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Re: Algae and nutrients(GH etc)

> A follow-up to my complaint last week about Waters of the World product which
> I used to reduce hardness. Although I changed enough water to leave the fish
> scampering for puddles, I'm back to the same problem, several days later.
> Though I have to admit, the fish were quite happy once the tank was refilled.
> Maybe they were just happy that the river didn't dry up altogether. They were
> all out swimming and looking good.
> That leaves me assuming that is algae outbreak, and that it used a
> phosphate-based buffer to increase the KH. Is this reasonable? Seems like
> there's something else going on I can't figure out.

Yes and I would not use it further. Snake oil. If you wish to increase KH
add baking soda or SeaChem's alkaline buffer. Don't add anything else. If
you have a KH of 4-5 I would say that is optimal. Leave the GH alone unless
you have less than 3-4 or so. I think a GH of 5-10 is good. I like a high
one personally. 
> There is a brown algae, but not as simple as the diatom outbreak I had in a
> new tank at one time. This is a mix of algaes, all together, with some hair
> stuff stringing them all together. This stuff is going to decimate whatever
> plants are left before it's through. There is obviously a lack of nutrients
> in the water, as I noticed some sword leaves turning pale. When I cleaned the
> tank the other day, it appeared I was losing fine-leafed plants for the most
> part, now the stuff is on everything.
> And how can the algae continue to proliferate when I changed nearly the
> entire contents of the tank?

They (The plants) are not growing since there's no nitrate etc in the water.
If they are not growing, algae will creep in. Algae are good at conditions
like this as well. Goes back to the old balance thing. Get a good range for
the plants, N,P,K,Fe etc, CO2 and remove all the algae you can manually as
well. Add a micron cartiage and or UV.

 I'm assuming if I had high phosphates (and
> belatedly didn't think to check phosphate levels) they would have been
> reduced to nil with that massive water change.

**IF** your local water supply does not have them in there. I had 1.12ppm
average in my old tap and now I have 0.06ppm. I have to add P now.

>And why diatoms? It's not a
> low-light tank. It's coating stems and leaves leaving the plant rotting. I
> also washed all stem plants off. The water left behind had a green, not
> brown, tinge to it.

There's many types of diatoms.

On the plants that remained, I cleaned the leaves before
> removing the water. I even did some gravel vacuuming (unusual for me to do on
> this tank). It looks brown on the leaf in the tank; when I wiped it off, it
> actually had a mix of green & brown and particles.
> For the heck of it, I threw on a phosphate remover pad I had from Tropical
> Science. It's supposed to use iron oxide as opposed to aluminum. Question:
> The aluminum phosphate removers will remove silicate after all phosphate has
> been removed (this is how I got rid of my diatoms before). Will the iron
> oxide do this as well? I recall a fellow from Tropical Science claimed when
> there is excess phosphates, it will settle into the substrate and leach into
> the water slowly, causing algae problems.

It (P) will if you have plants that don't grow or aren't growing. In well
run tanks P is never a problem unless there's too little of it. Plants use P
faster than most here on the APD seem to think. Folks keep saying its the P
causing algae. Typically its a *lack* of something. CO2, NO3, Fe, P, K are
the big ones. CO2 and K in slight excess and the other's in moderate/low
amounts but **not** absent. If you can do that, you will likely not have
many issues.

> Or maybe my water supply contains
> silicates?

That could be a case as well. It likely does contain them. Many tap waters
> I had an odd and random thought of adding NO3. I'm beginning to believe
> anything I add, other than water, is going to make this worse. There is
> little (if any) growth on the plants, in spite of CO2 addition.

Can you live on O2 alone? Feed the plants. If you are worried about the
algae add jobes to the roots. Still I think adding KNO3 would not hurt.
Nor Trace elements but I would use them more sparingly at first.
> I thought I got through the worst stuff. This tank had some unusual plants
> (unusual to find at any rate) and was stabilized. This is having me re-think
> my plans. Rather than upgrade the lighting on this and another tank, I'm
> thinking of tossing them all out. I've just about had it.

What types of light? If it's a simple shop light two bulb set up at 2 watts
a gallon you should be fine. At high light you may find adding the KNO3 and
other items more a problems since they are used up fast. I add this to my
tanks as well as jobes and lots of food.

I see you were interested in reducing GH. Why? I had a GH of 9 and now have
a GH of 24! I still have not had any problems with growing any plants.
It's not GH. As long as you have enough GH I think things are fine. The
upper limits I think I know at this point(24). They may be fine beyond this
level as well. I have low light and high light tanks etc. I have a good
amount of CO2 in the tanks(20-35ppm). My KH sits about 6 or so.

I learn lots as I move from place to place. Soft in SF, rock hard down in
Santa Barbara, moderate up in Marin. One place had lots of P and another
none. I now need to add P. I've started using some KH2PO4 ala Steve Dixon's
methods but (at Steve's suggestion) I suppose I could pH down which is
phosphoric acid. Anybody using this? Now don't go adding this if you are new
to plants etc or have a KH of 1 or 2 do not do many water changes etc etc.
You will need test kit to play this game for both KH and P etc.
Tom Barr