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Old 03-22-2013, 03:25 AM   #1
happi
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MY Experiment on Algae


My algae Experiment

this topic is discussed everyday and we get many different answers, i have heard many replies which say Add more CO2 to counter the algae, the truth is co2 has nothing to do with most of the algae issue we face, but it has to do with nutrients uptake, if we don't have proper co2, then we get algae due to imbalance of nutrients. you can have algae in both cases, low or high co2.
someone wrote saying wait for the algae to cover the glass for 3 weeks and scrape it off and it should never return, in my case i waited for months and it will come back the same day or next day. GSA is a good example, you can clean the glass and couple of hours later it comes back again.

GSA Experiment

Day 1 KNO3 and PO4 added to water (no GSA)
Day 2 (No GSA)
Day 3 (KNO3 added but no PO4 added)
on Day 3 when i came home you can start to see GSA starting to appear on bottom of the glass.

Brown hair algae

i never get this algae in my tank and never seen it till i experiment with it, it feels silky to touch and it looks like hair and it could also looks like brown dots attach to wood etc, i have seen it attach to glass as well, it looks like brown mud on glass. i did this experiment on 5 gallon tank with low light setup, i added 50ppm of Potassium sulphate in the tank directly and within couple days this algae occur, this was due to sulfur coming from sulphate, i have always said too much sulfur is bad even though my own recipe "Happi's ultimate fertilizer" uses lot of K2SO4, but i have only recommended 20-30ppm range for K, in this case we have doubled the amount and this algae occur.

i am still testing for more alage and i will continue with my work and post the results here, i would like to clear couple more things which people think causes alage, Ammonia causes green water but ammonium doesn't, otherwise Sechem, TPN wont add it in there fertilizer if they causes algae. there is also a belief that having more flow prevent certain algae, i have seen BBA growing in the strongest flow.

MCI Method

http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/f...s-summary.html

i have seen many disagree with it but i can support it and confirm it with test results, i have came across with this site couple of months later after making my Ultimate fetrtilizer recipe, i was not aware of this site at all, it shows there is no need for too much Ca, Mg is more needed, ratio of Ca 1:Mg 4, intersting, but many people here would disagree with it, well maybe my fertilizer can help them understand better, even though the ratio isnt Ca1:Mg4, you are getting 0.18 Ca and 0.13 Mg in my recipe, those numbers are very low when using 100% RO water, 1tsp during water changes gives me Ca 2.27 and Mg 0.68, we have very low Calcium and Mg then how come plant still grew without any issue?

even though i have said to keep the Ca around 30 and Mg around 8, this was based on others recommendation, mine was 1tsp per 50g 100% RO water. also i have noticed every time i dose a lot of Ca i get GDA, i cannot confirm this 100% but i will test it further.

now lets see some comments from those who used my Ultimate fertilizer.
people reported having explosive growth of plants, many have 100s of plant Sp. and they all started to grew even better and faster than before, they also reported some Cons of using my fert, they claim they loose colors and plant look pale. i have found the solution to this and it was adding more Mg solved the color issue.

i also learned that extra K+ increase the uptake of nitrogen, this is also confirmed by the MCI, they don't recommend having more K+ because they said it will drop the NO3 levels and cause cynobacteria. some people reported when using my ultimate fertilizer they started to get staghorn algae and BBA alage, according to MCI you get BBA from Lack of Co2 and Ca and you get staghorn algae from imbalance between Ca: Mg where there is too much Mg. in my case i did not see any of these algae in my tank, currently i am testing if this is true or not.

i have tried the Ca 1:Mg 4 ratio and plant started to get better color for sure, still testing for algae though

New update:
yesterday after adding only 0.10ppm of Ca and 0.40ppm of Mg, today's results shows RODOPHYTAS SP. 3 algae forming on some of the plants, MCI says this is due to access of Mg and imbalance between Mg:ca ratio, interesting, but at a same time they suggest the 1:4 ratio, i will test this further

NO3 dosing was increased by 50% today, there was more dust algae on the glass, no GSA, keep in mind i clean the glass before the experiments.


have you guys ever notice GDA always starts from bottom of the glass or plants as it goes up covering the plants with algae, if it was caused by High light then we should see it on top of the glass and plants, not from bottom.

Latest Update

String Algae

this algae occur when too much Fe is added, it seems to mostly occur when using DTPA Fe, in my test i used DTPA 10% Fe, am not sure if other type of iron chelate could cause this algae.


More about GDA


after dosing a lot of Nitrate 30+ppm there was even more GDA, tip of the plants looked stunted while new side shoots appear around the stunted area, most plant looked colorless.
PO4 was dosed according to the EI.
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Last edited by happi; 04-05-2013 at 08:15 PM.. Reason: new update
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Old 03-22-2013, 04:51 AM   #2
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Default Re: MY Experiment on Algae

Of the top of my head I see a number issues, my friend, with the statement that algae is 'caused' by nutrient imbalance.

There are more variables in the equation that are not accounted for. Namely, variances in flow, lighting, TDS, organics, plant mixture, feeding, turbidity, o2, water composition, phase of the moon, etc etc.

By no means I am trying to discourage you from going on and I will be following this thread.

BUT, the basis of any scientific experiment is reproducibility with measurable results outside of the error margin. And that is pretty hard to achieve even in the lab environment.

Do please continue: without heretics like you we all would still be walking on the flat Earth

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Old 03-22-2013, 05:20 AM   #3
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hi OVT

all the water parameter kept the same using 100% RO/DI water, there is no need to measure whats in the water or inside the tank, only fert are measured with high accuracy, co2 lights etc are kept the same, each time change to the fert plant shows different results, so did the algae. all the equipments, water temp, flow etc are kept the same as well.

do you remember last time there was argument and disagreement with my Ultimate fertilizer? even gurus of TPT disagree and said it will cause algae etc, after proving them wrong they had nice excuses how the fert worked.
the same fert recipe was created under same condition when i was using EI, but with much better results, testing of water parameter isnt required when plants themselves speaks the results.
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Old 03-22-2013, 09:16 AM   #4
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Hey Happi,

One quick thing for now. Been a long day and I want to post tomorrow when rested.

Quote:
Originally Posted by happi View Post
someone wrote saying wait for the algae to cover the glass for 3 weeks and scrape it off and it should never return, in my case i waited for months and it will come back the same day or next day. GSA is a good example, you can clean the glass and couple of hours later it comes back again.
This description fits GDA perfectly, but not GSA. Typo?
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Old 03-22-2013, 12:22 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by DarkCobra View Post
Hey Happi,

One quick thing for now. Been a long day and I want to post tomorrow when rested.



This description fits GDA perfectly, but not GSA. Typo?
yes this was about GDA, GSA is very easy to control IME, but GDA can be pain in the a## to remove, according to MCI, GDA is caused by using 4:1 Ca:mg ratio along with high PO4, i have changed the ratio to Ca1:Mg4 and we will see if their theory is correct. everything is measured with Gram scale with calibration.


EDIT: sorry for confusion but i was talking about both algae, GDA and GSA can appear on glass, but i have seen GDA attacking mostly on plants, GSA appear on glass and hard to scrape off, while GDA is easily removed.

GSA Experiment

Day 1 KNO3 and PO4 added to water (no GSA)
Day 2 (No GSA)
Day 3 (KNO3 added but no PO4 added)
on Day 3 when i came home you can start to see GSA starting to appear on bottom of the glass.


this is indeed showed on the same day after skipping the PO4 dose. again sorry for any further confusion
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Old 03-22-2013, 04:14 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by happi View Post
yes this was about GDA,
Ok. You might want to edit your original post - GSA is mentioned several times when it should have been GDA, and that might confuse people right from the start in an experimental log.

So now let's have some real fun.

Quote:
Originally Posted by happi View Post
i also learned that extra K+ increase the uptake of nitrogen, this is also confirmed by the MCI, they don't recommend having more K+ because they said it will drop the NO3 levels and cause cynobacteria.
Yes it can. But do you also know why this occurs?

In the following example I will refer to a plant as if it could think. It doesn't have a brain of course, just a complex chemical regulatory system; but it's easier and more entertaining to describe things as if it were intelligent.

Suppose we have a tank where potassium is almost exactly what is actually required. And then we increase it. Even if the plant didn't need more, but especially if it did, these are happy times from the plant's point of view. It would rather have a bit too much around, than just enough, or too little.

But it also realizes that it's in an environment that can change. If a nutrient can increase suddenly, then it's also likely that a nutrient can decrease suddenly too. How best to cope with that?

A plant can't store potassium, so if it should decrease, there's no way it can prepare for that in advance.

What if another nutrient were to decrease, like nitrate? The plant can store that, quite a bit of it in fact. And it goes about doing so. So even if the nitrate were to drop, it can still continue to take advantage of nice potassium levels, for as long as they might be around, and as long as its nitrate stores permit. It's prepared itself for future lean times in the best way possible.

Here is where we might notice something is wrong. Perhaps BGA or some other algae has appeared. Test kits show nitrates have crashed. Was increasing potassium the wrong thing to do? The algae says it was, MCI says it was, so we hastily reverse the potassium increase. Algae goes away, everything returns to normal, and we swear off excess potassium in the future.

And this is exactly the wrong thing to do. We only stepped halfway through the door, then panicked and retreated before seeing what was on the other side.

Instead, we could have increased nitrate. The plants' capacity for nitrate storage is not infinite. In a week or two, they will fill up, and stop removing it at such a ridiculous rate. At which point we can stop dosing extra nitrate. The plants are happy because the extra potassium is still around, they're fat with plenty of stored nitrates, and not so worried about possible future lean times in general - so they go about putting these nutrients to good use, and growing big and healthy.

Perhaps more importantly, we no longer have to worry about dosing too much potassium. The plants are already full. Increase the potassium further, and the plants will still manage to squeeze a little more nitrate into storage, but there won't be another major nitrate crash. Only a dip, which quickly passes and is usually unnoticed.

With heavy dosing schemes like standard EI, there's so much extra nitrate and potassium around at all times, nitrate crashes are rare. It's only with leaner dosing that crashes become a common issue.

And when such a crash occurs, we may easily be fooled into blaming extra potassium. When in fact the real problem was our failure to anticipate and respond to the plants' needs, and dose the extra nitrate they want.

All nutrients are interrelated. Increasing dosage of one nutrient increases uptake of all others, and if any one of the others was originally only sufficient, then it will become deficient. Or if any one was originally only sufficient, then decreased into deficiency, then by reducing uptake, it may eliminate a deficiency in another nutrient. The nitrate/potassium relationship in particular is notorious only because a small change in potassium can cause a much larger change in nitrate.

Consequently, it's extremely difficult to isolate the effect of any one nutrient in any lean dosing scheme.

In such a situation, let's say I want to bump up a particular nutrient and see what happens. If there is ANY chance whatsoever this will cause increased uptake in any other nutrient to the point of deficiency, I will bump up ALL other nutrients by a lesser amount simultaneously, in an attempt to hopefully prevent this from happening.

And when doing algae tests, this is particularly important. Because deficiencies in the water column are actually a valid form of algae control. Oooo, yep, I went there.

Do you remember PMDD? It severely limited phosphorus, causing actual competition for it in the water column between plants and algae. Now in a fair fight, the algae will always win that competition. But plants can access nutrients in the substrate that algae cannot. So it worked often enough that it developed a following. It did not, however, work for everyone. I only said deficiency was a valid form of algae control, not a good one!

Mr. Rubilar of MCI fame has incredible skills, beautiful tanks, and has run extensive tests. But these tests were done with a lean dosing system which, due to all the reasons I've detailed above, would have put him at a severe disadvantage for understanding what's really going on with every change. So if you take a fragment of MCI and apply it to another dosing system in an attempt to improve it, it may not work at all. Or it may work, but not for the reason Mr. Rubilar claims, regardless of whether his reason is valid within the MCI system or not.

One more example. I'll keep this one brief:

Quote:
Originally Posted by happi View Post
Day 1 KNO3 and PO4 added to water (no GSA)
Day 2 (No GSA)
Day 3 (KNO3 added but no PO4 added)
on Day 3 when i came home you can start to see GSA starting to appear on bottom of the glass.
I've done this too, and seen the same result. But it was NOT a phosphate deficiency, at least not really.

I broke out well calibrated test kits. Phosphate was at 30ppm! Despite that, adding more phosphate got rid of some, but not all, of the GSA. The bigger issue was discovered with nitrates, which were at 120ppm! Fixing the nitrates completely fixed the algae, without any need for additional phosphate.

Proof of an optimal nitrate/phosphate ratio, like the Redfield? No. At those elevated levels, my N:P ratio was 4:1, and it wasn't working. But 20ppm nitrate and 5ppm phosphate is the same 4:1 ratio, and that works just fine. It's more complex than just levels and ratios.

And I'm going bold now, because this is the most important part; I want to make sure everyone sees this, even if they're skimming my post at this point.

None of this is meant as a direct critique of your experiments, or to say I don't believe your results. In fact, I don't really believe ANYONE unless I do exactly as you're doing, and test test test - which is GOOD! And I certainly don't want YOUR thread to turn into a debate about any of MY statements; I'm certain few will fully agree with everything I've said, so please folks, let's just leave it at that. The intent of all this is only a demonstration of just how complex and misleading the aquatic environment can be, in order to serve as inspiration and possible guidance for additional experiments. If I'm wrong on something, then that makes it an even better demonstration.

Last edited by DarkCobra; 03-22-2013 at 06:33 PM.. Reason: Fixed improperly edited quote
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Old 03-22-2013, 05:15 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by DarkCobra View Post
A plant can't store potassium, so if it should decrease, there's no way it can prepare for that in advance.
They do store it in the vacuoles, same for NO3, those are the 2 largest inorganic salts in a plant cell. Still, as you mention, it's finite.

Quote:
With heavy dosing schemes like standard EI, there's so much extra nitrate and potassium around at all times, nitrate crashes are rare. It's only with leaner dosing that crashes become a common issue.
True.

Measurement errors(often simply not measuring when it counts, being errant in your methods) miss the critical time and poor resolution or test methods(lower range N is harder to measure, standards are MOST often not used).

If you bob between N limitation and CO2 limitation, plants have to rework the enzymatic machinery, so you will see a large effect on growth, or if you bob between say PO4 and CO2 as the most limiting factor, you can often see BBA etc.

Still, there's no real control reference in most every experiment I've seen for algae or plants.

You must have a very healthy well run tank where nutrients are non limiting and independent, before you test CO2 or light dependency. There is no way around this.

Otherwise you have dependency issues. Once you have a well run tank, then and only then, can you measure and assess individual nutrients independent of CO2/light.

You must have the control to ensure that the other parameters are non limiting and the tank is stable. Without that step, you have no way of checking and making sure, there is no standard. This leaves your hypothesis open to being falsified easily.

Rather than proving what is, prove it is not.


Quote:
Consequently, it's extremely difficult to isolate the effect of any one nutrient in any lean dosing scheme.
Agreed.

This is why a standard non limiting approach is used, then the treatments focus on one or perhaps a pair with some acclimation period.

Quote:
Do you remember PMDD? It severely limited phosphorus, causing actual competition for it in the water column between plants and algae. Now in a fair fight, the algae will always win that competition. But plants can access nutrients in the substrate that algae cannot. So it worked often enough that it developed a following. It did not, however, work for everyone. I only said deficiency was a valid form of algae control, not a good one!
Limited PO4 more than it did CO2 at low light.
Paul and Kevin only had maye 20-40 umol of light, tops.
Plants are okay with PO4 limitation much more than variation in Carbon supply.

Quote:
Mr. Rubilar of MCI fame has incredible skills, beautiful tanks, and has run extensive tests. But these tests were done with a lean dosing system which, due to all the reasons I've detailed above, would have put him at a severe disadvantage for understanding what's really going on with every change. So if you take a fragment of MCI and apply it to another dosing system in an attempt to improve it, it may not work at all. Or it may work, but not for the reason Mr. Rubilar claims, regardless of whether his reason is valid within the MCI system or not.
His arguments (or results for that matter) do not support his claims. You can get far more results in effective management simply addressing a good CO2 tweak or light change. Seemed to be a very round about way of tweaking things that did not address the root issue. Sort of using PMDD methods, then adding the PO4 back again later. But unless the CO2 was addressed.....

Quote:
Proof of an optimal nitrate/phosphate ratio, like the Redfield? No. At those elevated levels, my N:P ratio was 4:1, and it wasn't working. But 20ppm nitrate and 5ppm phosphate is the same 4:1 ratio, and that works just fine. It's more complex than just levels and ratios.
Agreed again.

Quote:
None of this is meant as a direct critique of your experiments, or to say I don't believe your results. In fact, I don't really believe ANYONE unless I do exactly as you're doing, and test test test - which is GOOD! And I certainly don't want YOUR thread to turn into a debate about any of MY statements; I'm certain few will fully agree with everything I've said, so please folks, let's just leave it at that. The intent of all this is only a demonstration of just how complex and misleading the aquatic environment can be, in order to serve as inspiration and possible guidance for additional experiments. If I'm wrong on something, then that makes it an even better demonstration.
Agreed as well. Some people MUST do this for/prove it to themselves. I am one such person.
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Old 03-22-2013, 06:20 PM   #8
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Darkcobra there is a a lot of misunderstanding going on, sorry for any confusion, i have edited my post, you might have to edit yours as well, so people don't get confuse. i agree with your post about GDA, i have seen it get worse when more NO3 and PO4 were added, in my case mostly when too much PO4 was added.
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Old 03-22-2013, 06:32 PM   #9
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i do not believe in test kits and we have already learned that using them only lead toward errors. i am only doing an experiment based on what MCI have said, i haven't agreed with everything they have shown, i have only agreed with whatever i have seen in my tank based on MCI method.

simply tweaking the co2 and lights did not help, i have seen GDA only get worse in this case and plant looks like they weren't getting enough light, their leaves started to bend downward, while GDA keep on growing, i was also Doing EI on this setup, so we can rule out the fertilizer and any other plant deficiencies.
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Old 03-22-2013, 06:36 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by happi View Post
Darkcobra there is a a lot of misunderstanding going on, sorry for any confusion, i have edited my post, you might have to edit yours as well, so people don't get confuse.
Fixed. Just changed GDA to GSA in my post. I was actually getting a mix of both as well, same problem and solution, so no further edits needed.
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Old 03-22-2013, 07:15 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by happi View Post
i do not believe in test kits and we have already learned that using them only lead toward errors. i am only doing an experiment based on what MCI have said, i haven't agreed with everything they have shown, i have only agreed with whatever i have seen in my tank based on MCI method.

simply tweaking the co2 and lights did not help, i have seen GDA only get worse in this case and plant looks like they weren't getting enough light, their leaves started to bend downward, while GDA keep on growing, i was also Doing EI on this setup, so we can rule out the fertilizer and any other plant deficiencies.
this is noticeable in 70% of plant species in my 75 gallon rainbow tank
i have a lot of light, more than is neccessary for each species. plants retain their coloring 2 inches off the substrate. when co2 isn't right they bend away from the light. i see this as more of a stress response than not enough light.. when there is less light they "stretch" upwards it would appear to me as they are trying to gather as much as they can
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Old 03-22-2013, 08:05 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by HD Blazingwolf View Post
this is noticeable in 70% of plant species in my 75 gallon rainbow tank
i have a lot of light, more than is neccessary for each species. plants retain their coloring 2 inches off the substrate. when co2 isn't right they bend away from the light. i see this as more of a stress response than not enough light.. when there is less light they "stretch" upwards it would appear to me as they are trying to gather as much as they can
i have mainly noticed this on one of my sp. it is definitely light because this plant was normal looking when i was using more light and when i reduce the light half of the stem leaves would point straight downward and half of it looks normal from the upper part of the stem. i increased the light and leaves goes back to normal within 2 days, it goes downward again if i reduce the light. so it was not co2 related.
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Old 03-22-2013, 10:27 PM   #13
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new update with RODOPHYTAS SP. 3 algae and 50% more added NO3
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Old 04-05-2013, 08:16 PM   #14
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