Not seeing value in "megadosing" nutrients - Page 4 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #46 of 91 (permalink) Old 10-21-2020, 01:18 AM
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Originally Posted by gjcarew View Post
Dang @Asteroid, 100 ppm NO3? Not worried about nitrate poisoning?
Never lost a tetra in this tank in over a year and the shrimp breed like crazy later. I believe there is a big difference between dosed no3 and no3 as a result of organic decomposition. One comes with baggage the other doesn't

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Originally Posted by cl3537 View Post
Algae grows much like plants it grows faster with more nutrients than without and that can be proven.
Define nutrients? I'm not sure if the no3 feeds established algae, but very confident it doesn't feed algae spore development. see below for excess "nutrients"

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Dang @Asteroid, 100 ppm NO3? Not worried about nitrate poisoning?
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post #47 of 91 (permalink) Old 10-21-2020, 01:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Asteroid View Post
Not sure about dosed ferts though causing algae. Why would a simple little organism care if there is 3 ppm of no3 or 30? If its in the water why wouldn't it be utilized by the algae. Most dosed tanks don't run dry of no3, so it's not like the no3 runs out and the algae doesn't have nutrients available. Remember algae grows in tanks with no plants and no dosing. So the common dominator with planted tanks and dosing is organics.
Good points.

I've seen folks try the theory that starving algae will kill it. You can't starve algae. Most times what happens is that the plants become starving and weak, and then they are a magnet for MORE algae.

That's my point that I have seen more algae from too little dosing than too much. Folks are amazed that they INCREASE dosing and algae goes away. As you know, it all has to do with happy healthy plants.

Anyway, all good discussion and food for thought.


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post #48 of 91 (permalink) Old 10-21-2020, 01:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Greggz View Post
Good points.

I've seen folks try the theory that starving algae will kill it. You can't starve algae. Most times what happens is that the plants become starving and weak, and then they are a magnet for MORE algae.

That's my point that I have seen more algae from too little dosing than too much. Folks are amazed that they INCREASE dosing and algae goes away. As you know, it all has to do with happy healthy plants.

Anyway, all good discussion and food for thought.
I agree, remove the easy, fast growing plants from a Walstad tank and see what happens in the high-organic loaded setup. The Walstad method as you know is no dosing and relys on a mass of fast growing plants to keep algae away.
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post #49 of 91 (permalink) Old 10-21-2020, 03:09 AM
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Years ago, I was trying to sort out this algae development pathway, but for my tanks that were not plant-centric (tanks werenít even sophisticated enough to be considered low-tech). I found several threads on UKAPS that cited quite a bit of research about the issue. Unfortunately, I didnít copy these links, so I can only state the beliefs I developed from these articles and posts.

Algae spores are triggered by ammonia. So, in a sense, we can say that organics start the process and things that cause the organics, e.g.; overfeeding, cleanliness, husbandry, etc., can be controlled Ösomewhat. The unfortunate aspect is that the spores only need an almost imperceptible amount of ammonia to get going and this is impossible to eliminate.

Once algae is Ďborní, it feeds primarily upon NO3 and PO4. This is where I was successful in preventing/killing it in a high light tank: I starved it for PO4 with aggressive chemical media filtering and addressed minimizing spore development with cleanliness, w/cís and Purigen. Of course, this is impossible when one of the goals is to have healthy plants.
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post #50 of 91 (permalink) Old 10-21-2020, 03:24 AM
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Itís so great to finely know what causes algae. We were told silicates caused algae, then heating cables were next, not having a grounding wire, not dosing vitamins, never enough CO2, not having under gravel filtration, PO4 in the water column, some light spectrum, not having CO2 mist, having NH4 and on and onÖ

Now we know itís organics, the evil organics.
Purigen removes organics. So, letís stuff our canister filters with Seachem Purigen like a turkey and call it a day!

( Ö any volunteers?)


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post #51 of 91 (permalink) Old 10-21-2020, 04:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Deanna View Post
Years ago, I was trying to sort out this algae development pathway, but for my tanks that were not plant-centric (tanks werenít even sophisticated enough to be considered low-tech). I found several threads on UKAPS that cited quite a bit of research about the issue. Unfortunately, I didnít copy these links, so I can only state the beliefs I developed from these articles and posts.

Algae spores are triggered by ammonia. So, in a sense, we can say that organics start the process and things that cause the organics, e.g.; overfeeding, cleanliness, husbandry, etc., can be controlled Ösomewhat. The unfortunate aspect is that the spores only need an almost imperceptible amount of ammonia to get going and this is impossible to eliminate.

Once algae is Ďborní, it feeds primarily upon NO3 and PO4. This is where I was successful in preventing/killing it in a high light tank: I starved it for PO4 with aggressive chemical media filtering and addressed minimizing spore development with cleanliness, w/cís and Purigen. Of course, this is impossible when one of the goals is to have healthy plants.
Thank-you of course you are correct and the real world has known this for years.

https://www.epa.gov/nutrientpollution/issue

A dozen colleges or more teach undergrad microbiology courses on how Nitrates and Phosphates cause algal blooms you can even watch it grow under a microscope.


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post #52 of 91 (permalink) Old 10-21-2020, 04:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Edward View Post
Itís so great to finely know what causes algae. We were told silicates caused algae, then heating cables were next, not having a grounding wire, not dosing vitamins, never enough CO2, not having under gravel filtration, PO4 in the water column, some light spectrum, not having CO2 mist, having NH4 and on and onÖ

Now we know itís organics, the evil organics.
Purigen removes organics. So, letís stuff our canister filters with Seachem Purigen like a turkey and call it a day!

( Ö any volunteers?)
LOL, gonna stick with my 75% water changes for awhile...
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post #53 of 91 (permalink) Old 10-21-2020, 05:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Edward View Post
It’s so great to finely know what causes algae. We were told silicates caused algae, then heating cables were next, not having a grounding wire, not dosing vitamins, never enough CO2, not having under gravel filtration, PO4 in the water column, some light spectrum, not having CO2 mist, having NH4 and on and on…

Now we know it’s organics, the evil organics.
Purigen removes organics. So, let’s stuff our canister filters with Seachem Purigen like a turkey and call it a day!

( … any volunteers?)
No need to volunteer ...I've already done it. Problem is that you can't do enough of it. You can only inhibit it, sometimes temporarily eradicate it, but never eliminate it. It's always ready to take advantage of some weakness in the system. I have found some mercenaries that fight for the cause and they work cheap: Ramshorns - the biofilm thing. Removing PO4 works very well, but only in a non-planted tank. I've also set up cereal bowls with RODI water and added NO3 and PO4, plus other nutrients, set it in the sun for weeks and ...no algae. Repeated it, then, when no algae developed, added a little ammonia and POP: algae aplenty. Try it. It also showed me that algae spores are everywhere. WARNING: these are not scientific studies.
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post #54 of 91 (permalink) Old 10-21-2020, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Deanna View Post
No need to volunteer ...I've already done it. Problem is that you can't do enough of it. You can only inhibit it, sometimes temporarily eradicate it, but never eliminate it. It's always ready to take advantage of some weakness in the system. I have found some mercenaries that fight for the cause and they work cheap: Ramshorns - the biofilm thing. Removing PO4 works very well, but only in a non-planted tank. I've also set up cereal bowls with RODI water and added NO3 and PO4, plus other nutrients, set it in the sun for weeks and ...no algae. Repeated it, then, when no algae developed, added a little ammonia and POP: algae aplenty. Try it. It also showed me that algae spores are everywhere. WARNING: these are not scientific studies.
Interesting! An experiment I may try although I may have to use a strong grow light vs the sun as it is getting closer to winter in the Midwest :-)
Experiment aside, your comment does open a new avenue to explore for my situation that I had not considered...
In my 75g tank I have a lot of fish - lets say too many. This likely should lead to an increase in an increased amount of organic waste. The solids I think I have a good handle on. Ammonia waste... now this could be an issue.
I have a Fluval FX4 filter and the inner bottom tray is full of Eheim Substrat Pro. Between the hungry plants in the tank and the Substrat Pro I "should" have enough bio filter to handle plenty of fish.
But....
The Substrat Pro is the same bio media that I have had for several years - I have never changed it out as recommended by the manufacturer.


Hmmm, could my lack of bio media maintenance lead to a "little" increase in water column ammonia which in turn contributes to the excessive amount of algae in my tank?

And possibly why adjusting my macros, light level, co2, etc. only makes minimal differences in the level of algae?

Hmmmm
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post #55 of 91 (permalink) Old 10-21-2020, 03:11 PM
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It was late, so I didn't elaborate (note my redundant "temporarily eradicate it, but never eliminate it"). The test that I conducted only caused the development of GDA. However, I never expected red algae, GSA or green water because of the setup: a bowl of stagnant water. I believe that algae spores can also be fed by ammonia development in troubled leaves and/or biofilm.

My other point was that I don't think that you can reduce NH3/NH3 creation enough, no matter what you do, to completely stop algae formation. If you can minimize the TAN (UVS can help sterilize spores) it supposedly then reduces the amount algae development making it easier for stable, healthy, plants to suppress it. Spore germination is a separate topic from what feeds algae after it becomes algae. I do know that, at least, starving it for PO4 does work (at least, in minimizing it), having done this many years in a non-planted tank, as I mentioned, but that will kill our plants. I also did not have any GSA at the time.

I did find what I think is one of the threads I mentioned. There were more, but this summarizes much of what formed my thinking on it. Read through the entire thread - lots of interesting comments. I believe we know that the urea issue is due to it being taken in by plants as urea and converted to ammonia within the plant. Here is the link:

https://www.ukaps.org/forum/threads/...se-algae.3217/
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post #56 of 91 (permalink) Old 10-21-2020, 05:47 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by cl3537 View Post
Ppm(parts per million) refers to weight as a percentage of total weight of water and there is no other definition. Since water has a density 1g/ml weight as a function of volume of water are approximately equal and also give you ppm.
We all agree the standard scientific definition of Parts per Million (PPM). However in the hobby it is used for two refer to different quantities and often conflated in a way in which you can't tell which the poster means. It can mean "Total Parts per Million dosed per week" or "Parts per Million in the water column at a given moment" (this is the scientific definition). In both cases, people in the hobby will call it "PPM"

It's conflated in many examples, a poster will say "make sure to keep phosphates above X ppm to prevent/reduce Y algae ..." What does that mean? Make sure you dose at least X ppm each week? Make sure that whatever quantity you are dosing each week, that it doesn't fall below X ppm in minimum concentration?

I understand that people run with large surplus of nutrients in the water column. My question is why? Like the tank with 50/100ppm of nitrates in this thread. Why is that better than 1ppm, 5ppm, or 10ppm? I'll get it that some people have tested it themselves, for example they tried 1ppm minimum concentration of something and noticed better growth/health of their mix of plants at 5ppm concentration or whatever. It's just surprising that for something that seems like an important parameter, it's not noted so much in literature -- e.g. this genus of plants prefer high concentrations of nutrients versus this other genus that prefers low concentrations...

I think my tank falls under densely planted at this point and I am finding the opposite, very strong growth with exceptionally lean dosing and low concentrations. My API nitrate test an hour or so before lights on comes out pure yellow (0ppm, even with a fully stocked fish load). There is not a hint of orange in it. My phosphates at this point are usually around ~.2-.25ppm. I'm still experimenting with daily dose ranges of 1-1.5ppm of N (it's seachem so it's a combo of nitrate and urea) and ~.3-.6ppm of PO4. My main problem is mild GSA though a tough one that is hard to scrape off and is on some leaves. It seems to accumulate later in the day. I am assuming this means I am running out of some nutrient that is then creating ideal conditions for GSA. Plant growth continues to be ridiculously strong. I trimmed a large amount this past weekend and just days later, it is already overgrowing to where I need to trim again this weekend. I do have some extreme reds going on which I wonder is a result of nitrate deficiency (I understand this can cause reddening in some plants).

If anyone knows of literature about minimum concentrations of nutrients and how the concentration may affect plant uptake, I would love to read it, please post!
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post #57 of 91 (permalink) Old 10-21-2020, 05:59 PM Thread Starter
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No need to volunteer ...I've already done it. Problem is that you can't do enough of it. You can only inhibit it, sometimes temporarily eradicate it, but never eliminate it. It's always ready to take advantage of some weakness in the system. I have found some mercenaries that fight for the cause and they work cheap: Ramshorns - the biofilm thing. Removing PO4 works very well, but only in a non-planted tank. I've also set up cereal bowls with RODI water and added NO3 and PO4, plus other nutrients, set it in the sun for weeks and ...no algae. Repeated it, then, when no algae developed, added a little ammonia and POP: algae aplenty. Try it. It also showed me that algae spores are everywhere. WARNING: these are not scientific studies.
I was just reading an article that claims algae spores develop in ammonia, and once the algae is establish as an adult organism (what we see in the tank), it then consumes nitrates, phosphates, et al. Algae is a vast number of organisms so probably not too many generalizations hold. But that seems to confirm your test, that a spike in ammonia will trigger algae to start up (it must activate the already present spores). It does fit observations of some folks that have high nitrates for example and no algae while others have the nitrates fuel a algae bloom. The ones with the bloom probably already had ammonia activated algae in their tank which then takes advantage of the excess nutrients in the column. People with high concentrations and no algae have clean tanks with no ammonia or ammonia vectors and thus no activated spores. For sure they have spores in the tank! They are just not activated due to the cleanliness and lack of ammonia.

It could be imagination but I feel like I see a slight increase in algae the day after plant trimmings. I'm pretty OCD about waving the net around to get all cut pieces and picking them out with the forceps, but some get left and the part of the plants that gets cut may "micro rot" a tiny bit creating ammonia.
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post #58 of 91 (permalink) Old 10-21-2020, 06:20 PM
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I did find what I think is one of the threads I mentioned. There were more, but this summarizes much of what formed my thinking on it. Read through the entire thread - lots of interesting comments. Here is the link:

https://www.ukaps.org/forum/threads/...se-algae.3217/
Post #4

ďSpores do not feed on fertilizers such as PO4 or NO3, therefore PO4 and NO3 cannot possibly trigger a bloom, no matter what the level, however, the butterfly form - the flagellate - does feed on fertilizers and will immediately begin to take advantage of any nutrient source in the water column or on leaves once it changes from spore to flagellate.Ē

It is no secret that algae moved from infested aquarium to algae-free planted aquarium die despite having nutrients, light and CO2.
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post #59 of 91 (permalink) Old 10-21-2020, 07:15 PM
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It is no secret that algae moved from infested aquarium to algae-free planted aquarium die despite having nutrients, light and CO2.
What do you think we should attribute that to?

Healthy plants? Something else?
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post #60 of 91 (permalink) Old 10-21-2020, 08:32 PM
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It does fit observations of some folks that have high nitrates for example and no algae while others have the nitrates fuel a algae bloom. The ones with the bloom probably already had ammonia activated algae in their tank which then takes advantage of the excess nutrients in the column. People with high concentrations and no algae have clean tanks with no ammonia or ammonia vectors and thus no activated spores. For sure they have spores in the tank! They are just not activated due to the cleanliness and lack of ammonia.
I think that is the right track but, again, EVERYBODY has ammonia. It’s a matter of minimizing it to dampen spore germination and then, AFTER germination, inhibiting algae with a stable, well-balanced system.

I cannot say that I know any of this to be fact. Like so much of this hobby, it comes down to beliefs based upon x, y and z. I do know that when I started adding in the intentional effort to view everything I do in the tank through several lenses, such as my personal rule: “do things that will minimize ammonia production”, algae retreated and plants remained healthy. Another rule is: “do things that won’t destabilize the system.” Algae spore issues may or may not be linked to ammonia, but that first rule sure set something in motion that algae was not happy about, and the second rule probably keeps it in check, along with other good things.

I also assume that algae spores are constantly present in our tanks. However, I wouldn’t mind looking at some studies that support this …if anyone can provide links.

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It is no secret that algae moved from infested aquarium to algae-free planted aquarium die despite having nutrients, light and CO2.
I think we’re all in agreement on this …right?
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