Originally Posted by TeeItUp
Then the out for the real knowledgeable folks is simply “just look and see what your plant needs”. Yea right. I believe they will be even more confused now.
This is still the best way to do it. As for CSM+B, these are traces so you dont have to sweat it, no plant has their dials set to receive 20.045ppm of potassium or they'll hang up their boots, thats not how it works in nature. They do fine in a range, they will even do fine with very low levels for a while, then they will let you know they are not doing well, you can wait for that to happen and then dose or you can simply figure out their daily consumption of macros and dose accordingly. It can be done in a few easy steps, figure out the macro levels in your tank, dose to a target range, then test again 24hours later, you will know how much they are consuming/day, then dose to replenish that amount. Tom Barr says that he has high levels of macros BUT no algae, that reveals a very important point. Algae have evolved for millions of years, they have survived and are ubiquitous. At high levels of macros, both plants and algae do well, both are equipped to make use of the nutrients, however, algae populations are kept in check by what I think to be competition among algae themselves. At low levels of nutrients, algae populations are replaced by those that can survive and have evolved to adapt to the situation. Most plants on the other hand will go downhill, so you begin to notice not only dying plants but also elevated levels of algae.
You cannot win against algae, they will always be present (unless you go to great levels of physically destroying every single spore and trace of algae in your tank, the water you use for topping off or for water changes and sterlizing the very air that flows above your tank), you can try and control their numbers by balancing the tank, and while you are at it might as well try to grow your plants so they are healthy, that way they will draw your attention not mounds of algae. With weekly water changes, you not only reset your tank but you also scrub/pickout/remove visible traces of algae, it all works to controll algae but not eradicate it, you cant eradicate algae. A lot of it is still fuzzy but who really understands nature?