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Check this: INTRODUCTION TO FERTILIZING AND ALGAE CONTROL by Christian Rubilar

Discussion in 'Algae Control' started by dutchy, Apr 1, 2010.

  1. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Well, I was never able to understand or see it any differently that you either, do not feel bad.
    If you cannot make it clear and somewhat simple, well..........it's not going to catch on much over time.
    The basic tenent has issues from the start, so wasting time trying to filter what the idea is/is not, was not helping.

    This has been a while ago.
    I forgot a fair amount of what was said.





    Sure, how's your calculus and electrical engineering?? I got my system to work, several others using the same machine have not been so lucky.
    Hopefully I'll get most of it done this summer.

    Then maybe post doc.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  2. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    You've seen my math; it's sort of like what you get when a guy decides to patch his own camping/hiking gear. Ignorant, brutal, took 10x longer than it should, but it functions. Also, keep me far away from live wires.

    I honestly don't know what you're working at; just that it's coming this year. I'm not even sure what you're specializing in beyond something to do with plant biology despite the bit of looking that I've done.
     
  3. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Agreed. He seems to expect algae as inevitable and then works from there. He also seems hell bent on lighting firepower, but claims he wants to be more efficient in usage of ferts which makes little sense to me unless he's in an area where electricity is dirt cheap and fertilizers are something you just can't get easily or at reasonable cost. Seems easier to drop the amount of light down to
     
  4. barbarossa4122

    barbarossa4122 Guru Class Expert

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    Imo, one should keep an open mind and research and try to understand all the fertilizing methods. For me, i tried to do this and what I understand best and trust best is Tom's EI method. So far, it works for me. :) Btw, folks on this and other forums that help newbies like me deserve more than a BIG THANK YOU.
     
  5. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Effects of nano to micro sec high energy electrical current on plasma membranes. Not the typical student research project for Agriculture.
    Applied use: kill weeds for cheap, non chemical method.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  6. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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  7. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I think once someone has a good method that they can reproduce and come back to, they can branch out and try other methods.
    I think you will find a lot more similar things than differences.

    I'd focus on light and CO2 first however...............only then can you test nutrients.

    Master those, and then you can master most any method easily.

    Like teaching Jazz and the basics in music, then playing Metallica is really frigging easy and you can play most anything.
    Science often is not any different and aquariums certainly are not.

    Old saying; keep an open mind, but not so much your brains fall out.


    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  8. detlef

    detlef Member

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    Hi all,

    while I think there are many shortfalls and inconsistencies in Rubilar's method one aspect clearly stands out for me. It's his concept of "high" Mg levels fueling the growth of staghorn algae.

    Once I confused myself when I used MgSO4 and KNO3 for fertilization since the chemicals look nearly identical. About two to three weeks into the wrong way of dosing staghorn emerged when Mg was "high" and N low to absent. I removed all affected plants/leaves and resorted to my previous way of dosing. After that the alga did not reappear for years.

    Recently I sat up a new tank using mini landscape rocks which leach a good deal of Ca and Mg. I also added some extra Mg to balance "high" Ca levels from the tap. And voilà, staghorn showed up again. NO3 numbers at the time hovered around 5ppm. In order to correct the situation I mixed tap with distilled water and killed the alga by spraying Excel onto the affected areas.

    I concluded that the appearence of staghorn might have something to do with elevated Mg levels. Though I had not read anything anywhere about this issue before.

    More recently I learned about this same topic in Rubilar’s MCI method which confirmed correlation of “high” Mg amounts and staghorn.

    Can anyone else concur/assist to this?

    Best regards, Detlef
     
    #28 detlef, Apr 4, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 4, 2010
  9. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I had 52ppm in my tap water in Davis CA(look it up), I never once had staghorn the entire 2 years with 7 aquariums.

    Correlation perhaps and "me too"?

    I doubt many have Mg levels this high.

    Edward from PPS claimed, quite incorrectly, that excess Mg casues stunting and all sorts of other bad things when it got above 10ppm etc.

    I was at 5x this amount.

    Do I need or want 50ppm + Mg?

    No, maybe 1-10ppm is fine and decent easy target, but adding more Mg never really showed any pattern with Staghorn(Compsopogon sp).

    For any algae to be caused by something, a good test, not just one or two tanks where some correlation exist and presence is there........should be done and we cannot make any such conclusion until a long and thorough comparative test, where no one else has falsified the hypothesis, before we can start to accept that it's one potential cause. Even there, it's merely tentative. We really do not know 100%. Just because I or you or someone else cannot falsify the hypothesis, but several others can, we have accept it.

    It's much easier for them to falsify the hypothesis than to show for us that we controlled everything and know the test was truly independent.
    Few, if any aquarist have such control and ability.

    So through a process of falsification, we can narrow the possible reasons why, down.
    I really do not see much other way for hobbyists.

    I've dealt with many species of algae and inducement. I am much less sure of what causes algae and much more sure of what does not. I do know more about what causes plant growth, stress etc.
    I do not see this with what he wrote several years ago.

    But as is the case with any one that claims to have the silver bullet cure for algae cures..........it will come up many times before folks see the problems with the conclusions and spend enough time falsifying the hypothesis.
    I already have spent a very long time doing this already and have grown many species, so I already know if I've falsified it or not.

    Makes ruling things out and narrowing it down much simpler, rather than "speculation city".
    Does not imply I know what causes it however.

    I can speculate, but I try to point out that and there might be other possible causes.
    I do not think there's a strong environmental cue for many algal species spore germination signals. I think much of it, at least for us in our cases, are due to biological cues with the plants.
    When plants grow well, algae does not.

    We also kill and prune off algae aggressively, trim and export plants, add light, CO2, nutrients etc.
    These things have very strong affects also.

    Maybe there is something to staghorn and Mg, but I've never once seen it.
    I did see a patterning however, when GW=> BBA and then Stahorn with overloading and in conjunction with high Mg, when I tested overloading tanks with fish and shrimp to induce algae.

    This was under very high light also, CO2 could have been a role player though.

    I dosed to about .8ppm NH4 without issues in the past. Over time, the bacteria builds up also, but a fast spike before this occurs seems to be the key.
    Staghorn never seemed to be a primary succession alga, it always came later and then hung on aggressively.

    So secondary cues seemed to play a role, at least with my observations. Still, not much of an issue for me in any of my tanks, or client's and I cannot suggest it's induced by high Mg.
    I cut the tap after a year since the KH was 18, down to about 6.

    [​IMG]

    This would imply a Mg of about 1/3 or 16-18ppm or thereabouts the few times I measured it.

    Still almost 2x the levels claimed in PPS as detrimental to plants.
    Them's be some touchy hard to grow species according to many also.

    I guess to me, it's sort of like, if you speculate that excess PO4 causes algae, you need to test that actively.
    If you get some correlation with someone else, like Kevin and Paul did, how sure are you that some other factor was not causing it or looked at as well?
    How can you be certain the test is truly independent or not?

    This is much tougher than many hobbyist think.


    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  10. detlef

    detlef Member

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    Ok, thanks Tom,

    you've made it clear! Elevated Mg levels do not trigger staghorn. There seem to be some other unknown causes to get it started. Though as I understand it this alga likely kicks off
    easier when Mg is present in higher amounts.

    My intend for posting was to help narrowing down possible reasons. I observed correlation and therefore asked if there is something to it.

    Anyone able to grow staghorn in very soft water surroundings?

    Regards, Detlef
     
  11. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Grow it? Yes.

    Intentionally? No.

    High light, non CO2 situations with a pretty hefty bioload. I've got pretty soft water. kH/GH out of the tap is pretty low,
     
  12. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Encourages algae?

    How can a non limiting nutrient "encourage" algae if it's already non limiting?
    Does this not also encourage plant growth then if it's non limiting and Excessive wasteful ppm?????
    You cannot have this both ways.

    Is not "light" also encouraging algae?

    I've seen Staghorn in high GH/KH water, and also low KH/GH.
    Many discus tanks I've seen where loaded.

    I think many also claimed PO4 encourages algae once I started saying where's my algae if excess = algae blooms for PO4.
    Seen any evidence that more than non limiting encourages algae?

    In and of it's self?

    I sure haven't.

    Where's the evidence here?

    This is wild speculation without any support, just a few correlations, which can simply account for Mg ppm's for folks who happen to have staghorn for some other reason.
    Chance alone can easily rack up a few folks with some ppm's of any one nutuient.

    GW=> BBA=> Staghorn was the successional inducement, and many tanks that had BBA bad, often had Staghorn later.

    That and how to get rid of it(focus on plants) is about all I can say, other than taxonomy etc.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  13. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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    In his article the guy says that Ca/Mg levels should be 1:4 instead of 4:1. True or false?

    Thanks,
    dutchy.
     
  14. hbosman

    hbosman Guru Class Expert

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    Christian does indeed suggest this. I couldn't easily try this because the ca level in my water is too high to get to this ratio. I don't have easy access to RO water to reduce the ca level either. I guess I have to wait for input from somebody with softer water.
     
  15. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    False.

    I've had Mg/Ca ratio all over the place, this has never caused a single issue, unless it was due to a limiting value.
    Since most tap has some Ca, often it'll be low in Mg if anything, this is rarely an issue.

    All you have to do is compare tap water Mg and Ca over time.
    This was done a long time ago, Ed and this guy seem to think there's some key to this, which is garbage.

    No one in Algae research nor in Agriculture will tell this makes much difference.
    As long as they are non limiting individually, the ratios can be quite large, and observations also support this.

    Even if they are whatever ratio, ppm externally, this does not imply the endogenous Ca and Mg levelas are limiting.
    Plants maintain their own internal concentrations independent of the external water.

    If things get really really really far out, say 10000:1 etc, then sure.........

    But no one is suggesting this.

    I really take issue with this garbage when these people do not even have any idea about what they are talking about ecxept some rubbish they read on some web site about terrestrial plants.
    Dr Bloom is in the same building as me, he and Epstein are the authors of the most used text on Mineral Nutrition of Higher Plants in the USA.
    He does not suggets ratios mean that much, folks focus on them way too much, rather than on Liebig's Law and on the whole plant.

    What the hell do I or he know?
    These guys are claiming to be the experts and claim this stuff, but there's no support for it.

    Go figure.

    If you spike and redo the tank water and need to use RO and do all that...this is simply not going to happen for most hobbyist, so it's unrelaiistic in the first place, second, I do not have any issues other than maybe KH with a few species regarding if it's too high, still, the GH at 4:1 ratio has never done me or anyone else "wrong". I can mess tanks up real easy many other ways, but this ain;t done nothing.

    I also have had really high Mg in the tap. Around 1:1 but not 1;4, that;s going to be very difficult for virtyually everyone EXCEPT folks using pure RO and match his ratios.
    This is a small crowd indeed.

    So do we need this ratio?
    Do I?

    Apparently not:

    [​IMG]

    Ever seen his aquariums?

    Talk to the talk, but you'd better walk the walk as well.

    Here's high Mg for you.

    [​IMG]

    Here's high Ca:
    [​IMG]

    Where's my issues?
    Why don;t I have algae and issues?
    How come I can get rid of any species of algae pretty easily and with only a few simple tools ANY hobbyist can use?
    How come I do not need high light?
    How come I have lots of fish that bred and I sell lots of plants on the forums?

    Luck?


    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  16. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I think the bottom line is such claims and methods prey on frustrated hobbyist, even if the folks trying to help are well meaning.
    Some of this stuff is just poorly thought out.

    Stick with what grows plants.
    Then focus strongly on that and not look for algae "cures".

    Amano states this many times, the Folks at Tropica, so do I, and so does the research on natural systems where plants are present.

    Or goal is horticulture, so that's the focus, algae etc........are symptoms of poor care(No method cures this).

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  17. TheKillHaa

    TheKillHaa Prolific Poster

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    a possible summary of this text is that on tanks with algae, try to identify it, and proceed with protocols on there. The main one, or principal is to stop all fert except kno3, and dose it only until appear GSA. then use VERY small qty of phosfates. and keep going.
    use over 1 watt per galon, dont dose K2SO4, and avoid FE or micros if you dont need it.

    On my past disscusions with Rubillar, he said that this method was developed focusing on erradication of algae as no one before. He used to go with EI but with poor results years ago. was then when he checked parameters discovered "Mg and Ca issues" and precense of Green dust algae as a consistency under EI.

    i haven't try this method, i havent found time to do it, hopefully soon. But many new acuarists like it and says it works. at least, they say its good to initialize a tank with MDC and then after few months shift to EI or Liebig's ways.
     
    #37 TheKillHaa, Apr 5, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 5, 2010
  18. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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    The issue with his article is that he assumes to have good CO2. For me good CO2 is the hardest thing to make sure and to manage. The article doesn't show what his control was to make sure he had enough CO2. So he could have been succesful by limiting PO4 because of that.

    Another thing is that his method only seems to be valid for tanks with CO2. There are a lot of tanks without CO2, while EI is fully applicable without CO2. Also the fact that his method is too complicated for a lot of people. They will never induce algae on purpose just to find out how much ferts too use. Algae happens to them. They already have it. So induce it? They will not even see the difference. And if you don't help them they never get rid of it. You tell them about EI and they can do it. I helped a few people with algae too use EI. (see attachments) EI is simple. No protocols, no hassle, no induced algae. Everyone can do it.

    Rubilar can't?

    Regards,
    dutchy.

    before..JPG

    after..JPG
     
  19. detlef

    detlef Member

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    False, he does recommend a method. It's the same way Amano controls the amount of CO2: He watches the behaviour of shrimp.
    Simple or not so simple as you must know the animals well.

    Regards, Detlef
     
  20. jonny_ftm

    jonny_ftm Guru Class Expert

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    Sadely, many will never get it, despite how high you can scream it. Just like in life: often when we have a problem, we designate an immediate culprit. Human brain is made to take shortcuts. Only a deep reasoning can lead you out of these shortcuts.

    This guy fell on Ca and Mg, others are obsessed with KH and PH, others want to limit their darkest nightmare nutrient (Fe, NO3, PO4, SI... depends on the fellow) while they flood the tank with light forgetting Liebig's Law, others forget that a tank contains living animals and stock them like a fish soup getting high ammonia spikes and still look to another culprit, others feed like mad emptieing a big flakes box in less than a month while fearing to make more than a 15-20% WC (common trend in many European forums...)

    I think Tom sum it all. Since I removed algae from my view spot, I discovered a really new approach. EI is just the technical part, looking at the tank in its fullness as an echosystem is another story. Using EI and focusing on CO2 makes it easy for the beginner to start before getting used to the complexity of the balance
     
    #40 jonny_ftm, Apr 6, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 6, 2010
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