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Old 04-22-2011, 05:28 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Jeff5614 View Post
I was going to mention the MCI thread on APC also even though I know there some who will dispute it to the death, but if what you're doing now isn't working then why not try something a bit different.
Why not just do PMDD?

Does the same thing.....

End result limits PO4.........which limits Mg demand, CO2 etc and limits all other nutrients in plants.

This is the principle on which PMDD was developed, Liebig's law of the Minimum.
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Old 04-22-2011, 06:37 PM   #17
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Why not just do PMDD?

Does the same thing.....

End result limits PO4.........which limits Mg demand, CO2 etc and limits all other nutrients in plants.

This is the principle on which PMDD was developed, Liebig's law of the Minimum.
That is an idea but I think I'd try MCI or whatever it's called if I were going to depart from EI. Although MCI and EI seem more similar to me than different. EI isn't set in stone and was meant to be changed to suit one's tank if I've read everything correctly. MCI seems to be doing just that although it makes some assumptions that I don't know much about. Anyway I was just thinking there's probably more than one way to skin a cat.
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Old 04-22-2011, 07:33 PM   #18
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Folks routinely dose 2-3ppm to prevent GSA, been doing it for 15 years on 50 or aquariums over that time. Many tanks chew through .8 to 1 ppm a week.
I guess every tank is different, i have always have GSA problems in my 72g, and i had more than 7ppm of PO4 at one point, and there were still GSA on the glasses. while i have a 10g that I don't add any PO4 on top of whatever is in my tap water, I don't have GSA problems, only GDA.
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Old 04-22-2011, 08:19 PM   #19
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Tom, you are an excellent debater and have a great deal of background. I wont go point by point with your lengthy response because it detracts from the overall point I would like to make to those who are struggling through the same thing I went through: read other philosophies on fertilization and use them to extend what you think you already know.

The MCI is not perfect but it pulls together a few points that are very important. I do not know if it is a great overall fertilization methodology, but the thread has really helped me to take the blinders off, tailor my fert routine to my tap water and chosen plant species, and ultimately, rid me of my GDA

Tom, you've garnered quite a celebrity over the years and it is well deserved. I credit EI for helping me start up my tank and run it relatively algae free for some time. But specifically on the point of GDA, I have to say that a lot of your writings have actually led me down blind alleys or left me sitting in front of my tank, waiting and praying when I should have been tinkering. Shame on me. However, I have to say I am always surprised to see you downplay and strawman other methodologies (MCI does NOT ultimately limit PO4, just keeps it not in excess, there is a 'protocol' to determine the amount your tap water/plant species consume and keep it just in line). I am also always surprised to read your general condescension towards others in the hobby (I am familiar with Liebigs law as are the proponents of MCI and PPS)

I do appreciate your input, I just want folks to know there are other approaches that run counter to some of your advice and that they ARE working and getting rid of algae issues for some folks. Your celebrity and criticism inititally caused me to ignore other approaches and suffer for much longer than I should have with GDA.
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Old 04-22-2011, 08:33 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by DMtankd View Post
Tom, you are an excellent debater and have a great deal of background. I wont go point by point with your lengthy response because it detracts from the overall point I would like to make to those who are struggling through the same thing I went through: read other philosophies on fertilization and use them to extend what you think you already know.

The MCI is not perfect but it pulls together a few points that are very important. I do not know if it is a great overall fertilization methodology, but the thread has really helped me to take the blinders off, tailor my fert routine to my tap water and chosen plant species, and ultimately, rid me of my GDA

Tom, you've garnered quite a celebrity over the years and it is well deserved. I credit EI for helping me start up my tank and run it relatively algae free for some time. But specifically on the point of GDA, I have to say that a lot of your writings have actually led me down blind alleys or left me sitting in front of my tank, waiting and praying when I should have been tinkering. Shame on me. However, I have to say I am always surprised to see you downplay and strawman other methodologies (MCI does NOT ultimately limit PO4, just keeps it not in excess, there is a 'protocol' to determine the amount your tap water/plant species consume and keep it just in line). I am also always surprised to read your general condescension towards others in the hobby (I am familiar with Liebigs law as are the proponents of MCI and PPS)

I do appreciate your input, I just want folks to know there are other approaches that run counter to some of your advice and that they ARE working and getting rid of algae issues for some folks. Your celebrity and criticism inititally caused me to ignore other approaches and suffer for much longer than I should have with GDA.


EI is not the end all be all.
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Old 04-22-2011, 08:53 PM   #21
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I guess every tank is different, i have always have GSA problems in my 72g, and i had more than 7ppm of PO4 at one point, and there were still GSA on the glasses. while i have a 10g that I don't add any PO4 on top of whatever is in my tap water, I don't have GSA problems, only GDA.
GSA has a couple of variables, if the CO2 is good, then low PO4, if the PO4 is high, then poor CO2. So even high PO4 will not rule out GSA. I get it if the CO2 is poor, even with high PO4 dosing. PO4 is easier to rule out than CO2, which is arguably the most difficult and most lethal.

So from there, nutrients are managed easily, then light is measured, then this leaves CO2 as the single variable.

Much easier to figure out this way.
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Old 04-22-2011, 09:04 PM   #22
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Tom, you are an excellent debater and have a great deal of background. I wont go point by point with your lengthy response because it detracts from the overall point I would like to make to those who are struggling through the same thing I went through: read other philosophies on fertilization and use them to extend what you think you already know.

The MCI is not perfect but it pulls together a few points that are very important. I do not know if it is a great overall fertilization methodology, but the thread has really helped me to take the blinders off, tailor my fert routine to my tap water and chosen plant species, and ultimately, rid me of my GDA

Tom, you've garnered quite a celebrity over the years and it is well deserved. I credit EI for helping me start up my tank and run it relatively algae free for some time. But specifically on the point of GDA, I have to say that a lot of your writings have actually led me down blind alleys or left me sitting in front of my tank, waiting and praying when I should have been tinkering. Shame on me. However, I have to say I am always surprised to see you downplay and strawman other methodologies (MCI does NOT ultimately limit PO4, just keeps it not in excess, there is a 'protocol' to determine the amount your tap water/plant species consume and keep it just in line). I am also always surprised to read your general condescension towards others in the hobby (I am familiar with Liebigs law as are the proponents of MCI and PPS)

I do appreciate your input, I just want folks to know there are other approaches that run counter to some of your advice and that they ARE working and getting rid of algae issues for some folks. Your celebrity and criticism inititally caused me to ignore other approaches and suffer for much longer than I should have with GDA.
The bottom line is really this: test a single variable at a time. So if you subscribe to Liebig, Mg seems like an easy obvious candidate. Bsmith has an opportunity to see if this is true, vs any ratio or multiparameter variation.

I could less if monkeys fly out of hind end if I am right or anyone else......however, I'd like to know if Mg is something to look at more in depth, there's correlation there. If I am wrong, we move on to the next likely group of suspects. I'm not going to hang on to it if it gets falsified.

Bsmith and others have an opportunity to test this, I do not. I'd rather not see that wasted and not be able to say much about which variable did what.

Was it the ADA AS or was it the powersand?
Was it good overall conditions, or was it the heating cables?

You cannot tell unless you test each variable and combination.

MCI might have had a few successes, and few folks using EI might have as well, I see no reason why both observations cannot be true. We cannot say why they failed or not, or at least offer some evidence to that effect unless we attempt some hypothesis that are specific, like testing Mg increase dosing. This is an easy low picked fruit to try out.

No good reason not to try it in other words.
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Old 04-22-2011, 09:06 PM   #23
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There is no chance I am going to go away from EI dosing and that has nothing to do with Tom being a well know and respected member of our community but, it does have to do with Tom being about as analytical and fact based as any person I have ever came across on this site and really, the internet as a whole.

So here is a little sub question I have. Since I use k2so4 and kh2po4 for K and P respectively; could I add more of either one to get the Mg++ I need? This may sound very stupid but I thought that in one of the millions of threads I read that Epsom salt could be used instead one of the aforementioned ferts?
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Old 04-22-2011, 09:07 PM   #24
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EI is not the end all be all.
I've never once stated that it was and have routinely stated that no method will meet every goal.

You stated the obvious and there's no conflict or dispute there.

I do not use EI on most of my own aquariums or even CO2, some I do. But even there it's modified.
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Old 04-22-2011, 09:36 PM   #25
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The contolled imbalances thread also states that a high level of phosphates contributes to GDA. It is interesting to note that my tap water contains 1 ppm of phosphate. I was also adding even more phosphate with my standard EI dosing and my tank used to run between 1 to 2 ppm phosphate. At the same time that i started cutting my WCs with distilled water, I also cut phosphate from my EI dosing regiment. My tank now starts the week with about .25 ppm phosphate after my WC and becomes almost undetectable by the end of the week before the next WC.
I too have 1ppm phosphate from tapwater. But in my tanks, it typically rises progressively higher from fish waste; it's not unusual to see 5-10ppm. Exactly what kind of phosphate (PO4) is that? I don't know. Phosphate doesn't exist by itself, it's part of a larger compound. And there are many of them, both organic and inorganic.

So what affect do all those mystery phosphates have for me? Apparently, very little. In fact, I still have to add a relatively tiny amount of monopotassium phosphate (KH2PO4) on top of that apparent huge surplus. Without it, GSA starts growing heavily, and plant growth slows down.

On the other hand, I can induce huge algae blooms with another phosphate, orthophosphoric acid (H3PO4); including GDA. And some people who have higher phosphates levels from tapwater than me, have found the only solution to their algae problems was to eliminate or reduce that particular source (and kind) of phosphate.

So does every phosphate form have the same effects on plants/algae? I don't think so.

And what does the addition of extra MgSO4 really do? Is it merely curing a magnesium deficiency? Or is it causing a chemical reaction?

MgSO4 is known to react with ammonia, which has been linked to GDA outbreaks. The product is magnesium hydroxide, commonly known as milk of magnesia. At least your fish won't get heartburn.

It also reacts with one of your dry ferts, potassium phosphate, in a double displacement reaction creating two new compounds. One is magnesium phosphate. The other is potassium sulfate, which you'll recognize as another of your dry ferts.

Just a little food for thought, showing how little we really know about what goes on in our tanks.
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Old 04-22-2011, 09:41 PM   #26
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So here is a little sub question I have. Since I use k2so4 and kh2po4 for K and P respectively; could I add more of either one to get the Mg++ I need? This may sound very stupid but I thought that in one of the millions of threads I read that Epsom salt could be used instead one of the aforementioned ferts?
K2SO4 and KH2PO4 do not contain any magnesium.

Epsom salt (MgSO4) does not contain any potassium or phosphate.

None of them are interchangeable, as far as what nutrients they provide; other than both K2SO4 and KH2PO4 both providing potassium.
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Old 04-22-2011, 10:06 PM   #27
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K2SO4 and KH2PO4 do not contain any magnesium.

Epsom salt (MgSO4) does not contain any potassium or phosphate.

None of them are interchangeable, as far as what nutrients they provide; other than both K2SO4 and KH2PO4 both providing potassium.
It was just my brain playing tricks on me again.
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Old 04-22-2011, 10:20 PM   #28
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FWIW brandon, I get Epsom salt at walmart for 3 bucks for four lbs. I add it per PPS-Pro directions and have seen good results. Newer tanks didnt work as well but the older ones shed their GDA.
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Old 04-22-2011, 10:22 PM   #29
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The bottom line is really this: test a single variable at a time. So if you subscribe to Liebig, Mg seems like an easy obvious candidate. Bsmith has an opportunity to see if this is true, vs any ratio or multiparameter variation.

I could less if monkeys fly out of hind end if I am right or anyone else......however, I'd like to know if Mg is something to look at more in depth, there's correlation there. If I am wrong, we move on to the next likely group of suspects. I'm not going to hang on to it if it gets falsified.

Bsmith and others have an opportunity to test this, I do not. I'd rather not see that wasted and not be able to say much about which variable did what.

Was it the ADA AS or was it the powersand?
Was it good overall conditions, or was it the heating cables?

You cannot tell unless you test each variable and combination.

MCI might have had a few successes, and few folks using EI might have as well, I see no reason why both observations cannot be true. We cannot say why they failed or not, or at least offer some evidence to that effect unless we attempt some hypothesis that are specific, like testing Mg increase dosing. This is an easy low picked fruit to try out.

No good reason not to try it in other words.
Makes sense if you focus only on plant growth - as I know you propose. Mg could be limiting plant growth and giving GDA a foothold, I think the arguement goes. However, my plants always grew incredibly well during the GDA outbreaks and when I did scrape the glass I would see my overgrown jungle waiting for a trim. Didnt slow the algae growth.

As we've seen with other types of algae, there are certain predictable water parameters that bring on certain types of algae. In my tank, if I let Nitrate drop below 5, I know I am going to start seeing BGA. No other types of algae appear. So, according to the plant growth focus, my plants must be growing more slowly and allowing algae to take hold - but why only BGA? Why dont they all come on at once at this point?

To me, this supports very strongly the idea that, while healthy plant growth may inhibit algae, it cannot stop all types of algae. Also, there are certain nutrient threshholds that must be met for the ever present algae spores in our tanks to bloom into visible algae.

I know that plants dont know math and ratios are laughed at, but we do know that certain excesses of nutrients in the water column create plant deficiencies for other nutrients, even if the other nutrients are present in the water column. How then is it unreasonable then to think that certain levels of a nutrient in the water, relative to another nutrient would INHIBIT ALGAE GROWTH (not increase plant growth, inhibit algae growth - big difference)?

Going one step further, how then would it be unreasonable to assume that a 'complex' relationship could exist that inhibits GDA? Meaning, that GDA will not bloom unless there is an excess of Ca vs Mg OR an excess of N to P? In this case, changing and monitoring one variable at a time may never lead you to the result you want. Ie if your N and P ratio is put of whack and you are just adding Mg, you could get your Ca:Mg ratio inline, but becuase your N:P ratio is still of whack, your GDA does not go away. You declare your Mg theory debunked and go on to test N:P and your Ca:Mg drifts back to out of whack. You get your N:P ratio right, but stil GDA becuase you're no longer considering Ca:Mg.

More complicated still would be some combination of absolute minimum level and ratio (ie Ca:Mg must be no more than 3:1, N:P ratio at least 10:1, Ca no higher than 40ppm, and P no higher than .25 ppm in order to prevent GDA bloom, for example).


Solution is to change and track multiple parameters through multiple ranges and see when you get GDA (maybe more even than just Ca, Mg, P, and N - I suggest these only because the MCI author proposed them based on his experience and they are the two i monitored and changed to eleviate my problem - could be more involved and i just got lucky). I suggest the reason we've not as a hobby solved this one while other algaes are more easily controlled is exactly becuase of some kind of complex relationship between the parameters that cause it.


Aside from somone taking a few weeks, and tracking all parameters through all ranges in a few quarantine tanks, we'll probably need to keep tinkering and collectively building a model. But one paramater at a time may not be the answer and focusing on strong plant growth as opposed to algae inhibition will only miss the mark.
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Old 04-22-2011, 11:22 PM   #30
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Or maybe it's the impurities in the epsom salts and not the Mg.
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