I had a lightbulb turn on over my head yesterday

Carissa

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Jun 8, 2007
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Ok, this is probably very basic to everyone else out there. But when examining my ludwigia something finally dawned on me about algae yesterday. I had been thinking of algae as basically another plant that grows in our tanks, and that we somehow have to keep a special balance of conditions in the tank to keep the plants growing and keep the algae not growing.

But as I was saying I was looking at my ludwigia and noticed some dark green algae on a few of the lower leaves. This was not on the higher leaves of the same plant, neither was it on any other ludwigia or any other plants in my tank. It's been there for probably two weeks or more and hasn't spread, although the leaves are dying. Then it dawned on me. The algae isn't the cause of the dying leaves. It's a symptom!!!

Finally, I get why the key to getting rid of algae is making sure there are no deficiencies.

I guess it's like fish. When fish get sick, nearly invariably, it's due to less than ideal water conditions. The real cause of the illness isn't some kind of freak infestation, it's the poor water quality which weakened the fish and made it susceptible. People who are inexperienced with fishkeeping want to start dumping medications into the tank to cure the illness, not addressing the root cause. If the root cause of the stress is addressed, the fish often gets better on it's own, unless it's really far gone. Now I think plants are the same thing. If conditions are good for the plants, they won't have algae problems. If conditions are less than ideal, algae starts as a symptom of a lack of plant health, not as the cause.

Obviously not one explanation of algae fits every situation, just like the fact that fish can be kept in perfect conditions and then there actually is a freak infestation of disease. But that situation is very rare in comparison to the vast majority of situations where the real cause of disease is a weakened immune system due to stress.

Does this sound accurate?
 

Tom Barr

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Jan 23, 2005
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You got it! Good insight.
Algae loves to colonize dying leave in natural systems.


Regards,
Tom Barr
 

richardsantink

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Apr 3, 2005
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As a keeper of algae (macro of course), I seem to face the same problems as freshwater planted tank enthusiasts face - I used to think I could just leave the lights on with macro's without fear of invasion, but was wrong.

Am I correct to assume macros behave more like vascular plants than microalgae?

Cheers,

RAS
 

Tom Barr

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Jan 23, 2005
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Hi, Richard, yes, they fill that niche like the FW plants in terms of ecology and uptake of nutrients etc.

Regards,
Tom Barr