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Antagonists (trace/macro elements)

Discussion in 'Advanced Strategies and Fertilization' started by bonklers, Feb 11, 2005.

  1. bonklers

    bonklers Junior Poster

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    Hi all,

    I'm new here. I really enjoy the barr-reports, it has many interesting new ideas and different approach of taking care of planted tanks, which I'm trying out myself now. There are some questions I would like to ask though.

    What I understand is that with Estimative Index approach, you focus on plant's need instead of limiting your tank "parameters" to outcompete algae. With this you make sure there is an excess of essential "parameters" (light, CO2, macro and traces) for the plants to use. This approach comes from the assumption (?) that the algae have the advantage in a limited tank (January report, uptake dynamics).

    Now there is an article (in Dutch Adriaan Briene) that brought me to the Diagram of Mulder. To summerize/translate, it's a diagram that shows which elements has a positive or negative uptake-effect on eachother, the latter called "antagonists". Here below is the diagram from the website:
    [​IMG]

    The line which has two opposite arrows are antagonists, and the brown lines are the one which have positive uptake-effect. As an example, having too much fosfor (P) will decrease the uptake of Fe by plants while having lots of sulfur (S) will increase uptake of Fe (and Mn).

    Having read the whole article, I couldn't find any more information about this. Like for example, is this effect dependent of the concentration in the tank? If it does, then how exactly, linearly or is there a minimum marge? For example if this effect only takes place at PO4 concentrations of 100 ppm and higher, then we don't have to worry about it. After seeing this diagram, most folks says it's best to keep your PO4 low and so on and so on without knowing anything else about it.

    So I was curious if there is anyone who could say more about this. Especially from the POV of the Estimative Index method where you make use of excess of all the elemets.

    Greetings from Holland,
    Hendra
     
  2. m lemay

    m lemay Prolific Poster

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    Re: Antagonists (trace/macro elements)

    Interesting diagram. I like it !

    I have a few questions, maybe you know the answers.

    The blue lines with one arrow. Are they also protagonists like the brown lines?
    What does the direction of the arrow signify, if anything?

    Why is there no K for pottasium?


    Thanks
    Marcel
     
  3. bonklers

    bonklers Junior Poster

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    Re: Antagonists (trace/macro elements)

    It seems that I've read the article too fast, the blue lines are antagonist, one arrow means it's one sided, two arrows two sided. So for example, having excess of Ca can decrease the uptake of Fe, but the opposite is not true (which explains the signs). The two sided antagonist-effect of Fe and PO4 comes from that they can bind to eachother.

    We can see Ca has lots of outgoing blue arrows, in this article he uses this to explain why plants shouldn't be kept in hard water. I've also read that Ca is a antagonist for pottasium (Ca----blue-line-->K), but he didn't say anything about why it's not in the diagram.

    Just a reminder, the article I'm using is from Adriaan briene's website, too bad it's only in Dutch.
     
  4. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Antagonists (trace/macro elements)

    I think you will see a strong amount of evdence over the coming mobnths to show that algae and plants are in a different "niche".
    A mouse and an Elephant are both herbivores and can both eat similar plants.
    But few would sya they really compete for food and are in the same niche ecologically.

    Algae and Plants are even further apart than this animal comparison.
    Algae also have many times more surface to volume ratio meaning there's a lot more surface area to take in small amounts of nutrients and little need to transport. A plant in many billions of cell, while many algae are perhaps 1-100 cells.

    I've not found any reasonable excess ranges for single cominations and ther general cominations have not caused any repeatable issues I could find to date.

    I think much of the research suggested is often from terrestial systems where the redox and the availability of gases and the concentrations are often far different and dramatic involving fungi to a much larger degree.
    Terrestrial systems are more complex in most respects.

    This is why algae are often used for models.
    Calvin came up with the Calvin cycle, the so called dark reactions, using algae.

    Fe-PO4 issues stem from preciptation and release. At lower redox values FePO4=> PO4 and Fe are released from the solid back into the ionic solution forms. This occurs in the substrate and at low O2 levels.

    Unlike theory and application issues, the EI was based on plant health and growth, not a theory. The theory has been applied later. But looking into this "theory" I've found it to agree with all the research on lakes and plants specifically in situatuons that apply directly to our tanks.

    I have played around with these ranges for close to a deacde.
    3-100ppm of K+
    10-450ppm of Ca+
    1-50ppm of Mg
    Fe at 2ppm or not measurable (Fe as a proxy for the other traces)
    0-2ppm of PO4
    0-75ppm of NO3.
    CO2 advice has been pushed up from 1--15ppm to 20-30ppm.

    These are fairly wide easy to hit ranges.
    I do not know where they start to fall off and cause issues.
    I do know within these general ranges, things grow well.

    This is a very large target to hit.
    Plants seem to do better, not worse at high GH's. KH's might be another story, but GH's alone do not seem to cause issues at high levels.

    Many of my tanks in the gallery are very hard water systems. Both Claus and myself have reported the best plant growth comes from hard water CO2 rich springs.

    Not soft tannin waters.

    So while he can say this all day long, he'll need to explain why I have little trouble and why we also find the best growth in hard waters and why in harder waters there are faster growth rates when researchers like Dr Bowes does experiments on Hydrilla and harder water.

    Theory can be bent to suit whatever arguement you wish, but.......it needs to show why these other results occur.......... it fails poorly in this regard.
    People say PO4 causes algae, why don't I have any when I dose 2ppm?
    This is no diofferent.

    If someone cannot address these critiques with any support, well, they really do not have any arguement, they have a belief that can be disproven.

    Pore water in wetland soils is a good place to consider higher levels of nutrients interacting but..........these are still far more than what we might add or need to the tank.

    The EI also uses large weekly water changes to stabilize the nutrients. This prevents any excesses from ocurring.

    Some try to get by without water changes/testing etc, but if you keep uop on a simple routine that's easy and flexible, most do very well.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  5. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Antagonists (trace/macro elements)

    Okay, this is the same guy that believes the redfield ratio will cure BGA and thinks that's the reason for it's cause(ratio issues between N/P).
    That's wrong.

    It's low NO3, you can test this and play all day logn with various N and P ratios and never have BGA.

    If the NO3 drops down, generally below 2ppm for a long peroid of time, BGA tends to creep in and starts growing well. Organic matter and dirty filters/less flow help.

    The redfield ratio is based on a marine phytoplankton pelagic system.
    This dramatically and radically different from a wetland or a lake/river with a rich substrate and/or water column. Algae are not limited in the FW planted tank. You can use resins etc to remove thing but the plants will leak out all the nutrients algae need and the algae will get them before the resins will because the algae grow right on the plant.

    The plant is a large storage of nutrients, and we need to supply the nutrtients somehow to the plants as well.

    His ratios for assumptions on plant biomass and N/P ratios are wrong, macrophytes have about 10:1 N/P ratios, Fw algae about 14:1 and marine plankton about 16:1.

    These ratios are meaningless unless you go to radical extremes or limit the nutrients.

    This is not allowed to occur and is bad for planted tanks, it stunts or slows their growth, and it selects for the algae which have far less needs than plants. The focus should always be the plant's health and growth.

    Theory is good, but it needs to be practical and apply to the observations specifically. References need to be specific as possible. Misapplying iof theory and references occurs in science but much more so in public web sites suggesting a solution to something.

    You'll see many many lake references from Florida on the last article.
    Take a look at some. I know these guys, this stuff applies

    I've not believed what I've read for a very long time. I went about testing things to see if these Aquarium plant theories were right, most are not.

    After working with the substrate, water column and many different methods, you get a feel for weak arguements and why a system might work or not. I can predict most things very very well at this point. I've done it for many years.
    Having both the practical side and the academic side makes me very direct and opinionated to some (I do this on purpose).

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  6. bonklers

    bonklers Junior Poster

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    Re: Antagonists (trace/macro elements)

    Thanks for your input Tom.

    So if I understand correctly, you see no reason to believe in a "golden ratio" between P and N. Let's say if I have good healthy tank, with the EI parameters as my start position and from here on, gradually increasing only my NO3 level, this won't cause algal outbreak? If this is corrent, then the upper limit of the water parameters you suggest (in your first reply) comes from the thought of having more excess will be waste of money instead of being afraid for algal outbreak? I would love to test this out, unfortunately I don't have a healthy thank to mess with.

    I believe he was one of the first ppl who introduced Redfield Ration (RR) in my country :), or at least one of the first groups who actually used it. It's a very popular method to get rid of algae. BTW it's also possible to have a good RR with excess of N and P (Charles Buddendorf at NO3 15ppm and PO4 1ppm). Ofcourse the general advice is to keep the NO3 and PO4 as low as possible while having a good RR. With the poor accuracy from the test kits ppl are using these days (accuracy of different brands of NO3 test), I don't really believe they are having the RR they're aiming for, let alone 7 days a week. So one says he has a great tank thanks to RR with minimum P and N, while in reality he still has excess of them.

    This is why I don't bother to try it out because it'll cost me inaccurate test kits, time and headache. This is when I accidently met the EI method, at that time it sounds like a method for lazy aquarists :).

    Though I shouldn't talk so negatively about the RR-method, because there are lots of ppl who's having green/lush tanks out of it (blame it on the accuracy of the test kits! :)) while I'm for ever stuck up with my algae farm.
     
  7. reiverix

    reiverix Lifetime Members
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    Re: Antagonists (trace/macro elements)

    So, after I set up my tank and finally got things to balance out, I noticed a calcium deficiency. I had twisted and cupped java fern leaves growing in. So I started dosing CaCl2 at 1ppm per day. This helped but still not perfect. I'm actually a bit stunned to see that you have been dosing up to 450ppm of Ca+.

    Is that a typo?.
     
  8. m lemay

    m lemay Prolific Poster

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    Re: Antagonists (trace/macro elements)

    Whats your Gh readings? 4-5 gh or more is good. less than that, you can have Ca deficiencys show up.
     
  9. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Antagonists (trace/macro elements)

    Maybe after a trip to the hashish bar :D
    Ratios do not matter till things become limiting.

    I've gone to 75ppm NO3, I did this for 3 weeks, I did not get any algae.
    I maintained everything else in a stable range. I typically have 20-30ppm.
    Beyond this range NO3 starts to be a fish issue, like NH4/NO2.
    This is a wide range(10ppm) target to hit and teaspoon measurements can hit to about 2ppm +/- with NO3 and KNO3.

    I do not know at what range many of the upper ranges are truthfully till you get poor plant growth, inhibition or algae. They are quite high and rather impractical as very few people would ever add that much, even if you messed up a lot, whicgh many do, they are rather surprised that the plants still do well and they have no algae, I've seen 5-8ppm of PO4 for example.
    These ranges are very well in the excess ranges..........

    > If this is corrent, then the upper limit of the water parameters you suggest >(in your first reply) comes from the thought of having more excess will be >waste of money instead of being afraid for algal outbreak? I would love to
    >test this out, unfortunately I don't have a healthy thank to mess with.

    Yes, save your $, namely with traces(macro's are cheap)...........I describe how to do that and maximize the $ there.

    Yes, , in order to test properly, you need a healthy tank to begin with.

    That is why many don't believe it and argued about it. But I did have healthy tanks and the curiousity to see what might happen by doing this.
    I knew I could a water change, trim and remove the algae, I got quite good at dealing with algae long before this.

    You see, that bugs me. Why say something you have not investigated?
    They are talking smack. They don't know and I know they don't know.

    This is why I become very contentionist with people often times.
    I've done the research and tried this out, I know the results.

    If someone wants to disagree with me that obviously has not done the research and has no practical experiences..............I'm going to give them crap about it.

    You are wise and looking at things well my friend.
    One point in time is rather useless, a rate or a peroid of time is much more useful, many blocks of the time peroids are useful as well.

    That takes time though. and you need good test kits and calibrate the test kits as well.

    Well, we really don't know what they are doing, I will not speculate too much there. I can guess based on the plant health though that the needs are being met for a given light intensity. That I can do.
    Whether the nutrients come from the substrate or the water column or from fish food is another matter.

    Some disagree with you though........they believe water changes are hard and not needed and they can dose based on their cheap test kits and calibrate them enough to make them useful. This takes much more skill, but some claim it's easier for them. Personally I think a light vacuuming and big water changes removes more junk and build up and keeps the tank as clean as possible and everything in inorganic plant bioavaliable form.

    Getting folks to buy and use test kits is a very difficult issue.
    I like testing and have some awesome lab equipment.
    But few get into this hobby to test water.

    They get into to grow the plants.

    But many folks tried the test kit and chase methods in the past and many had trouble. Some have come back to it and calim they have something all new. But we repeat things and reinvent the wheel.

    I'm guilty of this assumption myself with CO2, others have suggested higher CO2 rates in the 30-40ppm ranges but at the time I started arguring for higher CO2, the typical advice was 10-15ppm.
    KarenRandall remined me not very long about this as I was tootin my horn about that. I'd figure out what someone and many before me already had.

    I admit my booboos and do not act like I invented it. But I did reconfirm it independently.

    Along the way I foundf many other new things that were not figured out in the hobby.I knew that was not enough except perhaps in a low light tank with a poor test kit(if was more likely).

    I did not trust anything. I went through every component in the planted tank.
    I already had excellent working knowledge of the SW and FW systems, water treatment education, then I went back to college and did that route.

    I know my weeds.

    Well, if you ask for help, we can fix that and then you can bother them.
    Getting rid of algae is something I've done for many folks for many years, I have a extremely high success rate and not just with a few types of algae or with one particular method, I do Reef tanks, FW non CO2, ponds, lakes, CO2 enriched tanks, anything with plants in it.

    I don't know anyone that can do that and move from each field easily.
    Also, just because they have a nice scape does not imply their method is better or worse.

    I can force any method to do well, especially if that's the only way I have available to me or know about.

    I did a lot of picking on the macro marine algae planted tank, the method still need work IMO.

    But I did it, and I do not think anyone else will get to that level with that many macro algae species for quite some time.

    Amano said he thought that planted tank styles have all been done, he's overlooked 500 species of marine plants.

    I'm going to enter the 25 gal marine tank and see what the hell he does.
    I doubt I'll have the cold water tide pool macro algae tank done in time.
    It's a 40 gal cube.

    If you want to fix or improve your tank, you tell me what your goal is.

    Then when you do, let me discuss something with you. I would like to get the report done in Dutch. I will work something out with you to do this.

    I hate language barriers and it is a goal of mine to have these ideas expressed in every language.

    I greatly admired Dutch tanks in the growing up. Now it's something to be able to help folks there and in Germany (I'm looking for a German speaker as well) today and help focus on the plant's needs and not deal with all these other assumptions.

    We create assumptions and barriers, we build these into our methods, but that is not necessary............the same is true of life.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  10. reiverix

    reiverix Lifetime Members
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    Re: Antagonists (trace/macro elements)

    Well this is something that has puzzled me. My gH is 10 out the tap. I'm following the EI as close as I can. I never know what PO4 is going to be from one week to the next, usually 1-2ppm. But since Tom is giving a wide margin the for macro/micro range, I'm probably fussing over nothing and just trying to be too precise.
     

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