This site is supported by the advertisements on it, please disable your AdBlocker so we can continue to provide you with the quality content you expect.
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Struggling to convince someone of excess nutrient theory

Discussion in 'CO2 Enrichment' started by SuperColey1, Jan 23, 2009.

  1. SuperColey1

    SuperColey1 Guru Class Expert

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2007
    Messages:
    503
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hello

    I am trying to convince someone of the 'excess nutrients' don't cause algae but getting nowhere. Can someone give me something to answer the following post on another forum as my science is not awesome and my theories will never convince anyone but those who know me and see my results. lol

    I won't plaguerise it and will credit the poster before copying the

    This is his post:

    A lot of the waterways in Australia are stagnant pools, certainly for half the year they are, and that’s assuming they don’t dry up completely.
    Most Asian plant farms don’t have filters on their plant ponds.

    All the government departments that I know of are still blaming nutrients for algal problems in metropolitan waterways. They have plenty of scientists and lots of money to study the problem. And if nutrients like nitrates & phosphates aren’t causing the algal blooms in the rivers, then what is?

    If algae is triggered by ammonia then why don’t all fish tanks have algae problems? Every aquarium has fish producing ammonia and the filters pick it up and convert it to nitrite and nitrate. The average aquarium has a slight trace of ammonia being produced continuously by the tank inhabitants and this level goes up after feeding, (albeit only for a short time). On the other hand, if the filters are working really well and getting rid of all the ammonia straight away, why do some tanks get serious algae problems even when they have a 0 ammonia reading?

    Plants generally don’t grow in the middle of rivers because the water is too deep and not enough light gets to the bottom. The same applies to corals in the ocean. Most corals only grow in the shallows because that is where the light is. As you get into deeper water any corals that remain are plankton feeders and do not photosynthesise. There just isn’t enough light getting down to them in the deeper water.

    The only fast flowing creek around here is full of a Potomageton sp. It lives in low light and shallow fast flowing water and doesn’t do well in tanks.
     
  2. Dmaaaaax

    Dmaaaaax Prolific Poster

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2009
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think the best proof would be to show off a beautiful algae free planted tank that has known excess of nitrates and phosphates....and ask him to explain how that is. A picture is worth a thousand words!

    As far as algae goes. There are several types and they grow under several conditions. I am definately not a great resource for which algaes need what to grow or not grow but since he mentioned ammonia: Some algae like staghorn and Green water are thought to be due to elevated ammonia so these are the algae you might see but when ammonia is "zero", this does not rule out other algaes that like other "conditions". In nature these algae blooms can be the result of poor water flow, more sunlight, and changes in temperature. Nutrients are not the only things affecting algae growth.

    I am sure other more qualified people will answer this better, but IMO some people just can't be convinced.
     
  3. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
    Staff Member Administrator

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Messages:
    18,517
    Likes Received:
    405
    His name is not Jeff W is it:p


    There's the proof in the pudding.
    Ask them how is it that your tank and results are such as they are when you know, that you add Excess NO3, PO4 etc to your tank and have good results without algae etc?

    Where's their tank evidence and results that show that is not right?

    It cannot possibly be because you have/are testing that hypothesis and the results resoundly show that it's false. If they do not believe you, then that's THEIR issue, not yours.

    If they are open minded and have any logic, they should wonder a bit how it is that you have been adding KNO3 etc. We are not lying:eek:

     
  4. SuperColey1

    SuperColey1 Guru Class Expert

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2007
    Messages:
    503
    Likes Received:
    0
  5. Peixetos

    Peixetos Junior Poster

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2008
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    It is known that ammonia peaks trigger algae growth.

    The key point I think is that the person that wrote that post is assuming that plants only need nutrients and light for growing, but what plants need are:
    -light (the energy)
    -CO2 (carbon to grow)
    -O2 (to breath)
    -H2O (for photosynthesis)
    -N, P, etc (minerals, to produce organic molecules eg proteins, carbohydrates, etc)

    When all these requirements are fulfilled (not limiting) then plants are more efficient growers than algae.

    The problem is that in aquariums frequently appears one (or more) limiting factor (CO2), so the algae get the chance.

    Boops, I didn't see the last replies..
     
  6. aquabillpers

    aquabillpers Lifetime Charter Member
    Lifetime Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2005
    Messages:
    638
    Likes Received:
    2
    That is a good thing, because it has long been established that excessive nutrients do in fact cause algae.

    They will not cause algae in well planted aquariums, though.

    Here's a link to a Tom Barr post in which he advocates feeding algae mats with PO4 to help it grow better: http://www.barrreport.com/general-plant-topics/4752-diy-project-using-algae-export-sw-14.html
     
  7. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
    Staff Member Administrator

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Messages:
    18,517
    Likes Received:
    405
    Agreed that excess nutrients in natural systems is "bad" and generally causes algae. When wetland plants that are actively growing(tropical or warm weather conditions), they mop up and define these systems regardless of the nutrient "Trophic" state.

    See Bachmann, Hoyer and Canfield for a good reference for your skeptic.
    they are about the most active bunch doing research with good comparative methods where aquatic plants and algae are both present. A key point!

    http://fishweb.ifas.ufl.edu/Faculty%20Pubs/CanfieldPubs/macrophyte.pdf

    There's your evidence.

    I'm not (and never once have) advocated "polluting" natural water ways in such a way that suggests adding non limiting nutrients to aquatic ecosystems. Some have implied that I do.

    I do however suggest it for aquariums because they are extremely small enclosed systems which we have the complete control over, and have no impact on natural water pollutants.

    There's no risk involved.

    It makes ruling out things far easier, no requirement for testing/monitoring for ppm's etc(fine for large water districts and natural reserves that have such resources, most private aquarist really do not).

    This is not about reality, trade offs, Science etc it becomes much more a shouting match about who's right and who's wrong. What pisses me off is that some prey on the ignorant innocent folks and do not bother to honestly try and educate them or themselves. I was ignorant about aquatic plants, I decided to do something about it and did.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  8. Shad0w

    Shad0w Junior Poster

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2006
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sorry for digging up old thread. I'm facing similar problem. what do you expect when 90% of article on internet telling you that access nitrate and PO4 causing algae bloom.

    Anyway what interest me is does algae able to utilize nitrate for their growth? I mean there definitely algae in every one tank, it is just so little that you can't see it. So if algae able to utilize nitrate then dosing nitrate will cause algae to grow which is not the case. That mean either algae is simple organism that unable to utilize nitrate or there is something else that prevent them from growing. I wonder if there is article or study on this?
     
  9. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
    Staff Member Administrator

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Messages:
    18,517
    Likes Received:
    405
    Well, it use to be 99.999% and then there was me alone:)
    Then a couple of others, then more and more.

    They use NO3 and NH4. Some use amino acids as well(pretty much like plants).
    Not much in the context of planted tanks.

    You can do a google search for NO3, NH4, algae, macrophytes(adding plants makes a huge difference in the results.)

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  10. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
    Lifetime Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2005
    Messages:
    2,913
    Likes Received:
    44
    Algae are a very low mass growth. I find I can scrape a huge amount of Green dust algae off the glass in my tank, and end up with almost nothing in the way of mass. So, it has to be true that algae don't use very much nutrients. In fact, Tom posted a report some time back that, as I recall, said that algae cannot be starved or out competed, since they need such a minute amount of nutrients that they always have non-limiting nutrients.

    So, since algae always get enough to eat, we must be controlling it by other than limiting its food supply. And, I understand that what we are doing in aquariums is avoiding the conditions that algae evolved to consider the prime time to start a big growth cycle. Never seeing that prime time condition exist, the algae spores just stay dormant. (Until we go on vacation, then the sneaky little buggers decide "this is it!!!")
     
  11. Shad0w

    Shad0w Junior Poster

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2006
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    0
    Does it mean that dosing nitrate in algae infested tank will not make algae grow faster? I mean their grow was never stun in the first place.

    Do we know what causing algae spore to germinate? is it ammonia level? I read from EI article that small amount of ammonia will cause algae bloom.
     
  12. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
    Staff Member Administrator

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Messages:
    18,517
    Likes Received:
    405
    NH4 can..........but.............it requires poor CO2 perhaps and higher light(more light = more algae growth in most every case)

    In otherwords, we can add NH4(and we virtually all do to any tank, fish waste/food etc) to lower light tanks and not have the same results at the same concentrations.
    It is not just one thing like NH4 alone.

    You must have enough light.
    Next you must have some variation perhaps with CO2/stability, have it change so much that the spores perhaps think there's a radical change afoot.
    Plants stunt and grow poorly when you change the CO2 around.
    Not long after, you get algae.

    This occurs in ADA tanks, in EI tanks or any other dosing routine or sediment type you can think up. ADa tanks have high NH4 initially, but they also get many water changes(2-3X a week, more in some cases, less in others,) but they also have a lot of peat which knocks the pH down in the 5's, which means daitoms will grow, but most of the noxious species likely will not. This only last so long though before it catches up, but by then, the plants are pretty well established, bacteria is going well, light is not that high and they have no fish, so the CO2 is cranked up pretty high.

    So NH4 is not much of an issue.
    NH4 can induce algae however, but only GW from what I can tell.
    Overloading fish can induce staghorn and a few others including others such as GW and maybe BBA later. Too much organic waste and lowering of O2 and NH4 seem to induce a different response, but somewhat similar.

    Then CO2 alone, monkeying with it, in general will cause BBA.
    Green algae, like Rhizo, Spiro etc, are transient species, that can appear and sometimes hang on but are easy to get rid of. Cladophora is a bit like an aquatic moss or liverwort, just keep it out of the tank, pick it clean, prune to remove any infested regions and seems to grow well if the CO2 is slightly less than optimal.

    BGA is fairly straight forward: dirty clogged filter, poor circulation, and low NO3. Or the other way, really high nutrients, too much mulm => organic loading(see dirty filter).

    GSA seems to like good aeration, lower CO2, higher O2, and low PO4.

    GDA is rather tough, since we have no real evidence about what induces growth, but CO2 is a very strong suspect, since nutrients are often identical, water changes, pruning, routines, sediment type etc dosing etc in several tanks and they do not get it, and the others have had it, but a little tweaking of CO2 etc, it seems to go away in every case I've had. No nutrient/light changes where done.

    That's most of the algae, but in each case, there's no one single reason.
    It's more complicated than that.

    However, I see no evidence to suggest that higher N, P, Fe levels are a cause of inducement. There's just not the observations in place to offer such support in aquariums. We'd have to see it occur widely and in our own tanks or it would have to be some wide conspiracy of liars:rolleyes:

    Neither of which is likely to be true.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
Loading...

Share This Page