Dusko's Algae Guide

ceg4048

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Hi Lisa :!:
Nice to hear from you again. Hope you've been keeping well love. :D

Urea is not constructed of ammonia. It merely degrades into ammonia by the action of the enzyme Urease. It's actually very important and relevant to planted tanks.

CO(NH2)2 + H2O => H2NCOONH4 => 2NH3 + CO2

H2NCOONH4 (Ammonium Carbamate) is an unstable intermediate product that rapidly degrades to Ammonia and Carbon dioxide. Typically, because of the extreme rapidity of the reaction, the transformation of urea is normally written without Carbamate intermediate:

CO(NH2)2 + H2O => 2NH3 + CO2

Similar transformations occur with the death any organic matter. The intermediates of decay may be different in each case.

Sweat glands, for example cover most of the skin. They're especially dense on the forehead, face, palms, soles and armpits, and they secrete a slightly acidic, very dilute solutions of inorganic ions, mostly sodium, potassium, and chloride, as well as organic material such as lactic acid (CH3-CHOH-CO2H), some urea (CO(NH2)2) and glucose. The foul smell of body odor is due not only to the urea transformation to ammonia, but as well to secretions of the apocrine glands. The secretions themselves aren't foul but the bacteria that feed upon them degrade the contents of the apocrine fluids into foul-smelling products.

Microbiological decay of animal and plant protein, which are nitrogen based organic compounds, immediately results in ammonia. If you look at the construction of the amino acids that proteins are made up of, many have an NH2 subunit, which, during decay is easily turned into NH3. Many of the Amino Acids in plants are actually synthesized by adding NH3 to some organic acid. So the transformation from protein to NH3 is easy, and is an essential component of decay. The abundance of ammonia in combination of orther byproducts of decay causes the foul smells associated with decay at all levels, animal vegetable as well as microbial.

This is why it is so important from an algae standpoint to remove organic waste from a high light tank. Detritus, dead fish, proteins and even the sugars and other carbohydrates immediately attract the microbial decay which result in an increase in ammonia production. The ammonia production spike is one of the triggers, along with light energy used by algal spores.

Cheers,
 

plantbrain

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Simply cleaning the filters and improved flow can help in 2 different respects(CO2 and waste/Urea, NH4, as well as O2 demand by bacteria vs fish use).

Dusko tries and upodates the blog as new issues come and new issues are resolved.
He will never have the perfect solution, no one ever will will.
But as time moved forward, we get closer and closer, better and better.

That is how these things work.

I've been wrong and made some assumptions about light and CO2, later questioning them again. then finding better test methods that can answer such questions........or simply using N and P in sediments again, or going back to older methods like non CO2 I use to do decades ago..............Looking back and changing things, adding to them, at least things that make sense and logic, and abandoning those that lack merit is not part of an ego thing.......... it's about the pursuit of knowledge, the idea, the results.

I edit and hone what I write, am careful what and how I say things.

Still, Dusko's blog is one of the best out there.
I ain't got time to try and fry that one, but will at some point if I ever have enough time.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

plantbrain

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The PMDD is a Fe preciptation event from hard water, bad chelator for the Kh of the tap etc...............
This can build up plaques on surfaces. We see this in wetland soils.

when this becomes covered, it reduces the surface area of the media and that can cause issues, also, when it sloughes off, or if you acidify the water, and it suddenly releases a large amount of Fe, this may cause issues.

This is sort of a rare situation I would think, I've never had it become an issue and it would also apply to flourite and Onyx sand sediments, anything with Fe...........

But there are Fe and Mn cycling that could cause it.......I've never seen it in any aquarium where it causes any issues however. But it might for some folks..........

As far as Nh4 and inducing algae.........well, it did for Green water really well, but this was also with high light(4w/gal on a 20Gal tank). CO2 was also a factor, if I reduced CO2 down suddenly, I could reinduce it after it had been removed via UV.

Otherwise with good CO2, a UV treatment for 3-4 days, it would not come back unless I added NH4CL.

Urea and jobes sticks should do a similar effect. I added 2ppm of NH4 and one full jobes stick in each test, same response. There where no fish(high NH4= dead fish). Gw is a common issue in new tanks and where the aquarist does fish less cycling.

CO2 is a factor as well as higher light intensity. Low light tanks may not get any response. The micmols where about 320 at the surface, quite high. This plays a role, as well as CO2, not just one factor.

There is no one thing that really solves all the issues. But starting with light= CO2 demand and finally nutrient demand, we can get a better more global view, still.............this does not address things like cleaning trhe filter, water changes, trimming/gardening care, something overlooked ...........

This is where folks helping one another to solve things and rule things out one at a time, knowing what to look for and helping the new people comes in. No article or method is going to replace that kind of interactive help. Suppose if the school and teaching was done that way?

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

plantbrain

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BTW, I have been dosing two tanks at 2:1 NO3 to PO4 ratio for the last 6 months. Great results.

2:1, yep...........

1 teaspoon of KNO3 = 1/2 teaspoon of KH2PO4.

Why not? See what happens. Nothing, plants are growing like mad, healthy Tonia, L pantanal etc.

So I decided to monkey with it, never happy with CO2 and always messing around after getting it to where I think I know that tank and CO2 method, I'll start something new.............

Switched from mazzei to disc................got BBA and a couple of other predictable algae. Tonia did poorly, so did many species. After tweaking and keeping them clean, no algae.However, the nutrients remained the same in each case.

I only changed the CO2.

Now I adjusted the light down, and stop using the HQI's on 3(other) tanks.
Less issues, excellent color and growth etc.

Nutrients can be all over the place, this baloney about ratios being important in any context outside of limiting/limitations is exactly just that, baloney. Actually it is worse, it's Spam :D

I've run tanks in the past as did a few others running PO4 lean systems, we pulsed PO4 at 0.2ppm added 2x a week(it was gone in a few hours), plant growth was excellent also, NO3 was in the 10-15ppm range.

So this is a massive difference and fairly similar results based on ratios.
Bloom and Epstein are the two foremost mineral nutrition Plant Scientist, Bloom is here at Uc Davis, likely will give me my qualifying exam, he does not fall for it either and suggest it's not a large issue for plants, they will make do with a massive range of ratios. Experimental and observations alone tell you this, but if you are locked in your little world and think otherwise, then you might end up believing what you think, rather than what really makes sense.

Many get in that trap and do not compare, or try other methods, see/make sure if they did not over look something etc, often having dependent variables not included. If you cannot produce a nice well run aquarium and manipulate it and make sure everything else is independent, you cannot test anything.

You can say your tank is nice etc, but you cannot say much else.

Many try..........however.

Well it's 42C right now and I'm off for a MT bike ride along a nice Snow fed river to cool off and likely freeze the cojones off.

BTW, I have the wood sorted, I'll ship 2 boxes here shortly. I'll follow with 2 more later, maybe the next weekend.


Regards,
Tom Barr
 

keymaker

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plantbrain said:
BTW, I have been dosing two tanks at 2:1 NO3 to PO4 ratio for the last 6 months. Great results.

2:1, yep...........

1 teaspoon of KNO3 = 1/2 teaspoon of KH2PO4.

Why not? See what happens. Nothing, plants are growing like mad, healthy Tonia, L pantanal etc.
Funny you shoud say that. I have been dosing decent quantitites of PO4 before, the level was 5-7ppm in the tank. Now I decreased the levels to around 3 and some green spot algae appeared immediately. I would say that based on my experience I would readily move the upper limit of the EI range for PO4 to 5. :)
 

Lisa_Perry75

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Hi Ceg :) keeping ok thanks. Nose in Biochemistry books ;)

ceg4048 said:
Urea is not constructed of ammonia
I knew this. Mammals break down proteins, and their amino acids, in the form of urea. Birds in the form of uric acid, (which is why it degrades paint work) and fish as ammonia. I've also heard of urease, but I hadn't heard of urea being broken down to ammonia on the skin. Is this something the bacteria do or the human?

I am still going to disagree that ammonia is the cause of the smell of sweat/decaying things.
Number one - one of the main components of protein breakdown is cadaverine. This contains two amine (ammonia) groups but has a hydrocarbon linker. This is partly responsible for the smell of bacteria breakdown products.
Number two - another main cause of smell is sulphur containing compounds, also a protein degradation product.
I think the smell is more to do with bacteria breakdown product such as those mentioned than above.

If you disagree or find faults in this please feel free to say so, that is what science is all about. That and managing not to get to fisticuffs about these things :rolleyes:

Thanks Ceg, always a pleasure...
-x-

PS I know this is off-topic, sorry, but its really interesting (to me)
 

a1Matt

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keymaker said:
plantbrain said:
BTW, I have been dosing two tanks at 2:1 NO3 to PO4 ratio for the last 6 months. Great results.

2:1, yep...........

1 teaspoon of KNO3 = 1/2 teaspoon of KH2PO4.

Why not? See what happens. Nothing, plants are growing like mad, healthy Tonia, L pantanal etc.
Funny you shoud say that. I have been dosing decent quantitites of PO4 before, the level was 5-7ppm in the tank. Now I decreased the levels to around 3 and some green spot algae appeared immediately. I would say that based on my experience I would readily move the upper limit of the EI range for PO4 to 5. :)
I also dose at around 2:1 NO3 to PO4. Works well for me :)
 

Dusko

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Hi Edvert, I think I have fixed the issue. For some reason one of the apps on the page hijacked my page. By changing the template the issue disappeared ... and that app disappeared too :cigar: will have to change template on all the pages though.

Just to add;
I am not having any tanks anymore. I have entirely changed my life style and have moved away from busy city life into the country side where I have an organic farm; keeping chicks, ducks and bees :) I will keep the blog up though because it gets many visits and is a result of much observation, testing, spending money, hours of forum discussions, dead fish (those who where overdosed with CO2), my wife's patience and lack of home space because of all my tanks, etc ... :)
 

Edvet

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Thx for all the good work, Sounds like an ideal place for an large lowtech shallow tank, ala Tom and Alastair, litle maintanance (or non even if you do it Tom selfsustaining style) en still nice views! Easy to come by all kind of living food even:D
 

Glenda Steel

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I apologise for this rather basic question, but is there an article about removing simple green algae from the tank sealant and along the glass at substrate level? My tank is in a rather bad way due to me using a sponge guard on the airline "vacuum" to avoid the new shrimplets and fry, the result is terrible debris build up with resulting algae/snail explosion. The fish (Danio erythromicron) are so frightened of people that they will not come out from behind the plants when the food is put in the tank. Combined with the Fluval Edge's filter sending it directly to the front floor of the tank I think a lot is going uneaten. I use the Hikari micro pellets which do float a little longer than others I've tried.
I had also let the plants overtake the tank which is why I hadn't noticed the algae on build up on the back glass. I am now doing a water change every other day as well as slowly removing overgrown damaged plants. I use a magnetic glass cleaner due to the design of the Fluval Edge but am worried about disturbing the substrate as I have taken advice that gasses may be released. Lastly, if measures to "balance" an "unbalanced" tank are taken (CO2, nutrients, light etc) will the remaining algae on the foliage disappear? I am a beginner aquarium-ist and always hated science at school (sorry!) so simple answers needed please!!! I am considering liquid carbon but have shrimp/Vallisneria

Tank specifications - Fluval Edge: 43 x 26 x 59.4 cms 46 litres 12 US gal.
Lighting - 42 high output LEDS 76000 k - Daily: morning 1 1/2 hours - evening: 4 hours.
CO2 - None.
Filtration - Edge clip on power filter/LPH rating?
Fertilisation routine - 1ml of Tropica Premium daily
Heating: E series Fluval heater
Normal weekly maintenance: 40% water change, vacuum substrate with airline tube, clean glass with magnetic "scrubby" thing, prune out dead/dying leaves, rinse/change filter media regularly (not all media together). I keep the filter running (heater turned off) whilst performing the maintenance on the plants and glass/ substrate. Filter is off for no longer that 5 minutes.

Plants:
Cryptocoryne beckettii
Cryptocoryne undalatus kasselman
Vallisneria (not sure which one)
Annubias barteri nana bonsai x 2 attached to the wood
cypress helfri
Microsorum pteropus narrow

Livestock:
5 x Danio erythromicron
20? x red cherry shrimp
6 x amano shrimp
 
Last edited:

ian_m

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I remove algae at substrate level using a bit of filter floss, making sure I don't pick up any sand or gravel to scratch the glass.

As for removing from silicone, soak an area on a bit of kitchen towel in liquid carbon (or bleach or H2O2) and slide into the tank along the silicone. Can be done without lowering the water. Move slowly along the silicone pressing hard. Slowly remove. The BBA in my case went green'ish (using bleach) then white and was scoffed by the fish. Change water after doing this. Fish & plants didn't seem to mind though BBA algae was mightily pee'd off...:).
 

Glenda Steel

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I edited my algae article and now it looks like this;
http://www.aquariumalgae.blogspot.com/
Having just re-read Dusko's helpful article which states... "One should never allow them to grow to the surface. When this happen gas exchange becomes limited and low Oxygen levels might occur causing various issues e.g. algae, surface film, NH4/NO2 accumulation, stressed fish, etc...", could the Vallis in our tank which has now grown exceptionally well and now the leaves are up across the top of the Fluval Edge glass (for those not familiar it's basically a glass box with a small central hole!) be adding to the algae problem? Should I totally remove the Vallis rather than pruning (it never looks great I've tried!) and perhaps replace with something like Ceratophyllum demersum and would that allow me to add liquid carbon?
 

ian_m

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Great thanks Ian, is it ok to move the sand/gravel back a little to do this?
I used to use a credit card stuck to a plastic stick to push the gravel/sand out the way before wiping with filter floss. Since my sick broke, just wipe/scrape carefully with filter floss.

I use filter floss, as a large sheet for pond use cost me £2, I use it in my Juwel internal filter as well. When it gets dirty tank cleaning I just throw it away.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
One should never allow them to grow to the surface. When this happen gas exchange becomes limited and low Oxygen levels might occur causing various issues e.g. algae, surface film, NH4/NO2 accumulation, stressed fish, etc..."
I wouldn't worry, as long as you have water movement then gas exchange shouldn't be a problem. If you cover the entire whole surface with a flat floating plant you might reduce oxygen exchange, but I can't see that the leaves of Vallisneria would.

cheers Darrel
 
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This article and the subsequent thread has been THE single most helpful source of info I've found. I'm a low tech/Walstad fan and want to know if the same principles of water changes and dosing apply for my three tanks. I change monthly but have noticed brown algea and hair algea creeping into the: picture. Plant growth has all but stopped. Can I resume weekly 50% WC and dose with sea hem flourish? I know Walstad tanks are not supposed to need this, but I just don't have success without water changes.

Sent from my Huawei-U8687 using Tapatalk
 
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