Something I've Noticed...

Christophe

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Oct 3, 2013
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Albuquerque, NM, USA
Hi all, Thought I’d assault you with non-scientific, anecdotal rubbish from my single tank for a bit, then let the chips fall where they may.


About six weeks ago during water change/cleaning, I accidentally knocked over the biggest rock in my tank. It knocked loose a huge glob of the Fissidens that I had growing over it. Figuring that since it wasn’t well attached, I wanted to see what grew out of the year’s worth of cover it provided. So I composted the fist-sized wad of moss, and left a VERY bald rock sticking up at the highest point in the tank.


Here it is six weeks later:


http://i1310.photobucket.com/albums/s655/grillchz/IMG_0440_zpsbshwywdp.jpg


What do we see? Fissidens moss has grown back out of the spotty places where it was well-attached. It hasn’t grown where it wasn’t. What I see in the bald spots is a mix of BBA and GSA. Through all of this, I dosed nutrients of one sort or another daily, and injected a consistent >30ppm CO2 during lighted hours to the tank, in keeping with the EI philosophy of keeping an abundance of nutrients available for healthy plant growth. The nutrient levels that I can measure with calibrated test kits show roughly the same levels through the week consistently both before the loss of the mass of the Fissidens, and after. The SAME nutrients support both the desired plants, and algae. I get growth out of my plants. In the bald spots on the rock, I also get growth of algae. Do I mind? No. Why?


Reading around The Internets, I see a lot of people make the claim, “Plant your tank densely -- the plants will out-compete the algae for the nutrients, and you’ll have little to no algae.”


I’ll make a counter-claim: Your plants NEVER out-compete algae for nutrients. The dosing regimen I keep maintains NO3 between 10-30ppm, and PO4 at 1-3ppm. This is PLENTY for any plant you can name. It’s also plenty for algae.


What I’ll say is this: The plants THAT YOU MANAGE TO KEEP HEALTHY out-compete algae for LIGHT. Algae cannot grow on healthy plants. Healthy plants defend themselves, and don’t allow algae to grow on them. Healthy plants also shade areas where algae could otherwise grow. In a few more weeks, my pointy rock is going to be capped with healthy Fissidens. If I leave it that way for a month or two, the algae you see on the rock will have died off in the shade.


Discuss!
 

Tom Barr

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Jan 23, 2005
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"I’ll make a counter-claim: Your plants NEVER out-compete algae for nutrients. The dosing regimen I keep maintains NO3 between 10-30ppm, and PO4 at 1-3ppm. This is PLENTY for any plant you can name. It’s also plenty for algae."


I have agreed with this for 2 + decades.


The rest of it included.
 

burr740

Micros Spiller
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Feb 16, 2015
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I always cringe when people talk about plants "out-competing algae for nutrients."
 
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