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Hydrogen Peroxide for Algae Control?

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by ricoishere, Sep 10, 2009.

  1. ricoishere

    ricoishere Junior Poster

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    I was reading some notes on another AP Forum, and came across these meeting notes:
    NJAGC January 2008 Meeting

    Anyone ever tried this?
     
  2. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Yes

    Yes Hydrogen Peroxide was quite popular in the 1990's, it can be effective, it has generally fallen out of favor, I think. I suspect safer alternatives have been part of that.

    It is a cheat, I have on occasion recommended, but as with any cheat, black-outs, antibiotics and all the rest really ought only be done in conjunction with steps to get at the root cause. These steps may kill the cyanobacteria (they hate oxygen) but won't cure the systemic weakness, that caused the problem.

    The PPS thing rings a bell seems perhaps a problem inherent to that system.

    Water changes safely introduce a lot of oxygen to the system.;)

    I have more if there is any interest.

    Biollante
     
  3. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    I've seen mixed results with it; sometimes there's a touch of plant damage, sometimes it kills more plant than algae. It's still something I'd turn to if I were trying to revive a tank coated in algae, but otherwise I usually stick with excel.

    Has anyone tried it with vascular plants? UG n' such?

    -Philosophos
     
  4. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Yes

    Yes, similar results, still not the kind of thing I recommend on a regular basis, better in my always humble opinion to fight it out, clean it up and get the conditions where they favor the plants over the cyanobacteria.;)

    You do indeed place your plants and critters in some jeopardy, many prefer to overlook or try to pretend they have no problem, but as with any endeavor and indeed life itself; it is all risk management.:)

    Shortcuts while tempting always come at a price.;)

    Biollante
     
  5. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    What I haven't seen done is long-term treatment. Small doses, every day, like excel. I'm sure if we dumped in enough excel to get those sort of results, we'd be doing FAR more than normal.

    As it happens I'm about to have an excess of hydrogen peroxide around in the next couple of weeks (don't ask)... maybe I should do some tests on a small scale.

    -Philosophos
     
  6. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    All Kinds of Uses

    I think there are some pretty good sources or information on H2O2 and aquariums.:)

    In the 1% or 3% solutions commonly available it is quite safe used in cosmetics teeth whitening, wound care and so forth at one time I seem to recall it being recommended for fish keepers to have around in the event of fish gasping for air, to oxygenate the tank.

    Just be careful with the stuff.

    I think the UK even powered there submarines with it instead of nuclear reactors.

    Biollante
     
  7. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    Oh I'll be testing it on a bucket of green water with some java fern, maybe a ghost shrimp. I've also got a 1.5 gal beta tank that actually came with a CF bulb, so you can imagine the algae; I may move the beta out and test there.

    -Philosophos
     
  8. yme

    yme Lifetime Charter Member
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    just reading this (old) thread....

    I was just like philiosophos wondering what long term effects are of low-dose h2o2 treatments. I couldn't find anything relevant on the www...

    could a low dose steady treatment be beneficial for aquatic (plant) life? a bit higher redox, maybe a bit inhibiting algae growth. could it act as a prophylactic (anti-algae) agent?

    or will also a low dose long term treatment kill aquatic life in the end?

    greets,

    yme
     
  9. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Shush!

    Hi,

    I am not smart enough to be Dan of Philosophos fame.:eek:

    I am not sure what the long-term effects of low dose H2O2 might be, since I have not used it long term and I suppose I really would not advise its use as a prophylactic agent, yet.

    However, it might be interesting if you were of such a mind, and I seem to recall you come equipped with an ORP meter, to see what effect at what quantities. Of course, track readings with observation journal and correlate results as possible.

    ORP in the water column is a generally taboo subject here, but using an old thread as cover and typing quietly, we may get away with it.

    In one of my main display tanks, a couple of hours after lights on, I get ORP readings mid-tank in an area of high current in the 420’s (highest captured was 441-mv), obviously this is during periods of high (extreme?) pearling. This range seems to me to be approaching oxygen toxicity, yet none of the critters seems the worse for the high ORP.

    This compares with most of my planted tanks that run mid to high 300-mv range.

    Though taboo, I think I am coming to a point where I think I can spot many problems and relate many tank conditions to ORP.

    So I may have to reconsider my advice in post six and rethink the whole hydrogen peroxide routine, carefully used, hydrogen peroxide might be a useful tool for not only algae control but perhaps even overall tank health.

    Biollante
     
  10. yme

    yme Lifetime Charter Member
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    hi!

    I wrote what was thinking! :)
    don't know whether it is correct or not.. but still..

    anyway, I am buying an ORP meter (just because I don't have it (keep it quiet)). I orderded the electrode yesterday! this is also the reason why I went browsing on this forum and came accross this post.

    another way to influence the redox potential is to use this philips ozone unit. Tom said it was a bit useless in freshwater planted tanks, but it would be possible to control your ORP readings...?

    I would be willing to give a long term low-dose treatment... if somebody can tell memore or less what "low dose" is... 0.01 mg/l? 0.1 mg/l 1 mg/l?


    greets,

    yme
     
  11. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Most use O3, which is a strong oxidizer, like H2O2, but can be dosed using a OPR controller.
    Not sure why folks would do this, and left over residual O3 will kill things if you push the ORP/Redox too high for sure.
    Redox varies a good deal in freshwater systems, but much less so in Reefs, marine systems, but not in tide pools, seagrass beds etc(freshwater is still much larger).
    Sediment Redox values also change, I has a hunch that the root/sediment interactions play a large role in many aquariums using enriched sediment muds, soils etc.

    As far as H2O2, well........it's cheap, some claim it cured their issues, I've never found it of much use, it acts as a contact algicide/herbicide.
    Several folks have killed their fish using it, like overdoing Excel........If you have rock/wood with algae on it, then it's one of many things you can add to kill the algae with a water change.

    Maybe it's due to lower nutrients they have algae in the 1st place? Or CO2? Or like many... using way too much light and not enough CO2/nutrients?
    We know............it's not due to lack of H2O2.

    While Excel, copper, H2O2, direct salt application of KH2PO4/KNO3 etc etc....will kill on contact, they really do not address the root issue.
    They help you get closer and fix things faster, but many do not know how to fix those issues and give up and assume it's all about nutrients.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  12. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Most use O3, which is a strong oxidizer, like H2O2, but can be dosed using a OPR controller.
    Not sure why folks would do this, and left over residual O3 will kill things if you push the ORP/Redox too high for sure.
    Redox varies a good deal in freshwater systems, but much less so in Reefs, marine systems, but not in tide pools, seagrass beds etc(freshwater is still much larger).
    Sediment Redox values also change, I has a hunch that the root/sediment interactions play a large role in many aquariums using enriched sediment muds, soils etc.

    As far as H2O2, well........it's cheap, some claim it cured their issues, I've never found it of much use, it acts as a contact algicide/herbicide.
    Several folks have killed their fish using it, like overdoing Excel........If you have rock/wood with algae on it, then it's one of many things you can add to kill the algae with a water change.

    Maybe it's due to lower nutrients they have algae in the 1st place? Or CO2? Or like many... using way too much light and not enough CO2/nutrients?
    We know............it's not due to lack of H2O2.

    While Excel, copper, H2O2, direct salt application of KH2PO4/KNO3 etc etc....will kill on contact, they really do not address the root issue.
    They help you get closer and fix things faster, but many do not know how to fix those issues and give up and assume it's all about nutrients.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  13. jonny_ftm

    jonny_ftm Guru Class Expert

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    Hi,

    I think that forgetting these products is the best you can do. Quiet any tank can be recovered curing the root cause, without redoing the tank

    Before:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    3 months later

    [​IMG]

    Despite the last photo is not a close up, I can promise you there's no algae trace and I have some closeups of all plants in this photo posted in another topic here

    Most plants are the same, only pruned to accelerate the algae battle.
     
    #13 jonny_ftm, Jan 19, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 19, 2010
  14. yme

    yme Lifetime Charter Member
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    @jonny_ftm:

    look at it from a different point of view:
    doing blackouts= cheating. it is a big hammer that smashes the algae back while doing relatively little harm to the plants. doesn't do anything to fix the cause. (yet tom promotes this extensively)
    killing bba with excel= cheating. I don't care that it is cheating. it is a very easy way to get rid of this algae.

    so yes, one can do everything to try to get a good, clean aquarium.... but it might be easier with a bit of cheating..
    a bigger problem for me at least: I don't know how to create these conditions. (in theory yes, but in my tank: no..)


    @tom:

    the question was whether H2O2 could be a little hammer that can be used to promote healthy plants (possibly by increasing the ORP), while having a mild anti-algae function.

    If I understand your post(s) correctly... then low dose H2O2 does not have an anti-algae effect because there is not enough oxidation. And increasing the ORP doesn't improve plant health in general.

    greets,

    yme
     
  15. aquabillpers

    aquabillpers Lifetime Charter Member
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    A H2O2 observation: I have some long-suffering anubias that are about 10 years old. Every six months or so they have been soaked in a 5% solution of bleach to remove algae. Often they would put out new leaves right after a treatment.

    Recently I cleaned them with H2O2. I applied it directly to the plants, out of the water. That seemed to bother the plants more than the bleach treatment. I won't use H2O2 again on them.

    Bill
     
  16. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Yes, I think most people fall into the group you mnention, cheating but few care.
    I don't.

    However, from a management prespective, I do.
    It means I've got more work to do to focus on plant health.

    So while it will beat down the algae, or clean things up here and there........that's about all I use it for.

    I've seen every species of algae die off and go dormant without blackouts, without algicides, just good pruning, cleaning, and adjustment of light and CO2 mostly.
    I'm trying to think of a species of algae where that has not been the case and I cannot think of any.

    Most of the products, chemicals etc are tools to beat algae back, but they have a certain limitation.
    They presuppose that something else must also be playing a factor for the algae to be there in the first place.

    No?

    So if you assume that to be true..........that it's some other factor(unknown or not) when the algicides are added, treatment methods, without any isolation or reference.........and with at least 2 variables, it becomes more difficult to evaluate any algae treatment without knowning the other factors are stable and in good shape, which means no algae.

    I fear we are hitting moving targets when folks try to answer if the algicide worked or not.
    If we know how to induce that algae and have it in the log phase of growth, then we might be much better able to evaluate the algicide's treu effect and what was our own unknown second(or third or fourth other variable).
    Algae researchers use this approach for that reason.

    Works well in aquariums, but becomes harder to extrapolate into the field(as most things often are).

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  17. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    I haven't had a chance to test yet, get my dosing guide started, or even upkeep my tanks properly as of late; life's been busy. The next best thing I can do is offer you some good links on the subject:
    http://www.aquarticles.com/articles/plants/Podio_Algae_Hydrogen_Peroxide.html - This guy writes a lot of handy articles. I'd recommend doing what he says, maybe start around .1ppm and don't go over ~.25ppm of 3% H2O2.
    http://www.malawicichlidhomepage.com/aquainfo/algae_peroxide2.html - seems to indicate that anything in the .8ppm range is pretty toxic to fish
    http://www.thekrib.com/Plants/Algae/hydrogen-peroxide.html - Some ball parking of levels from a classic site. The information here is a touch crusty.

    If you feel like digging around, I believe there's an article in a TFH from a few years back that chronicled its use fairly closely. I don't have a copy myself otherwise I'd scan and post.
     
  18. yme

    yme Lifetime Charter Member
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    @philosophos:
    hmmm... the links are too much short term/high dose related. I am affraid not very usefull info... :-(

    @tom

    this is very much true. algae growth? --> somerthing is wrong --> fix the problem

    from this point of view it is even not wise to add anti-algae stuff: you miss a bio-indicator that tells you something is off....

    but still... for me, there seems to be a general lack of information about long term/low dose h2o2 treatment. and since I can't stand it not to know things....
    IF I will try this I will for sure want a redox meter..

    greets,

    yme
     
  19. DaBub

    DaBub Guru Class Expert

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  20. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Back in the day when I still was less clear about Barley straw than I am today.
    10 years ago, was it really that long ago?

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
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