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Trying to understand the light/co2/ferts balance. Liebig's law of the minimum etc.

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by Jonathan, Jan 7, 2013.

  1. Jonathan

    Jonathan Junior Poster

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    I definitely don't understand Liebig's law of the minimum and I would very much like to.

    I just started to see some GSA on my driftwood. I'm not fully cycled yet so I don't have any fauna to help. I also don't have a fully planted tank to aid in keeping early fauna. I am however buying a bunch of stems to help. They arrive tomorrow. I've been somewhat conservative with my light @ 2x 24 watt t5ho (8 hours)
     
  2. puopg

    puopg Guru Class Expert

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    Tom's gonna probably correct me on this but...

    Law of the minimum is basically saying plants will not grow at their fullest potential if limited by a given resource. So for instance if you have a crap load of everything but nitrate is lower than the optimal growth threshold, then you won't have optimal growth since you are limiting a vital nutrient the plant needs to grow. But if you have above optimal of everything, but less nitrate than everything else, your plants will grow at max since you have no "limiting" factor.

    GSA is usually signs of low PO4.

    Light drives Co2 uptake which then in turn drives nutrient uptake. Essentially, light drives the rate of growth. Also understand that just b/c you have a little algae doesn't mean your doing something wrong. I think most of us have algae in our tanks, but just we don't get these huge outbreaks unless something goes wrong (like me, stirring up substrate and causing diatoms AGAIN o_O). If you dose EI, you got ferts covered. IF you have say medium lighting, you should be injecting CO2. CO2 is that hardest to maintain and measure. How are you measuring the CO2 concentration?
     
  3. Jonathan

    Jonathan Junior Poster

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    I'm measuring my co2 with a drop checker. I know this is only half efficient since I don't have any other standard to test with. -- But the checker is very light yellow. I knew I was high when worms started heading to the surface. Since then I have made more effort to agitate the surface. Checker is still yellow, but I think I have more o2 now as well.

    Low PO4 ... So maybe I am not dosing as high as I should ? I was/still am worried that excess nutrients could only be good for algae. Am I right to think that ? I cant remember for certain, but I think I remember Tom saying that's probably not right, and co2 is more of a factor. I don't know why, but that does not feel intuitive me yet.
     
    #3 Jonathan, Jan 7, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 7, 2013
  4. puopg

    puopg Guru Class Expert

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    You would have to dose a great deal more than EI before you see negative results. By that time, your fish will probably be dead as well id imagine. Yes you are wrong to believe that excess nutrients cause algae. Nutrient deficiency can be a culprit. CO2 is 99% of the time the problem.

    Theres a reason Tom tells us to focus on growing plants. If plants are thriving, algae will not be. and for plants to thrive, they need no limiting nutrient. Hence, dosing excess nutrients covers these limits and allows plants to do well.
     
    #4 puopg, Jan 7, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 7, 2013
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