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Re:Barr method

> Just received my copy of Oriental Aquarium's  "The Aquarium Plant
> Handbook" that the AGA is now offering.  For those that didn't spring
> for this one, it's available from the AGA's bookstore and it a great
> compliment to Kasselman's text; it covers a lot of new unidentified
> species and since a lot of places get their stock from them, it's
> prolly a great guide to common/pseudo botanical names if you're trying
> to track something very unusual down on the import lists... Also, the
> culture section is very close to the "Barr" method; it recommends water
> column dosages of NO3/PO4/K+ and traces at about the levels this list
> commonly recommends.

Several folks I know, know them, so I'm certain they mentioned the concepts
I've been nagging folks for years about. After trying it out, it's difficult
to argue.

But explaining why precisely it works is another matter:-)
Copying advice is one thing, knowing why it works is another.

Folks over there have been using this method for awhile now and it's quickly
become accepted. 

I no longer hear PO4 causes algae all over the world. Maybe a few die hard
Germans, but they have come around also.

> This is very up-to-date stuff and differs from
> all the German texts which seem to keep recommending substrate only
> fertilization; it's just good to see another technique in print.

What do German/Dutch folks have in their tap waters? NO3 and PO4. All they
need to add is K+, CO2 and traces and do weekly large water changes.

Tropica will likely come out with something good I'd imagine shortly. They,
like the other company, don't sell snake oil.

> Anyhow, the only real surprise was their recommendation for cases of
> severe algae infestation.  They recommend a 90% water change weekly
> while resetting nutrients levels to those near what Tom plugs _but_
> they recommend only fertilizing once weekly and killing the CO2.

"Resetting the nutrients", humm, I heard that phrase before.
But the idea is about what I often do, sometimes I'll do 90% but 50-70%
works fine also.

> This 
> is a rather unusual technique that seems to contradict conventional
> wisdom, wondering if anyone has any ideas why this may be effective.

Turning off the CO2 may, and I don't think it works as well, cause the algae
that's adapted to high CO2 levels to be suddenly shocked. Fert's only once a
week is about right if you turn off the CO2 (less uptake since the tank is
CO2 limited). 

But a blackout is more effective IME/IMO. If you plan on depriving algae,
use that. I don't add CO2 at night, would that help prevent algae? It's a
12-14 hr vs a week period and might cause some algae not to get too
comfortable with high CO2 levels.

Some folks say they are fine with CO2 on 24/7 and if things are going well,
this is fine. But when a bad case appears due to something being messed up,
then this may help but I don't think it's a great advantage, the lights out
method would do more harm to the algae.

Some algae like some Cladphora seems to die off if you turn off the CO2 for
a few days/don't feed the fish etc but most algae blooms when folks try

The other thing, after a bad algae issue, the plants are not doing well
anyway, folks often reduce the plant mass a large amount and the CO2
uptake/fert uptake is often greatly reduced.

I certainly have tried this but I find it not effective, I'd rather focus on
the plant's needs and get them going rather than killing algae with a less
effective means of algae limitation than light/blackout.
> To add to the mass of anecdotal evidence surrounding algae 'care' I
> recently built a new reactor for my 29 gallon since I was having a few
> problems with the Eheim Ecco on it locking up from excess gas in the
> filter; thing was this reactor wasn't too effective... but the algae in
> the tank really melted away?? Anyone else find that lowering gas and
> CO2 levels did algae in?  Any ideas why other than at lower gas levels
> the nutrients will remain closer to ideal for a longer time period?

Or you can dose the nutrients more frequently then this does not occur.

It's good someone got around to putting this into print. But they still need
to say why. I have yet to see anything that I can agree on about that.

Many folks in Singapore are now using and selling KH2PO4, K2SO4, KNO3 and
trace mixes and are using these and have for awhile but they have not been
at it as long as folks here in NA. Eventually everyone all over will use
this method or a non CO2 DW method. This is a good thing for the plants
since it means less issues with algae and more focus on aquascaping/plant
health and it's easy for folks to do.

Even small books like these are very good much like Barron's Aquarium Plant
Manual. About time. Bug folks and LFS shops to carry the AGA publications
and DW's book.
Better than the out dated books that are gathering dust on most shelves.

Tom Barr
> Cheers,
> Jeff Ludwig