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A Fresh Look At Preventing Algae?

Siege

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I have super hard Anglian water and dosed my EA Aquascaper 900 with its usual daily 25ml of TNC Complete.

wednesday was water Change day so dosed with ADA Green Gain and ECA also.

Should be tonnes of BGA on the chart (I haven’t looked at the chart much!) but none. Only minimal BBA on a windelov fern caused by me playing with my eheim skim to test flow over the last few days.
This has had a knock on effect of co2 distribution (I believe! ).

Photo by Aquarium Gardens in Aquarium Gardens. Image may contain: plant, outdoor and water



I think a large plant mass, clean filter and near on 100% water change, removing waste at the same time makes the massive difference.

These and good oxygen levels in balance with light are the most important for BGA. I didn’t read a theory I just maintained lots of tanks.

The chart is interesting if you are into science and testing and establishing theories, another interesting side to the hobby.

However I believe most hobbyist will learn and enjoy more by ignoring the charts and theories, look at the plants and crack on! 👍😃
 
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jaypeecee

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Hi @Siege
Should be tonnes of BGA on the chart (I haven’t looked at the chart much!) but none.

In order for you to draw the above conclusion, you must have measured the nitrate and phosphate in the water column? I don't think you can go by what you're dosing because, at any moment in time, some of what you have dosed will have been taken up by the plants, won't it? The daily/hourly variation in nutrient levels will obviously depend on the frequency of dosing.

JPC
 

Siege

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very true.

My tap nitrate is through the roof as is phosphates, that plus what I add in plant food. They must be very hungry plants!

I used to test but just can’t be bothered with the testing millarky. A decent test kit will buy a lot of plants that’ll serve me better!

Now it’s look at the plants, week on week, Chuck the ferts in (modify if need be) and happy days! 😂
 

jaypeecee

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Hi @Siege
However I believe most hobbyist will learn and enjoy more by ignoring the charts and theories, look at the plants and crack on!

What spurred me on to start this thread was the huge problems newcomers have to our hobby. They don't have the experience that you, for example, will have accumulated over the years. Any guidance for people starting out in aquatics has got to be a good thing. If that means doing a few simple tests, isn't that time well spent? And understanding some of the science behind water chemistry can be a major advantage. Every person will decide for themselves when they've had their fill of science and just want to sit back and admire their fish and plants. But, not if the tank's covered in BGA or some other unwelcome guest.

JPC
 

Siege

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Yes, test for ammonia and nitrite to ensure the tank is safe for fish, but here is a typical thread recently -

OP -

I have algae.
My tank is at 26-28 degrees.
lighting is on 10 hours a day.
I change maybe 50% water a week on a brand new tank.
My co2 comes on 10 minutes before the lights.
I have 1 and a half plants.

Next post -

Thats a shame, have you tested for XYZ?


OP tested for everything under the sun, gave up and bought plastic plants. Is not happy with their planted tank experience and is never seen on the ukaps forum again.


Don’t get me wrong testing is interesting and can be part of the the hobby but it is not the be all and end all. Often the OP will end up down a rabbit warren of testing and chasing water parameters when the answer was much easier and to solve to begin with.
 

jaypeecee

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Hi @Siege
Don’t get me wrong testing is interesting and can be part of the the hobby but it is not the be all and end all. Often the OP will end up down a rabbit warren of testing and chasing water parameters when the answer was much easier and to solve to begin with.

I am not in favour of indiscriminate testing. It has to be based on sound reasoning. And that's where a basic understanding of aquarium science comes in very handy.

I think we've gone as far as we can for now. Have a nice evening!

JPC
 

Witcher

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What spurred me on to start this thread was the huge problems newcomers have to our hobby.
I'm afraid that especially for newcomers sticking to the certain ratio between for example NO3 and PO4 will be highly misleading because of far more variables taking part in healthy plant growth. Not to mention that "widely acclaimed" NO3/PO4 ratios make people scared of Phosphates. Vast majority of plant keepers I know think that high Phosphates may cause algae, which is not true - In NPK this is a second most important fert for plant growth.
the answer was much easier and to solve to begin with.
Let me guess: keeping high plant mass and most of the problems will resolve for themselves (assuming we are feeding our plants).
 

Siege

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Let me guess: keeping high plant mass and most of the problems will resolve for themselves (assuming we are feeding our plants).

That and adjusting everything else in my exaggerated example 😂

apologies to @jaypeecee for hijacking his thread. I agree testing has its place to solve an issue. I believe it should be the last resort not the 1st 😃

Believe it or not I am interested in the study that started the thread, Just donot believe that it is easily provable. There are just so many variables that’ll solve the issue easier than testing and altering ferts.
 

sparkyweasel

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I am not in favour of indiscriminate testing. It has to be based on sound reasoning. And that's where a basic understanding of aquarium science comes in very handy.
I think you've hit the nail on the head there, with indiscriminate testing. That's very different to what you are doing in trying to understand what's happening in your tank and investigating a particular issue.
I don't like newcomers getting told they must test once a week for pH, DH, KH, NO2, NO3, NH3, SiO4 PO4 and whatever else. That gets expensive and time-consuming; and, for many people, not very useful. :)
 

jaypeecee

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Hi Folks,

It's time to mention iron. And I'm now drawing on what Diana Walstad* has to say about this. Plants can obtain iron from both a suitable substrate and the water column. But, algae depend on availability of iron in the water column. Although this iron may be chelated or bound to DOC**, it can briefly be made available as a result of something called the 'photoreduction of iron'. The released ferrous iron can then be absorbed by algae. This effect is known as photoreduction, whereby UV, violet and blue light have the greatest effect.

Experiments have been carried out clearly demonstrating that wavelengths below 520nm released iron from its bond to DOC**. I find it interesting that a lot of aquarium lighting emits a high proportion of its output at the blue end of the spectrum. That's because a lot of the individual LED components naturally emit blue light but this is then 'converted' to white light by the use of phosphors inside the device itself. White LEDs are blue LEDs with the appropriate phosphor applied, be that 'cool white' or 'warm white', for example.

To be continued after a spot of (late) lunch...!

* Ecology of the Planted Aquarium

** DOC = Dissolved Organic Carbon

JPC
 

jaypeecee

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Hi Folks,

What I don't understand is that some wavelengths below 520nm are necessary for both plants and algae. So, it's not just a case of eliminating all light below 520nm. It would be interesting to adjust the intensity of light in the band from 400nm to 520nm to see if algae growth could be minimized/eliminated whilst not affecting plant growth. But what it would look like is not easy to imagine. A simpler approach might be to supply iron by root fertilization only but would that work? It should have an impact on algae growth - shouldn't it? But what about epiphytes?

JPC
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
Plants can obtain iron from both a suitable substrate and the water column. But, algae depend on availability of iron in the water column.
They do, have a look at , <"From Reef to...">. An issue for me would be that I like ferns, mosses, epiphytic Aroids and floating plants, which means that I need some iron (Fe) in the water column. Also iron availability within the substrate is <"entirely straightforward"> and introduces a lot more <"shades of grey">.
Any guidance for people starting out in aquatics has got to be a good thing. If that means doing a few simple tests, isn't that time well spent?
That is the heart of the matter for me. I agree, but with the proviso that it only helps if you have <"test results you rely on">.

I'm honestly of the opinion that the only test kits, or meters, that fulfills the cheap, easy to use and reliable criteria are a <"conductivity meter"> and a <"spirit thermometer">.
.......OP tested for everything under the sun, gave up and bought plastic plants. Is not happy with their planted tank experience and is never seen on the ukaps forum again. Don’t get me wrong testing is interesting and can be part of the the hobby but it is not the be all and end all. Often the OP will end up down a rabbit warren of testing and chasing water parameters when the answer was much easier and to solve to begin with.....
Let me guess: keeping high plant mass and most of the problems will resolve for themselves (assuming we are feeding our plants).
It honestly <"is the answer">. Watch the plants, have plenty of plants, some with the <"aerial advantage">, have <"plenty of dissolved oxygen">.It is back to a <"picture being worth a thousand words">.
....I usually start any data exploration with <"ggplot2">. Not very aquatic plant related, but I like <"Palmer Penguins"> as a start, have a look at the graphing options it just makes visualising multifactorial data so much easier, you can just slice and dice the data visualization with ggplot2 .
Substitute "penguins" and "ggplot2" for the duckweed index and that is the data visualization of the nutrient status of the tank.

I now realise that my football coach (when I was younger) was not only a truly horrible man, but also a philosopher, who taught me two great lessons:
  1. Drink a lot of water, because "Yellow p*ss is for losers" and
  2. "You can only be a good footballer if you can see the whole picture"
I could see the pictures, unfortunately I wasn't quick enough to actually get in many of them.

cheers Darrel
 
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jaypeecee

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Hi @hypnogogia
With a large enough sample size and carefully chosen variables, I think we could build a predictive model of BGA development.

How would you envisage doing that? Which variables would you suggest? I'm definitely interested in your idea but the practical implementation of producing a predictive model is going to need some serious statistics, isn't it? I'd rather we just throw a few ideas around, which is what I hoped this thread and the thread below would kick-start:

https://www.ukaps.org/forum/threads/cyanobacteria-identification-at-last.60496/

JPC
 

jaypeecee

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Hi Folks,

Are we making progress? We started out discussing the nitrate : phosphate ratio and some people are gathering data, which may, or may not yield useful results. We've touched on iron and a little bit of stuff on lighting. But, to be fair, that was me going off at a tangent. At the outset of this thread, I commented:
The essence of this new thread (the one you are now reading) is the importance of getting the optimum ratio of nitrate to phosphate in order to prevent outbreaks of algae.

I've just had a thought - if the plants are absorbing ammonia and nitrite, where is the nitrate coming from? Is it purely from the filter? If it's the latter, is biological filtration inside a filter such a good idea? I guess heterotrophic bacteria consuming organic waste (detritus) on the substrate produce ammonia but isn't this taken up by the plants just like ammonia excreted by fish? I'm overlooking the obvious, presumably?

JPC
 

mrhoyo

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Hi Folks,

Are we making progress? We started out discussing the nitrate : phosphate ratio and some people are gathering data, which may, or may not yield useful results. We've touched on iron and a little bit of stuff on lighting. But, to be fair, that was me going off at a tangent. At the outset of this thread, I commented:


I've just had a thought - if the plants are absorbing ammonia and nitrite, where is the nitrate coming from? Is it purely from the filter? If it's the latter, is biological filtration inside a filter such a good idea? I guess heterotrophic bacteria consuming organic waste (detritus) on the substrate produce ammonia but isn't this taken up by the plants just like ammonia excreted by fish? I'm overlooking the obvious, presumably?

JPC
It's a bit vague but I have the BGA and I've measured:
Phosphate 0.05-0.1 on JBL
Nitrate 10 API
 

hypnogogia

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Hi @hypnogogia


How would you envisage doing that? Which variables would you suggest? I'm definitely interested in your idea but the practical implementation of producing a predictive model is going to need some serious statistics, isn't it? I'd rather we just throw a few ideas around, which is what I hoped this thread and the thread below would kick-start:

https://www.ukaps.org/forum/threads/cyanobacteria-identification-at-last.60496/

JPC
You’d form some hypotheses, drawing on the variables that we know influence algae development. I’d say that’s the easy part. Harder will be to quantify some of them. How, for example, do quantify different amounts of red, blue and white light into one variable? The stats would be a predictive model using something like logistic regression of DFA. Sample size is usually between 15-20 X number of variables being examined in the model - so sizeable.
 

jaypeecee

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Hi @mrhoyo
It's a bit vague but I have the BGA and I've measured:
Phosphate 0.05-0.1 on JBL
Nitrate 10 API

As you will see from the link provided in post #1, your figures above would put you in the 'chance of green algae' zone. But, you say you have BGA. So, something doesn't tally. I am aware that the API Nitrate kit has had its fair share of criticism but I don't think it's likely to be reading 1000X too high (nitrate would have to be 0.01 mg/l to bring it into the blue zone).

JPC
 
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