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Overfeeding and Algae

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by Frank Lawler, Oct 28, 2010.

  1. Frank Lawler

    Frank Lawler Subscriber

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    I have read that overfeeding can cause algae, which seems reasonable, but if we do overfeed, would this show up in increased and possibly excessive levels of P and N? Besides algae, what other symptoms might overfeeding cause?
     
  2. lightyear

    lightyear Prolific Poster

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    yes. Fish foods contains Phosphates. Excess food decays and as matter decays it produces ammonia->nitrite->nitrate. So in short yes
     
  3. Hallen

    Hallen Guru Class Expert

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    The N and P levels don't really matter, I'd say those are welcome in most tanks. Big problem is ammonia/ammonium (causing mostly staghorn) and nitrite which are also bad for general fish health.

    Frozen/Live foods are mostly high in phosphates, more than flakes or pellets. Besides most fish liking them, feeding those are quite good for most tanks in general since they miniralize quite easily. (p.s. might have made a few mistakes English is not my native language :) )
     
  4. lightyear

    lightyear Prolific Poster

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    N and P does matter. That is why when you read the EI, 10ppm N are desirable, if it doesnt matter so one can just simply add up N until you reach green water due to excess nutrients. everything needs balance
     
  5. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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    I agree with Hallen here. "excess nutrients" are no cause of algae, except for NH4, (cause of green water) while N (and P) specifically doesn't cause algae.

    I can't imagine any reference that EI has to having a desirable N of 10 ppm. EI is a method of preventing deficiencies, hardly of balance. The "balance" in my tank is all over the place, yet there's no algae.
     
    #5 dutchy, Oct 29, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 29, 2010
  6. Frank Lawler

    Frank Lawler Subscriber

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  7. Hallen

    Hallen Guru Class Expert

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    I've read the EI. The only reference I could find is "NO3 - 10 - 30 mg/l" this is just a suggest for medium/lowlight tanks with no Co2. 10 is given as a minimum here not a desirable level. If I'd chase after 10ppm of No3 i'd run out in about 2 days and it's still balancing on the edge since most sets don't really measure 100% accurate.

    In essence I agree with your post, yes overfeeding is bad and can cause algae. The reason why it's bad are first two steps of the nitrate cyclus: ammonia/um (algae) and nitrite (general inhabitans health). N and P are in no harm for fishes until very high levels nor do they cause algae.
     
    #7 Hallen, Oct 29, 2010
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  8. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I think rather than balance, we might want to think about nutrients in the context of Liebig's Law of the Minimum.
    As it applies to individual nutrients.

    This can be extended to CO2 and light as well since these are things we add to aquariums, unlike field crops.
    Seems that fish food can induce algae easier per unit weight than say KN03 etc........but I've never been able to induce algae in a planted tanks using KNO3 or KH2PO4. I also do not know anyone else who has definitively.
    NH4? Perhaps. There's some evidence, but it is not conclusive either. So there's more to that as well, other factors as well as NH4 involved.






    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  9. Frank Lawler

    Frank Lawler Subscriber

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    Have had algae/growth problems for some time, despite help from this site as well as AC. Raised my light as well as CO2, paid attention to nutrients, but very little improvement. However, overfeeding is a variable I'd never considered before. Shall cut back and see how it goes.
     
  10. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Just what they can eat in 2-5 min max 2x a day


    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  11. Frank Lawler

    Frank Lawler Subscriber

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    I've only been feeding them once a day. They are done eating in about 2-3 min, but the filter outflow blows the food around so much that I don't think they ever get to all of it. Never seem to see them eating off of the bottom, where a lot of it is carried to by the current.
     
  12. ismenio

    ismenio Lifetime Members
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    Well, maybe over stock.
     
  13. Hallen

    Hallen Guru Class Expert

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    If you have the option you could measure NH4 and No2. If you're really over feeding much you should get get a value other than the desired zero. Also you would probably notice it in fish health/behaviour since these substances are toxic to them even in relativily low levels.

    Shrimp and snails will also eat most food from the substrate and between plants if they get the chance.
     
  14. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    I overfeed like crazy, of course I have an excellent cleanup crew. No algae to speak of, only a small amount of BBA.
     
    #14 Tug, Oct 29, 2010
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  15. Ekrindul

    Ekrindul Guru Class Expert

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    I also overfeed by some people's standards. Though I think I'm close to what Tom recommends, 2-5 min twice a day. I see no algae other than some BGA on the glass under the surface of the substrate in the area in front of my stauro field. I keep amanos, an SAE and a few ottos and I supplement their diet with brussel sprout and romaine lettuce, as I don't think they'd get enough to eat otherwise.
     
  16. Frank Lawler

    Frank Lawler Subscriber

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    Will pick up some snails and also an ammonia test kit. As for possibly being overstocked, I have a total of 27 tetras and one 5" long SAE. He certainly grew over the years.
     
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