Algae competition

Steve Pushak said:
> I don't think
> dense planting or anything except algae consumers is going to
> eliminate algae that is already present. You have to remove it.
> You cannot starve algae to death.

Karen Randall responds:

>I don't totally agree with this one.  I'm not sure "starving it to
>death" is the right term, but in my experience, many algae species
>have very specific needs, and if these are not met, they quickly
>perish.  I have put badly algae infested plants from the wild into
>a tank to have it disappear in no time.  I have also seen cases of
>algae infestations disappear quite rapidly in tanks where the
>owner got high nitrate/phosphate levels under control.  OTOH,
>those algae that have the same basic needs as desired plant
>species can be trickier to control!

And I say:

I think I agree with Karen here. Remember my earlier posts about almost
quitting because of waves of terrible red algae attacks in my 3 months old
tank? Well, I am happy to report that most of the algae has disappeared.
The "buckhorn" algae went first, a couple of weeks after I added a CO2
system that dropped my pH from 7.8 to 6.8. Then the brush algae went a
couple of weeks more later. And last week I realized that most of the dark
beared algae had turned a greyish white and were dissolving spontaneously!
The dead algae fell off the plant leaves, and 90% of my plants are algae-
free. The only exception are parts of my Cabomba near the top that get a
lot of light -- they have a new type of long green hairlike algae on them. 
Thankfully this stuff is easily removed with a twisting toothbrush. Some
of the vals floating on top of the water also have a bit of green fur
algae, but I see the ramhorn and Malayan snails working on them so I hope
they would not be out of control. I guess green algae is what Karen meant
by those algae that have the same basic needs as higher plants. 

Anyway, I am very pleased with the condition in my tank. This is an amazing
improvement considering at one time there is not a single leaf in there not
covered with some type of beared or brush algae. All my plants are growing
like crazy and I have already taken 2 batches of algae-free cuttings back
to the store. So the moral of the story is: don't get discouraged if you
have an algae problem in a new tank. Once everything becomes stable, the 
plants will indeed outcompete the algae.

 John Y. Ching (jyching at watnow_uwaterloo.ca)    |
 Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence Lab	| 
 Department of Systems Design Engineering      	| 
 University of Waterloo, Canada            	|