[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: algae and bio filtration bacteria

Ed brings up some interesting points regarding bacterial filtration.

> Sean Walsh asked:
>> It has probably been beaten to death but what is the
>> number one cause/ best solution to this kind of algae.

Herbivores. This includes the "human" herbivore removal system. A good clean
and trim combined with good nutrition and water changes will help every
algae problem. Adding herbivores on top of this will do in most every algae.
You keep up with things, you'll be fine. Anything that disturbs/harasses the
algae but doesn't hurt plants.
> I had the same problem. Tom Barr recommended considering ammonia the
> problem, even if my tests showed very little or no ammonia. Trouble was,
> I believe that it was not showing up on the tests because the algae was
> getting it before it was being broken down into nitrites and nitrates.

*IF the plants are in sufficient density, IF they are supplied with proper
nutrition, I highly doubt that a non measurable NH4 residual is going to
cause an algae outbreak. Most NH4/NH3 test tend to be decent and not as
subject to problems as say NO3. I would look elsewhere for a cause. It could
be enough of a source for the algae's N supply once the algae is
established. Some algae do well with no NH4 or NO3 we can measure with pour

My beef with NH4 is only as an inducer for resting algae spores. At say
..... 0.25ppm of NH4 might induce a number of algae to sprout and grow. Even
if the residual only last for 12 hours etc and is gone(bacteria, algae and
plants use it up fast).

Most plant tanks will suck out the NH4 very fast. Adding the filter will
remove even more. It will mix the tank better than a powerhead alone in most

> I
> did not have a biological filter because I thought that the plants would
> be the biological mechanism. I just had a mechanical filter to remove
> particulates. When I finally woke up to the fact that my hair algae
> began when I removed the biological filter, then the answer was plain as
> day.

A good bacterial colony should help right? What about all that substrate? It
has enormous surface area and has a fair amount water movement relative to
surface area. But we don't see this for some reason.

 What is going on? Is it the increased flow of the filters? Not likely I
think. Simply adding the media to a filter or removing it can produce/remove
algae blooms even if your tank a paratmeters are well kept. GW, perhaps
other algae(hair) can appear by doing this simple treatment. Is it a
function of NH4 and removal?
I tend to doubt this notion. Check your NH4 when you do this. You do not see
much rise/fall. 

I might be something like that the bacteria that is using NH4 gives off an
anti algae chemcial. In the substrate it doesn't get mixed around well or
enough to cause much effect. The filter spreads it all over. Perhaps the
bacteria in higher current give off more. The nutrients are all there for
the algae in both cases. NH4 is sometimes variable.
Perhaps bacteria + plant roots = anti algae allelopathy. Perhaps the roots
provide more O2 to the bacteria in the substrate increasing filtration.

But I can give examples that are counter to both. Isolation of what's going
on here seems like a good goal.

Bacterial colonies and bacterial filtration in plant are very interesting
and it's a wide spread observation that you have observed.

GW is particularly a good study for this.
> So....try adding more filtration, especially something with big surface
> area for nitrifying bacteria to grow on. I use a fluidized sand-bed
> filter, which hangs over the side of the tank (this is not an
> undergravel filter!), and I also have some Bio-Max balls in my Hot
> magnum filter for extra surface area. As soon as I put these in, the
> algae started to disappear.

This result was mirrored in a number of tanks I've done and quite a few
other folk's tanks.

In very densely planted tanks I've been able to get away with it but it's
not the most resilient tank. The tanks tended to be very sensitive to the
point where it was difficult to keep it up for an extended period of time.
>> Rather than have fish that eat it I would rather get
>> RID of it entirely!
> I also added some Ameca splendens which were AMAZING with hair algae. I
> used 8 juvenile fish in a 110 gallon tank, and ALL the algae was gone in
> 1 day! Now I have removed these fish except for one female who continues
> to elude me. I guess that is okay because she seems to not be fin-nipper
> like the males are. Also, since I have removed the Ameca splendens,
> there has been no return of hair algae (knock on wood!)

Herbivory is certainly one of the best things you can do for a tank.

>> Iron might be leecheing into the water, but isnt that
>> why we put flourite in in the first place, esp since
>> there are those among us who just use flourite with no
>> top layer of quartz?
> Check your iron levels, too. I think high levels can be associated with
> algae.

Iron is not leeching. Look elsewhere. Try harassing the algae often.
Tom Barr
> Keep at it! You will find a solution!