Biofilm Impact Upon Algae & Plant Health - Page 4 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #46 of 54 (permalink) Old 12-23-2019, 11:43 PM Thread Starter
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Quick update: as mentioned, above, I decided to try testing a UV-C bath to preclude biofilm development (used this: amazon.com/gp/product/B07RDK29VS/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1).

However, I had eight, 1-minute, lights-on events scheduled on the timer, but accidentally missed a PM setting, which resulted in a 2-hour UV-C bath one day. This single 2-hour bath did destroy the biofilm on the plants and glass surface (I could see it was gone by the haze comparison to adjacent sections) within a roughly 5" radius, as well as the algae on the lower bacopa leaves. I say this because it also completely melted all the plants as well, within this radius, so nothing was left standing. It was like using a phaser, but took 3-4 days to notice. Not to worry, some of the tops survived for re-planting.

Well, the test will continue, but with the one-minute events, once the bacopa is re-established. At least I know the UV-C is potent. Fish are fine.
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post #47 of 54 (permalink) Old 12-24-2019, 12:12 AM
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Oh wow - that is a pretty serious result! Good to hear you still have some health parts of the various plants.
Will continue to follow your results...


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post #48 of 54 (permalink) Old 12-24-2019, 01:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Deanna View Post
At least I know the UV-C is potent. Fish are fine.
What on earth would make you think a UVC germicidal lamp was not potent?
BTW sorry you melted all of your plants.
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Growing is not that difficult.
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post #49 of 54 (permalink) Old 12-24-2019, 02:42 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Maryland Guppy View Post
What on earth would make you think a UVC germicidal lamp was not potent?
BTW sorry you melted all of your plants.
I knew it was potent (a relative term), but only against pathogens. It just surprised me how it vaporized the plants so completely. It is, of course, ideally positioned to destroy bacteria, which is why I am interested in the first place.
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post #50 of 54 (permalink) Old 12-24-2019, 02:18 PM
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Lots of learning likely to follow - subscribed!
FWIW, I have a rather large amount of Eheim Substrat Pro, and Eheim BioMech in my AquaTop CF500 canister filter, along with a "heavy fish load" - basically the opposite of your setup.
Will be interesting to see where this thread goes :-)

Did not realize how "to the point" this statement was. Note, UV-C can melt your plants!

Sorry, just made me laugh when I looked back to the beginning of this thread


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post #51 of 54 (permalink) Old 12-24-2019, 03:14 PM
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Some thoughts from Live Science

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However, too much exposure to UV radiation is damaging to living tissue.
Plants are living tissue.

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UVA, or near UV (315400 nm)
UVB, or middle UV (280315 nm)
UVC, or far UV (180280 nm)
Quote:
UV photons can cause ionization, a process in which electrons break away from atoms. The resulting vacancy affects the chemical properties of the atoms and causes them to form or break chemical bonds that they otherwise would not. This can be useful for chemical processing, or it can be damaging to materials and living tissues.
Quote:
Most of the natural UV light people encounter comes from the sun. However, only about 10 percent of sunlight is UV, and only about one-third of this penetrates the atmosphere to reach the ground
So I would reckon the plants we grow would never be exposed to UVC in real life.

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Sometimes the cells with DNA mutated by the sun's rays turn into problem cells that don't die but keep proliferating as cancers.
Maybe we can grow plant mutations in our tanks!


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post #52 of 54 (permalink) Old 08-09-2020, 04:49 PM Thread Starter
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Being the OP, I am making a final update to this old thread (experiment is now ended), as promised. Much more happened, as a result of the two-hour accidental UV-C exposure than initially noticed in post #46.

NOTE: I recommend against using these type of unprotected UV-C lamps in our tanks! They are dangerous.

The UV sterilizers that we use in out tanks are generally UV-C, but they are encased for protection of our animal and plant inhabitants - and us. Well, there are also aquarium UV-C sterilizers for sale that have no protection and this is what I used. The intent, if you read through the posts, was to destroy the periphyton without killing anything else. I suspected that, with the right amount of exposure, this can be done. However, my timer failed during this experiment and I discovered that the UV-C had been on for about two hours (I had intended several exposures of 1 minute each). The result was a Chernobyl-type event. All plants within ~one foot radius of the light gradually died down to about an inch above the substrate. Recovery was extremely slow (DNA damage?), taking about two months just to reach a height of several inches and fullness did not return for about three months. They are fully recovered now.

All sensitive fish, such as neons were wiped out (as well as all the CS and Amano’s). On a Kissing Gourami, I could see blistering on it’s body, like a bad sunburn, and it wallowed on the substrate for a week before gradually recovering - a similar pattern with the other survivors.

Initially, my interest was in seeing if I could reduce GSA and some BBA that formed on lower, older, leaves and, occasionally on some apparatus in high flow areas (as BBA is accustomed to doing). PO4 dosing at high levels (5-10) didn’t help the nagging GSA. Note that all algae was very subdued, it was just here and there and very controllable, but I was striving for zero observable algae. Of course, I killed all life with this UV-C, including algae. Following the disaster, and thanks to @Edward’s recommendation, I added some ramshorns. Without any other changes to my setup and water parameters, no algae ever returned. I don’t believe that the ramshorns eat GSA or BBA, but I am convinced (see below) that, at least ramshorns, are capable of either preventing biofilm development or those biofilm aspects that support algae.

I didn’t give up on the UV-C experiment, though. I set up a 2.5-gal tank I use for QT and recreated the environment of my display tank sufficiently to grow healthy plants and GSA and BBA (as well as other algae varieties). In this case, I do have biomedia in my filter, unlike the display tank. I then placed the UV-C fixture into this tank and ran it for 2 minutes every 4 hours. It did kill the algae and the algae did not return. However, the interesting thing was that it was like moss on the north side of a tree in the northern hemisphere: where the UV-C hit the surface of things, there was no algae. About two months ago, I removed the UV-C and added a lot of ramshorns. The algae did not return to the area burned away by the UV-C and only now is the algae on the dark side gone.

One experiment probably tells us nothing but, to my way of thinking, the coincidences of what the snails seem to be doing in both tanks is enough for me to suggest that this is a good superstition: add snails, at least ramshorns, and biofilm will be controlled/eliminated and this does affect algae.
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post #53 of 54 (permalink) Old 08-09-2020, 05:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deanna View Post
The result was a Chernobyl-type event.
Thank you for the update.
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post #54 of 54 (permalink) Old 08-09-2020, 06:30 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the update.
Good to see you're still here.
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