Nutrients in Substrate
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Old 03-08-2003, 04:30 AM   #1
aquaphish
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I have been reading that possible causes of algae blooms can be caused by disturbing the substrate. That might be so especially if so many people sware by it.

I was under the impression that there is like a convection action within the substrate, where the water in the substrate will slowly circulate within the whole water column. This action is caused by differing tempratures of the water column. The warmer water will rise to the top and the cooler water will go to the bottom. And during this action the water within the substrate will also be circulated within the water column.

If this is what does happen then the water soluble fertilizers and nutrients in the substrate will also be transfered into the water column. If this is what happens why is there no more algae blooms similar to the theory that if the substrate is disturbed that will cause an algae bloom.

I am really not convinced that by disturbin the substrate that action will cause algae blooms. The reason I say this is I use ROOT TABS as well as JOBE PLAM AND FERN sticks. I very often will need to dig up my very fast growing Rotala indica and I am contantly digging up the Bacopa as well as other plants. The water does get very clouded with all the stuff in the substrate but still have not gotten any algae blooms large or small.

Not trying to discredit anyone I am just posting my own observations.
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Old 03-08-2003, 04:59 AM   #2
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Hmm...I used to have a bubble wall. And I buried it underneath my gravel substrate. My water was never really clear. Then I added sand, and I would have these air explosions, my water got HUGELY cloudy(I have jobe sticks in my substrate too). I always thought it was the jobe sticks, too much nutrients. But after I got sick of the air explosions I took out the bubble wall and voila my water cleared. The water was cloudy because of bacteria, not much algae though... though my filter floss did turn a little green. Thats my experience.
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Old 03-08-2003, 11:49 AM   #3
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There is very little circulation in the substrate of a non-heated substrate. The posts you were reading must have been refering to substrate heating cables below the substrate. These work to increase circulation in the substrate thru convection.
When using Jobes plant sticks it is very important to not agitate the substrate too much. The effects of heavy nutrients getting into the water column can be minimized by keeping the tank heavily planted. The plants will use up the excess nutrients quite quickly if you have a lot of plants, a lot of light, and CO2.

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Old 03-09-2003, 06:41 AM   #4
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Hummm??!!?

So far I and another poster has constantly stirred up the substrate with high nutrients added and both have not had any effects of an algae bloom.

I wish more would contribute to this question.

Have you had any algae blooms when there has been a constant disturbance to the substrate?
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Old 03-09-2003, 12:52 PM   #5
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It's relative to the amount of nutrients in your substrate. If there are not many nutrients in the substrate then very little will be added to the water column when the substrate is agitated and vice versa.
It also depends on your photo period, the longer and more intense the photo period is, the likelier it is that an algae bloom will take place.
Define constant ? If by constant, you mean daily, There will be a likely hood that your biological will have adapted to the higher nutrient levels in the water column and consume most of the nutrients. If your tank is chugging along with little nutrients in the water column and, suddenly, a large influx of nutrients is released into the water column, the bacterial filter can't possibly consume all the nutrients and algae will take over the task of consuming the nutrients.
All this is assuming the tank is well established. If the tank is new, there will be very little bacteria or algae available to consume the nutrients and therefore it will not be noticed until the tank becomes established, then all hell breaks loose and you'll get a bacterial bloom, if your lucky, or a serious case of green water.

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Old 03-09-2003, 01:32 PM   #6
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It also depends on how much you stirr it up and if you move plants etc... If you move ALL your plants and stir up the substrate, then the plants will have to re-establish themselves and won't be able to consume the extra nutrients. But, if all you do is disturb one or two plants and stir up the subsrate, then other plants will be ready to take those in if you have high lights, CO2, etc....

-Tim
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Old 03-10-2003, 01:48 PM   #7
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I think Tim described it well. I have been using Jobe's sticks for years. I am constantly (2-3 times a week) topping and replanting and uprooting plants. Whatever nutrients are released by the Jobe's sticks is quickly absorbed by my established, fast-growing plants.

The one time I got green water, it was a combination of a few things. Within two days, I did the following"
1) Rinsed my Fluval 403 with tap water, killing biological bacteria.
2) Uprooted approximately 1/4 of my largest plants (sent them to a friend).
3) Moved approximately another 1/4 of the tank's plants from one place to another.

In my opinion, with a well-established planted tank with good light and CO2, the plants are well able to absorb the nutrient spike from Jobes Sticks in a distrubed substrate. But it is definitely worth being extremely cautious. Small changes, with a significant amount of time in between changes to allow conditions to stablize once again.

I have cut down on my use of Jobe's sticks, though. I only use them underneath my E. tennullus now. (My goal a lush green carpet!).
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