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Re: PMDD Dosage and Algae

Thanks to all who wrote on and off-list in response to my plea for help.

> From: "Roger S. Miller" <rgrmill at rt66_com>
> > We have an on-going problem with fuzzy green algae in our 180 gal
> 1) If you can shove all the plants from your 180 gallon tank into a 10 gallon
> tank and leave them there for weeks, then you really aren't growing very many
> plants.  I couldn't cram all the plants from my 55 gallon tank into a 10
> gallon tank without crushing some down to green paste, and my 55 offers much
> less planting space than your 180.  Plant more plants to create more
> competition for the algae.

When one has only a 10 gal tank at one's disposal, one can cram any number of
plants into it, especially if the older algae infested leaves of still young
plants are first removed.  Current plant count is 31.  I see no economic (or
other good) reason in planting extra plants just to have them eventually

> 2) You don't mention that your tank contains any algae eating fish.  You
> really need to replace some of your existing fish with some algae eaters.
> A tank with a moderate to heavy fish load, light planting, CO2 and
> ferilizer in the water column is little more than an algae farm.  Algae
> eaters like otocinclus or SAE's should thrive on your fuzzy greens.

Yes, we have a few otos.  However, the algae about which I wrote would require a
literal army of algae eaters to keep it under control.  Algae eaters alone would
not fix this problem, I'm afraid.

> 3) In general nuisance green algae growth implies too many nutrients in the
> water column.  In your case the nutrients are probably from fish feeding and
> using two different water column fertilizers.

Exactly.  However, there is too much of one or more nutrients, and not enough of
something else.

> Low planting density and additional fertilizer in the substrate means your
> rooted plants aren't putting up much competition for the water column
> nutrients, and the algae have a free ride.  Adding Jobe's spikes to your
> substrate is probably a really bad idea right now.

Planting density is fine, imo, though there is some inefficiency going on for
sure.  Agreed - adding the plant spikes may indeed be a solution for another day
long down the road.

> 4) If your water supplier says the water is low in phosphorus, I would tend to
> believe them.  But if you do believe that phosphorus in your tap water is a
> problem then the last thing you want to do is 40% daily water changes.  That
> just provides the algae (and plants) a continuous supply of phosphorus.

The guy at the lfs insists there's phosphate in the tapwater, but I'm not so
sure.  The city has no good reason to lie when I recently queried them on the
issue.  To make sure, though, a sample of tapwater is going to a local lab to be
tested for ortho-phosphate.

Agreed - if there's phosphate in the water going into the tank, it's lunacy to
keep on adding it.

> 5) Be PATIENT!  From your chronology of set-ups, problems, take-downs and
> rebuilds it sounds like you've never given your tank much time to stabilize.
> This isn't particularly good for your fish and it makes it impossible to judge
> the growth of your plants.

Patience is not a virtue I am long on when there's a 180 gallon disaster
thriving on in my living room.  Persistent, calculated action is required to
solve the problem(s) associated with this excessive algae growth, though I do
understand solutions may take awhile to fully be realized.

> Also, while bubbling plants provide instant gratification, it's a bad idea to
> use that as a standard for good growing conditions.

When one's algae is bubbling like crazy and the plants aren't, I'd say bubbling
is an excellent indicator of succes and failure, wouldn't you agree?

Geez, it seems like I tore your comments to shreds (or is that pulverized them
into green paste?), but I have taken to heart the gist of your message:  Take it
easy, don't add more fertilizer in the form of phosphate water or plant sticks,
and make sure the plant load is equal to the fish-given nutrient load.  Plus
find out which are excess and which are deficient nutrients.

The courses of action we've taken have been to increase potassium on a daily
basis, increase CO2 (both of which have produced more plant bubbling to compete
with algae bubbling), plus convert a pair of light hoods to old 3 tubes instead
of 2 which increases light from 360 watts to 420 watts for 180 gals.  It's too
soon to tell how much difference the extra light makes, especially since the
tubes are somewhat crowded.

Again, thank you so much all for taking the time to respond.  I have much to
mull over for the next several days while continuing to monitor success/failure
with our new courses of action.
Beverly Wladyka
Edmonton AB Canada