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Methods to Prevent Algae

Discussion in 'AquaScaping World Magazine Discussions' started by John N., Apr 10, 2008.

  1. John N.

    John N. Administrator Staff Member

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    Please comment and discuss Aziz Dhanani's Methods to Prevent Algae here.

    [​IMG]

    -John N.
     
  2. George Farmer

    George Farmer Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Section 4. Noon Burst Lighting. The method described by the author is actually the opposite i.e. noon siesta.

    I believe that the siesta can help against algae in poor CO2 aquariums, as the CO2 levels build during the dark stage.
     
  3. Mellonman

    Mellonman New Member

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    "Japanese Marimo moss ball are high consumers of phosphates."

    Is this based on scientifical studies ?
     
  4. GreenFanatic

    GreenFanatic New Member

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    Still inconclusive... was hoping to find absolute solutions :(
     
  5. AzizDhanani

    AzizDhanani New Member

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    Update From Author

    First off, all comments welcomed.

    As the author of this article, I just wanted to update readers on where the tank was at. While the tank held up well, for approximately 5 months, with virturally no algae, other than blue green algae and some green spot algae on cardamine lyrata leaves, what followed after the 5 months was a cylce of unexplained fish deaths. I kept the tank running to see what would happen. I removed the barley straw as the bag of straw had succumbed to black brush algae. To date the tank is overun with pockets of black brush/beard algae, green spot algae and green dust algae. I have kept the tank up and running to see if I can try to address the cause of the algae issues.

    Readers should keep in mind that there was no major change in water parameters during this period that could possibly explain what happened. Water paramaters are the following as of March 22 2008.
    GH:100 mg/l
    KH:70 mg/l
    Ammonia:0 ppm
    Nitrites: 0 ppm
    Nitrates: Approx 40 ppm
    PH: 7.0
    Phosphates: 5+ ppm
    c02: 11.7 ppm based on C02 calculation chart, but 30 ppm as per lime green color of c02 drop checker solution.
    Aquarium Temperature: 30 degrees celcius

    The GH was at one time was high due to dosing of calcium sulphate and magnesium with every water change but this leveled off when dosing of calcium sulphate and magnesium was reduced to once a month. Tank temperature did fluctuate from 25 degrees celcius to 30 degrees celcius, so I guess this combined with a overstocked tank may explain some of the fish deaths. I did change to EI dosing but I doubt this would account for what happened. The most interesting thing was the c02 levels. The c02 drop checker with the 4dKH solution indicated c02 levels of 30 ppm as per lime green color. However, based on Chuck's calculator for determining c02 level, the c02 level would have been closer to 11.7 ppm at the time that major algae issues surfaced.

    Readers should also note that what happened cannot be blamed on aquarium neglect or poor maintenance. 50% weekly water changes were performed,feeding was kept at a minimal, the DIY c02 brew was changed weekly in an attempt to keep c02 output consistent, and c02 was disbursed using a modified hagen submersible filter as per Niko's instructions.

    While I am disappointed with the results of this experiment, I have no regrets doing what I did. I would define what happened as a partial victory against algae as the tank held up and fluorished really well for 5 months. More importantly though is what factors contributed to the fish deaths and algae outbreaks after the 5 months.

    Did the fish deaths cause undetectable ammonia spikes that the test kits did not detect and did this give rise to rapid algae growth?

    Did "overtrimming" of plants, especially floating plants contribute to the rapid growth of algae by giving algae spores a competitive edge? Perhaps, it was just a coincidence, but I first noticed the major algae outbreak a week after I overdid it on pruning of the plants.

    Did low c02 levels greatly contribute to the growth of algae? The c02 on-line calculator indicated levels of 11.7 ppm average vs 30 ppm as per lime green color of drop checker solution. Lack of c02 has been demonstrated to give rise to all types of algae in high light tanks. Was the 11.7 ppm measure of c02 more accurate than the 30 ppm c02 drop checker measure?

    Did a combination of the above factors work together to contribute to the algae growth? The experiment seems to have raised more questions than it answered. I gladly welcome all feedback from readers on this.

    I know some readers may be tempted to make the "old school" unproven argument for high nutrients in the water column contributing to the algae. As a side note, I am not convinced of this as I have a ADA Aquasoil soil tank II with EI dosing that did not develop a trace(note even diatoms) of algae. ADA Aquasoil is considered extremely nutrient dense and said to leech nutrients in the water column. And yet this combined with EI dosing is not causing algae issues in my other setup. Tom Barr who has also set up many tanks where he has used ADA Aquasoil in combination with EI(Estimative Dosing) with no algae issues whatsoever.
     
  6. Joe Faria

    Joe Faria New Member

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    Hi,

    The author doesn't make any mention on using potassium... although he tried PPS-Pro and Tom Barr's EI.
    Without this macronutrient available in water column, plants will strugle to consume N and P. If that happen, an algae outbreak will be the most common result.

    Regards,

    Joe Faria
     
  7. plantbrain

    plantbrain Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Both methods, as well as ADA's, PMDD, have ample K+.

    I think I mentioned to the author that these things would never work for control, but folks still try every sort of snake oil known<):)
    Somethings folks have to learn the hard way no matter what you tell them.

    Plants define the system, not the system defining plants, as long as they have enough light, CO2 and nutrients to grow.

    Algae are a bit like annual weeds and the aquatic plants are bit more like perennials. The spores look for good chances of growth to adulthood and release more spores. They do not live long. Plants can live via clones for hundreds of years, thousands even.

    Algae just need a good germination signal to grow and then they are off.
    Learn how to grow plants well, focus on their needs, not killing algae, that's not the hobby you signed up for was it?
    So focus on plant needs and growth.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  8. dougz

    dougz New Member

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    I was hoping there would be some info on the effectiveness of in-line UV units for suppression of water-borne algae (green algae, etc)
     
  9. Carolina

    Carolina New Member

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    I came after 2 weeks to a tank with dead fish. The ammonia levels were 0 so I added more fish. Just assumed it was the heat that killed them. Some of the new fish died. Death of fish does something to the water but doesn't add ammonia.
     
  10. JEK

    JEK New Member

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    Have you checked for NO2?
     
  11. blue_francis14

    blue_francis14 New Member

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    I felt kinda depressed after reading the article. It seems that no matter what you do, you are still going to have a problem.
     
  12. Al G. Begone

    Al G. Begone New Member

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    Algae is just a reality in our hobby, but don't get depressed! It's like Barr said, just focus on those plants and keeping them healthy! I always keep a crew of algae critters around for whenever those ugly moments occasionally happen. They are happy, I am happy, plants are happy!
     
  13. m0053

    m0053 New Member

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    I feel like you changed too many variables at once, I would be interested to see several separate tanks with the same stock and different techniques. Maybe the combination of all techniques led to imbalances.
     
  14. Shammonds

    Shammonds New Member

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    Comments

    Thanks for taking the time to write up this article and update progress in the forum. A couple of things occurred to me after reading it:

    You mentioned that some fish died off and that the tank was overstocked. How many and what kind of fish were in the tank? Overstocking is one of the primary causes of algae growth. I was also a little unclear as to how you controlled your variable conditions in the experiment... did you apply all of the conditions at once? If so, it becomes a little hard to identify what, if anything, made a difference.

    I don't think there's really a magic bullet to controlling algae in a planted tank. Plants and algae are such similar organisms in terms of environmental needs that conditions favouring one will undoubtedly favour the other. There are, however, a few good practices that will prevent algae from dominating an aquarium:


    1. Maintain good water conditions
      • Don't overstock your tank
      • Don't overfeed your stock
      • Do regular and significant water changes
    2. Outcompete algae with plants.
      • As long as plants have everything they need in terms of light and nutrients (CO2 is a big help here), they should drain the shared resources from the water and starve out most algae.
      • Don't overfertilize plants. If there are more nutrients in the water than they can utilize, the algae will take advantage of it. Try keeping as much of the nutrient source in the substrate as possible instead of dissolved in the water.
    3. Avoid light from windows and keep tank lights on a diurnal cycle
    There are a few other small tricks that can help, like stocking algae-eating animals, but the above points are really the key. Good luck on your future tanks!
     
  15. Shadow

    Shadow Moderator Staff Member

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    This is the opposite of EI (Estimate Index), It has been proven by 100 or 1000 or even more hobbyist around the world that excessive water column dosing does not cause algae bloom. You can't limit algae from nutrient because it really does not need much for them to grow.
     
  16. Shammonds

    Shammonds New Member

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    Barr's EI approach involves SLIGHT overdosing of nutrients followed by water change... he doesn't advocate letting the nutrients build up persistently, which is more what I was getting at in my comment. He uses the concept of limiting resources to maximize plant growth, thus out-competing algae.
     
  17. Shadow

    Shadow Moderator Staff Member

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    On the contrary, even after weekly water change the build will always be there, unless you do 100% water change.

    This is quote from Tom barr article
    another quote:
    full article:
    The Estimative Index of Dosing, or No Need for Test Kits - - Aquarium Plants
     
  18. CHUNTC

    CHUNTC New Member

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    Does too much lighting encourage algae growth? A question I have been asking myself. My garden pond used to be overgrown with algae. 2 reasons I think helped in stopping it. Mind you, I do not change the water in my pond, I just add water every other day due to condensation. The algae has gone. One reason maybe I have built a kind to shade that still allows light to go through over the pond. Is that the reason the algae have totally gone? Maybe, or is it that I am also running the pond water throguh UV light box. Can some expert here help with some answers/^:)^
     
  19. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    I had a period of unexplained fish deaths in a tank i had for months. Algae wasnt a huge issue. I tested and didn't seem to have any problems with ammonia or nitrates. I finally decided to tear down the tank because i just couldn't seem to keep things balanced and fish were clearly stressed. The only thing i could think of was that perhaps i had some anaerobic pockets in the sediment that had been released into the water through converting a non planted tank to a planted tank and perhaps contaminated the stable system with some unfriendly bacteria. Any thoughts on this?

    From what i have read and learned algae cannot be limited by nutrients and Co2, these primarily limit plants. If plants are provided enough nutrients and CO2 they will out compete algae for resources and therefore prevent blooms. Light is the best place to combat algae and Tom Barr has suggested using a 3 day blackout period to stop algae in its tracks.

    My experience is limited, although i have done as much reading and researching as possible, so most of my info is regurgitated from that. I have been running a "test run" 20 gal. with some algae issues, but havent used the blackout because i have been more interested in seeing for myself the conditions that best promote plant growth. So far i believe inadequate CO2 to be the cause of the algae in this tank.
     

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