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Love the Algae confusion

I just got done reading the "Love the Algae" article in PAM2 and need
someone to clear up something for me or maybe explain it differently.  
     Brad Metz writes, "Like plants, algae can only grow as fast as the
limiting resource allows."
     How does one know what the limiting resource would be and what does
this really mean for the "control" of excess algae?  Especially in a
young (1-3 month) setup??  
     Sorry to bring up a very deeply discussed topic but I am trying to
learn as much as I can and understand aquatic gardening BASICS.
     I have read all I can read about algae in The Krib and on many
other related websites...it gets overwhelming and confusing for a new
plant hobbyist.

Thank you and I appreciate all and any help.