Of plants and algae...

PK1

Guru Class Expert
Oct 7, 2005
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Pennsylvania
Here's a question for the wise:

We all know that if plants are thriving algae does not (will go in a dormant stage, etc.). So this means that new algae will not appear in that tank, no arguments here.

But what if the tank is already infested with algae - or at least has some algae in it. If one were to improve conditions for the plants in that tank, would both plants and existing algae not thrive?

In other words, once any imbalance issues have been addressed in a given tank and the plants are thriving, is it necessary to clean and shine the tank and objects from any existing algae to ensure they would not thrive at the same time as the plants, or would the existing algae gradually die (and hopefully fall off in the process...) as plants take off?
 

Tom Barr

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Jan 23, 2005
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Re: Of plants and algae...

Try thinking about it like this, algae is a weed, the plants are a nice lawn, once the lawn is nice and established, it's much tougher for the weeds to infest the lawn, but once there and well established, it's much mroe difficult to route out.

But once done and the lawn grows back in, it's now far more resistent to weed infestation.

Same thing with plants/algae in our tanks, do not wait for the infestation to get worse, attack before it gets bad, cleaning a little BBa is better than the entire tank infested.

Plants use up a lot more carbon in the space provided than algae also and have far less surface to area ratio than algae. So CO2 plays a big role.

Basic answer: the more you remove an existing competitor, the better as you reset the problem that caused the algae bloom in the first place.


Regards,
Tom Barr
 

Vladimir Zhurov

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Aug 25, 2006
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Re: Of plants and algae...

PK1 said:
But what if the tank is already infested with algae - or at least has some algae in it. If one were to improve conditions for the plants in that tank, would both plants and existing algae not thrive?

In other words, once any imbalance issues have been addressed in a given tank and the plants are thriving, is it necessary to clean and shine the tank and objects from any existing algae to ensure they would not thrive at the same time as the plants, or would the existing algae gradually die (and hopefully fall off in the process...) as plants take off?

I would say it depends. Some types of algae, given that it was not a major infestation, will die off. For example, BBA and staghorn. However, some types of thread green algae (Cladophora) will also thrive as their physiology is very close to one of higher plants (our beloved SAM's) and ecological niches largely overlap.

But I think it is much easier and faster just to remove whatever algae you can remove, prune away sick plant leaves, and enjoy new clean plant growth.

Regards.

Vladimir.

P.s.: it is nice to see a person from the same place on the board!
 

PK1

Guru Class Expert
Oct 7, 2005
154
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16
Pennsylvania
Re: Of plants and algae...

Thanks for the feedback all... I have solved the GSA problem (green dust is still there though) but cleaning the existing GSA off everything in the tank is quite an undertaking, so I was hoping there would be an easy way out. I guess there is no such thing :D

Vladimir, yes, also good to see someone from our neck of the woods!