I can't find the balance between healthy plant growth and algae and it is driving me crazy. - Page 3 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #31 of 94 (permalink) Old 07-22-2020, 01:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Jeff5614 View Post
I think most guidelines that ADA gives are specific to their way of running a tank. Not that you can't apply some of them to an inert gravel, full on EI tank, for example, but you have to know what you're doing with regards to a planted aquarium to a certain degree before you start mixing and matching methods.
Yep, I agree, I just find it interesting how torn the community (even professionals are on the P04 water column thing causing algae.) I think most here in the states run a hybrid system by using aquasoil and EI dosing the column. For me the only common denominator in all tanks is waste and the processing of it. If it's not processed quick enough the result is algae. Light is the proverbial gasoline on the fire.
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post #32 of 94 (permalink) Old 07-22-2020, 02:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Jeff5614 View Post
I think most guidelines that ADA gives are specific to their way of running a tank. Not that you can't apply some of them to an inert gravel, full on EI tank, for example, but you have to know what you're doing with regards to a planted aquarium to a certain degree before you start mixing and matching methods.
Yep, I agree, I just find it interesting how torn the community (even professionals are on the P04 water column thing causing algae.) I think most here in the states run a hybrid system by using aquasoil and EI dosing the column. For me the only common denominator in all tanks is waste and the processing of it. If it's not processed quick enough the result is algae. Light is the proverbial gasoline on the fire.
This combo of soil and EI is why I think walstad's book is so critical in understanding the ecology of a tank with soil. The chapters on nutrients and soil substrate was eye opening. She's obviously a bit biased against high tech but that doesn't take away from the science she shares.
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post #33 of 94 (permalink) Old 07-22-2020, 07:22 AM
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I like this idea of increasing phosphate. I haven't considered the possibility of the soil absorbing it and pulling it out of the water column. Are there any effects of N or K that should make me adjust my dosing, or should the 15:5:20 regimen suggested provide enough N and K? Excited to try this...
PO4 is the only one to get affected like this
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post #34 of 94 (permalink) Old 07-22-2020, 11:34 AM
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Only have the lights on for two hours per day at 100% to see if that will make any difference as well. Trying all of this at once to hopefully get on the right track then will have to figure out if I can go back to increasing my photoperiod.

By the way, per the manufacturers PAR data, should be about 135 par at the substrate, so pretty high light.
With 135 PAR at the substrate you are stepping on the gas hard. Means you better have everything else dialed in and a good amount of healthy plant mass or it's an invitation to algae.

I would dial that down until things get established.

IMO you would be far better off running the light at maybe 80-90 PAR for maybe six hours rather than two hours at full blast. I've not seen anyone document success at two hours of light. For your plants to be healthy and robust you need more.
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post #35 of 94 (permalink) Old 07-22-2020, 12:04 PM
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There's a lot of good advice here. From personal experience you definitely want to take your foot off the gas pedal (the lights). Cut it back significantly, not in terms of total hours but % of intensity. Start much lower, then work your way up by increasing the lights very slowly giving it lots of time and patience. Also, increase the plant mass significantly, adding fast growing stem plants which will soak up the extra nutrients. But plant densely, this is an old cardinal rule in the planted tank hobby.
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post #36 of 94 (permalink) Old 07-22-2020, 01:10 PM
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i've done a two hr peak in the middle of a 5 hr light period, but I've never done two TOTAL hours. Dimming is fine as long as there's enough intensity for whatever your trying to grow. Running dim light all day for a plant needing high intensity light will not work.
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post #37 of 94 (permalink) Old 07-22-2020, 02:28 PM
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I've successfully maintained healthy plants at a 3 hr photoperiod with ~110 PAR. I ran a 5-gal next to my 29-gal and used a Beamswork FSPEC on it. Tested it at 3, 4, 5 and 6 hours two weeks each, starting with 6 hours. The plants used were AR mini, Rotala Wallichii and DHG. Speed of growth varied, but overall health was comparable. This was with plentiful ambient light, which certainly is a factor.

I doubt that the OP is getting 135 PAR, uinless Current has dramatically increased their power but, usually with such product improvement, a company will create a new name for the product. My guess is that it is closer to 100 PAR, maybe less.

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post #38 of 94 (permalink) Old 07-22-2020, 05:57 PM
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Just restating that my go to for 100% algae removal is no light for 4-5 days, with big water changes each day.

I offered my other go to of 2 hours of light a be abuse it keeps the plants from degrading while also removing the alagw. For extreme cases I'd still go with the blackout though.

I have a current led pro light pushing about 70 par to the bottom at 100% measured with my par meter.

Where the plants may pause growth, the algae dies.
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post #39 of 94 (permalink) Old 07-22-2020, 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Ddrizzle View Post
Just restating that my go to for 100% algae removal is no light for 4-5 days, with big water changes each day.

I offered my other go to of 2 hours of light a be abuse it keeps the plants from degrading while also removing the alagw. For extreme cases I'd still go with the blackout though.

I have a current led pro light pushing about 70 par to the bottom at 100% measured with my par meter.

Where the plants may pause growth, the algae dies.
Algae needs more than 2 hours of light to grow well. This is the reason that is given for the "Siesta" concept, although I was never able to firmly convince myself that Siesta's work in my tank (my photoperiods, though, have always been longer than 2 hours). Is it possible that your blackout isn't the cure but, simply the lack of a longer photoperiod with 2 hours of light? Unfortunately, the test I mentioned, above, did not include algae (none ever developed). Of course, an absence of light will eventually eliminate all plant life, including algae. I've read, elsewhere, that 4-hours seems to be the point where algae starts to benefit and this, if true, would presumably also be affected by intensity.
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post #40 of 94 (permalink) Old 07-22-2020, 06:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Ddrizzle View Post
Just restating that my go to for 100% algae removal is no light for 4-5 days, with big water changes each day.

I offered my other go to of 2 hours of light a be abuse it keeps the plants from degrading while also removing the alagw. For extreme cases I'd still go with the blackout though.
If you have a bad enough algae problem that you need a blackout or two hour photo period, then something is really off. Better to find the root cause of the problem. If you have not changed anything, algae will be right back when the lights are back on.

Just saying that should be a method of last resort, and if you are at that point then you better be reassessing everything you are doing. If not you are just delaying the agony of going through it again.
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post #41 of 94 (permalink) Old 07-22-2020, 08:21 PM
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Just restating that my go to for 100% algae removal is no light for 4-5 days, with big water changes each day.

I offered my other go to of 2 hours of light a be abuse it keeps the plants from degrading while also removing the alagw. For extreme cases I'd still go with the blackout though.
If you have a bad enough algae problem that you need a blackout or two hour photo period, then something is really off. Better to find the root cause of the problem. If you have not changed anything, algae will be right back when the lights are back on.

Just saying that should be a method of last resort, and if you are at that point then you better be reassessing everything you are doing. If not you are just delaying the agony of going through it again.
Yes, I fixed it by cleaning the tank and letting plants grow. Last time, the tank was young, I didnt have enough plants and I had a bumch of thread algae. After the third day of the 2 hour rule, the threads dissapeared.

I don't know if I can state this in any other way (per my experience) at this point - 2 hour photo period has never damaged my plants. At worst, it will slow their growth which will pick back up later. In the meantime, algae dissapears.

It's not a last resort IMO. The last resort should be dosing with peroxide since you've failed to understand your tank's balance up until that point and just need to give yourself more time to figure it out before your tank is completely overtaken.
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post #42 of 94 (permalink) Old 07-22-2020, 09:51 PM
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I find it interesting that high PO4 in reef tanks will always cause an algae farm yet people say the opposite in planted tanks. I have two tanks going right now with 2 different fert methods and the amount of interaction required of both is night and day.

ADA way - no N or P dosing but lots of nutrients in soil with low water column dosing
The rest way - heavy water column dosing with weekly resets required via water change

Both are high PAR and in fact the ADA way has ~30% more PAR

The tank that's not ADA way is always in a fine line between algae and no algae and in order to stay in the right side of the line it requires more work. Basically miss a water change and I'm screwed.

And yes the ADA way can grow stem plants no problem as evident by the stem heavy tanks they've shown off recently. Even Filipe Oliveira has said recently that unless you are into planted tanks for a living the ADA way is considerably more manageable when it comes to long term upkeep for a normal person who just likes to have a tank in their house.

Needless to say I am now switching all my tanks to the ADA way since I like having multiple tanks and keeping my sanity along with them. Started the PO4 stripping on that one with GFO as for some reason stripping that out of the tank has been a pain unlike nitrate which has just been huge water changes.
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post #43 of 94 (permalink) Old 07-22-2020, 09:54 PM
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I think the eventual problem with the ADA way is that the nutrients eventually run out. I do agree it's ridiculously easy though. The first 3-6 months of a tank on soil has crazy growth and its hard to get wrong except right in the beginning with light balance imo.

Enter column dosing, or hard mode.
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post #44 of 94 (permalink) Old 07-22-2020, 10:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Ddrizzle View Post
I think the eventual problem with the ADA way is that the nutrients eventually run out. I do agree it's ridiculously easy though. The first 3-6 months of a tank on soil has crazy growth and its hard to get wrong except right in the beginning with light balance imo.

Enter column dosing, or hard mode.
I think the whole running out of nutrients with the ADA way is overplayed as well. I mean ADA has you pack the crap out of the soil with nutrients from the get-go. There's no way that stuff is going to run out that quick and you are a recharge away with some tweezers and fert sticks anyway.

I've been watching the masterclass videos by Fukada, Sim, Chow, etc. and I found it interesting that they all seem to use the ADA way. Granted they all keep their scapes for about a year to year and half because of the competition aspect but I think most people do that anyway as well.
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post #45 of 94 (permalink) Old 07-22-2020, 10:23 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Greggz View Post
With 135 PAR at the substrate you are stepping on the gas hard. Means you better have everything else dialed in and a good amount of healthy plant mass or it's an invitation to algae.

I would dial that down until things get established.

IMO you would be far better off running the light at maybe 80-90 PAR for maybe six hours rather than two hours at full blast. I've not seen anyone document success at two hours of light. For your plants to be healthy and robust you need more.

I see, I will try to figure out what setting gives my lights 80-90 PAR


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Originally Posted by Deanna View Post
I doubt that the OP is getting 135 PAR, uinless Current has dramatically increased their power but, usually with such product improvement, a company will create a new name for the product. My guess is that it is closer to 100 PAR, maybe less

My light is 8" from the substrate, and this is from Current USA's website. Are you saying this is inaccurate?


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Originally Posted by Ddrizzle View Post
I have a current led pro light pushing about 70 par to the bottom at 100% measured with my par meter.

What is your distance to the substrate? Is it about 18 inches? If so, that chart looks pretty accurate, if shallower, would be interested to know so I can know whether to adjust my lights. Thanks!
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