Psa: Algae Myths In The Planted Aquarium (algae Management Part 2)

toeknee
  • #41
Warm Ocean waters help support Hurricanes but they don't cause them, in the same way Nitrates support Algae but don't cause it.
 
happyscrub
  • #42
I just emailed the top staff here



And another institute but forgot the site.
 
Ronniethewitch
  • #43
So, just clarifying here. I can search for scientific information that I may or may not find because it is obscure, or I can listen to other people's experiences and take from them what applies to me, knowing that every tank is different due to local water, fish type, planting, placement and maintenance etc. Kind of the point of joining a forum, isn't it? To learn from others.

What I took from this entire conversation is that maintenance and care of plants is what controls algae.. You all agree on this, yes?
 
-Mak-
  • #44
I’m taking issue with your claims about Phosphates. There are countless professionally written publications on the subject matter.
Your observations are either outright wrong or groundbreaking but I will stick with the professional biologists.
I'd hardly call any of those reliable sources (which is somewhat okay since I linked a non-scientific paper as well), but the main problem is the first two aren't even aquarium focused sites and the writers are probably told to write about a subject they're not very familiar with. The second two aren't even referring to planted tanks. You can't take unrelated information and say it applies to all aquariums.
I encourage you to read articles written by planted tank hobbyists such as these:



Sure they're not scientific papers but they have the context of the planted tank hobby behind them, and know what to look for rather than pointing fingers at nutrients and saying, "bad!"

And actually, these claims about nitrates/phosphates are groundbreaking, except it was 30 years ago. Before Tom Barr started creating the EI dosing method, people did try to limit nitrates and phosphates in planted tanks. Tom came along with some strange ideas about purposefully dosing them. The EI method of overdosing nitrates, phosphates, other nutrients has been around for decades now with algae free tanks.
 
danhutchins
  • #45
HI FishLore,

Here's part two of algae management in the planted aquarium. This thread is mainly going to cover myths about algae that are just simply wrong and are due to a lack of experience as well just plain old misinformation.

Myth 1: "Excess Nutrients" Cause Algae

This is by far the biggest myth when it comes to algae management in the aquarium. When people talk about "excess nutrients", they are usually referring to nitrates and phosphates. The amount of times I've seen this term, "excess nutrients", is absolutely mind blowing.

Excess nutrients do NOT cause algae of any form including hair algae, BBA, green spot algae, and green water algae. There is only one nutrient/type of nutrient that causes algae and that is ammonia. Most aquarium fertilizers do not contain ammonia, but ammonia is produced by organic decay AKA uneaten fish food, fish waste, dying plant matter, detritus, dead fish, etc.

Nitrates and phosphates do NOT cause algae. In my tanks that are outdoors in full, direct sunlight, I dump in phosphates and nitrates plentifully. I'm talking around 90ppm nitrate per week (15ppm dosed per day) and 15ppm phosphate per week (5ppm dosed 3x a week). According to the idea that "excess" nitrates and phosphates cause algae, I should be having an algae disaster right now. But I'm not. The theory that nitrates and phosphates cause algae is just simply outdated when applied to freshwater algae. Yes, adult algae consumes nitrate and phosphates but they don't last long in their life cycle. The spores need ammonia to manifest into adults. People neglect to acknowledge that agricultural runoff (often the most common source of nitrate/phosphate pollution), often contains lots of inorganic ammonium fertilizer and manure (organic waste) which is plenty of ammonia to cause an algae bloom.

Myth 2: Fertilizers Cause Algae

Going off of the previous point, fertilizers do not cause algae. It is common for someone experiencing algae to cut off their fertilizers in an attempt to "starve" the algae. Starving the algae is absolutely ridiculous. Your plants will starve far sooner than the algae will. In fact, the algae will feed off of the starving plants as they inevitably decay and release ammonia. Preventing algae equates to dosing complete macro and micro fertilizers so that your plants are healthy and will not decay.

Myth 3: Iron Causes Algae

This was definitely a rarer myth, but comes up enough for me to feel the need to mention it. The logic I've seen to justify this claim goes something like: "Iron is very important for chlorophyll production so therefore it is also responsible for causing algae". There have been some cases documented on some planted tank forums where adding lots of algae apparently "causes" the algae. When the iron is lowered or removed, the algae subsequently goes away. One thing to acknowledge about these cases is that these tanks are often new. When the person stops iron dosing, the tank becomes algae free within a few weeks. This could be merely coincidental, as algae subsides as the plants adapt to the tank's specific conditions and the CO2 injection stabilizes and reaches its ideal amount for that particular tank. In newer tanks, a few weeks is a very long time as many changes and boom/bust cycles of algae tend to manifest within a short period of time. I've dosed tons and tons of iron without any algae growth. Anywhere from 0.3ppm to 4ppm per day. 4ppm is very extreme and really is just a waste of iron. I aI'm for 0.5ppm 3x a week.

Myth 4: Excel "Cures" Algae

This is another myth that is commonly parroted. Excel is simply a diluted solution of a biocide that is often marketed as "liquid" CO2. Excel is not liquid CO2 and does not provide a noticeable amount of carbon for aquarium plants. It can be used to treat algae, but it is not a cure. The root cause of algae is often CO2 deficiencies and ammonia in the water. Excel can be used to kill stubborn adult algae, but it is by no means a cure to the actual problem in the aquarium since it is not addressing the root cause of the algae in the first place.

Myth 5: Sunlight Causes Algae
Many people are often afraid to let any sunlight hit their aquariums since it "causes" algae. Light is only an issue in the aquarium when there are not enough CO2 and fertilizers to aid the plant growth. In a planted tank, think of light as the independent variable in a science experiment. This variable can be manipulated to be low light (half a watt of light per gallon) or extremely high light (direct sunlight like my outdoor tanks receive). CO2 and fertilizer demand are the dependent variables. As the light increases, CO2 and fertilizer demand increases as well. If you have a light as powerful as the sun hitting your tank and you don't have CO2 or fertilizers, then yes, you will get algae. However, if you have sufficient CO2 and fertilizers, let your tank bask in sunlight. Your plants will love it and display levels of coloration and texture that will reinvent the way you view your plants. CO2 levels and fertilizer levels can be adjusted to even handle the highest level of light.

Please let me know if you have any questions or more myths as well that you'd like to share. Thanks for reading!

If you want to evidence of algae free tanks, please take a look at the links in my signature as well as my instagram @vishaquatics.
I have given all this same advice to people and so have others. I'm glad you made a complete write up that hits on most everything. The most common I think is the excel issue. I don't know how many times I have told people that it's not a carbon replacement and all its good for is helping keep algae in check till the solution can be found but they just argue the fact. I have also dosed a ton of iron to my tank and never saw any algae. I have done this with my all in one as well and still no algae. Not sure really where people get there information but it does get frustrating when people come here for help and they argue with the people trying to. I hope people see this and finally say "they were right". Thanks for your time and effort in this.

What about other liquid co2 boosters? Are they all the same, like API CO2 Booster, Easy Carbon, NilocG Carbon, or Dustin's Fish Tank CO2 Booster? Also, do you have any thoughts about NilocG's newer product ThriveC which apparently has a non glute-based carbon source?
From what I have found there is absolutely no substitute for gas co2. No liquid claiming to be so is hogwash. Believe it or not if you read the bottle it says nothing about being such. It's just not carbon and plants need carbon. Doesn't matter if you are doing high tech or not every plant needs it.
 
danhutchins
  • #46
One thing I've always been a bit confused on. For low tech tanks running no CO2 how do we address algae caused by CO2 deficiencies? Especially when I have no interest in adding a CO2 system
Co2 is required for every plant. It is a fertilizer that can only be had in gas form. Yes EVERY PLANT NEEDS IT low tech or high tech. Most don't use it in low tech tanks but I'm willing to bet they spend a ton of money on replacing plants.
 
Vishaquatics
  • Thread Starter
  • #47
danhutchins Yes!!! That’s a great point on the liquid CO2. And yes, you’re right. CO2 is basically a Fert but in gaseous form. Honestly, I wish more people would get pressurized CO2 because it is easy to use and doesn’t even have to be over $200 for a full setup. Mine was only $125 or so.

A lot of the algae advice I see on this forum is definitely behind. People still think they can “starve” the algae before their plants which is just plain old wrong. The algae advice from the barr report and planted tank actually works but it is often rejected on this forum
 
danhutchins
  • #48
danhutchins Yes!!! That’s a great point on the liquid CO2. And yes, you’re right. CO2 is basically a Fert but in gaseous form. Honestly, I wish more people would get pressurized CO2 because it is easy to use and doesn’t even have to be over $200 for a full setup. Mine was only $125 or so.

A lot of the algae advice I see on this forum is definitely behind. People still think they can “starve” the algae before their plants which is just plain old wrong. The algae advice from the barr report and planted tank actually works but it is often rejected on this forum
That's about all I spent on mine as well.
 

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