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having won the fight

Discussion in 'Algae Control' started by Jaybeeaitch, Nov 18, 2010.

  1. Jaybeeaitch

    Jaybeeaitch Guest

    Local Time:
    7:28 PM

    I seem to have almost won a longstanding battle against algae, mostly by blackouts, and reducing lights down to six hours a day. I was probably not following best practice, because along the way I lost a lot of plants (they got leggy and faded away), but I am now back up to 10 hours a day (33 gallons with double 30+ watts of T8 with reflectors, but alternated singly morning and evening with siesta, no CO2), and have a reasonably healthy collection of Java fern, Java moss, Anubias and Crypts, some manky looking red ludwigia, and a single stem of moneywort. New growth is slow and a lot less leggy on the stem plants, but I still have some BBA, which likes the rocks and the edge of the Anubias, and is beginning to thrive since turning up the lights.

    I have a specific question about carbon. I am intending to keep the system low tech, but was wondering if dosing with Excel would help to get more growth on the stem plants, and allow me to experiment with more varieties. My concern is that I can only dose 4 mornings a week. Is variable Excel as bad as variable CO2 (I am hinting that I know high lights destroys Rubisco, so plants lose their ability to take up low concentrations of CO2). If it is, then I will have to stick to no carbon additions (and forego the possible benefits of Excel with the BBA).

    I am currently being guided on my approach to low light setups by Toms sticky on no-CO2 methods, but it's early days yet. I have brought water changes down to 1 every two months, although to help get rid of algae, I was changing 50% weekly.

    In case anyone is wondering, water comes out of my tap with nitrates 0-5ppm, phospates about 4ppm, no measurable GH or KH, pH 7. I try to keep the water in the Aquarium at a GH of 4, KH 1 or 2, and keep my eye on phosphates, which I can reduce by Rowaphos or a JBL product. I have taken my eye off the phosphate ball becuase of what I read (and maybe don't understand ) in this forum, currently they are sitting at 10ppm in the aquarium. Ammonium and Nitrite are never measurable.

    thanks to anyone who has the time to help answer my Excel question.

    regards, John
  2. Ekrindul

    Ekrindul Guru Class Expert

    Jul 9, 2010
    Likes Received:
    Local Time:
    1:28 AM
    I think ensuring the plants have the nutrients they need and patience is the only condition to keeping most plants, so if the light level is low enough, carbon enrichment shouldn't be necessary. You'll want to establish some stability over several months before introducing more delicate plants, as they will struggle more to adapt to the environement.

    The algaecidal characteristic of Excel seems to counter any issues with variability from what I've seen. Or, it may be that algae cannot make use of carbon in this form and doesn't recognize it as a trigger, too (I seem to recall reading that somewhere, but I may be imagining it as I cannot find the source now). I think of more concern is, since you aren't using presurrized CO2, you will want to back off the Excel gradually once you decide to discontinue use of it to give the plants more time to adapt to it's abscence.

    I didn't find it was necessary to overdose Excel to drive BBA out or dip plants, either. Consistent dosing over time works well and safer for fish. Low pressure flow seems to help dissuade BBA from growing, as well. Something to consider.

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