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Old 08-23-2011, 05:49 PM   #16
lauraleellbp
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Originally Posted by sewingalot View Post
I would STRONGLY recommend against doing this. Period. The reason being erythromycin is a medication, an antibiotic. If you use it haphazardly, you will end up creating super-strains of BGA and diseases. This should be treated with the utmost respect and not used in similar fashion as excel. Think of how many strands of viruses are now immune to penicillin because of the massive misuse of the drug.
I agree with this 1000%.

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As soon as someone makes a systemic cure for algae I really do hope to see this whole holistic "balance is key" thing to fade away.
Balance IS the systemic cure for algae! lol

I'm not against using algaecides alltogether. I agree with DarkCobra that there can be a time and a place for them. I dose Excel on several of my tanks a few times a year to kill off the algae that grows on the tops of my taller plants when they get up too close to the light. I DON'T like using Excel on a regular basis as it's shown to build up and cause molting problems in shrimp, however.

I'd personally rather find ways to nip a problem in the bud and not have to continually waste time and $$ nuking my tank and fighting with constant algae outbreaks. Bring a tank into BALANCE and you don't have to worry about it.

My 29gal is my little "poster child" at the moment. It's at my husband's office and I've literally seen it twice this year. It's bopping along happily all on its own, only thing I've done is 2 trims, cleaned the filter, and a few water changes. One of his employees feeds the critters and tops off the tank when needed. And it looks great with only a tiny bit of clado, mostly growing in the driftwood. Ammonia and nitrites always test 0, nitrates are always around or under 5ppm. Plants are growing well but not so quickly that they've needed trimming more than the 2x this year I've been there to do that, and they look really good other than the Hygro kompakt probably could use some potassium (old leaves get pinholes). Tank's been set up and stable for 2 years like this thus far.

(forgive the awful cell phone pic- this was a few weeks ago)
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Old 08-23-2011, 06:03 PM   #17
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What I am really seeing here is that you somehow think this is some "holistic" approach to aquariums.

There is no quackery here. Science and repeatable results show us that balancing the system works.

This isn't like balancing your chi and your fenq shui. This has nothing to do with "balance" and everything to do with a REAL, physical balance.

NON LIMITING CO2 And Ferts and LIMITING light is the systemic cure to algae. I'm not sure why that scares you more than dumping toxic chemicals into your tank, but it must.

The chemical fertilizers we use in our tanks have a much higher toxicity level. CO2 is easily toxic, but if you are responsible you'll be ok. The problem with willy nilly algaecide dosing is it will just make the problem worse in the long run. Creating super-bugs and resistant algae strains isn't the answer...
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Old 08-24-2011, 12:36 AM   #18
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They do not grow plants...which is why folks have bad algae issues, they are not focusing or have a simplistic view about what grows plants.

It's ironically pretty simple, name one person who got into planted tanks to learn the algicidal methods available?

The goal is to grow a nice garden, not learn how to kill algae.
Nuff said
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Old 08-24-2011, 12:46 AM   #19
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I'm questioning not so much the method of "balance" but rather our views or disposition to it. We treat it like it is the only answer to our problems. We despise all other answers. Yes dosing random algaecides is going to be bad but as long as we keep on saying "balance is the only answer" we'll never know the alternatives and we'll never know what's a "good" algaecide dosage. And also I think everyone is under the assumption that I'm attempting this myself. No. I am not. I don't really have any algae issues so to speak right now. I'm just exploring other methods. The moment we stop exploring other possibilities is the moment I quit this hobby and it's the moment I think it's dead. I find that on this forum in particular people hold on to "less light and more co2" rather dogmatically. People are always saying balance but balance what? Balance light and co2? To what extant? Why does this affect algae in any way? Yes Co2 is complete and utter guesswork and to a certain extant it's light and it probably is easier (but slower).

Again I'm not so much questioning the method of balancing but questioning the mentality of the "balancer." And yes we all want to learn to grow plants. But at a certain point of experience you can just grow about anything. I'm just exploring other methods and techniques. Growing plants doesn't mean you can't learn to kill algae. My philosophy isn't "maintain the balance." But really question "what's the point?" When I questioned the water changes in EI. I stopped doing water changes. There wasn't so much a problem with plant deficiencies as much as there was that the tank just looked dirty. There are unexpected problems with any method and as long as we just scoff and say: This is the right way any other way is wrong we'll never advance as a hobby.

Just as a tangent I really think we've developed a Japanese air to this hobby. It's an almost xenophobic disgust to any contradictory statements against the traditional method. Perhaps this is just because we know X works so why bother with Y. But in my mind it's more of a trickling down of philosophy and character from one of the "greats" in aquascaping.
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Old 08-24-2011, 01:14 AM   #20
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The current traditional method, is not the old traditional method, and the one before that wasn't the old traditional method either.
Things change all the time when there is good reason to do so, but if what you're doing now works better than what you can start doing tomorrow, why bother?
Its not X works so forget Y. its X works, Y is more work, and works worse, so forget Y.

Algaecides can only work on so many different pathways - most pathways that kill algae kill plants.
Many Algaecides are not powerful enough to take care of an imbalanced tank, and to make them powerful enough kills plants.

If you can keep things close to balanced, a little excel will go a long way.
There is not going to be a cure-all for a tank that gets minimal TLC - thats a very American way of things, and in contrast to the "Japanese air" most of us have adapted, its far less rewarding, and far more wasteful.

I prefer to put effort into making my plants healthy and my water clean - I want an idyllic ecosystem like nothing you could find in nature.
Would you rather have a home that never smells bad because you keep it clean, or do you want to spray febreeze every day? Bad analogy I know =]

Believe me, I wish there was something I could do to get rid of whatevers eating my HC.
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Old 08-24-2011, 06:42 AM   #21
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There have been a number of comments in this thread that I don't necessarily agree with, but haven't replied to directly, as they're still good comments and express valid and respectable opinions.

Rather, I'd like to say this. In my mind, the priorities are:

1) Balance, proper parameters, and normal maintenance, so that plants can grow vigorously and healthy.
2) Direct treatment of algae.

If #1 is done properly, then you will RARELY have an algae problem, so any need to even consider #2 is infrequent; then it is not a constant or even frequent demand on the hobbyist, as some imply. But note that I do not say NEVER. You WILL eventually fail at least temporarily on #1, and algae will result; whether it be due to a simple mistake, laziness, distractions, children wanting to "help", vacations and well-meaning (but incompetent) caretakers, hospitalization of yourself or a loved one, etc.

Your first order of business must always be to attempt to correct #1, the root issue.

However, that does not eliminate the existing algae, at least not immediately. Your options for that are any combination of the following:

1) Allow the algae to slowly die off naturally over a period of a week or more, during which time the plant is still parasitized; although if your assessment/correction of the problem was wrong, algae will instead progress exponentially while you try to figure it out.
2) Trim away the infected growth. Depending on the amount of algae, this could be a trivial amount, enough of one or more plants to delay or prevent its recovery, or enough to require total rescape and replacement.
3) Or treat the algae directly, salvaging as much of the plants as possible, and speeding their recovery by removing the parasitic algae quickly.

And here's the part I just don't get.

The people who say that the health, growth, and mass of plants in their tanks is of utmost importance, are the same who will gladly let them continue to be parasitized (#1), or chop them up and discard them (#2). But they are reluctant or unwilling to consider or suggest #3, the option that can often return plants to health most quickly!

That is a fundamental contradiction to me.

When I occasionally slip up, I first correct the problem. Then, if I feel that directly attacking the algae can be accomplished safely and will return my plants to health faster than other approaches, then that's exactly what I do.

And what if I, or any number of struggling newcomers, are willing to attempt to correct the problem, but are simply unable to immediately identify and correct it? Use a "crutch". Despite this common nickname, there is no dishonor in it; no Japanese tenet of aquaculture that requires you to immediately fall upon your blade for such an unnatural act. Yes, the algae will usually come back. That's GOOD. That nature's little reminder that you still have a problem. You have another opportunity to correct it. And you've bought yourself time, which if you've spent wisely, gives you an opportunity to research and learn, save up money for a proper pressurized CO2 system or whatever equipment is needed, etc. The alternative, avoiding "crutches", is nothing more than letting algae run rampant while you work things out; leading only to more expenses, more imbalances, more frustration. There is no honor or wisdom in that.

There will always be people who use "crutches" continuously, rather than addressing the root problem. If they abuse this knowledge, I say that is their problem, not ours. Neither our community, nor any other, can limit themselves to knowledge safe for the lowest common denominator; and still hope to excel and advance.
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Old 08-24-2011, 12:09 PM   #22
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Is my view that assimilating measured opinion's is a good thing. And it then becomes a matter of weighing the option's that one has, or is willing to apply.
For myself,, Having expierienced what seemed to be all algae known to exist in planted aquaria in my early year's, and trying all of the remedies that are still practiced today,,
it was not until I trained my effort's on fundamental's of plant growth that my effort's were rewarded.
I have many to thank here, as well as other plant forums and oddly enough.. and with great joy, I was able to retire the crutches,chemical's for the algae problem's no longer threatened ,cursed me.
To me,, it is not unlike those who use all mannner of medication's to treat sick fishes with varying degree's of success.If you don't improve the fishes enviornment,,medication's will be of little use.
If you train your effort's on learning to keep water ,,there is little need for most medication's.
Same thing applies to growing plant's in my view. Train your effort's on enviornment that will benefit plant growth,and the need for algaecides,blackout's,spot treatment's,dips,etc are near non existent.
Takes sustained effort,willingness to listen,learn.
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Old 08-24-2011, 04:25 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkCobra View Post
And here's the part I just don't get.

The people who say that the health, growth, and mass of plants in their tanks is of utmost importance, are the same who will gladly let them continue to be parasitized (#1), or chop them up and discard them (#2). But they are reluctant or unwilling to consider or suggest #3, the option that can often return plants to health most quickly!

That is a fundamental contradiction to me.
There is a time delay between the trim and the recovery, the algae is now gone and while biomass is low, so is algae biomass
the relative % is less for the algae, but as long as
good care, frequent water changes and work are done after the algae bloom........then the system can have restore ecosystem functioning.
ADA espouses this, as do I and anyone else worth their salt.

I might even toss out the entire batch of weeds and start with fresh plants from another tank etc.

Sometimes it's not worth messing with, eg: moss infested with green algae.
Maybe pick a small amount very very clean and restart.

My issues are more with pest plants: Bladderwort, Riccia, moss, duckweeds......no cure but labor and trimming for those.

Quote:
When I occasionally slip up, I first correct the problem. Then, if I feel that directly attacking the algae can be accomplished safely and will return my plants to health faster than other approaches, then that's exactly what I do.
I do not think there is anything wrong per se with your suggestions here, but the focus is still on growing the plants, that goal never changes.

A dip or a spray to kill some small amount of algae? No issues, I still do not bother, I just trim since.......as you suggest....it's just a small amount correct? Large amounts of algae are more plant growth issues no?

Again, we cannot have it both ways, a trim will take care of small amount, but the issue is more growth related otherwise for the bad infestations.

Excel dosing I have no issues with, but folks over dose this stuff often and kill livestock often it seems. It grows plants though.........I would say folks think that more is better and that they are very impatient with resolving their algae issues, and anything something seems to work fast.......it's typically some other cause. Hobbyists, we like to rush to judgment

Quote:
And what if I, or any number of struggling newcomers, are willing to attempt to correct the problem, but are simply unable to immediately identify and correct it? Use a "crutch".
But as someone helping them.....should be keep telling them to do this, or find the underlying root cause so they can garden better? Or both? I might tell them to use Excel....... I suppose lower light is also an aligcide as well.
Or good CO2?

Adding enough ferts?

I generally tell them to do a little of both, not just one thing, but I still focus mostly on growing plants, not killing algae.

Newbies are very likely to look for algae cures.............rather than fixing the root issues, we all have done this path to some degree.........and if you can produce a nice looking tank today....then you know it was 95% growing the plants, and very little chemical cures for algae........... Are we being honest with what helped us be successful here????
Chemical control: under 1% for myself.

Quote:
There will always be people who use "crutches" continuously, rather than addressing the root problem. If they abuse this knowledge, I say that is their problem, not ours. Neither our community, nor any other, can limit themselves to knowledge safe for the lowest common denominator; and still hope to excel and advance.
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.........

We do not exist in isolation and ignoring them ain't going to make the issue go away
We have to follow the advice up with good focus on root issues and while they will tell others about the silver bullet............there is more to helping them achieve their goal than merely having the algae gone.
So other folks can post about growing plants better, add more plant biomass, CO2, light, algae eaters, and not just the quick......the easy..."add a pill or 5 mls of this and you will be cured and Angels will sing from Heaven." type response.

Many do not want to prune and trim, that takes work, many are not familiar with pruning. Good care really is most of the answer here. Put another way: I do not get algae in my tanks because I fail to add algicides
I think teaching them more about growing plants, gardening, scaping and care is a better approach, they will get a lot more from it and stay in the hobby longer/be happier. Simply treading water by not having algae is not the best goal(but better than the alternative of having algae). We wish to garden and scape and grow plants. Why settle for less? Non CO2 methods have a very high success rate also, so I often try to match the goal with the management method.

I think given the alternative of having algae or not, then you can make the case for chemicals in some cases. But most all of the effort should be teaching to focus on the plants. No pill or miracle in a bottle will teach anyone good horticulture or how to scape well.
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Old 08-24-2011, 04:33 PM   #24
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Is my view that assimilating measured opinion's is a good thing. And it then becomes a matter of weighing the option's that one has, or is willing to apply.
For myself,, Having expierienced what seemed to be all algae known to exist in planted aquaria in my early year's, and trying all of the remedies that are still practiced today,,
it was not until I trained my effort's on fundamental's of plant growth that my effort's were rewarded.
I have many to thank here, as well as other plant forums and oddly enough.. and with great joy, I was able to retire the crutches,chemical's for the algae problem's no longer threatened ,cursed me.
To me,, it is not unlike those who use all mannner of medication's to treat sick fishes with varying degree's of success.If you don't improve the fishes enviornment,,medication's will be of little use.
If you train your effort's on learning to keep water ,,there is little need for most medication's.
Same thing applies to growing plant's in my view. Train your effort's on enviornment that will benefit plant growth,and the need for algaecides,blackout's,spot treatment's,dips,etc are near non existent.
Takes sustained effort,willingness to listen,learn.
I'm in this same boat. Most are that have done a decent measure of success in the hobby.
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Old 08-24-2011, 04:35 PM   #25
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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.
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Old 08-25-2011, 12:27 AM   #26
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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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Old 08-25-2011, 01:30 AM   #27
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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.
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Old 08-25-2011, 02:19 AM   #28
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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.
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Old 08-25-2011, 02:50 AM   #29
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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.
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Old 08-25-2011, 03:26 AM   #30
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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.
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