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Algae and nutrient levels.

Discussion in 'Algae Control' started by laka, Nov 29, 2008.

  1. laka

    laka Prolific Poster

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    Tom goes to great pains in his newsletter on Red Algae to convince the reader that nutrients, notably nitrates/phosphates in excess do not cause algal blooms.

    Does this mean that a fish only tank that is over populated/over fed or poorly maintained should not experience algae blooms in the abscence of aquarium lights? I don't think so.

    Why don't we look at nature itself rather than an artificial model such as a planted aquarium.

    It is well popularised in agriculture circles that nutrient run offs from the land such as phosphate/nitrate fertilizers results in algal blooms in both marine systems like the Great Barrier Reef in Australia as well as in fresh water aquifers such as in Wakulla Springs in northern Florida .

    Please explain who is right in this situation.

    Also what role does iron levels and composition play in algae growth? What are the desirable levels? I read anywhere from 0.1-1ppm.

    LAKA
     
  2. aquabillpers

    aquabillpers Lifetime Charter Member
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    When Tom says that high nutrient levels do not cause algae, he is referring to well planted tanks and other ecosystems where there are enough organisms to consume the nutrients.

    Without those organisms the algae will feast and multiply.

    Bill
     
  3. rodrigaj

    rodrigaj Junior Poster

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    I was also skeptical at first. I started EI in August after an initial planting in a 55 gal. At first I had some algae but it disappeared on its own.

    Here are measurements taken about a month ago:
    PO4 = 15ppm
    NO3 = 26ppm
    Fe = 0.45ppm

    I've been in this hobby for over 20 years and I've gone through the pmdd phase, the limiting phosphate phase, the limiting iron phase, etc... I tested like crazy.... I have always battled staghorn.

    I really thought that this was going to be just another "phase". I'm convinced that Tom's EI method works if you start with a heavily planted tank and the usual army of algae eaters, snails, and plecos.

    Get rid of the algae as it appears and the rest will take care of itself. I test once a month now, just to see where I'm at. I adjusted the macro down by a half, since I have a large fish load and I feed them quite a bit.

    EI works.
     
  4. laka

    laka Prolific Poster

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    So what you are saying Aquabillpers is that nitrates and phosphates per se WILL cause an algal bloom in the abscence of a heavily planted tank and CO2. That is what i thought. Algae like plants utilise the same nutrients. If these nutrients are in excess in the water column for whatever reason, ie too few plants or poor plant growth, then algae will thrive, even in recommended CO2 dosages. Is this correct?

    Rodrigaj, you definitely have high levels of the above nutrients. But this is combined with good plant growth as you say and presumably good CO2 levels. If however you were to pull out 3/4 of your plants, do you think your tank would still be devoid of algae( asuming light and CO2 variables remain the same) like Tom Bar would have us believe?

    I also once used the EI for 6/12 but i hated it. Not because i didn't get good plant growth but because it is too high maitenance in my 180 gallon tank. I since switched to PPS pro with similar success and less work-but this is now off the topic.

    I go back to my original post. Excess nutrient run offs do cause algae blooms if they are not taken up by the vegetation. So i believe Tom's remarks are a fallacy regarding excess nutrient levels.

    LAKA
     
  5. laka

    laka Prolific Poster

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    So waht you are saying Aquabillpers is that nitrates and phosphates per se WILL cause an algal bloom in the abscence of a heavily planted tank and CO2. That is what i thought. Algae like plants utilise the same nutrients. If these nutrients are in excess in the water column for whatever reason, ie too few plants or poor plant growth, then algae will thrive, even in recommended CO2 dosages. Is this correct?

    Rodrigaj, you definitely have high levels of the above nutrients. But this is combined with good plant growth as you say and presumably good CO2 levels. If however you were to pull out 3/4 of your plants, do you think your tank would still be devoid of algae( asuming light and CO2 variables remain the same) like Tom Bar would have us believe?

    I also once used the EI for 6/12 but i hated it. Not because i didn't get good plant growth but because it is too high maitenance in my 180 gallon tank. I since switched to PPS pro with similar success and less work-but this is now off the topic.

    I go back to my original post. Excess nutrient run offs do cause algae blooms if they are not taken up by the vegetation. So i believe Tom's remarks are a fallacy regarding excess nutrient levels.

    LAKA
     
  6. rodrigaj

    rodrigaj Junior Poster

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    If I pulled out 75% of my plants without changing CO2 and light levels I would have an algae bloom.

    I believe you are mistaken however, that Tom would say that.

    I do agree that as tanks go beyond 70 gals, EI is not practical.
     
  7. Mooner

    Mooner Lifetime Charter Member
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    What is the reasoning behind this??

    Why complain?? If it didn't work for you then thats fine but no need to attack, EI works well for many(large tanks included) and if you don't like the work then choosing another method that suits you better is obvious. How tough is it anyway? add a few ferts during normal daily routines (feeding) clean glass trim a bit and change water once a week?

    Never get why some P&M about the work involved, it's not like anybody is forcing you to do it:confused:
     
  8. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    When we use the EI method we always have excess nutrients in the tank. That is the whole idea, to provide more nutrients than the plants need, but "re-set" the tank by doing 50% water changes once a week, thus limiting the maximum concentration of any nutrient to twice the weekly dosage. If what you are saying is true, all of us who use EI would have major algae problems, and we don't.

    One thing we have learned is that ammonia that isn't almost instantly consumed by the plants will trigger algae to start growing, but the nutrients we dose with don't do that, even in excess concentrations well above twice what we dose per week.

    Natural bodies of water are not at all like our aquariums, so you can't extrapolate what happens in those bodies of water to decide what will happen in our tanks. And, it is planted aquariums only that EI is designed for.
     
  9. laka

    laka Prolific Poster

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    Interesting explanantion VaughnH.
    Maybe a well planted tank can handle a nutrient overload of two or maybe even three fold. But what about a ten fold increase in nutrients? As previously stated what if you reduced you vegetation by 3/4 without changing the nutrients/CO2/lights?

    At what point will nutrient excess commence an algae bloom?

    Based on my readings of Tom's articles there is no limit. Is this what he is saying?

    I am not a marine biologist or limnologist but i do feel there is solid reason to suspect excess nutrient run offs in
    natural systems is the cause of algae. After all using EI, the nutrient levels are reset on a weekly basis with a
    minimum 50% water change. I suspect natural waterways undergo 100% "clearance rates" almost on a minute basis and yet algae
    is still aproblem.

    In summary, a well planted tank with good lighting and ideal CO2 levels will be able to maintain homeostasis even in the presence
    of excess nutrients much more effectively than a planted tank that is compromised by low CO2 and small amounts of flora, but there is
    a quantifiable point as yet undetermined? where algae will commence to thrive in the presence of excess nutrients.

    LAKA

    LAKA
     
  10. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Laka,
    We measure light and CO2, not just nutrients.

    Many PPS tanks have bad algae, BBA was the most common.......so it's not an issue of me helping folks with 1-2 tanks with algae using that method..........same deal with EI..................

    Point is, it's not the method that is at fault, it's us............ we fail to manage things and lay the blame anything but ourselves:eek:
    This is a social, not an aquatic plant issue.

    In natural systems, we cannot control the light can we?
    Co2?

    No.............but we can, in some cases, control nutrients.
    There are different trade offs for those cases.
    Still, Bachmann's paper cited in the article clearly support there's no correlation between high PO4 or N and algae domination in over 300 lakes where aquatic plants, many of the species that we might keep in this hobby, exists. That's a lot of comparative data.

    Still, we do have control over light and CO2
    BIG difference. 10x the typical light values we might use.

    Let me ask a question, where does photosynthesis start?
    Light? PO4? CO2?

    Takes light to start anything.
    So if you want to manage and slow down the rates of growth, it would be best to start there. ADA does. I have long suggested this going back, mid 1990's...........

    But folks think more is better.........

    We have the control to reduce light, which in turn reduces CO2 demand, which reduces nutrient demand.

    This makes the most logical common sense approach to controlling the rates of growth, not secondary limiting PO4 to reduce CO2 uptake demands.
    You never addressed or measured for the root causes.
    I could be a witless hack and love to poo poo on EI due to lack of testing, yet have never tested light, CO2 etc critically. I cannot say much other than make assumptions if I do not measure the main drivers of plant growth.

    I can poo poo on and critque others, but I cannot say anything else........
    Sort of a dead end approach:)
    Poor CO2 and poorer CO2 testing, as well as never bothering to test light are the main issues for algae in aquariums with plants.

    If you have been in this hobby long enough, you will see that CO2 is the key to 95% of the algae problems. At least that is the stats I've seen after helpng folks for over a decade.

    I have tanks with low biomass, high light(450micmol), high CO2, 35ppm, high ferts(NO3 at 30ppm, 2ppm for PO4 etc), and no algae, no glass cleaning etc, and I've also seen cases where there is algae, same for folks running lean tanks like they did long before I came around or before there was a web etc.

    Point is, it's the user, not the method.

    That can determine most of the issues right there. Folks also get better, tend things more as they progress, or else they just give up.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  11. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Laka, here are a few examples of low and high light tanks with high nutrients and low nutrients.

    Non CO2 moderately high nutrients, low light
    [​IMG]

    High light, low biomass, high nutrients:

    Low light(40-50micmol) and low nutrients, high nutrients in sediment:
    [​IMG]

    High light(450micmols-note 10Xmore light!), high nutrients:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    My point here is not to poo poo on you or anyone, rather, show that rates of growth are important and cause differences that we see.

    Various methods all do the same thing:
    Add light, CO2(or not-air sources only) and nutrients.

    What drives these rates of uptake?
    Light and CO2.

    Not nutrients, nutrients can secondarily limit CO2 say with PO4.........leading folks to assume PO4 controls algae, but al it takes is aone or two confirmations where folks have no algae and nice growth at high PO4 levels.........

    Then that entire argument you supposed was right cannot possibly be correct based on PO4 alone.

    In otherword, PO4 cannot be the root cause.
    This logic requires no degree or expertise.
    Just common sense.

    But, if you had issues, and you cannot manage and control things well, then you might be tempted to make some assumptions. You need to be able to master all the elements(light, CO2 and nutrients), not just one, to have a full understanding.

    I tend to tell folks to work on CO2 the most. Getting nutrients right is rather easy, same with light if .......you measure it.

    Then you know and can compare fairly. I think folks that are having issues are a dangeruos bunch because they often change many things. Merely being an expert at one method, or just having some success, does not mean you are an expert at all the methods.

    It takes time and a lot of failure to do that.
    None of those failures where the method's............they where mine.

    but.........I seek a greater understanding that one method.
    How they interelate and why each works, but the answer is pretty simple, the rate of growth is the driver and that starts with light.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  12. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Another high light high nutrient tank without algae or cleaning for weeks:

    [​IMG]

    All you ned is one success to validate a method.
    Whether or not you are able to do it yourself, does not imply anything about the method. Only that more than couple of folks can and they are upfront about how and what they did/do.

    Slow vs fast growers are also represented as well.

    But given a management choice................I would opt for lower light tank(40-70micmol range), high CO2, ADA AS(another good back up source for nutrients), lite on the EI dosing, say 1/2 the typical amount..........good flow, good filtration, good care, good starting methods etc...........

    If I chose a standard routine for folks.
    This has a high chance for success, easy to care for, lower chance for algae etc.
    Another even easier, but more patience and less plant choices might be the non CO2 tank in the first picture.

    If they want more work afterwards and seeing how this goes, then they can drive the light higher and add more /CO2/ferts etc.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  13. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Does not mean it is correct merely because it might be "popular".
    I look at comparative research.
    I look at how it is applied and how "nature" isdifferent from our case with aquariums.

    They are not the same.
    Many make this leap and assumption. Careful.

    http://fishweb.ifas.ufl.edu/Faculty%20Pubs/CanfieldPubs/macrophyte.pdf

    Read this paper well.
    It's a heavy read for some.
    But it supports what we see in aquariums as well.

    Fe is a bit tricky................the real question are not the levels of nutrients in the water or the sediments............, rather...........what are actually bioavilable to the plants.

    Chelated Fe might be present, but very tough to remove for the plant, or bound Fe at higher mv levels of redox might also not be present for plant uptake.
    Same for PO4 and bound forms of N etc. K+ has no bound forms or organic complexs...........

    Often, dry tissue analysis is done to compare.
    Not easy for aquarists, so they se test kits and measure only the water column, they do not measure the sediments unfortunately, and where they have, they have not measured the bioavailable nutrients.............

    This causes a lot of issues.
    I doubt you will find a better group of Aquatic plant researchers than at IFAS dept anywhere in the world. There are some really good passionate researchers in Europe and in MS, LA, WI, etc as well.

    But not as group or as good a location with funding.


    They, nor when I discuss such things with researchers find such disagreements, hobbyists do however.

    Ole, Troels and Karen Randall and I discuss that one not too long ago:)
    Took about 2 minutes to come to an agreement;)
    We talked about how cool the Redwoods are here in CA and what we found in the tide pools and what Thai food we are having for dinner.

    Also, be careful with the web, simply because it sounds nice and furry, they tell you what you want to hear, does not mean it is in anyway correct.
    They often also ask you to believe them based on faith, not results or support.
    They skip answering certain questions and will not give many straight ones.

    I got sick of that long ago.
    So this is why and how I do things now.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  14. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I think from your prespective, yes, it does, but for Laka, it has not.

    This is where we can use some decent bit of logic and assmptions that are good and valid(safe). I do not need convincing, nor might you. You have done the various methods over the years and have about the same time in I do.

    Laka, you might approach this another way: you accept that other folks have done well with EI with and without high plant biomass?

    Not yourself, just that other folks indeed done it and done it over long time frames??

    If you can accept that and assume that they are telling the truth(no reason why they might lie), and also that other methods also work, say PPS/PMDD/PMDD+PO4, ADA, Sediment based methods, Lean EI, rich EI etc, at low, and moderate light etc...........then what are the odds it's something that is an inherent flaw within EI or the theory behind it?

    PMDD was easy for me to show that it was incorrect, I just had to falsify the claim that high PO4 alone caused algae blooms.

    That's easy.

    However, what does cause algae?
    I did not answer that:p
    The theory of PMDD tried to answer that, but failed, but it could be tested to show if the theory was correct, then we should see algae if we added high non limiting PO4 levels for algae in inorganic highly bioavailable forms.

    I did not see any algae, I was growing P stelleta(still do) like mad, whereas many had issues, I had mad color, crazy pearling etc.

    But no algae..........I knew that it could not be due to limiting PO4.
    I was not aware I was adding PO4, my tap was loaded.
    Steve tested it and measured it for me and we went back several times in disbelief. Then calibrated it, then came back again and measured. Same results.

    Such conflict is intensely interesting actually(at least to me).
    Maybe algae are induced by other environmental or biological signals?

    Seems likely.

    CO2 is easy to do and messing with it under high light is an easy study.
    NH4 is only under higher light intensities and if the system is new etc or destabiized, uprooting a lot of plants will also do this, and adding a lot of rotting leaves to the tank can also induce algae. In general, the system is far more sensitive at higher light intensities.

    Back to what you have been thinking and seeing.
    If you limited PO4 and the algae was reduced, it very well could be that the PO4 is now more limiting than CO2, so the plant reduces it's demand for CO2........which also reduces the rates of growth............so now the CO2 demand is met.

    But growth is still limited and you think it's the PO4 causing the algae to stay at bay, not CO2 which is the root of the issue. To test this, adding more CO2 and adding more PO4 shows this to be the case.

    I did this a few times back in the late 1990's on a few different tanks.
    Did not matter much at lower light.
    You can likely guess why not.

    Some other things to be aware of when testing algae, it must be in full log phase growth, some 1/2 dead algae hanging on is a poor candidate. So you need to know how to induce and grow algae.

    Only then, when you can reproduce it's growth every time, can you say cause.
    This is a much higher bar to jump than a theory which one test can falsify. It took a lot more work and time and is still in the process, likely for the next 20-30 years at least.

    One replication is not enough either, you have to test it several times, you can do this in blocks on the same tank and do it several times, or use several tanks, or pool resources and have several folks within your group do it. Best to have a group of local folks do things together to make sure everyone is on the same page and at the same level.

    We all make mistakes also.
    I'm very skeptical of myself and what I see, measure, do etc.
    I do not trust myself much. I'm human and prone to error, so I try to figure out ways around that and confirm things and methods.

    There is no reason why other methods "do not work", they do.
    If you can accept that, then you should look at the trade offs, how they relate to you, what you did in the past, where you want to go later as youe goals change.
    This way you can control growth much easier, have fewer issues no matter which nutrient dosing method you chose.

    And much less algae.

    I nor Steve was ever able to induce BBA after about 1 full year of active testing for either N or P. We played with CO2, bam! It was a real eye opener.
    I can still do it today. REcently I went down and adjusted a few things for a friend, they had BBA. I add more CO2, they got scared after awhile and thought there was too much based on a poor test method. The BBA had gone away. When they adjusted it back down, they got it again.
    This went back and forth 3 times total.

    I've confirmed it for being a cause at least 2 dozen times on tanks myself.
    1-2x maybe by chance, but not this many.
    Still........it only suggest 1 cause, there might be other causes.
    It also took about 2-3 weeks to see it appear and it tends to get progressively worse for a period. It's not immediate cause and effect, many algae are that way.



    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  15. laka

    laka Prolific Poster

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    Thanks Tom once again for enlightening the readers on nutrient issues as relating to algae.
    Personally, i experienced good growth with minimal algae using EI for 6/12. I subsequently changed to PPS Pro to reduce the labour involved with water changes. Similar growth and minimal algae...but i do now have a BBA problem. I put that down to poor tank maintenance as i was overseas for 6/52 and upon arriving back i noticed BBA on anubias and vals glass and powerheads.
    I decided to reduce the light intensity by switching off the metal halides thus giving me a reduced wattage of 1.5 watts/gallon whilst away, but kept the CO2 levels up and the PPS pro dosing constant, but for some reason BBA appeared. WHY? My CO2 was stil 4-5bps, pH swings of 0.8 between on/off cycles for CO2.
    I have since added a standardised drop checker that consistently reads yellow, no fish stress and commenced weekly water changes 10-20% to see if this will solve the problem.

    LAKA
     
  16. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I think you are certainly are on the right track.

    Yes, we all can get away with fewer water changes. Many did/still do fewer water changes than weekly. Some avoided them altogether, some did it with test kits, some without.

    Dosing ferts and using test kits to balance is nothing "new", and PPS certainly steps on the work of others in it's claims to be as such(EI, list of levels and parameters and PMDD). Here's something we wrote back in 1996:

    http://www.barrreport.com/estimative-index/2386-old-version-1996-1997-list-levels-parameters.html
    I suggested testing and water changes.

    If you are helping folks rather than pushing an agenda in this hobby, yo will use several things to help them, no just relying on test kits alone and thinkign they will actually use them consistently and will have no errors. CO2 is a huge issue and large water changes are a good method to see if there is a CO2 issue.

    I myself suggested less water change but we tended to include water changes as a safety valve rather than as some great benefit, still, many did pretty good(some went several years without a water change I personally know and I myself went 9 months etc).

    If you cannot do the water change, you might not want to keep CO2 enriched tanks. This is a trade off, not something inherent in the method of doing water changes vs using a test kit and adding ferts(this is certainly PMDD philosophy, not PSS). Still, no ferts are really required for non CO2, no test kits and no water changes.

    No algae either.
    That 1st tank above is over 2 years old, no water change yet, water is tad yellow, but that's fine.

    Do not assume that drop checker is okay, nor pay much heed to the pH.
    KH likely drops in such tanks with fewer water changes, this causes folks to think the pH is fine if stable. Drop checkers are slow to respond, not a bad general tool and easy to use, but do not put that much trust i them;)
    I do not use them myself nor pH.

    Another simpler method is there, watch the plants.........but it requires diligence initiallyand experience.Somethings that are lacking with some and with new folks.
    So this will lead to errors for some folks and some will kill their fish etc.

    At lower light, this is an easy target to hit.
    BBA itself will not merely die once you restore good CO2 in many cases.
    Lowering the light is awlays a good idea if there's a plant or algae issue.

    Why might that be?
    Nutrient demand or CO2 demand?
    CO2...........it's 45% of the plant's biomass and measuring it is hard to do accurately, it changes not day to day but hour to hour and can range from 0-1ppm to 35ppm in less than 1 hour.

    Given all that, I think keeping an eye on that, using water changes as a safety valve, good care over time yeilds pretty good results.

    Look at ADA, they suggest low light, rich sediments(less dosing issues), daily dosing, good CO2 and large weekly or more water changes.

    This makes it easy for folks. I agree with that. Can you get away with fewer water changes once the tank is established? Yes. It is more risk, some do not mind it.

    I make water changes easy as possible for myself, or clients.
    Then it's not so m uch a motivational issue, or labor intensive. I turn a valve to drain, turn another to fill. I can clean, prune and work inside the tank much easier when the water change is going on. If I uproot and move things, then all that organic material is cleaned out etc.

    Running the tank lean is fine, but it does not save anyone from BGA/BBA, and using less light will help the leaner you go.

    I think many are still enamoured with PO4 limitation and are unwilling to concede that it does not induce algal blooms. This business has gone on for over a decade now and the critics are trying to play a semantics game, rather than using results and testing. Anyone that's done this for a long time knows, they are not guessing, that PO4 limitation does not stop algae, rather, things like CO2 are the larger driving factors.

    After having it occur many times, they can validate it and also modify and help folks using PPS(how might they know this?), there's no rule that says you must do EI weekly for water changes, or dosing the full amount, it can and likely should be modified.

    But no method works well if you have issues with CO2.........and algae and plants tell a lot and are more accurate and a better "test kit", they measure exactly what you are interested in.

    You can use some excel, water changes, remove a few things and bleach, trim plant leaves etc, keep the light lower(and whenever you leave for a few days), do the same old thing and get the tank whipped back into shape.

    Folks have had bad BBA in every dosing method, this does not imply that it is PO4, NO3 etc. Even radically limited PO4 tanks have it. The moral here is really to look more into things beyond a certain agenda that tells you what you want to hear and claims to have all the answers.

    No such method.

    So you look at the overall factors that drive plant growth, see if you can induce algae etc if you really want to confirm things. Then you can understand every method and how they are pretty much the same, but importantly, now you can modify and build one that best suits your methods.

    Some folks like high light and trimming often.
    Many do not.

    Some hate test kits and simply will not do it.
    Some do not mind.

    Most of these issues are human factors to control things and avoid work.
    I can automate a water change and make it far easier, I cannot do this for testing the water and I am still left with many unknowns that the water changes removes.

    It takes effort to test for me, and I need a reason more than day to day keeping of planted tanks. So I ask interesting questions(at least to me), and test the ideas on purpose. Then after the results I no longer need to test further really.
    I have my answer(hopefully) and generally 5 more questions now that it has been answered.........This does not lead to simple easy nice answers(the kind many want to hear)

    I am more likely to do a water change than test. Most aquarists fall into this group(more social science and the human factor, not aquarium issues).
    If your goal is few water changes, I'd stick with the lower light, switch to ADA AS, CO2(or not), lean dosing(the ADA AS will help there and give more wiggle room, another back up source of ferts) is fine as the deamnd is much lower due to low light, less CO2 demand and flux-> less algae, longer times between increase/decreases in nutrients etc.

    You should be able to get away with 1x a month water change without too much issue(mostly do them after a big trim). Perhaps longer depending on the plant species etc. You still should prune and top, add some Excel if you see any BBA, keep things clean, clean the filter often.

    Remember that reduce filter flow ates occur when they get clogged leading to less flow in the tank. This can also lead to reduced CO2=> BBA. Neglected tanks and clogged filters, even high bioloading also some to induce BBA.

    Consider these also and stay on top of things, it might take a few weeks if you are agressive, but it should go away, particularly if you focus on less light and good CO2.






    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  17. fablau

    fablau rotalabutterfly.com
    Staff Member Moderator

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    All this discussion is very interesting and I am having a BBA right now, after well 3 months of a 75gl very well planted aquarium. Filamentous algae started to grow on some Java moss around 3 weeks ago, and now I have to remove it around the thank every 2-3 days. By reading Tom's suggestions on Co2 dosage, I am beginning to think that my aquarium has reached a tipping point of plant grow where probably more Co2 dosage is needed. I have been stick with 3 bubbles per second until now (plants have grown incredibly well, no algae at all until 3 weeks ago and I thought to have found the "perfect balance" and ecosystem), and now my plants (with a biomass 4-5 folds more since my aquarium started) may probably need more Co2... maybe I should increase my Co2 dosage? Would that help to prevent algae? I could try that...

    Any comments and ideas are very welcome!

    Thank you for these incredible forums Tom.

    Best,
    Fabrizio.
     
  18. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    As the plant growth gets bigger, it also gets more dense and tends to stop the water in the tank from circulating well. That will reduce the availability of CO2 to all of the plants. So, not only do you need more CO2 going into the tank after lots of plant growth, you also need to rework the water circulation to make sure all plants get water flowing past them. Eventually that isn't possible and a heavy pruning is the only way to correct this. BBA seems to almost always follow problems with too little or fluctuating CO2 concentration, and poor water circulation is one cause of both low CO2 and fluctuating CO2 for certain areas of the tank.
     
  19. fablau

    fablau rotalabutterfly.com
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    Thank you for your reply, so you confirm the fact that a lack of Co2 can cause BBA. I will try then to increase Co2 dosage (from 3 bubbles per second to 4 bps), then I will post my results here. Water circulation inside the tank may have been reduced a little bit due to plant grow, but I don't think so much to cause this issue (I trim and keep under control those spots where plants may reduce water circulation).

    At first I thought the BBA problem was due to too much nutrients in the water (I use Seachem Flourish and Flourish Trace once a week with the recommended dosage on the bottle), but by reading here I found that too low Co2 can be the primary cause of algae blooming. I will try to increase Co2 dosage!

    Thank you again.
     
  20. detlef

    detlef Subscriber

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    I've seen BBA occur many times after a big hack or even a moderate trim. We usually do a water change afterwards and think we're done. No, we are not. What is left in the filter is debris and dead or dying plant matter which we are not aware of and therefore do not think about anymore. Tom said that even higher bioloading might induce BBA! Low CO2 does not seem to be the only root cause for BBA. I've seen it occur too many times and repeatedly despite high and consistent CO2 levels. And yes BBA will NOT start to visibly grow immediately after the filter has trapped debris. The time frame hoovers around two weeks until it gets visible. I've learned to clean the filter media the next day I've trimmed or moved plants around.

    If I encountered a BBA infestation I'd manually remove as much as I can, do a water change, introduce some SAEs and Caridina japonica and CLEAN THE FILTER SYSTEM!


    Best regards,
    Detlef
     
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