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Re: Algae

> Already, the stargrass
> that replaced the telanthera has greatly increased,
> and I have seen a slowing/stopping of algae growth.
> Coincidence?

 Well growing plants almost always are far better competitors than slower
growing ones. If you have a tank with nutrients and no/little plant growth
(for whatever reason) your likely going to get algae. If you have good
healthy plant growth your likely not to get algae problems, least not a
problem that couldn't be dealt with by the additions of algae eaters.
A big algae crew (us going in and removing the algae counts also) makes it's
even more difficult for algae to exist or start to gain a foot hold.
But a healthy plant needs good nutrition. A healthy plants uses the
nutrients that you put into your tank. A stunted plant doesn't. NO3 usage
seems to be a good ruler. And P usage too.
If you did a water change etc and did not add enough KNO3 etc back into your
tank or if your tap has P etc and you rely on fish food etc to build the
needed amount back up for the plants to grow well, this may give a window
for the algae to appear. Maybe not but that's what I've seen. I have had
better results by adding all the nutrients back into the tank right after
the water change and attack on the algae. But the Herbivores cannot be
discounted either. They do have some impact on repackaging the waste/algae
and turn this into plant food(in the form of herbivore waste). Our own role
is that of herbivore remover but we don't repackage the algae and make plant
food out of it. We also are real lazy about doing it too:) Algae get eaten
and plants get fed. This may be a more time issue. But this too can
increased/enhanced by adding them en mass. So what time frame are you after
here? It can left to its own devices or you can be pro active also. I prefer
pro active but have done some "slower" methods. But in all cases you see
what? Well growing plants. The faster the plants get going and growing well
the better. This allows less time for the algae to take advantage of this
window of opportunity. Less time = less algae. Neglect a tank, get algae.
Take care of it and stay on top of your nutrients etc, don't get algae.
We are in total control of this environment. You can do less work and wait
and algae will go away in tanks with good balances.

Use the N and P as rulers as a comparison. They are better overall
yardsticks than some of the anecdotal notions. If your tank is not using the
NO3 etc, well why not? Go in and add nutrient A, then B etc on down the line
till you get the response your looking for(N and/or P usage). You will see a
direct correlation between N and/or P usage and algae presence I would say.
Why? I've had tanks that have no P etc. I've had tanks that have no NO3 etc.
Excess everything else. Poor plant growth and some algae presence. Add some
KNO3 to the low NO3 and suddenly the P starts getting used. Add some KH2PO4
to another tank that has low PO4 and then the NO3 level falls much faster

Plants can incorporate these nutrients quite fast, typically within an hour
of so. But if the plant's machinery is not "oiled", or is stunted or slowed
in some way it makes the process slower/inefficient etc. After they get
enough and start doing well then the uptake rates increase. Yes this takes
some time but how much on a healthy plant? Not much.

Add some P and see what happens. If you see that plant growth is increased
by doing this and that a drop in NO3 now occurs it's a good bet that there
was not enough of the some nutrient that cause the algae to get a foot hold
since the plants where being held back. If plants are not held back by low
nutrient levels then your not going to get much algae. But folks remove
things(like use P removers or just don't have enough P) or don't add enough
of many nutrients. Adding P can help reduce one's NO3 levels. So can adding
enough traces.   
> As a separate issue, I should mention that it is among
> only the java moss that I have significant hair algae.
> Interesting that the algae should like its foothold
> so much there.

Moss makes a great substrate for hair algae to exist(or any fine net like
plant/roots etc). A good trim and some shrimps will take out the rest.

But you ultimately have the control in all of this. How active do want to be
in this? You can sit and play the waiting game or get in can attack the heck
out of the algae. You've done both as many of us here have.

I've removed large plant masses from tanks. The tanks will use less
nutrients but how you remove and what you remove and if you do a good water
after etc etc makes a difference. You can remove and watch and not anything
else too. Neglect/not neglecting is a big reason for algae presence or
absence too. No herbivores. Not adding enough nutrients etc.
It's somewhat fun to let a tank just go and see what happens............but
I feel much better with a nice tank.
Tom Barr