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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have 3 WPG lighting and 25 ppm CO2 but i havent been adding ferts. I starting the high lighting and CO2 about 2 weeks ago and suddenly i have algae galore ! Is this because i need to add ferts or would that just make it worse ?

Thanks for any help !

I would say my tank is moderately planted.
 

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Children Boogie
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add your ferts yo...

the plants need them.. They're dying. The algae are beating the plants, wuppin' their butts in taking up resources like lights, co2 and whatever's in the water.

I would start over if i were you.. Clean out the algae.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks alot. That rex site is AWESOME. No BS and straight to the point.

So if i am understanding right the reason for the algae is because its using the CO2 and the light to grow because the under fertilized plants arent able to ?

Thanks guys.
 

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Children Boogie
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can you guys get to the rexgregg site?
I can't connect.
So if i am understanding right the reason for the algae is because its using the CO2 and the light to grow because the under fertilized plants arent able to ?
And yes, that' how i understand it.. the plants & algae are competing with each other... If the plants are doing poorly or there are extra nutrients the plants can't use, the algae will take over.

oh, and you need fast growing plants to keep the algae in check... A tank full of slow growing plants like anubias or java ferns with your lights & CO2 is waiting for algae to take over.
 

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No, plants and algae are not competing, if they were, the plants will do very well.................

Recall, he's not adding fertilizer.........:thumbsdow

How can they compete if there is not much of anything to compete for?

Hummm.......????

Algae can live on next to nothing and grow quite well, you cannot limit them without killing the plants and really beating them up good.

This is why we add ferts, if competition was the reason, we'd not add ferts and the algae should go away, but clearly that is not what is observed.

Plants will leach out nutrients if they are stressed greatly also and act as pipes from the substrate up and out as well.

Hobbyists do not have accurate and precise enough test kits.methods to measure limitations for algae. Even chem labs have a very rough time with most chemicals for that.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

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Children Boogie
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No, plants and algae are not competing, if they were, the plants will do very well.................

Recall, he's not adding fertilizer.........:thumbsdow

How can they compete if there is not much of anything to compete for?

Hummm.......????

Algae can live on next to nothing and grow quite well, you cannot limit them without killing the plants and really beating them up good.

This is why we add ferts, if competition was the reason, we'd not add ferts and the algae should go away, but clearly that is not what is observed.

Plants will leach out nutrients if they are stressed greatly also and act as pipes from the substrate up and out as well.

Hobbyists do not have accurate and precise enough test kits.methods to measure limitations for algae. Even chem labs have a very rough time with most chemicals for that.

Regards,
Tom Barr
So why would adding ferts and having healthy plants make the algae go away? or keep them at bay?
 

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Same reason Elephants live just fine with another herbivore, mice............

Why don't the mice "outcompete" the elephants?

Both are herbivores after all, both can eat and use the same plants.

Size is one reason............what is stopping other algae from dominating?
Why don't we have nothing but one species?

Ecological niches........

They are in radically different niches and have very different life histories and environmental cues.....

There can be some slight competition.....but it's nothing like folks suggest. I've been telling folks the plants have not been "out competing" for nutrients for many years now................

Light is the biggest thing if you have to pick one...


Regards,
Tom Barr
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Ok so if i start dosing the proper ferts asap then the plants will be healthier which makes them more able to utilize the CO2 and light i provide leaving less for the algae to use...no ? This should slow down the algae i assume ?

PS thanks for the insight tom and others !
 

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No, that isn't what Tom was saying. He said that plants will not out-compete algae for nutrients. Algae likes light and ferts as well, but from my experience, if you cut back on these factors you can limit growth of algae.
One thing I also wanted to mention is that you should back off on the lighting, at least at first. That's what got you into trouble. That and not dosing ferts. 3WPG isn't extremely high light - I would consider it more "moderate", but try to just have the lights on for 8-9 hrs at first. As the plants grow in more, you can gradually leave it on longer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I am getting some eco-complete in the next few days and am going to replace my gravel substrate. So i am basically going to start over anyways.

Upon restarting i will:

1) Dose ferts but start at the lower end of the recomended dosage spectrum until i can test my water to see what needs to be added. ( i dont think i need to add nitrogen as my nitrates seem to always be at around 15 ppm with my fairly dense fish population). Since i am new to this i am going to use the flourish ferts (potassium, phosphates, nitrogen, trace) for the first few months then switch to the bulk ferts once i get the hang of it to save some money.

2) Start off with lights on for a shorter period. 9 or 10 hours.

3) Add CO2 and try to keep it at close to 30 ppm.

4) Try having a mix of fast and slow growing plants in the tank. Any suggestions on the best reference for finding out which are fast and which are slow growing ?
 

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Children Boogie
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Same reason Elephants live just fine with another herbivore, mice............

Why don't the mice "outcompete" the elephants?

Both are herbivores after all, both can eat and use the same plants.

Size is one reason............what is stopping other algae from dominating?
Why don't we have nothing but one species?

Ecological niches........

They are in radically different niches and have very different life histories and environmental cues.....

There can be some slight competition.....but it's nothing like folks suggest. I've been telling folks the plants have not been "out competing" for nutrients for many years now................

Light is the biggest thing if you have to pick one...


Regards,
Tom Barr
I get what you're saying but your example isn't correct. Elephants & mice don't eat the same plants because they were genetically adapted to eat different things. I have a feeling that's the same goes for plants & algae.

And also, when you talk about 'algae', it's an inclusive term for many different species of photo synthetic organisms who were adapted for different niches in the environment. You have to address a specific algae. Some algae co-exist fine with plants and some will harm plants and some will help plants (symbiote).
 

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You asked a general question and I gave you a general answer, ask a specific question and I'll give you a specific question, I can come along and make issues with most any generalization............:cool:

I countered that with some general questions.

Now you have your own answer to your own question. You reasoned:Like the elephant and mice, and the various niches in the algae, you now have your answer.

So are they competing?
They have to be at the same scale, is a single or small colony of cells like a billion celled plant?

No.

Mice can eat the same things as elephants actually and do.

Which would require more food?
The mouse or elephant?
Which breeds faster sexually?
Do you think algae or plants(vegetative only for us) have more life cycles?

Are algae and/or plants adapated to stable environments?
Plants are generally......not algae generally...........but will persist if they have some variation. Plants also modify their environment more so than algae in FW systems.

As far as specific algae, we are talking about specifically our tanks, of which we only see about 10 species.

Bottom line is that aquatic plants have a higher demand and a higher concentration required for uptake than algae, all algae that bug us for that matter..........

This is well supported in both marine and FW systems.

Still think they are competing?


Regards,
Tom Barr
 

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Children Boogie
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let's switch the mice metaphor to locusts since they will eat whatever the elephants eat. And they're cooler metaphors.

The locust can out compete the elephants in number by the millions eventhough locusts are thousands of times smaller... The locust will eat everything and the elephants will die of starvation...

poor elephants.

With your example, you're saying that a significant amount of algae can co-exist in a healthy planted aquarium (since there's no competion)?
 

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With your example, you're saying that a significant amount of algae can co-exist in a healthy planted aquarium (since there's no competion)?
Yes and we do see that also.
Generally the Green algae do well, BBa can, Diatoms do, BGA as well, but at very low levels.

Algae spores as well as adults respond to nutrients change/environmental cues in aquatic systems much more than plants..........

Adding some NH4 vs NO3 makes little difference to plants, adding NO3 vs NH4 to algae really makes a large difference, especially when adding high light.
Influx of high NH4 means it's a good time to grow and bloom with a high chance that the alga will be able to complete it's life cycle till the "next season". For some folks, it's always next season because they do not address a stable place for the plants to grow well and consistent.

CO2 is preferred by both plants and algae but it can really help plants much more. The plants take about a week to adapt over to high CO2 or low CO2.

Neither plants nor algae are competing form CO2 when we add that...........
But do we hear hobbyists running around telling everyone that the plants are outcompeting the algae for CO2?

No, so why would it matter for the other nutrients?
It doesn't.

Going from high CO2 to low CO2 is very detrimental to plants, whereas algae are not DIC limited, plants are. Algae respond in a few hours or less to flux in CO2 levels. Algae have enzyme uptake kinetics that are far more favorable to a low range of water column parameters than plants.
Best plant growth is where there are stable water levels, rich nutrients, good CO2 and clear water.

If no new flux of NH4 or CO2 variation is present, the adult algae decline and slowly die off, adding some pruning, herbivores, manual removal, cleaning, adding more plants etc beats the adult algae down even further.

A management method I often refer to is using "many little hammers to beat the algae or weed down". Most aquarist want to use one big hammer.

I view algae in our tanks as weeds. The plants we keep are weeds in many cases.

So aquatic weed science is not a bad field to be in for control and management for lakes, streams, impacted systems etc.
 
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