NO3 and feeding

morphriz

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Apr 14, 2006
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PatrikS;13716 said:
My tank didn't crash - where do you got that from?? I had a bunch of Caulerpa "go sexual" twice

I was under the impression that you tank indeed did crash. If it cant support life, it's a crashed tank.

PatrikS;13716 said:
BTW: I bet more then half of the ppl on our boards dont know any difference about uM and ppm either. Its actually quite few that know that, the vast majority doesnt.

They dont make claims based on knowing the difference either. And if need be, most people ask.

PatrikS;13716 said:
What do you mean? - in layman/practical terms plz. :)

Your high levels of Ca, Mg and carbonates are damaging your plants.

PatrikS;13716 said:
Yes, we do, but: to my knowledge you have not got any saltwater tank yet (correct me if I'm wrong). It seems to me that you look at everything from an eagle's perspective, flying high-high above and just watching (well, and judging here and now). It would be more interesting to discuss with you if you actually tried your extensive knowledge in practice first, and then argued for one or another. And as you asked pics of my tank it would be very interesting to see pics of yours.

I do not have a running tank right now. I have 3 years experience from keeping reeftanks. I kept it with my roomate at university and we learned most of the lessons the hard way. The only sources of knowledge was my knowledge of chemistry, books and the LFS(a bad one at that). I've also kept a macro only tank. The reeftank eventually crashed and we lost years of collected livestock.

I refrain from keeping a tank since I dont have finances to support experimenting with it. I experiment with my low-tech planteds instead. Failed miserably with my last soil only test tank and learned alot. But I guess I get that for flying high, high and judging.

If you dont want help then fine by me. If you want to focus on a few loudmouths, sure go ahead. You are in my opinion ignoring sound advice from alot of people, again your problem.
//Mattias
 

Tom Barr

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:eek:
PatrikS;13717 said:
Aha, I see, thanks Tom! I will try to dose for slightly more then 10 ppm (to compensate for denitrification issues). Thank you!

Well, go slow and note the differences, I know you saw lots of pearling in the other thread after dosing some KNO3.

Be careful with one tiem test, make sure that the rate of production can be maintained over a week or two.

You will need to make sure that the other parameters are stable over this same time course.

As production increases, so does uptake and demand.
Algae like plants, prefer CO2, at slower growth rates, this is not an issue, same with Fw plants.

As you increase things growth rates, then the demand for CO2 goes up as well.
These parameters often are interlinked and focusing on the whole picture rather than merely NO3 ppms is prudent.

Many reef and plant folks focus only on one thing many times, without tying them together well. Some will mumble something so dang general like it's "all about the balance", that's true, but being more specific about what a parameter's ranges are good for that balance is much more useful as well as understanding how one regulates the others.

Few tie them together like this.
Micromangement has it's trade offs............

As far as what you two have said on some other site, you may want to keep it there rather than bringing it to other sites. I have no issue either way with either of you. Rather, try to focus on what we can and do know, what test you can do, what observations you have made.

Attack the plants/macro algae etc, not the person.
Many folks believe things in this hobby and the less you know, the more prone most folks are to belief based thinking.

I think the issue where some has PO4 remover, a lot, and measures no PO4 and claims limiting PO4 = no algae, but still has algae is a good point.

I made the same comment about 10 years ago on the APD about FW planted tanks as did Steve Dixon who measured my tap water which was high in PO4.

You cannot beat most algae with limitation methods.
The focus should be on the corals themselves, what optimalizes their growth?
Rather than fear based approaches like the FW plants folks applied, some risk are required to break through such myths at times.

I know many folks that add PO4, in small amounts, adding more does not improve health of macros in general IME.

This does not induce pest algae in macro tanks, nor does higher levels of KNO3 dosing.

Now in a coral only tank with skimming, I'd say it might increase pest algae, at least one or the other nutrients, NO3 or PO4, both not both.

So if the system is strongly PO4 limited, adding more NO3 should not cause any issues, since the system in PO4 limited.

Taking that idea and applying it to coral or macro coral tanks, you can test with a bit safer methods:eek:

So you can explore the range of NO3 ppm without PO4 excesses.
Then repeat this with low/absent NO3 and moderately PO4's.

I did this with plants to show that excess NO3 would not induce algae, as well as Fe. Then I slowly combined both high NO3 and PO4, and Fe all together knowing what each would do individually.

I tried this with Marine plants, no issues other than with PO4 namely and with diatoms. NO3 went up to about 20ppm or so in the test I've done and 5-10 ppm appeared to do the best over several months(18 total) and PO4 of 0.2ppm or less.

Fe/trace seemed to have little effect over a wide range of dosing volume/rate/frequencies.

Ca and KH had strong impacts when they declined, I did not attempt to grow macros at higher levels than good reef building water parameters Ca at 400ppm etc.

I also have not tried to experiment with corals and macros together, but.......others have and I've helped ampify their refuguim systems a great deal with some KNO3 dosing and increased Trace dosing and a little PO4 pulsing.

If they have a good bioload, often there was no need for PO4 dosing.
This suggest that PO4 is not that strong of role player, but can be in some serverly limited tanks with no bioloads, PO4 remover, reef folks that starve their tanks.

Also, many reef folks ownign refugiums allow them to get much too over grown.
They do not prune and much like our planted tanks, when this is done, we have issues, the 3x more biomass needs 3x more nutrients but the refugium is not supplied from the main tank like that, thus many times some algae melt and sporulate in response to a dramatic depletion in nutrient levels.

Now, when the reef folks prune their weeds routinely and maintain stable biomass, they also maintain stable nutrient export.

I really wish they would understand that and tend the refugiums more often and maintain them, they would get the balance and more stable results/conditions in doing so.

I've present such ideas to various reef clubs as a speaker in the USA, they have been well recieved. I went around to the club's membership's tanks and fixed many pest algae related issues.

I do not need to know that much about coral to know something about the pest algae.

Everyone has reported increases in health of both the refugiums and the corals.
A few folks balked, I suggested some herbivores en mass, that worked well also.

One skimmer guy has a huge system(450 gal) and adds no food really, tanks works and he hit a decent balance with his bioload. He spent a lot of time, money and electric on it as well. Like a fish food only non CO2 planted tank, the balance is possible.

But often hard to hit unless you know what to look for and start the tank right from the start.

Obviously, I and many others prefer the macro refugium method.
But you may want to master both methods to fairly judge their prospective trade offs, and there are always trade offs with most methods.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

morphriz

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Tom Barr;13725 said:
As far as what you two have said on some other site, you may want to keep it there rather than bringing it to other sites. I have no issue either way with either of you. Rather, try to focus on what we can and do know, what test you can do, what observations you have made.

Attack the plants/macro algae etc, not the person.

I apologize for bringing up the external discussion here.
//Mattias
 

Tom Barr

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morphriz;13731 said:
I apologize for bringing up the external discussion here.
//Mattias

Well, I'm not a stickler about such matters, but as long as the discussion gets back to the topic, I never have an issue. If they become more and more protracted personal issues, then it gets bad.

I have no issues with heated debates:D as long as they stay on topic. Which they have and everyone has gotten something out of this.

I do not know what was said elsewhere and I am not going to go look either. What I do know is what has been said here. From the sounds of it, PatrikS has come a long ways and is still learning and on some topics, I, nor anyone has really good data.

I have some ideas and notions that seem to work on what I've tested thus far.
But I'm not going to tell anyone with 2K$ worth of SPS corals that they should do something that I am not sure about.

If I am there in person and can see it and fully understand things, then I typically can. I can often do this with FW plants on line also, but not always there either.

Still, killing live stock is quite a different matter than algae on some plants, that does not kill the plants generally and they grow back fast, same with macro algae.

A conservative approach should be applied with dosing KNO3 with corals present, but it takes more work, but will be safer.

That's the trade off.
Once some testing and dosing has been established and successful, then you brach out and try higher levels and note health of all plants/corals etc.

It takes time to learn these things and years ago, everyone would jump on the bandwagon, then the old timers would bitch.

I still do

But every 6-12 months it would be K+, or PO4, or Fe, or Indian Almond leaves, or Aloe or garlic.

Some things work, some don't.
Same with ADA's product line or any company's.

Folks get all excited and do not word things right, or learn what they said once before was foot in mouth disease:)
We all play the fool, but playing one and being one are two different things too

I try and avoid being one

Marine tanks add another layer of complexity and the habitats tend to be fairly stable, but not as oligotrophic as some might imply, seasonal changes and localized changes can and do occur in reefs.
In my diving in macro algae environments, kelps, seagrasses, Calcium forming macros, I know they change daily, hourly etc.


Regards,
Tom Barr
 

PatrikS

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Jun 4, 2006
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CO2 issues?

Morphiz, it seems we got a bad start. Let's start over. No personal attacks, who said what or when. I assume neither of us is interested in that. No hard feelings - friends again?

Let's return to the issues at hand, namely macros.

Yes, as you said, this is very interesting:

The most interesting thing in you tank atm is your high levels of Ca and carbonates. At those elevated levels any organism using a proton pump to facilitate CO2 uptake may end up with CaCO3 or MgCO3 deposits on it's tissues. I dont know for sure that any macroalgae use this metod to obtain CO2 but it strikes me as a simpler, macroalge being primitive organisms, method than carbonic anhydrase.
or put simple:
morphriz;13720 said:
Your high levels of Ca, Mg and carbonates are damaging your plants.

Could you elaborate on that? I am not sure exactly how those levels are damaging my plants, but let me speculate:

You mean that because of my water being so "hard", the plants dont get enough of CO2?

Is it that what you mean?

Is it because of CO2 being less soluble in hard water (just guessing here)?

Or is it because of macroalgae not being able to pull out the soluble CO2 out of the water and end up with carbonates as CO2 source?

It could be one of the explanations of the difference in growth rates I observe in my macros: some growing real well, others just survive.

Tom, what's your opinion on the CO2 subject here? I know you suggest a lot of aeration/water movement, and I assume it is a great deal because of bringing the CO2 from the air into the tank, but how does it comply with very hard water?
 

PatrikS

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BTW: Tom, thanks for those long post of yours that you find time to write, for me they are like candy for a child!! Thank You! I believe that the Barrreport is breaking new ground all the time, always at the aquatic frontiers, always something new! I don't know if even you really understand it's importance. :)

The knowledge that at least me myself gain here can't really be measured by money, it's invaluable!
 

morphriz

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PatrikS;13737 said:
Morphiz, it seems we got a bad start. Let's start over. No personal attacks, who said what or when. I assume neither of us is interested in that. No hard feelings - friends again?

Sure thing, friends again.


PatrikS;13737 said:
Could you elaborate on that? I am not sure exactly how those levels are damaging my plants, but let me speculate:

Normal seawater is supersaturated. The freshwater you use to mix new salt and for makeup is real hard. Your high Mg facilitating the extremely high Ca.

I dont know if the Ca or Mg in itself may cause a problem.

PatrikS;13737 said:
You mean that because of my water being so "hard", the plants dont get enough of CO2?

Your extremely high levels of alkalinity and Ca can do two things.

This is a good intro to different methods of CO2 uptake: Photosynthesis and the Reef Aquarium, Part I: Carbon Sources by Randy Holmes-Farley - Reefkeeping.com

If a macro use the method "External Carbonic Anhydrase", they pump out a OH-. This OH- drives up pH and at your supersaturation leves you can get local precipitation of CaCO3 because of this. (I got it backwards in my last post)

If a macro uses a proton pump to drive it's CO2 uptake this will be inhibited by the high amount of CO3--. The higher the pH, or the higher the KH in a marine pH range, the more of the alkalinity is CO3-- making this method less efficient.
//Mattias
 

PatrikS

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Thanks Morphiz!

I've read that article before, and as I understand it, Randy says that there are differences in obtaining CO2 in different algaes. It seems to go well with this, rather old, swedish article on CO2 in marine algae:

Abstract A model system was developed to analyse differences in carbon acquisition strategies among macroalgae. During photosynthesis in a limited volume of seawater the capability of the algae to assimilate inorganic carbon as well as to change the alkalinity of the seawater was analysed. These properties were then related to the status of the carbonate equilibrium system of the seawater. The experimental system was assumed to simulate the conditions in the boundary layer during periods of low water exchange or high intensity irradiations. Fundamental differences were found between different algal classes, suggesting that capabilities to adapt to specific environmental conditions may be connected with dissimilarities in carbon acquisition strategies.

In general, green algae were able to reach the highest pH (10.8 at 5°C), and thus to achieve the highest reduction in the level of inorganic carbon via a simple HCO3 –/OH– ion exchange process.

For brown algae, pH increases due to carbon uptake never exceeded pH 9.7 (9.5 in a saltwater scale). In spite of this, members of the Fucaceae (littoral brown algae) were able to extract almost all of the dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC). This was achieved through a gradual decrease in the alkalinity of the enclosed water, so that the carbon assimilation could continue without any concomitant increase in pH.

For red algae, the specific response was an increase in the level of inorganic carbon. Thus, for this algal class, no specific strategy for handling a shortage of inorganic carbon was documented. Within each algal class, differences in pH and DIC compensation points could be related to differences in the depths at which the algal species occurred. This paper also introduces a low cost and convenient method of analysing DIC in seawater.

SpringerLink - Journal Article

As I understand, different algaes have different strategies for carbon assimilation. It is pretty different to FW plants, where it more straightforward - the more CO2 the better (well, a bit simplistic but in general).

Anyway, the funny thing I observe is that my caulerpa doesn't seem to grow much during the day, but next morning I wake up it has grown a new frond. How is it possible? There is no light in the tank at night! (Except just a little from the streets light outsied). Why and how do the algae grow at night?? Why woun't it grow during the day, like normal people?!

In any case, I listened to your argument, Mattias (about my tank water being to hard) and did a big water change. I mixed 12 liters of distilled water (Batteriwater from gasstation) with salt, and got my watervalues to:

KH/Alk (dKH)...................11,5
Ca (ppm)........................480
Mg (ppm).......................1260


Kind of more normal now, dont you think? (Ca is a bit high, but I let it be, probably it gets consumed soon). Now it is just wait and see if it will do some good.
 

Tom Barr

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While in natural systems, subtle differences in Carbon uptake say in smaller closed systems like a tidepool, can make differences.

I can see them.

Here, the red macro algae do quite well at the higher tide pools experiencing less tidal flushing, thus more isolation for extended peroids.

I measure pH's in the 10.1 ranges often times.
But our tanks are not tide pools nor natural.

Reef folks and others, planted tank folks, all want to act like they mimic nature and they do something "natural". Ho ho ho, sounds all nice and fuzzy.

But it's not, it's argiculture/aqua culture.

We do not allow the macro algae/marines tanks to get pH's much above 8.4.
We can add CO2, we can aerate, we can add KNO3, etc.
The other thing we can add: lots of current to break up boundaries.

By providing non limiting conditions for the macro algae, we no longer are bound by such contraints as those placed in natural systems.

Now the question becomes: what are the optimal growing conditions for these seaweeds?

There may be certain subtle differences, namely temperature related I tend to think. But I think we can generalize pretty well and if folks use the marine plants from the same general locations, there should not be a large issue.

I've found seagrasses growing in high energy wave regions along with some calcaerous reds, while Acetabularia I only found in lower energy warmer systems. Same tropical island and water, mainly just temps and energy differences. Substrates where different also, one had a lot more organics, the other did not.

I've not been able to grow the Acetabularia in the same tank with the reds.
But I know much less about the system even though I've been to the location where they are found naturally and cannot manage them like I want.

I think finding that range that produces great macro growth for all of the species, and simple dosing plan to get to that point, and low cases of noxious pest algae is possible.

CO2 levels and Ca/Alk are important and maintaining them and measurement is critical.

Such CO2 gas measurements we use critically in FW systems may prove useful here.

I think 400 vs 488/500 Ca is not going to make that much difference to most organisms.

Higher alk might, but there are other things involved in that Alk beside Carbonates, this is marine water, not FW.

So ruling those other species of alk out would be more complicated.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

PatrikS

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Tom Barr;13810 said:
But it's not, it's argiculture/aqua culture.

I am all into aqua culture, just say the word Tom! :) What should I do to get the most rapid growth in most macroalgaes?

Tom Barr;13810 said:
Now the question becomes: what are the optimal growing conditions for these seaweeds?

I think finding that range that produces great macro growth for all of the species, and simple dosing plan to get to that point, and low cases of noxious pest algae is possible.

CO2 levels and Ca/Alk are important and maintaining them and measurement is critical.

Such CO2 gas measurements we use critically in FW systems may prove useful here.

I think 400 vs 488/500 Ca is not going to make that much difference to most organisms.

Higher alk might, but there are other things involved in that Alk beside Carbonates, this is marine water, not FW.

So ruling those other species of alk out would be more complicated.

Regards,
Tom Barr

Allright, I dose 1/10 of a tsp KNO3 2 - 3 times a week, I add a little micronutrients, I feed shrimps and fishies (two clowns) about half a tsp of frozen Artemia a day (as a source of PO4), I have relativly good flow throughout the tank, the light is more then 2 w/liter MH, good Ca/Alk/Mg, the pH is 8,5 at the end of the light period. My tank is about 30 liters.

Anything else I should think about a little extra, Tom? Is it necessary to monitor pH more closely? Do I need to feed more?

As of now I have been able to observe the exactly same thing as in my FW high light planted tank:

- it seems to be a must to plant very densely from the start,
- and better pack the tank with the fast growing weeds.

I didn't realise the need to pack the tank with weeds from the start and dose accordingly, and now I do actually observe some pestalgae. It seems to me that the more light one has the more you have to plant densely and dose nutrients.
 

Tom Barr

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You shopuld see some increase in pH during the day if the macro tank is growing well.

It'll fall at night.

What you do not want is higher pH before the lights come on than your target 8.2-8.3 range, that may suggest a loss of Alkalinity.
Some pH change is fine as long as it's due to CO2 uptake. NO3 uptake will also increase pH (produces OH's) as will deposition of CaCO3 (many calcareous forming critters and plants/algae kick out OH's to cause the CaCO3 to form on their surfaces).

Lots of OH's and less acid.
So some increase would be normal.
As long as the Ca/alk is added, and the CO2/NO3 uptake is not too dramatic, things should go fine.

I've added CO2 to macro tanks but have not really seen dramatic improvements.
I'll do more on that later.


Regards,
Tom Barr
 

PatrikS

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Thank you for all the help so far, Tom, I appreciate it!! Now it is just wait and see.

*grow, macros, grow!* :D