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[APD] Ratios and using refrences to discuss plant growth/algae

Folks seem to like to dicuss ratios for plant growth which is good and an easy way to think about fertilizers.
Problems arise when folks take unsuitable references and try to apply them as support.

Folks generally are unaware of the unsuitability/misapply them etc.

I've stated ratios are not really important for aquatic plants as long as there is enough(nothing becomes plant limiting) for the plants and the levels do not get too far outside a wide reasonable range, eg not having 10ppm of Zn or Cu.

Some(different folks, web site claims, even some plant companies) have suggested that  ratios will control algae under non limiting _plant_ conditions. This is NOT true.

Algae need less nutrients than are suitable for good plant growth to survive.
This is why this notion does not apply when the nutrients are non limiting to plants.

Other folks use references for phytoplankton and/or marine studies.
To some degree, the macro algae act somewhat like plants in Marine systems but most every marine reference I see does not discuss Sargassum, Caulpera or Halimeda. These algae have advanced pathways, structures etc that are far different than FW plants.

When looking at ratios, make sure it's for submersed plants, not algae, phytoplankton, not terrestrial plants etc.
Phytoplankton are a non issue in planted tanks except for Green water, caused by NH4. But this alga is not limited nor beaten with ratios nor induced by a certain ratio of nutrients(other than NH4).

When considering algae support, look at things that address macrophytic algae, epiphytic, these are the nioxious algae that bother us:


Spirogyra, Caldophora and Rhizoclonium can be very tough to beat with nutrient management once established. 
Ratios will do little to beat these.

This is because the algae are not limited at a ratio that will also support plant growth.
I think many folks see a reference or some "research" and assume that it's correct.  

I can misapply a ref and tell you that 

"There have been many new research advances at the Aquatic weed research Facility done on plant growth and algae by Doctor Ima Suckerfish and the National Center for Wetland Education(Suckerfish 2004). Dr Blowhole and his faithful graduate student Tomoss Tomato recently found that Cylindrospermosis produces anti algae toxins that limit the growth of certain algae species. We at "Aqua-Schishter" have developed a new anti algae product called "Tomoss's New and Improved snake oil". After years of development and testing, we have found the new revolutionary product that will treat many species of algae. 

Please send 10.95$ for a 250 gal treatment to: Tomoss Tomato at "AquaSchister's" 

A similar one can be written for ratios, plant growth, substrates, fish health, adding inches to your love life ad nauseum..........

While you can search for the easy way out, some edge, the easiest way I've found is to grow the plants, makes life much easier, simpler and I do not waste my time of stuff that is designed to get my money, not grow plants.

Hopefully more folks will be much more critical and not jump on the bandwagon.I try to find every good aspect and then I'll turn on it and go after every bad aspects. 

Tom Barr




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