like most plants it will survive in a whole range of environments, some it will barely survive, some it will manage, some it will thrive in, ... like any other plant out there.

i've got 15 hours of light on my tank, ... got greenwater (intentionally), i noticed i suddenly have a drastic iron deficiency.

i'm wrestling with an ammonia issue, treating that, and suddenly i don't have a potassium deficiency. (snail population decimated the bacteria responsible for converting ammonia - have assassin snails to manage this and eventually bring things back into balance)

i am noticing as the ammonia gets out of control the greenwater starts to die back, (very obvious), then again so do the fish.

i don't do water changes, and everyone is going to freak over that, ... to bad, pay attention to what your tank is going through and understand why, and more importantly more intricacies of the nitrogen cycle and keeping things in balance.

---

with everyone's insistance at "i have to get rid of this algae", and what is going on ? does anyone know why they have algae in the first place ?

if you know why you have algae, if all those magic formulas about phosphates, potassium, ammonia, CO2, Light, PH, whatever other ideas you've got, ... if these were all correct and true, a person should be able to control what they have with proper care and elimite or promote whatever algae you wanted, or get rid of it all, ... because if the ideas about whatever deficiencies were true it would be that easy, it would be that universal that someone could tweak their nutrients in just the right way to promote or eliminate any algae they wanted.

then again, this would ring true for any and every plant.

yet Anubias, what nutrients would have to be tweaked to get rid of it or promote it, ?, or java fern, or various moss's, or whatever other plant you have.

and we can't tweak our nutrients and have various plants burn through their stored starches then die off, we can eliminate a particular nutrient, or have a nutrient in such abundance that it's going to be harmful to our plants, ... but then it's going to be harmful to all plants won't it ?

---

why the insistence that controlling nutrients is the definitive answer on controlling algae ?

if this was true i'd expect more answers along the lines of "adding X" or "reducing Y" is always going to eliminate a particular algae.

i'm waiting for that, sorta, ... i'm not holding my breath.

the blackout idea is great, ... it starves plants till those that don't have stores of energy die off, it kills those off first, ... then those with minimal stores, and finally those with larger stores, ... this will kill algae, ... and any other non-vascular plant you may have.

be carefull about doing this with green water, ... not all species fall into entirely photosynthetic requirements, some can do both, ... and your not going to get rid of these if it's what is in your tank. (not all are green either - might be interesting to have blood-red water could throw in a halloween skull or mask to enhance the effect) although i haven't seen any warm water red algae like this (the one species i did see lives on snow)
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Old 07-30-2013, 05:11 PM   #2
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I think I agree with you, nutrients are not the way to control algae, simply focusing on plant growth(the original goal hobbyists have coming into the hobby) and learning to be better plant growers is really the key here.

I really do not focus much on algae, it's a sign I'm not caring properly for the plants.

Blackouts really do not work well for GW.
UV and/or micron filtration can eliminate every case of GW in the hobby I've ever seen.

GW is among the easiest algae to manage.
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Old 07-30-2013, 05:37 PM   #3
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as i understand it, algae is found when there is a imbalance in the tank, too much light not enough nutrients, to many nutrients not enough light, to little CO2 yadda yadda.

there can not be one cure all solution as no ones tank is the same. that would be like saying the solution to poor eye sight is the same glasses perscription for all people, it doesn't work, every ones eyes are different, and so are the situations.

algae is no different. everyones tank is different, i could set up two identical tanks, with the same susbtrate from the same batch, the same lights, one made right after the other on the assembly line. I could get the same plants on the same shipment, heck i could just split the plants off and share them between the two tanks. i could do everything step by step the same, and the tanks would be totally different.

if we as a whole had the patience, i have no doubt we could examine every plant in the tank, and find out what nutrients they use and don't use, then examine every leaf, stem, and root, to find out exactly what nutrients are lacking. create a dosing solution to cure that, and then do it all again in a few weeks to see how the enviroment has changed.

but 98% of the people here don't have the patience for that, and just want a quick fix. so we give them that.


Algae is present in nature, it is part of a healthy eco-system. to me it belongs in the tank, it should be there, because it is there in nature.
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Old 07-30-2013, 05:51 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flear View Post

why the insistence that controlling nutrients is the definitive answer on controlling algae ?

Hi,

This theory is crap. Just focus on plant growth instead of fighting algae. They need good light, nutrients, CO2, but you don't have to inject CO2 to have a pretty planted tank.

Algae and plants are not the same but they both fight for light, nutrients, CO2. Algae are part of the tank, whether we want it or not. However in well maintained planted tanks, algae slowly disappear to the point we only see some in a corner, if at all. It requires some patience though.

As for myself, spent all the 2012 year, dealing with all kinds of algae. I was pretty desparate many times, was thinking of throwing the towel. Do not give up, every hobbyist had his share of problems. It takes time to figure all that, and trials/errors.

Also, from my point of view, blackouts, U.V., algae control chemicals are crap and a waste of time in a planted tank. Leave this to the amateurs.

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Old 07-30-2013, 06:13 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by micheljq View Post
Hi,

This theory is crap. Just focus on plant growth instead of fighting algae. They need good light, nutrients, CO2, but you don't have to inject CO2 to have a pretty planted tank.

Algae and plants are not the same but they both fight for light, nutrients, CO2. Algae are part of the tank, whether we want it or not. However in well maintained planted tanks, algae slowly disappear to the point we only see some in a corner, if at all. It requires some patience though.

As for myself, spent all the 2012 year, dealing with all kinds of algae. I was pretty desparate many times, was thinking of throwing the towel. Do not give up, every hobbyist had his share of problems. It takes time to figure all that, and trials/errors.

Also, from my point of view, blackouts, U.V., algae control chemicals are crap and a waste of time in a planted tank. Leave this to the amateurs.

Michel.
Your comments are way to extreme. Good plant growth is definitely a big part of many setups and a UV is a win, win for GW and fish health so to say it's crap really doesn't hold up. There's enough evidence to support both of these as beneficial.
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Old 07-30-2013, 06:35 PM   #6
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This is interesting, I'm listening.
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Old 07-30-2013, 06:37 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aquatic Delight View Post
as i understand it, algae is found when there is a imbalance in the tank, too much light not enough nutrients, to many nutrients not enough light, to little CO2 yadda yadda.
People who dose using EI intentionally "overdose" nutrients to ensure that there is no deficiency that would inhibit plant growth. Many of those people do not experience algae problems. Based on my limited experience hands on and reading about other people's problems, it seems that algae takes control in the deficiency status more than the abundance status. Algae are very simple plants and can adapt to poor conditions much better than complex plants.

For example, I have dealt with a number of algae types in my tank.

BBA - This set in when my DIY CO2 wasn't stable enough. Disappeared when I went on the bottle.
GSA - Was terrible until I started dosing phosphates.
Hair Algae - CO2 ran out, needle valve went bad... several problems that resulted in a CO2 shortage.

The only one I couldn't figure out was the GWA, but I suspect that was a nitrate shortage.

All of this boils down to what Tom indicated above: focus on giving the PLANTS everything they need and the algae will resolve itself.
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Old 07-30-2013, 06:51 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by houseofcards View Post
Your comments are way to extreme. Good plant growth is definitely a big part of many setups and a UV is a win, win for GW and fish health so to say it's crap really doesn't hold up. There's enough evidence to support both of these as beneficial.
Hi house of cards,

UV is a win for GW. If there is green water in a tank, this is a problem which can be solved another way than using U.V. It means something was not properly maintained.

One can try find the root cause or do it the easy way and use UV. Don't count on me to use UV.

Please explain why it is beneficial for fish health.

Resorting to the easy and fast solution is seldom the best in the long run.

Thank you.
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Old 07-30-2013, 07:29 PM   #9
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i'll stay away from UV sterilization, ... your killing everything in the water, even the good stuff.
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Old 07-30-2013, 07:32 PM   #10
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i'll stay away from UV sterilization, ... your killing everything in the water, even the good stuff.
Honesty, why make a statement like that when so many people use them in all kinds of aquatic environments. So how do their tanks do so well with them?
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Old 07-30-2013, 07:37 PM   #11
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Honesty, why make a statement like that when so many people use them in all kinds of aquatic environments. So how do their tanks do so well with them?
Most tanks do very well without UV. Why try to make us believe that UV is a must??

Maybe in an outside basin with goldfishes and plenty of sunlight and no plants or in an african cichlid tank with a lot of light and no plants, but did I mention "planted tank" in my post? Of course if someone has it already and want to use it, go for it.

I did not want to be mean, if I did I apologize.
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Old 07-30-2013, 07:44 PM   #12
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what's the definition of "clean" water ?
water that looks clean ?
water that has nothing living in it ? (could have lots of microscopic dead stuff in it)

some fish are really sensitive to water quality, then there is a strange blank in what counts as good water quality ?, nitrogen cycle ?, is that is ?, nutrients dissolved in the water column ? (or lack of nutrients dissolved)

house of cards, ... how do peoples tanks do so well that use UV sterilization systems ?, ... how well would their tanks be without them ? no one really knows do they. you've got something in there, you insist you need it, you've never had your tank in a situation that really required it, ... and so you advocate that it's required, ... but based on what information ?

if you've got a use for it, ... use it, then turn it off. if you've got no use for it, but are running it anyway because someone else was able to get you pay a bunch of cash for it, for something you really don't need, ... i'll put that in the pile i've got labeled for ignorant people.
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Old 07-30-2013, 07:47 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gSTiTcH View Post
People who dose using EI intentionally "overdose" nutrients to ensure that there is no deficiency that would inhibit plant growth. Many of those people do not experience algae problems. Based on my limited experience hands on and reading about other people's problems, it seems that algae takes control in the deficiency status more than the abundance status. Algae are very simple plants and can adapt to poor conditions much better than complex plants.


All of this boils down to what Tom indicated above: focus on giving the PLANTS everything they need and the algae will resolve itself.
i'm not arguing that algae is better suited for a deficiency state, i know it its true, but we can't ignore that it does appear in in in overly rich enviroments as-well, it may not be as prominent but it is there.

i think you may have missed my point, my post was a response to statements and questions posed by the OP, mainly the second and third sections and the question "why the insistence that controlling nutrients is the definitive answer on controlling algae ?"

also i think the quote below was in line with what Tom Barr said about keeping plants healthy and they will control the algae.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aquatic Delight View Post

if we as a whole had the patience, i have no doubt we could examine every plant in the tank, and find out what nutrients they use and don't use, then examine every leaf, stem, and root, to find out exactly what nutrients are lacking. create a dosing solution to cure that, and then do it all again in a few weeks to see how the enviroment has changed.

but 98% of the people here don't have the patience for that, and just want a quick fix. so we give them that.
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Old 07-30-2013, 08:40 PM   #14
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Most tanks do very well without UV. Why try to make us believe that UV is a must??.
Not really trying to argue with you, but tell me where I said a UV is a must?

If your having issues like GW there's no reason not to use one. That was the main point.
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Old 07-30-2013, 09:05 PM   #15
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UV lovers vs. haters can argue for and against all day.

I'm in the middle. I have UV, and have used it one time to clear up a green water outbreak. It's not a routine thing with my tank. No more than dosing medications is a routine thing. It's a reparation measure, not a maintenance item. Not to say that my method is right or wrong, but it works for my tank.

Aquatic: Most overly rich environments are still lacking in something. The hard part is identifying that missing puzzle piece.
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