green dust algae :(

Discussion in 'Algae' started by Nick16, 17 Jul 2009.

  1. Nick16

    Nick16 Member

    Surrey, UK
    hi guys i have a problem with this and was wondering how to get rid?

    i have read....

    Description Forms on the glass creating a dusty appearance across the glass. Sometimes so bad you can't see into the tank.
    Cause Low CO2. Low nutrients. Quite common on new setups.
    Removal Easily removed with a magnetic glass scraper or similar. Often reappears very quickly. Allow the algae to run its full cycle by leaving it well alone for 3 weeks. It may become unsightly but just bear with it. Then scrape it all off and do a large water change. Sometimes requires a second treatment to fully clear and leaving it for 4 weeks. Recommended to slightly reduce dosing during treatment.

    ....from jamesC's 'The planted tank'

    i think my co2 is fine, i might be able to dose fert regularly, but would cutting down lighting help?
  2. aaronnorth

    aaronnorth Member

    worksop, nottinghamshire
    try raising the PO4, but yes, cutting the photperiod helps.
    what are you currently fdosing at the minute?
  3. plantbrain

    plantbrain Expert

    I do not think anyone has found any nutrient correlations with GDA, more CO2, and general vigor.
    Obviously there are some indirect effects on nutrients on CO2............

    So some claim the nutrients are everything, while others have a wide range of nutrients and no reoccurances etc.
    I let the algae run it's cource, but I really have not ever had it except in some so so CO2 ppm aquariums.
    Those with good CO2 never get it even when inoculated.

    Others could get it easily however. The dosing and sediments where identical, light intensity similar as well, but generally higher in two tanks that had GDA. So the CO2 was exacerbated by that likely.

    Tom Barr
  4. Nick16

    Nick16 Member

    Surrey, UK
    im currently dosing about 4 ml of tpn every other day.
    i do have amacro and micro solution mixed up in the cupboard. - do you recommend i dose some of this as well? - if so which?
  5. aaronnorth

    aaronnorth Member

    worksop, nottinghamshire
    i would be tempted to raise that slightly, i used to dose 3ml on my 60l daily!
    Or you can just dose some of the macro you have,
  6. Nick16

    Nick16 Member

    Surrey, UK
    right, okey dokey cheers for the help, so i will dose 3ml a day and maybe up it over time, i dont want to overload it suddenly.
  7. ch_rubilar

    ch_rubilar Newly Registered

    I disagree with TB.
    GDA is related to an imbalance between Po4 and Ca. If you modify your fertilizing about this two macros you will solve your problem in long terms.

    You can read more about this approach in English in this post about GDA at APC:

  8. baron von bubba

    baron von bubba Member

    stroud, glos
    link not work!
    thats a bold claim to make!
    so all the ppl who dont get GDA just happen to have randomly got their Po4 and Ca balance correct, considering many ppls only source of Ca would be what ever is in the tap water therefore not controlled in the slightest, this seems very unlikely to me.
  9. JamesC

    JamesC Member

    Bexley, Kent
    I read the links a few weeks ago and found it quite interesting. For many using tap water it would be quite hard to control as calcium levels are already quite high and can't be altered easily.

    You have to leave the 'EI bubble' for it to make any sense.

  10. George Farmer

    George Farmer Founder Staff Member

    The link does not work, as it does not include the full URL.
  11. George Farmer

    George Farmer Founder Staff Member

  12. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Chicago, USA
    Agreed. The claim regarding PO4 vs Ca is absurd. Secondly, Ca is not a macronutrient, it's a micronutrient. Poor CO2 is a fundamentally cause of GDA.
    I mean lets get real for a moment: Is anyone seriously considering the authors claim of "generic protocol of the Kno3"? If so, one might as well consider uttering incantations of the Druids of Stonehenge. This so-called protocol may explain why his followers have various algae problems in the first place. Any protocol based on limiting nutrients invites disaster.
    This works sometimes with GSA but not with GDA.

  13. ch_rubilar

    ch_rubilar Newly Registered

  14. ch_rubilar

    ch_rubilar Newly Registered

    Well, there seems to be a misunderstanding. There is not Ca vsus Po4, I suggest an imbalance related to Ca plus Po4, too much of both relating to No3 and Mg. Before TB excess was a common word used to describe algae cause. TB discovers that to talk about excess is wrong and he propose that the lack of nutrients is the cause of algae. I believe that both concepts, lack or excess are incomplete. At the MDC (MCI) I explain why we should talk about imbalances. Sometimes there is a lack, other times is an excess but not in absolute terms but relative, they are related to another macro/micro: Ca:Mg; No3:po4, etc.
    At the MDC I have identify certain algae with certain imbalances. The solution I propose had been used succesfully in reality instead of simple speculation.
    If my assert is absurd for you, I think that you need more than a claim of one sentence to explain why. I intrigued.

    That's irrelevant in this debate but, if you like, you can correct my typos mistakes too.

    Interesting claim. Primitive but interesting. If you read the MDC, you will find that proper amount of Co2 is identify as a pre rrequisite. Proper amount of Co2 for me is just a little bit before shrimp became to be disturb.

    Mmmmmmm, as an argumentation is quite low, cheap and false.
    Lets see, everybody can read the thread at APC and take they own idea. At Dr.pez we were using this method for several years with positive feedback. The positive feedback at APC show that there is no the "disastre" you claim.

    Here we agree.

  15. ch_rubilar

    ch_rubilar Newly Registered

    I answer tomorrow, I have to go.
  16. plantbrain

    plantbrain Expert

    Imbalanced with respect to plants, or algae?
    Algae appears for 2 reasons near as I can tell, an inducement, say poor plant growth(limited CO2/carbon balance), maybe NH4 spike etc, too much light and imbalanced there with the general growth model of aquatic plants. Or introduction(say Cladophora added).

    Imbalance with respect to plants, I agree.

    You are leaving out Carbon, CO2.
    You should treat it as a nutrient, the plant cannot utilize the other nutrients if the Carbon is limited.
    also, if you strongly limit PO4, then there is a strong dependency effect on CO2.
    You trade one limitation for another, basically going from a strong CO2 limitation to a stronger PO4 limitation.

    Plants are fine if they good CO2/carbon supply relative to the most limiting factor.

    This is nothing new and goes back to Liebig's law of limiting factors, this is true for submsered aquatic plants also, just we have the added huge factor of Carbon added that is not present with terrestrial plants.
    As most all aquatic species are amphibious and grow out of water as well , we can test this easily with hydroponics and different nutrient solutions independent of CO2 since the exchange rates are 10,000X faster(eg, no CO2 limitation).

    Have you done this over a wide range for nutrients and measured biomass?
    I have.

    Without a reference aquarium control, you have nothing to compare inducement of algae or suggest possibles causes for algae. You have to have a control and the control in the first place to even do the test.

    Plant growth issues are dependent for an algae bloom.
    So many already have some issue there(light, CO2, maintenance, nutrients).
    Put another way, plants define the system, not nutrients or algae.
    This might help you think about what is occurring better and how to test better to answer your questions.

    I think I understand what you are saying here.
    Using algae and specific species as Bioindicators of problems in gross terms.
    BBA= poor CO2, GSA= low PO4 or CO2(or both, there may be more than one cause) and so on.........

    I think many do this and have for a long time.
    Algae does not lie and test what many are having issues with.

    I think, I may be wrong, that what you suggest is pushing the nutrients to provide a strongly limiting PO4 situation over time. This leads to a GSA state in the aquarium which is relatively easy to get rid of. This method cures the present issue of various algae.

    The reason why this works is indirect on algae however, it directly affects CO2 in plants by going from a strong/mild CO2 limitation to a more stable CO2/carbon demand since the PO4 now is the limiting factor, see Liebig's limiting factor the reference to this. If you treat CO2 as a nutrient, then it makes sense.

    It also explains all of the observed patterns on aquariums that are non limiting, as well as why we see algae come and go when PO4 is limited and perhaps other nutrients.

    Still, algae are not limited in either case, low PO4 or high.
    I think many make that mistake.

    This is not an algae effect, they are secondary effect of poor plant growth status with respect to Carbon.
    So it's really an issue of plant growth, not algae.

    Algae spores and vegetative cells will respond to various stimuli and environment cues, poor plant growth seems to be the largest one near as I can tell and the most universal. I've ruled out nutrients. Light and CO2 seem to be the larger players.

    Well, if good CO2 is part of it, how might we ensure that it is?
    How do we measure such an elusive macro nutrient that is required for pretty much everything?
    Drop checker?
    pH/KH/CO2 charts?
    Riccia pearling?

    The last one seems best and is in line with what you are after I think.
    Most methods do not tell you what the CO2 is really doing at a precise level.
    I have a 3000$ CO2 meter, it data logs as well.
    Here's a typical 1 day level:

    CO2 is not added at night.

    Various plants also have different CO2 compensation points, with 300+ species, this can have large effects on what might be good CO2 for some tanks/plants and what is not for another.

    Not so simple.

    I've never been able to sustain and induce GDA with a good reference planted tank.
    Not once.

    If I inoculated the tank and then reduced the CO2 and increased the light, viola.

    It took longer to eradicate the algae(2-3 weeks) after the bloom occured and the CO2 was returned to the higher rate and the light was reduced. Once the algae took hold, it will hang on and the balance requires more energy/effort to get back to the prior state.

    This is true in restoration ecology as well.
    Fixing aquariums algae issues is a lot like restoration Ecology.

    No, not really.
    What about light?

    Sure we get GSA, but we can up the CO2, or add more PO4 later.

    I agree that the method works to rid more noxious algae species.
    I'm not sure it addresses plant growth correctly and Carbon demand however.
    Still, as long as those are addressed at some point, then the path to getting there matters less.

    I prefer less light to reduce Carbon demand and algae growth.
    It works no matter what method of nutrients you chose.

    PMDD was based on this same type of idea, but the method Chrubilar is suggesting is more radical. It is far less conservative than PMDD and suggest ramping up the KNO3 dosing much more to induce a strong PO4 limitation.
    That in effect causes a downstream effect on CO2 demand.

    PMDD also showed good results for algae control as well and has a long history, so does PPS....however, why they claim it works is quite another matter. Like this method, GSA is the common end result.
    They all drive PO4 limitation in plants, not algae.
    That has downstream effects on Carbon and all the other nutrients.

    These hypothesis as to why can be tested and falsified.
    That is the issue I have with them. Not whether or not that they "work". Understanding why they work is of much more usefulness and interest to me and the aquarium hobby at large.

    You have to test you claim and reason why to verify it, other wise you are only looking at one side of the coin, situation.
    That leaves yourself open for mistakes.

    When I do these test, I often find that the person making the claim has little knowledge of how to even do such test.
    Little idea about the methods, and often does not test their claims. Paul Sears left himself wide open, but he admitted it and said it was a good idea based on what was known at the time.
    And it was, just turned out to be wrong.
    So why does EI and PMDD both work to varying degrees?

    That's an interesting question and CO2 and light play a huge role.


    Hopefully this clarifies some things about what Chrubilar is saying here.
    I might have some of it wrong etc in the general idea.

    I do not buy the issues with Ca and Mg etc, the effects of limiting NO3 or PO4 or both are well known on CO2 and carbon allocation demand in plants.

    Gerloff's(1966) paper is a good place to read for NO3.
    EI is what they basically came up with(30 years before me) for the nutrient mix.

    Tom Barr
  17. plantbrain

    plantbrain Expert

    Folks, Chrubilar is trying to help and the method may help a person get rid of the GDA for some, others might be able to use less light, others might be able to use better CO2 management.

    Nutrient management can offer some respite, but we should realize that manipulative dosing will affect other parameters such as light use, and CO2 demand and allocation when doing so.

    Many aquarist cannot manage CO2 for the life of them.
    Some are unwilling to reduce their light.

    Some try but still cannot get it right, these are human issues however.
    The methods do not fail, we do.
    Left with few options, having more tools available can save a few folks.
    Using another tool to do that is welcomed.
    Why that tool works is much more prickly question and we can and should test and debate those types of issues.

    Answering that leads to better understanding of plants, algae and why things work.
    This in turn, leads to better management no matter what goal or method is done.
    If we know the basis of the algae, plant growth etc, then we can plan and test much more and more focus on the issues that we have.

    I start with light, then go to CO2. I measure and test both carefully.
    I read and look for evidence both in aquariums and in research.
    "What can I know and say about some topic?"

    I started with nutrients years ago, but my view on light and CO2 was simplistic then.
    I ADDED more because I have 2x the light Paul Sears and Steve had.
    Common sense reasoning.

    But now I know more, I see that algae are never limited.
    So why do they grow then?
    Maybe it's more a plant issue and perhaps light, rather than CO2/nutrients is the limiting factor.
    All the evidence I've ever read suggest this.

    Light drives <=> CO2 demand <=> drives nutrient demand.

    Tom Barr
  18. George Farmer

    George Farmer Founder Staff Member

    Phew! Thank goodness I don't get algae... :D

    Seriously though, interesting topic guys. Thanks for contributing. I look forward to following this, as I'm sure Mr Rubilar will reply soon enough.
  19. Nick16

    Nick16 Member

    Surrey, UK
    i would just like to nip in here and say that i did manage to get my GDA sorted through cuting down of lighting and a slight upping of ferts and co2.
    about a week or two after it cleared up i sold the tank to make way for my new project....

    you may resume now :lol: its really interesting, cheers guys
  20. plantbrain

    plantbrain Expert

    You will also note, a global view of algae and plant growth gives you far more tools to manage algae.
    I also try some rather simple concepts when dealing with algae issues.

    1. Ecology life history view, allowing it to complete it's life history as a zoospore before trying to control it has proven effective if the CO2 issue was corrected. Some reported regrowth, after 2-3 cycles, virtually none did.

    2. Blackout for 3 days, followed by 2 days or lights+ good CO2, followed by BO for 3 days, followed by 2-3 days to lights + CO2, followed by another 3 day blackout etc(can be repeated many times). This allows for plants to survive, and the algae to just start to regrow again before being killed repeated by lack of light. This works particularly well for green algae.

    3. Less light, cut in 1/2. cures many algae issues alone.

    4. Up the CO2, clean good, run UV.

    All these methods haved worked well.

    Strongly limiting P? I see no reason why it might not work specifically for green algae.
    Green algae tend to grow in high nutrients much like plants.
    Most other species die off when more PO4 is added.
    See here, (specifically 22, 24, 25 slides) ... nglish.pdf

    To be biligual: ... spanol.pdf

    GSA is the exception within the green algae. It does not appear to like higher PO4 but that is CO2 dependent also.
    Cladophora will grow nicely at high nutrient levels however.

    Tom Barr

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