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RE: NO3, PO4, K+ again

>>My other question is concerning black (red) algae
>What are your nutrient levels?  Nitrate, Phosphate etc. What is your fish 
>load?  How many fish and of what size to you have in your 10 gallon?  I am 
>no expert on algae, in fact I have some of my own at the moment.  I can 
>however point out to you the areas you need to look at, as I have done in my 
>own tanks.  If you haven't already, buy yourself a good Nitrate and 
>Phosphate test kit (my choice is LaMotte, but hang on for the price tag!).  
>I would assume you will find these levels quite high.

Why then don't I have BBA? Hummmm? I tested my water. It is high in both. 
Plenty for the algae to grow quite well in fact. Both my PO4 and NO3 drop
rather fast.
Maintaining a balance -rather than high levels of this or that nutrient- is
the key. Perhaps a lack of PO4 might even be the problem. Some folks out
here in SF think so for some of their tanks. Maintaining good stable CO2
levels balanced with enough light will solve most of your algae problems and
this one is no different. High nutrients are used up faster than you may
think when this is done. Use the plants to remove things out of your water,
they are good at it.

>> We are all told to keep Phosphous and Nitrogen in check to prevent
>> algae blooms,

Really? Where's my algae then? "We are all told..." a key statement there.
What does "in check" mean? I get better growth when my PO4 is higher. I have
a fair amount of light in many tanks but also have a tank with two watts a
gallon and has no algae. Again, 25% min weekly water changes on all tanks
and most in the 50% range. Tap is 1.12ppm PO4. It's balance...... not one
level or another. Nitrogen is more complex I believe due to it's NO3- and
NH4+ forms and cycles, fish loads and plant preference etc. I have had 75
ppm NO3 in some tanks. No algae. Folks in Europe have high NO3 in some of
their tap also in the 50ppm range. Who needs KNO3 then? Saying to the newbie
that high PO4 and NO3 levels are bad is not correct. If they do not drop
after some time has passed then the *light and CO2* are to blame for the
imbalance often, not the nutrients. If you have rich waters adding more
light and CO2 can often help but it needs to be  balanced. This method will
use up the high levels of nutrients rapidly. "Gee, my PO4 dropped .6ppm in a
few days." "So where's it all going?" I add more PO4 tap water and the
plants perk up and start growing faster and better. After many times of this
one cannot draw any other conclusions but the plants must be using it up.
Slow your CO2 down and see. If you don't use CO2 or are trying a more low
tech approach then this may be a problem though but still can work.

 In nature there is not the control we have here with the light and CO2. In
those cases often NO3 and PO4 are to blame for algae blooms(there are other
reasons such as seasonal etc). Because it is rather difficult to add CO2 in
large amounts to a pond or lake (who's going to do this part?) with millions
of cubic feet of water<g> or light an entire pond/lake for practical matters
we can try to limit the use of PO4 and NO3 source coming into our water
supply. Raising each of the factors, CO2, light and balancing the nutrients
will give you the results your after. It is not just one "bad" nutrient that
is too high that causes problems, although chronic long term imbalances will
slow things down. My point is that if you have enough of the CO2 and light
both of which are fairly stable once set well, all that's really left is the
nutrients. How you add these nutrients is *all under our control* not some
theory applied to natural setting such as a pond/lake data etc which often
we have based our theory on. Nature doesn't have a stable CO2/light level
like we can provide. 

 but what about Potassium?  Unknown to most Aquarium
>> plant enthusiasts, too much Potassium can be as problematic as too
>> little. Too much Potassium stunts plant growth.

Again........ really? Lack of K+ I have seen but never too much.
I have gone to 50ppm and maybe higher. There are other's on this list that
have done the same thing as I have with quite different water parameters. No
issues. Nothing seemed stunted to me. A based estimation of the source added
is better than using the test kits ........nor is the test kit even a needed
item. Go ahead and buy a kit to check if you feel insecure about it. Check
earlier post not long ago for more rant on this one if you so desire.

 Example: 1/4 teaspoon of Green All's K2SO4 added to a 35 gallons of water
will give you 5ppm of K+ solution in this 35 gallons. So any extra from TMG
or other fertilizers will only add more which will not be bad unless your
adding say 3 or more teaspoons of K2SO4 weekly or something to a 35-40
gallon tank. I would add about 1/2-3/4 teaspoon to this tank plus gobs of
TMG. My K has tested consistently at 20-30ppm doing this. This is based on a
50% weekly water change and the K+ is added after the water change. Usage
may vary but there is always a good supply in all the tanks from 2 to 6
watts a gallon. This replacement of water and building it back up each time
afterwards will solve many, many problems. Still having problems? Check your
CO2 again and hopefully you have enough light.

Cost for test: Free -minus some figuring and thinking. Far cheaper than
anything I have seen.

Regards ...
Tom Barr