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[APD] RE: preventing algae



Hi Earnest, I've been down this road over a hundred times, and that's
probably a gross underestimation.
I'm going to point out a few things, please do not take it the wrong way,
forgive me if I do. I'd welcome you to back up your advice.
The tank's owner has Piranha, and BBA from the best guess.
We don't know if he has CO2 etc(Does he or not?), he does have Swords/Java
ferns. Beyond that we don't know.
If he has CO2, raising it up to a good level will stop the growth of BBA,
about 20-30ppm is a good range.

This will make the plants grow better also. High fish loads in planted
tanks is hard on the tank also. These are big over fed fish most likely.
4-5 in a 90 gal fully grown would be too many. Maybe a 135 would be okay.
SAE's are not going to help in any event even if the fish did not eat them. 

Generally the best approach for algae is to take care of the plants.
 We do not know what this person is doing for their tank
yet..............they complain about algae and want to know how to handle
it but don't tell anything about their tank......other than the type of
algae perhaps and few plants and fish.

Generalizations/myths will get you into trouble as will anything that does
not deal with the plant's health. We grow plants, not kill algae. If you do
that, you do not have algae in the first place. 
  
>Lower phosphates to .5 and keep nitrates down to 10.0. 

I have not found any evidence that these levels prevent or encourage algae.
They do help plants though. That is the key. 
I have 2ppm of PO4 and no algae. 
My NO3 is 2x this, I have no algae.
It's not a bad range, but this will not "prevent or encourage" algae.
No algae is "limited" by these levels in anyone's plant tank.

>Install an in-line UV
>sterilizer to keep a handle on the algae. The UV light will also tend to
>clump algae together making it easier for your filter system to remove it
>from the water column.

If it goes through a UV, it's dead.There's no problem if it's dead.
This is useful for green water and maybe green dust and that's about it.
I'd never recommend it unless they had green water.
The algae must go through the device to be of any use.
Most algae that are problems tend to attach or entangle.
So this does not do much for them.

> Lower lighting levels if you can do it without a
>detrimental effect on your plants. If you can safely increase you acidity
>(say to around 6.8, or even 6.6) it will tend to discourage algae. 

How? I never had any issues at 7.2-7.3 vs 6.3-6.4. 
Why do you say this?
I've not seen evidence for this either.
I agree less lighting certainly will help in most cases though.Generall due
to a lack of something like low CO2 due to higher light or not enough NO3
being produced by the fish load or being added by the aquarist as KNO3 etc.

Also,
>lighting that is 5,000k is less inclined to promote algae than lighting
that
>is 6,500k. 

And where are you basing this on? I've never found this to be true. 
Algae can and do adapt easily to light. So do plants. Several research
studies have shown this.

>Avoid direct (and indirect) sunlight. 

Generally a good idea. If you have enough CO2, and the tank does not warm
up a lot, then this is often fine.
I had a tank that did great with sun and another with indirect but it's
generally not advisable:-)

Try using a fish-safe algae
>reducing (non-chemical) product such as Algone (check the Internet). The
>pouches come in 2 sizes. The larger size is the better buy. It is for tanks
>larger than 60 gallons, costs about 25% more, but contains about 3 times as
>much produce (according to the company). One pouch will work on your tank
>for 2 weeks, then replace it with another pouch. You should see an
?appreciable difference within a few weeks (2 or 3 max).

 I never did. I'll ask you this, do plants grow on Algone? Is it a nutrient?
If not, don't use it. Check the achives about this here on the APD and
other algae cure alls.
I stated some blistering critiques of this and any other algae "cure alls"
over the years here and other boards.
See below. 
  
>Algae problems tend to be directly linked to ambient residual nutrient
>levels in the water column, 

What levels are you specifically talking about? What nutrient also? CO2?
N03? NH4? PO4? 

>so try increasing your water changes (either
>increase the amount changed, or the frequency of changes). Also, if you can
>do it without harm to your fish, cut back on the amount of food in their
>feedings. 

This assumes that they have too much, but too much of what? They might
simply need to add more, rather than remove. Not enough CO2, too much
light, not enough NO3/too many fish=>NH4 are the largest issues with algae.
Generally folks need to add more of something, not remove it when using
CO2. 

>A company called ChlorFree (can be found on the Internet) has an
>aquarium product that will take care of algae.

Is it a plant nutrient? If not you are going chase your own tail. Plants
don't grow on nitrate removers, ChlorFree, Algone etc.
Many people say "Oh I just need something to get me over this hump till I
figure out what's wrong......" And those the folks(ahem, suckers) that buy
this stuff.
Any experienced plant hobbyist worth their salt knows these don't work and
I don't know anyone that has a nice tank that uses any of this crap.
I certainly have never had to. Even the worst possible algae problem you
could cook up. It might have some use but not in a planted tank and I'd
argue the same for a FW tank in general also.    

If there is one truth that holds for __all__ planted tanks, it is that good
plant growth is the best method to reduce algae presence. 
Therefore the focus should always be on addressing the plants needs. 
Plants are what you are trying to grow, so do just that. 
You take care of the plants, then they will take care of the fish and the
tank. 

> It cannot be used in tanks
>with "scaleless" fish. It is a scientifically designed amalgam of some 4
>different materials (including specific percentages of specific metals)
that
>very slowly ionizes your water over time. It is shaped like a little coil
>and drops right into your filter medium. It keeps bacteria and algae from
>being able to multiply so they will eventually just decline to almost
zilch.

Well bacteria is something I like and want. These metals etc will hurt the
plants as much as they damage the algae cell for cell.
I can make the same claim about H2O2 and it's 99 cent a liter.
Copper sulfate also works at low levels. "Specific metal ions" I guess I
could say this also about Copper Sulfate. Not a good thing to use on
scaleless fishes as well.

>Panasonic, the electronics people, also make a line of aquarium products --
>one of which reduces nitrate in the water column. Nitrate is a chief
>component that drives algae.

So where is all my algae then if this is true? My algae in my tanks are not
in any way starved for NO3. 
Or anyone's tanks that has plants and fish. Algae simply do not need as
much and have access to organic forms that the plants do not.
I've seen bad algae with water that we tested with Lamott kits that had
0.0ppm of PO4 and 0.0ppm NO3.
This only hurts the plants and does not limit the algae.    
Too little NO3 will cause algae, and most folks here know this to be quite
true........so ............

I measure NO3 at 0.08-.15ppm in some springs here. Most kits will not
measure anything. And there is plenty of algae growing thickly in large
mats.
PO4 in some places is beyond most test methods and beyond the range of
private labs. Yet there are large mats of periphyton.  

Main things that drive algae in planted tanks: too low CO2(relative to
lighting), too low NO3, too many fish, NH4 to high.
That accounts for about 90% of the algal issues. Maintenance is another big
issue, but I'll leave that one out for now.  
   
> The product is called Amteclean-N (phosphate
>reducer is Amteclean-P). I have no idea where to find these products. If
you
>find a source, let me know. Their Amteclean-N uses coconut and rapeseed oil
>and is non-toxic to plants and fish.

Well for PO4 removal, plants do a better job of export and fixation of both
N and P.
They are also much nicer to look at than Amteclean and I can sell plants to
LFS, try that with any of these products.
Coil denitrifyers, plant filters etc work much better. 

I would encourage you to isolate and test what I have mentioined here your
self and prove it to yourself.
I already know what drives algae and plant growth.

You need to be able to isolate one dependent parameter at a time, use good
test kits and do many runs of the same test to take into account errors.
This will help improve your tanks and ultimately your plants. When the
plants are growing well, the algae doesn't. 
As long as you keep that in mind, then all these other things really don't
have a place in a planted tank. That makes solving algae issues easier,
cheaper, simpler and focuses on the goal of growing nice plants in an
aquarium. 

Take care and I hope this help you.

Regards, 
Tom Barr

>I hope this helps.
>Sincerely,
>Earnest Steve




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