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Re: Ironman

> I believe in the view Tom states that "Bacterial, algal and plant
> successions in newly stable ecosystems have a pattern."  But I suspect
> that my big tank is at a cusp where more of anything (or anyway, more
> iron) will bring lots more algae which will subside only if, among
> other things, the balance of nutrients is kept rather precise.

I've messed with this "precise notion". It's poppycock. It's flexible. It
has a "range" and the closer and better maintain other parameters are kept
stable the more off your one or two variables can be.
I suggest higher CO2, decent light(not a huge factor if then others are
fine) good macro's(generally the biggest issue after CO2) then you can add
more traces. Your not going to starve algae by limiting your plant's needs.
You can hold it back but you also hold your plant's needs back. Some may
very well find this to their liking and be happy as pie with it. That works
to some degree. But then it needs a precise reading just like my method(iron
or PO4 etc). I like NO3 as the "controller" as it CAN be tested well and is
the larger lion's share compared to other nutrients and seems to work better
when dosing a "range". Basically it's more practical. I have a hard time
calling it a limiting nutrient because algae can do great at 5ppm of NO3.
So can plants. A workable range of 5-10ppm NO3 is not that rough to maintain
if you ask me. Add some fish too. They will supply some NH4 and some NO3 so
then it becomes easier still. Fishless tanks are harder than a tank with
some in there.

>  In
> other words, as you start adding more light, more CO2, more nutrients,
> everything becomes a bit more finicky.

I've found the opposite to be true. Main issue/hassle is what to do with all
the prunings and trimmings. It's gotten to be as easy as feeding my fish
actually. It's the pruning and hacking that's the "chore". I love it but
it's a mood thing.
But I really don't have this precise thing going on with what I do. I don't
think that would be practical one bit. Nor repeatable wrought with error(s)
and potential error(s). If I had to be so precise I'd still be struggling.

> But maybe it's not a matter of
> the balance being finicky,  maybe it's just that if I do add more
> traces with iron, then if I "power through it" to the other side and
> the bloom of algae will wither as the plants continue to excel.

Just make sure you have the macro's and the CO2 down. You'll be surprised at
the levels after you try this. But don't take my word for it. Please try it
yourself. But be sure before you judge the results that you take 3 weeks to
try it out and make sure the other things like the CO2/Macro's etc are not
really causing the problem that your trying to understand.

I strongly encourage folks to try things and not to trust simply what
other's say. Then they will know if the other idea is correct or close etc.
It make a stronger case and helps the hobby grow also. Sure some folks are
not interested in this part at all, they want to grow plants and that's it.
But after awhile you start asking yourself "why" it works.
> ON the other hand, if might plants were growing any better, I would
> have to prune at least twice a week.  I'm looking for more pruning.

Well then you should try it then. Having a gas COI2 systems makes the
lighting and CO2 issue MUCH easier and removes one big variable. So then the
only work is really adding some NPK, CaMgKH issues(if you need to worry
about this) and nutrients. The rest of the work is pruning etc. That's the
"hard part". But it's not necessarily plant mass that your dealing with but
greener greens, redder reds or a more vibrant sparkling tank. Being able to
grow "difficult plants" etc. There's no tricks here. I'm not pulling
anyone's root. Try for yourself. Do it for 3 weeks. You tell me.

> But if Barr's method will eventually reduce the total level of algae,
> I'll give it a try, adding some TMG with K and maybe a few other things
> too after I get more test kits.  However, the algae levels are not bad
> right now, but less algae is always better (at least visually).

Well better plant health is the way to that El Dorado. Focus on the plants,
don't fret about the algae. I'll help anyone with that algae control issue.
Got to go prune.
Tom Barr