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Re: algae and nutrients

>From: Steve Pushak <teban at powersonic_bc.ca>
>Subject: algae and nutrients
>I don't believe the statement:
>"If you have algae, then you must have an excess of one or more
>Algae can grow even when nutrients are sufficient for plant growth no
>matter how hard you try to reduce the amount of available N, P or Fe in
>the water. There is always enough to keep the algae alive or growing
>slowly. If you have high amounts of these nutrients, then it is likely
>that your algae problems will become much worse.
>You can only limit the growth rates of algae by nutrient controls. You
>must rely upon one of the following to remove it:
>1) manually take it out
>2) prevent it from ever getting in (difficult)
>3) get a grazer for that kind of algae
>Grazers vary in their ability to consume algae; those most effective
>filament algae eaters will also eat fine leaved plants like Heteranthera
>zosterifolia, Mayaca, Cabomba. Snails are good for controlling diatom

I agree with Steve, except for number 2. I have not had much trouble
preventing hair algae from getting in once I got rid of it.  Other kinds of
algae are a different story, but they can be controlled more easily. Hair
algae and aquatic plants have similar nutrient needs, and it is difficult
to completely eliminate hair algae by having the plants outcompete it.
There are some species of hair algae, such as Cladophora, that I doubt
anyone has ever eliminated by competition.  If you want to encourage growth
of aquatic plants by giving them more room, the hair algae will enjoy the
good light and wide open spaces, also.

Since I want to provide excellent growing conditions for aquatic
plants---lots of room, light, and nutrients---and since hair algae also
grows well under those conditions, I use the bleach treatment to get rid of
hair algae entirely.  I do not have problems with it reinfecting my tanks
as long as I bleach new plants before introducing them and put new fish in
an unlit quarantine tank for a few days before introducing them into a
planted tank.

Other categories of algae also thrive with lots of room, light and
nutrients, but they can be more easily controlled biologically.  Daphnia
clear up green water, and snails eat the soft attached types.

If anyone has tried the bleach treatment and been unsuccessful getting rid
of hair algae, I would like to hear about it.  I am thinking of writing an
article for TAG called, "The Bleach Treatment Revisited", and I would like
to know what kinds of experiences others have had using the
treatment---both success stories and failure stories.

Paul Krombholz, in Central Mississippi, with more rain on the way, and my
car with a flat tire.  (Meaning it isn't going to be nice doing the 20 mile
round trip commute on a bicyclein the rain, tomorrow)