Green Hair Algae on Gravel

Discussion in 'Algae' started by Superman, 13 Jun 2009.

  1. Superman

    Superman Member

    Messages:
    1,804
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    So, I've got annoying green hair algae on my gravel in my 180ltr tank.
    It's neither increasing or dying and want to find out how to remove it.
    I've work out my problems (low plant mass, circulation & poor co2) and addressed them.
     
  2. Dolly Sprint 16v

    Dolly Sprint 16v Member

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    Clark

    I have been doing some research regarding ALGAE.

    Quote from Tropica:

    The main reason for the growth of algae is always a surplus of phosphorus and nitrogen in the water, which is almost always due to the presence of too many fish in relation to the number of plants present. Consequently, it is a good idea to start with a few healthy fish to eat the algae, and a great number of plants that grow fast and consume the nutrients present at the bottom of the aquarium.

    My conclusion:
    The most obvious question is - where does the phosphuors and nitrogen come from ?? surplus fertz from E.I that remain within the water column - the fertz that are not used up and then more fertz is added on alternating days, by the end of the regime there is an overdose of fertz within the water column.

    This is where we need to tailor our fertz regime to suit the plants that are within the aquarium - I have ditched E.I and resumed my original fertz dosing and the tank is / looks 75% and that only after one week.

    Hope this helps you.

    Regards
    paul.
     
  3. JamesM

    JamesM Member

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    Hence the reason for large (50% or more) water changes :)
     
  4. Mark Evans

    Mark Evans Expert

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    newark notts.
    :wideyed: be prepared for a barrage.

    I personally don't believe an ounce of that.
     
  5. Dolly Sprint 16v

    Dolly Sprint 16v Member

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    So you cannot put your thoughts onto the forum without being question about them. Bit harse "be repared for a barrage".

    If you want to review Tropica's document: it their 2007 - 2008 Product Catalogue page 93.

    Paul.
     
  6. JamesM

    JamesM Member

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    :lol: Mark is just warning you of the Clive factor! :D

    Excess nutrients don't cause algae, but algae will feed off them if given the chance. Anyone who doses the EI method will have problems if they don't do regular large water changes. I know, as I've been there.
     
  7. aaronnorth

    aaronnorth Member

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    If that is the case then why can so many people run tanks sucessfully using EI, or even any other method. What method are you using currently? What level does there have to be for it to be called "surplus"? I bet anyone who is dosing a fertiliser is dosing a surplus amount of NO3/ PO4.
    The people who worry about adding nutrients are the ones often having algae problems. Limting nutrients causes plant health to deteriorate, so they begin to release ammonia which causes the algae.
    And it isnt always to do with NO3 or PO4. 95% of the time it is CO2 or flow/ distribution related (which green hair algae is).
    nutrients feed algae, they do not cause algae.

    The presence of too many fish is not the cause of algae from an increase in NO3/ PO4, but an increase from ammonia. Everytime someone points out an issue, it leads leads back to ammonia or CO2 everytime!

    Tropica do tend to cover theirself in these situations, so they are not blamed for anything. They say NO3 and PO4 cause algae yet they add it to their products lol.

    Clark, what equipment have you got for circulation in there? Are you sure the CO2/ enough flow is hitting the lower areas of the tank?
     
  8. JamesM

    JamesM Member

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    Much of the trouble comes from companies covering themselves from people who have a tank with plants in, as opposed to a real planted tank. EI assumes you have a tank that is heavily planted, and these plants will absorb 99% of the nutrients. A tank with just a few plants in and the same dosing will lead to problems as the plants may only consume 5%. The rest are left to sit there until a water change is carried out, then people only change 10-20%, so this leads to problems.
     
  9. Dolly Sprint 16v

    Dolly Sprint 16v Member

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    JamesM

    May be Marks sentence could have been phrased better.

    I understand that excessive fertz don't cause algae, but why give the algae within the water column excessive fertz to feed on. Thats why I was thinking of reducing the doses initally and increasing the dosing as the plant mass grows.

    What do you think

    Paul.
     
  10. JamesM

    JamesM Member

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    Its a fine line... if you reduce the dosing too much, plants will suffer leading to more algae.
     
  11. Mark Evans

    Mark Evans Expert

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    good god, looks like I'm getting the barrage.

    well, i can assure you, it wasn't my intention to offend.
     
  12. aaronnorth

    aaronnorth Member

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    i see more sense in this stament, than in your first post, but like James says, there is a fine line of not dosing enough, giving the plants just enough is fine, but if nutrients run out then you just run into more trouble, and this is what EI covers. It provides nutrients to cover the demands of the plants, to allow optimum growth, therefore cancelling out, or at least limiting chances of algae. And that is what we are trying to achieve, a tank full of lush, healthy growing plants - its an algae's worst nightmare :p
    thanks.
     
  13. JamesM

    JamesM Member

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    Indeed.

    Best method might be to keep the dosing and do more water changes.
     
  14. Mark Evans

    Mark Evans Expert

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    Location:
    newark notts.
    i know exactly where Clive will come from....CO2!

    it'd be my first port of call to.
     
  15. Superman

    Superman Member

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    Location:
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    Wow, I didn't expect two pages of posts to read on this! I know that flyfisherman has had problems but I believe that the principles of EI is not the problem - the problem was me!

    The algae grew when I only had a koralia (spel) nano and now have added a #1 to the tank now to increase flow and the algae has stopped flowing. Since the algae started I've increased flow, made sure co2 is stable and had a proper clean of the (what was mucky) filter pipes and even the external reactor.

    It's nothing major just a bit of an eye sore.
     
  16. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

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    Hey Clark,
    Your assessment is one of the most refreshing I've seen all week. It proves that you took the Red Pill and have been unplugged from The Matrix. The rabbit hole is deep, but ultimately it brings freedom. The people who take the Blue Pill wake up in their beds the next morning, and believe what they want to believe. They are imprisoned by their own comfotable beliefs. They never try to learn how plants work and never blame themselves for their own failures. They become part of the system, and this is what we need to resist.

    The Tropica argument is so inconsistent it has become anachronistic. If Tropica truly believed that PO4 and NO3 caused algae why have they installed these "algae causing agents" as part of the basic TPN+ formula? Why does Profito now produce both a PO4 product as well as a nitrogen product? How does one explain the success of the EI/PMDD+PO4 dosing schemes in other peoples tanks? The discussion found on the thread Good Algae Article is a worthwhile read for understanding some of the mechanisms of algal blooms.

    As you and Mark have mentioned, Hair is CO2 related but it normally attaches directly to the leaf. It's not normally attached to the substrate so this might be a variation or a different type. Always check JamesC's algae guide because sometimes one form can be mistaken for another. Can we see the pictures if there is any left? In any case your troubleshooting response was correct. Improved flow helps regardless of whether it's a nutrient or CO2 related deficiency.

    Cheers,
     
  17. nry

    nry Member

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    1,239
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    Cumbria, UK
    I've seen enough scientific evidence from Tom Barr to know that excess nutrients (at least the ones we add to the tank) do not cause or trigger algae. Tom dosed all the EI nutrients to very very high levels and never once triggered algae.

    I have something similar in my tank - a small patch of substrate/plants consistently get some thread algae on. The rest of the tank is clear. Flow into the affected patch is poor and hence CO2 distribution to this patch is also poor. At a fair guess for me, improving the flow to this area will stop the algae coming back once removed.

    I've started giving my substrate a swish when I do the water change which has really helped too, I never bothered with this before but it is worth doing - at a guess, keeping the mulm levels low will reduce ammonia levels near or in the substrate and as most should know, it is the presence of ammonia (at minute levels sometimes) which trigger algae, not the nutrients we dose via EI.
     
  18. davidcmadrid

    davidcmadrid Member

    Messages:
    115

    This has to be one point of EI that doesnt sit with me. If at a given point of time there is an excess of everything ( which seems what one is aiming for with EI ) then how come its only the plants that grow. By my understanding we do a water change to ensure we dont reach toxic levels ( aswell as remove all DOCS etc. ) . Forgive me but i am struggling with the idea that if at a given point in time there is more nutrients in the water than the plants can uptake then whats to stop algae growing also ?
     
  19. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    Because algae does not care about nutrient levels. That is not what triggers algal blooms. A combination of light and ammonia production rate are the prime causal factors. Under very high lighting it only takes a small amount of an ammonia transient to trigger the blooms. Under lower lighting the tank can withstand larger ammonia production transients. There may be other contributory factors such as poor O2 or low Redox potential levels but these are not well understood and they are usually accompanied by, or are indicative of the prime factors such as high organic waste or low nitrification bacterial populations. Algae respond to unhealthy environmental conditions. You'll find natural systems with algal blooms where the nutrient levels are low and/or ammonia levels are high, such as in stagnant pools.

    Nutrient deficiency combined with high light is a deadly combination for higher order Submersed Aquatic Macrophytes. The algal species that plague our tanks are those that evolutionary forces have optimized to respond to a decaying/unstable/transient environment.

    Everywhere in this society people have been programmed to automatically associate eutrophic environments with algal blooms. It's in all the textbooks. It's standard material at universities. So it seems intuitive to run around blindly blaming nutrients for the problems in one's tank. The truth of the matter is just the opposite. S.A.M's require thousands of time more nutrient levels than algae. In fact, they require millions of times more nutrients than algae. When they don't receive these required levels they decay and algae attacks feeding on what little remaining nutrients that spew out from ruptured plant cells.

    If we would only take the time and energy to understand the biochemistry of plant growth it would become obvious that the textbooks and the universities that proclaim the evils of nutrient levels are wrong. Algae are opportunists. They attack when the environmental system is broken. Most peoples tanks have a broken environmental system - because they don't understand what's happening in that tank, so they get algae so they run to the nearest respected source of information and are immediately told to get rid of PO4 or to reduce NO3.

    Let me clarify another point. The water changes associated with EI have nothing to do with lowering the nutrient levels. They have everything to do with removing toxic buildup of organic waste. The more plants grow the more waste they produce. The more you feed plants the more organic waste there is. In exactly the same way, the more you feed your fish the more organic waste they produce. Organic waste interferes with nutrient uptake. Organic waste subsequently breaks down and causes increased ammonia production. The massive water changes associated with EI are all about keeping the tank clean by removing organic waste. In the EI scheme the same day that you remove the water you immediately dose more nutrients, so how can this possibly have to do with removing nutrients? If you wanted to reduce nutrient levels all you would have to do is to stop dosing, one week on on week off based on the uptake rate and buildup rate. The various EI dosing schema would look totally different if nutrient buildup were an issue. Barr uses this nutrient buildup concept and the expression "Tank reset" in order to assure those who are paranoid that there is little danger of the toxic buildup that they worry about. He had to say this because he had to allay fears of toxic buildup. This was a convenient explanation at the time but the real issue is simply that plants don't grow very well in dirty water caused by their own waste and that this dirty water contributes to algal blooms.

    Algae an plants do not inhabit the same ecological niche. That is another reason why eutrophic waters do not automatically grow algae just because they are eutrophic. Algal spores are not using nutrient levels as a trigger mechanism, they are using decay as their trigger because they "know" that in a decaying environment they will get all the nutrients they need by scavenging those very same plants that are decaying. This is like the difference in ecological niche between and elephant and a vulture. With insufficient food the elephant dies and then the vulture attacks. The vulture will not attack the elephant while it's alive, so these are entirely different environmental imperatives.

    Now check the results of a hyper-eutrophic environment. This tank was dosed with over 3X the EI values - over 60ppm NO3 , and over 10ppm PO4 weekly. These levels far exceed any conceivable uptake rates, leaving plenty for algae, yet there were no algal blooms - unless I failed to dose for a while or unless flow/distribution/CO2 was impaired. The tank was kept scrupulously clean. I've done this a few times with the same results. Look at the evidence. Instead of algal blooms this is a case of S.A.M's gone wild. The only deterrent to this maniacal dosing strategy is the required pruning and maintenance. So anyone complaining about high nutrient levels causing algae is mistaken. Now, high nutrient levels will absolutely exacerbate any algae that is there - make no mistake about that, but there is a huge difference between exacerbation and causality. Find the cause of your algae and fix it. If that cause is flow/distribution/CO2 then fix that. If the cause is poor maintenance then fix that as well. If the cause is too much light, reduce the light. If the cause is poor nutrient levels then absolutely fix that, but one never needs to worry about nutrients causing algae, regardless of concentration levels.
    [​IMG]

    Cheers,
     
    maboleth likes this.
  20. Dave Spencer

    Dave Spencer Member

    Messages:
    1,389
    Location:
    N. Wales
    Just to put this point in to perspective davidcmadrid.

    I work at a power station where we have water and steam systems running at around 180 Bar and 520 degrees C. If you consider how your kettle can fur up with mineral deposits, imagine what would happen in our power station boilers. For this reason, we require exceptionally pure water to be able to operate, typically using demin water to a purity of 0.002 microSiemens. This water is so pure that it has been used to insulate and cool the windings of a 3.3KV motor.

    Now I have placed a glass jar of this water on my window sill, with sunlight being the only additive. After a month, I found the beginnings of what appeared to be Rhizoclonium, but I wasn`t 100% sure what it was. With algae spores, dust (a lot of which is organic) etc falling in, there will be a combination of ammonia and light that is sufficient to trigger algae.

    How many more times nutrients would be in that water with EI dosing? Algae and plants are not competing for available nutrients, which is good, because if this were the case plants wouldn`t stand a cat in hells chance. Run the nutrients to as much excess as is comfortable for your fish and you won`t get algae, provided you start from the stand point of having aquatic plants as the ones defining the environment in your tank.

    If you have an algae bloom and add more ferts, then you will surely be promoting greater algae growth, but don`t be fooled in to thinking you can starve algae, because it is your plants that you will starving.

    Dave.
     

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