Why Doesn't EI Induce Algae?

C

csmith

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Here's my understanding when it comes to EI:

Give the plants enough CO2 to grow. When they have enough CO2, growth will be optimal. Growth is kept optimal using EI, which is finding the amount of ferts plants need and bumping it up just a hair from there to ensure you're never short. Water changes are accomplished once a week to ensure an equilibrium in water parameters (and to remove excess ferts).

This being said, when algae growth is mentioned it's usually said algae is more adaptive than plants and thus can grow in much less ideal conditions.

Assuming I understand this all correctly, how does this not induce algae? More ferts left in the water than can be used by the plants coupled with the more adaptive algae always lurking should equal algae regardless of what you do in my mind, yet, it doesn't (and I'm thankful for that). How does this all work?

Just curious about how and why what I'm doing works the way it does.
 

Gerryd

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Hi,

Here is my understanding but I could well be wrong :)

Algae is ALWAYS present and almost are NEVER c02 or fert limited as they are so tiny and need so little.

When plants are growing well with minimal leaf damage very little NH4 is released which DOES seem to fuel algae more.

That is why older or damaged leaves get algae... as they die off they release NH4 and develop more algae.

Now multiply that effect times the number of plants in the tank.....and you have a bloom :)

I have found Tom's advice to monitor PLANT growth to be best. If the plants are not growing well that is the MAIN CONCERN. Algae will be minimal in a c02 enriched EI tank if all things are stable and sufficient and the plants are growing well....

I know that I personally do not sweat a bit of algae.. it is simply a tool I use to guage overall tank conditions

Remember also that regular maintenance is required and can fuel algae as well...Many folks forget this and do not perform filter maintenance until it is obviously dirty. All that decaying material will simply produce NH4...

I don't think it is KNOWN the exact cause/effect of this but it seems to be the case with many tanks....

Water changes also remove fish waste products and add back essential trace elements... so water changes are not just to prevent fert buildup.....water changes benefit fish as well as plants,
 
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Tom Barr

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Think about ecology and succession through space and time in plant communities.......why are there different plants?
Why are there so many different species of algae?

Why is that there's not just one species?
Why do we see just one species typically of algae at a time?

What causes certain species to germinate?
Are algae "perennial" or "annual"?
What are algae "seeds/spores" capable of? Life histories?

Competition is often discussed, but light and CO2, O2, disturbances all play huge roles, not just nutrients, this is more a broad Ecology question, than a simple compeition model.
There are many knowledge gaps here most of which are about the algae themselves.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

Biollante

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I have met the enemy and he is me!---Pogo---Walt Kelly

Hi,

I promised to stop trying to make myself look smart by agreeing with Gerry, :( so let me just agree with Gerry. :)

Pay attention to the plants (critters also), people are so wrapped up in the details then over-think the whole thing we are growing noxious weeds. :gw

The biggest decision we make is the lighting we provide, everything else flows from that decision.

Instability is our enemy, as my Dear Ol’ Dad used to say, “Anything that happens quickly in a garden is likely bad.”

Patience, these are mini-gardens where we must provide pretty much everything.

Of course, we answer all kinds of questions, pertinent or not, squabble over minutia. Therefore, everyone thinks it is important when all that counts is our subjective appreciations of our little gardens. :cool:

Biollante
 

dbazuin

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Biollante,

I just love this one “Anything that happens quickly in a garden is likely bad.”
There is a lot to learn from the old guys to I guess :)
 
C

csmith

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Gerryd;50548 said:
Hi,

Here is my understanding but I could well be wrong :)

Algae is ALWAYS present and almost are NEVER c02 or fert limited as they are so tiny and need so little.

When plants are growing well with minimal leaf damage very little NH4 is released which DOES seem to fuel algae more.

That is why older or damaged leaves get algae... as they die off they release NH4 and develop more algae.

Now multiply that effect times the number of plants in the tank.....and you have a bloom :)

I have found Tom's advice to monitor PLANT growth to be best. If the plants are not growing well that is the MAIN CONCERN. Algae will be minimal in a c02 enriched EI tank if all things are stable and sufficient and the plants are growing well....

I know that I personally do not sweat a bit of algae.. it is simply a tool I use to guage overall tank conditions

Remember also that regular maintenance is required and can fuel algae as well...Many folks forget this and do not perform filter maintenance until it is obviously dirty. All that decaying material will simply produce NH4...

I don't think it is KNOWN the exact cause/effect of this but it seems to be the case with many tanks....

Water changes also remove fish waste products and add back essential trace elements... so water changes are not just to prevent fert buildup.....water changes benefit fish as well as plants,

What I'm gathering from this is NH4 is the main culprit for algae blooms in our systems. I understand that, but is it the only cause or just the quickest, like say the alcohol-fueled drag cars vs. diesel powered big rigs (serious question, I don't know)? A simple organism like algae, as adaptible as it is, can't feed from the multipe other chemicals present and adapt itself to expedited growth from various other compounds over time? We use Fe, KNO3, K2SO4 etc. to feed the plants we want that use photosynthesis to grow, why can't algae use these same chemicals for it's growth?

I'm not trying make a point here, just posing the question.

Tom Barr;50552 said:
Think about ecology and succession through space and time in plant communities.......why are there different plants?
Why are there so many different species of algae?
Why is that there's not just one species?

I can only assume (we know what happens when you assume) multiple species of algae exist because of an evolution of some sort. That's my point, how is it algae can't evolve to accept different food? Certain desert mice don't have to ever drink water because they've adapted to using only what's in the seeds they eat. Algae can't change up there diet a little?

Tom Barr;50552 said:
Why do we see just one species typically of algae at a time?

I didn't know until recently that was the norm. Before I got here (this site) I'd made a habit of seeing BGA, BBA and GSA at the same time. To answer your question, though..I don't have an answer.

Tom Barr;50552 said:
What causes certain species to germinate?
Are algae "perennial" or "annual"?
What are algae "seeds/spores" capable of? Life histories?

Competition is often discussed, but light and CO2, O2, disturbances all play huge roles, not just nutrients, this is more a broad Ecology question, than a simple compeition model.
There are many knowledge gaps here most of which are about the algae themselves.

Regards,
Tom Barr

I understand what you mean by this being a broad question, I guess it's like asking why there're so many different types of deer.

Biollante;50554 said:
Hi,

I promised to stop trying to make myself look smart by agreeing with Gerry, :( so let me just agree with Gerry. :)

Pay attention to the plants (critters also), people are so wrapped up in the details then over-think the whole thing we are growing noxious weeds. :gw

The biggest decision we make is the lighting we provide, everything else flows from that decision.

Instability is our enemy, as my Dear Ol’ Dad used to say, “Anything that happens quickly in a garden is likely bad.”

Patience, these are mini-gardens where we must provide pretty much everything.

Of course, we answer all kinds of questions, pertinent or not, squabble over minutia. Therefore, everyone thinks it is important when all that counts is our subjective appreciations of our little gardens. :cool:

Biollante

I'm not wrapped up in it. This was just one of those moments where I thought about what I'm doing and why it works the way it does. I guess once a tank is setup you have time to think about these things.
 
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Tom Barr

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I'm not so sure NH4 is nearly that critical, it appears to be for Green water, but few other species.
With less light, good CO2, it becomes increasingly difficult to induce GW with NH4.

Carbon status of the plants, cuticle issues etc seem to play a larger role.
Various signals or a combo of signals appears to control germination.
Most seem to be related to the plants and also.........the CO2.

Less light= less energy for growth, slower rates of growth.
We also do not see and measure the smaller microscopic inverts that nibble on algae spores/new recruits etc.

Some of the questions I posed to C Smith are not simple and many do not have an answer.
Folks who claim to know the answer had better have some serious support if they claim as much.

Evolution has provided many niches for many species of algae. Our systems however, are not natural, and thus these algae are adapted to something in nature and we are reproducing it when we get algae blooms.
If we look at high nutrients in natural systems where plants are present, we find little algae as well.

See Bachmann Crisman et al's paper:
http://fishweb.ifas.ufl.edu/Faculty Pubs/CanfieldPubs/macrophyte.pdf

This paper is about as close as we have come to general theory.

Every expert plant aquarist I know simply focuses on the plants, stays on top of that.......... algae are rarely an issue.
Some grow plants, slower, faster etc, but the same principles still apply. Broad more philosophical questions are better, this entails questioning some fundamental assumptions we often have.

What do we really know about why algae grow? Less than many of these other web site clowns seem to think. This is a social problem more than anything. Several folks have deficiency tables, algae articles etc, they can be of little use truthfully, algae are more diagnostic for me, they say what I'm doing really wrong for the plants. If you watch the plants first, then respond with good horticulture before algae show up, then there's even less chance of issues and the risk is reduced and the effort to keep the tank going is much, the old saying, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure applies well here.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

Tom Barr

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C.Smith, you need not worry, you are asking the right questions and thinking about this with the correct attitude. No need to defend the honest question.
Most agree with the generalized notions, but the deeper questions require thought, and many simply do not have answers that are simple.

This is where drawing on other fields and counter examples, like why are there, 15,000 species of diatoms?... comes into play.
Why do they only seem to grow in the first 2-3 weeks?
Will limiting Si help?

Etc.......

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

bluedragon

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Ohhhhhhh noooooooooooooooo
I thought I had answer why EI dosing doesn't Induce Algae, but looks like my theory was incorrect.
I thought in EI Dosing, we are providing lots of nutriants (macro and Micro) for plants and lots of CO2, so there is no limitation on nutriants and CO2. (which both plants and algae needs to thrive). Now only think needed is light. And we are limiting on light (not giving algae a change to use it).
Providing extra nutriants and CO2 we are basically asking Big plants of plant kindom (our aquatic plant) to fight over light we are providing and not give a single change to Algae. (survival of fittest :)

Since plants and algae both prefer light wavelenth of same range (We have prefernces for our beer too, I like Ale :) ) we have plants to use those wavelength of light coming from our limited souce of light (limited compared to sunlight) (too many beer drinkers and too little beer).

I just started planted tank a month ago, Everyone here helped me (Thanks to: billonte, Left C and everyone else who helped me), I never raised question on relation between algae and EI Method because i came up with theory and thought that was the reason it works. Looks like I still have lot to learn :)

I really hope I was not 100% wrong with my theory, i hope light has something to do with algae control.

Thanks
NN
 
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dutchy

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bluedragon;50612 said:
i hope light has something to do with algae control.

Thanks
NN

Yes. It grows less fast. ;) By limiting light it's easier to meet nutrient and CO2 demand. That's the control part.

regards,
dutchy
 
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Philosophos

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bluedragon;50612 said:
Ohhhhhhh noooooooooooooooo
I thought I had answer why EI dosing doesn't Induce Algae, but looks like my theory was incorrect.
I thought in EI Dosing, we are providing lots of nutriants (macro and Micro) for plants and lots of CO2, so there is no limitation on nutriants and CO2. (which both plants and algae needs to thrive). Now only think needed is light. And we are limiting on light (not giving algae a change to use it).
Providing extra nutriants and CO2 we are basically asking Big plants of plant kindom (our aquatic plant) to fight over light we are providing and not give a single change to Algae. (survival of fittest :)

Since plants and algae both prefer light wavelenth of same range (We have prefernces for our beer too, I like Ale :) ) we have plants to use those wavelength of light coming from our limited souce of light (limited compared to sunlight) (too many beer drinkers and too little beer).

I just started planted tank a month ago, Everyone here helped me (Thanks to: billonte, Left C and everyone else who helped me), I never raised question on relation between algae and EI Method because i came up with theory and thought that was the reason it works. Looks like I still have lot to learn :)

I really hope I was not 100% wrong with my theory, i hope light has something to do with algae control.

Thanks
NN

It looks like a simplified version of something I've been giving over on APC as one possibility of a few. It seems no matter how heavily I preface with the words "Still nothing better than conjecture" and "this is not something that has been proven" others remove those qualifiers and pass it along as a 100% answer.

I do think a competition model has to be some of the answer at least. It's not advantageous for algae to compete with plants and other algae when it doesn't have to. I think the imperfections of nature mean not everything will be ideal; they will just be as they are, meaning some things will contradict this model. We don't even know all of the rules yet.

In general, I'll say that people look for answers in this hobby far too fast; it's something everyone needs to watch for. People cheat themselves out of answers by oversimplifying the question, and tend to favor an answer that sounds good for the sake of being polite or feeling good rather than being honest and saying they don't know. Naturally you don't get a reputation as the guy everyone likes by saying, "I don't know, and neither do you." even if it's the truth.

So as for my part in this, I'll say I sure don't know but I've got some guesses that I'm always up for discussing. If we can discount a possibility, then we're one step closer. Research would be better, but discounting a concept as being flawed by what others know is better than nothing and it's usually all we have in these discussions.
 

Tom Barr

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Philosophos;50626 said:
It looks like a simplified version of something I've been giving over on APC as one possibility of a few. It seems no matter how heavily I preface with the words "Still nothing better than conjecture" and "this is not something that has been proven" others remove those qualifiers and pass it along as a 100% answer.

Ya think?

"Hilter liked algae........ algae must be Hitler!!"

I do think a competition model has to be some of the answer at least.

Why? What is the algae competing for?
Think in terms of seasonality and evolution, when would be a good time to grow and pass on your genes in an aquatic system?
What niche would allow this best where plants are present in high density and are growign fast?

Generally if that is the case, algae would not have long before the mats of plants cover the surface, we pruce them back, but still, algae have little way of knowing a gardener is going to remove them and hack the plants back.
If the algae cannot grow in that short window before the plants form a canopy, just like weeds in a forest, that's not a good time to make a run for it in their life cycle.

Better to wait.

Over time, the "algae spore bank" in the aquarium declines and the tank becomes more resistant to algae blooms as well.
Nothing has been done research wise in this regard....but it seems quite plausible as well.

It's not advantageous for algae to compete with plants and other algae when it doesn't have to. I think the imperfections of nature mean not everything will be ideal; they will just be as they are, meaning some things will contradict this model. We don't even know all of the rules yet.
In general, I'll say that people look for answers in this hobby far too fast; it's something everyone needs to watch for. People cheat themselves out of answers by oversimplifying the question, and tend to favor an answer that sounds good for the sake of being polite or feeling good rather than being honest and saying they don't know. Naturally you don't get a reputation as the guy everyone likes by saying, "I don't know, and neither do you." even if it's the truth.

What as that movie?

"You can't handle the truth"

haha

But what you state is very true, this is a social problem, not a science or algae/horticultural problem.
Some use uncertainty in Science as proxy to further their particular agenda.

This incurs my full wrath.

So as for my part in this, I'll say I sure don't know but I've got some guesses that I'm always up for discussing. If we can discount a possibility, then we're one step closer. Research would be better, but discounting a concept as being flawed by what others know is better than nothing and it's usually all we have in these discussions.

You mean folks like to yack rather than do work and test to see?
Oh my my:)

You made good points to social issues with this topic.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

Gerryd

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Hi all,

I am glad I prefaced my original response as 'I could be wrong'. Should have said 'I will be/am wrong'...

and saying they don't know

Dan, I should have just said that 'I don't know... it may be magic for all I know'. It would have made as much sense as my reply......

I way oversimplified my response and should have kept my mouth shut..

However, if it causes one other person to think before they speak, it will have been worth it...

I think I will stick to topics where I have at least a tiny bit of knowledge...

I hate to think that I am contributing to mythology and ignorance.......there is enough of that around as it is...
 
C

csmith

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Gerryd;50629 said:
Hi all,

I am glad I prefaced my original response as 'I could be wrong'. Should have said 'I will be/am wrong'...



Dan, I should have just said that 'I don't know... it may be magic for all I know'. It would have made as much sense as my reply......

I way oversimplified my response and should have kept my mouth shut..

However, if it causes one other person to think before they speak, it will have been worth it...

I think I will stick to topics where I have at least a tiny bit of knowledge...

I hate to think that I am contributing to mythology and ignorance.......there is enough of that around as it is...

You showed me what works for you, and why it does. You can't have better first hand knowledge than that. I got something out of it, all that really matters as far as I'm concerned.
 

bluedragon

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Hi All
I am just happy, with your help and sugesstion on my post "Plants are not pearling" my plants are pearling, you guys suggested to lower the light which I did and I don't have Algae. I thank you all for that. I just jumped to conculsion why it worked and why lower light helped (my understanding was plants need high light, this is what i was suggested by my LFS) and came up with theory of compition for light between Algae and Plants. Glad you guys corrected me. Please don't say "I don't know", you guys are really awesome with lots of knowledge. (By the way knowledge increases by giving so please keep on giving.) With your help I have healthy tanks :)
Regards
NN
 

Philosophos

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Tom Barr;50627 said:
Why? What is the algae competing for?
Think in terms of seasonality and evolution, when would be a good time to grow and pass on your genes in an aquatic system?
What niche would allow this best where plants are present in high density and are growign fast?
I said some of the answer; I didn't even qualify that with a specific number. I think it would be pretty amazing if algae competing with algae, and adapting to avoid competition or finding an advantage didn't happen to some degree. On the phylogenic tree we're talking about algae... I have a feeling that some of it just may have adpated to become more than a couple other things competing for similar resources. I don't think that they were actually trying to compete in any silly personification of algae, but I do think that all other things being the same the algae with a better surface area:volume ratio will uptake more nutrients faster resulting in larger populations.

How much of a roll does this have to play in our little tanks? I couldn't say. I'm not even sure it's central, but who is? Nothing I'm saying is exclusive to other factors either. I completely agree that there are other factors at play.


Tom Barr;50627 said:
Some use uncertainty in Science as proxy to further their particular agenda.
I don't think most human beings even differentiate between the two. Call me a misanthropist, but I think most people think of anything as a tool to use for their own benefit first, and obligations to discovery for the benefit of society come much farther down the list. I hope this changes, and I think this realization is spreading but it's still pretty ugly right now.

Tom Barr;50627 said:
You made good points to social issues with this topic.
But as usual I probably botched the science. I'm still going to ask the questions and state the obvious (or obviously inane), and while I'll try to understand it all I doubt I ever will.

Gerry,

I think those with the best intentions will have people take their words wrong and quote them as fact because they sound good. I'll keep saying it and I'll keep qualifying it and I'll keep whining about people who remove the qualifiers. I think you said your bit, and there's nothing wrong with what you said. Part of educating people or being educated about the hobby is teaching them about scientific methodology and its implications. People goof up their understanding of all kinds of things, and even the best pass on inaccuracies until those standing on their research and others refute them. Just because this happens doesn't mean we don't try.
 

Biollante

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Misanthropist?

Hi All,

From a practical point of view, I am going to stick with Gerry’s answer and my sycophantic post even though my hero bailed on me. :)

For an excellent read on my position (formerly Gerry’s) I recommend Diatoms and Aquatic Plants by Tom Barr, http://www.barrreport.com/showthread.php/3121-Barr-Report-Newsletter-Diatoms-and-Aquatic-Plants.

Stability is our friend, the basics of algae through time and space in open water as opposed to our controlled aquatic gardens.

I have long suspected one of the real impediments to the growth of our hobby is that the six-month initiation process is so frustrating and often has the candidates to “our club” thrashing around so much that stability is not even a remotely possible. :rolleyes:

Nothing wrong with asking questions early on, it is the rush to put new information generated into practice that I believe causes much of the frustration.

There is in my always-humble potted plant opinion much to be said for getting a tank or two of noxious weeds growing and stable for a year or so, then moving on technique-wise. :)

Early on it is not important that we understand the “inner working” many would say I do all right not knowing much. I know quite a few folks that know little or nothing about any of the issues we routinely discuss that have managed to keep and maintain planted tanks for years simply following instructions. :gw

No Dan I do not think you a misanthrope, (self-describing “misanthropist” is interesting…) I think you are a little hard on most folk.

I suggest that with a few exceptions people are not trying to misuse the science, we often “botch the science,” misunderstand and occasionally get so wrapped up in what we have to say we fail to listen. Sometimes we use two-dollar words when perfectly good nickel words would do. :eek:

Biollante
 

Tug

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Heretics!

This is only hearsay and from a lobbyist for biotech firms no less, but in an attempt to create biofuel from algae some researchers have found algae that are not dependent on light for optimal growth, something they initially suspected was critical to the cycle. What ever they need, algae don't seam to need much. They are true colonizers of great repute.

I think Laura Palmer's friend from Twin Peaks says it best when using a flawed question based on conjecture. "If you wash your hair tonight, will the sun rise tomorrow?"
 
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Gerryd

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Hi all,

my hero bailed on me.

Bio,

I only 'bailed' on my theory as it does not apply to all algae in all conditions....

As an example NH4 MAY FUEL BBA (I don't know that), but I and others have personally 'caused/fixed' it with:

insuffient or unstable C02

So right there is an algae that very well MAY be affected/enhanced by NH4, but MAY NOT be the causation factor....

I got the NH4 thing from the same PDF you linked to and seem also to remember a thread or two where Tom mentions NH4 and algae, but maybe I misunderstood his posts...and it was not a cause and effect relationship.

I used to have a decent memory for the written word but perhaps no longer....

Algae are ALWAYS present and almost are NEVER c02 or fert limited as they are so tiny and need so little.

I stand by THAT quote :)

When plants are growing well with minimal leaf damage very little NH4 is released which DOES seem to fuel algae more.

That is why older or damaged leaves get algae... as they die off they release NH4 and develop more algae.

Now multiply that effect times the number of plants in the tank.....and you have a bloom

I still think the above is somewhat true and what I was trying to refer to but most likely for limited algal species and/or conditions.. I should not have applied as a default that apllies overall.

Dan,

I think you said your bit, and there's nothing wrong with what you said

I hope you don't think I am advocating my 'bit' all over the place....it was my thought to a specific question and I offered no proofs nor held myself out as an 'expert' of any kind..

If in fact NH4 does play a limited/minimal/unknown role in MOST algae, then what I said is incorrect and thus inherently wrong... so there IS something wrong in what I said... that is what I was taking back.
 
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C

csmith

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Gerryd,

I personally agree with you on NH4 having some relationship with algae. If it didn't, why would DSM starts be so much more helpful? My response to your first post wasn't meant to shoot that down if that's how it came across. I was only asking if it was the cause, or a cause.