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  #11  
Old 30-05-13, 12:58
hinchles hinchles is offline
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Its mostly the difference in open and closed systems. Our tanks are closed systems with finite volume of water.

CO2 loading alone wont solve the problem 100% however it solves the majority of it as in a typical tank you have excess nutrients and not enough CO2 for the plants to use all the nutrients. The less CO2 demanding organisms like the algae then flourishes in the excess nutrients.

So we use the 10x rule to make sure that there's good CO2 distribution throughout the entire tank and we're overloading on CO2. Now the plants will use up all the nutrients in the water column and grow (quite fast in many cases) the algae will then have no nutrients left to use up and die off. If you're putting in plenty of CO2 but getting little plant growth then you need to consider dosing ferts into the tank to compensate for the short fall in nutrients for the plants.
If you're putting in plenty of CO2 and dosing ferts (not too much else algae comes back again due to having more ferts than CO2 available for the plants) the limiting factor becomes input energy ie: lighting that the plants need to photosynthesis. Its a careful balancing act.

In an open system it may well be excess phosphate as the water source gets unlimited energy in from the sun, unlimited CO2 from the atmosphere and regular fresh water changes when it rains.

Personally I think the PH4 causes Algae theory comes mostly from marine tanks and has carried on to freshwater as reefers insist that PO4 is the cause of their algae issues (its not but don't go telling them that as they seem to enjoy spending a fortune on phosphate remover for no reason)
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  #12  
Old 30-05-13, 13:03
hinchles hinchles is offline
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Here's a good read for you http://www.ukaps.org/forum/threads/g...e-article.905/

Here's an interesting comment for you too.

Quote:
I find it amazing that, having read this article, I took a Biology exam yesterday. The biggest exam board in the UK, and I had to write through gritted teeth that excess phosphates result in algae in aquatic environments.
That's all that's credited in mark schemes, absolutely zero mention of ammonia. Purely phosphates.

No wonder there's such misconception :rolleyes:
http://www.aquariumalgae.blogspot.co.uk/

Something like paragraph 4 sums it all up nicely

Quote:
In the past many believed that NO3 and especially PO4 can induce algae. It has been proven numerous times that these nutrients (even if overdosed) can not create algae issues. Actually the more we dose the less algae we get.
Rule of thumb if they teach it in university its at least 7 years out of date / behind actual research.

Last edited by hinchles; 30-05-13 at 13:17.
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  #13  
Old 30-05-13, 13:44
pauldoit pauldoit is offline
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Thanks for taking the time to compile that info. We were taught about closed and open aquatic systems and went right into the movement of various nutrients throughout different compartments and states in the system, and still the emphasis was on free bio-available forms of phosphorous in the water column being one of the main players. Obviously it is a very complicated field and much needs to be done to figure it all out, and there may be some fundamental differences between large scale systems, like lakes and small systems, like our aquariums, and extrapolating knowledge from one to the other may have clear caveats.
It might take me some time for me to digest and understand that an open system with continual feeds of nutrients (ie fert dosing and CO2) primarily results in plant growth only (and not algae) as has been seemingly experienced by the bulk of the plant focussed aquarists throughout the world.
Do you reckon anyone has put forward the idea of combating blue-green algae by dumping a load of aquatic plants and nutrients (including CO2) into the system? I can imagine the scientific establishment laughing themselves silly.
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  #14  
Old 30-05-13, 13:56
hinchles hinchles is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pauldoit View Post
Thanks for taking the time to compile that info. We were taught about closed and open aquatic systems and went right into the movement of various nutrients throughout different compartments and states in the system, and still the emphasis was on free bio-available forms of phosphorous in the water column being one of the main players. Obviously it is a very complicated field and much needs to be done to figure it all out, and there may be some fundamental differences between large scale systems, like lakes and small systems, like our aquariums, and extrapolating knowledge from one to the other may have clear caveats.
It might take me some time for me to digest and understand that an open system with continual feeds of nutrients (ie fert dosing and CO2) primarily results in plant growth only (and not algae) as has been seemingly experienced by the bulk of the plant focussed aquarists throughout the world.
Do you reckon anyone has put forward the idea of combating blue-green algae by dumping a load of aquatic plants and nutrients (including CO2) into the system? I can imagine the scientific establishment laughing themselves silly.
Some of the threads linked have done exactly that experiment and proven that excess nutrients (including PO4) are not the cause of the algae and simple addition of CO2 the algae cleared up quite quicly and plant growth resumed at a decent rate. Now I'm not a biologist or a botanist I only go on what others have tested and proven and what works.

Take the time to read the articles and the threads and the entire Algae section on the ukaps form. Also read Tom Barr's stuff. There's an awful lot of chemical equasions and calculations around it all most of it way above my head (you may have more luck) but the long and short of it is that PO4 doesn't cause algae of any kind, neither does FE or any other nutrient input. Anyone telling you otherwise is wrong / working on out of date information and research.

The nutrient overdose method of EI can be scaled up to lake size if required but would need sufficient plants added to a lake which can be difficult but not impossible. Look at the heavily natural planted rivers in south america where our little plecs come from some of them are crystal clear for meters of depth.
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  #15  
Old 30-05-13, 14:14
pauldoit pauldoit is offline
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I just ended up on the barrreport forum. Yep it's a whole other world of information in there. I'm a pharmacologist/analytical chemist by trade and am doing an environmental science course for kicks, am I'm looking forward to experimenting with some interesting plant care regimes.
I'm reluctant to get more aquarium gear in the form of CO2 dosing... would you believe I have a jungle tank (not scaped just jungle, its all for the plecos and shrimp) using just peat moss to provide a mild acid to liberate the carbonate from the coral bones which will result in increased soluble CO2?
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  #16  
Old 30-05-13, 14:22
hinchles hinchles is offline
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It will liberate some co2 from the bones not massive amounts as its only a weak base <> acid reaction but yeah you'll get some (though importantly it won't be a stable amount stablity is key) dosing liquid carbon as a carbon source for you certainly wouldn't hurt though if your tanks already a jungle it may make it massively overgrown thats what happened with my last jungle tank
CO2 can also be done via a fire extinguisher you can setup a basic setup for about 30.

With your chemist background you should understand the stuff better than most I'm a msci in computer science with phd in artifical intelligence and cognitive reasoning so I understand the testing methodology etc but get lost once they start doing molecule breakdowns etc I do trust the people posting the science stuff as its what they do for a living in many cases so they aren't just enthusiasts its their job
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  #17  
Old 30-05-13, 14:33
pauldoit pauldoit is offline
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My PhD was, in part, on the molecular modelling of ligand-receptor interactions using old-school UNIX silicon graphics machines (its all done on PCs nowadays) so I know a little bit about the use of computers in scientific research but very little about artificial intelligence! And yet we two PhDs are both into plecos! What is it about these fish we hardly ever see?
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  #18  
Old 30-05-13, 14:45
hinchles hinchles is offline
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all fish facinate me perhaps I should have been a marine biologist or something but pleco's are astounding little creatures so varying and yet all the same species. There's very few other species I can think of with as much variance. My bigger common is more like a house pet too rather than a fish in a tank he comes up for a stroke and to feed from my hand.
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  #19  
Old 30-05-13, 21:58
dw1305 dw1305 is offline
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Hi all,
The algae is a Red algae - "Staghorn". I usually get it when you have a build up of organic matter in the filter.

Have a look here: <http://www.theplantedtank.co.uk/algae.htm>

Quote:
One of the moderators on here (Darrel) is quote a specalist in water chemistry who can no doubt provide links to the actual peer reviewed scientific papers.
I feel a fraud now, I'm not really a chemist, but I can link to a thread (on the BCA forum) that covers this subject in some detail. <http://www.britishcichlid.org.uk/php...hp?f=57&t=7161>. It is quite a long thread, but worth a read. This is probably the most relevant bit.
Quote:
This is true on one level, I spend a large proportion of my time trying to reduce eutrophication of natural ecosystems. The whole environment is awash with unnatural levels of nitrogen and phosphorus, and it is a major cause of environmental degradation. Phosphate stripping, using Fe(II) ammonium sulphate as a precipitant (this is very effective removing about 95% of the phosphate), was introduced to deal with problems caused by optical brighteners in detergents, sewage etc. The orthophosphate (PO4---) ion naturally limits productivity (along with NO3-) in many aquatic systems. Add non-limiting amounts of PO4--- creates huge blooms of planktonic green algae (Chlorophyta) "Green water", which then die of in the autumn as PAR (photosynthetically active radiation) and temperature decline. This decay adds a huge amount of biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) to the water, de-oxygenating it, killing and/or altering its biota. Once the phosphate is present in the ecosystem it remains bound to clays (they have AEC - Anion Exchange Capacity), and as largely insoluble phosphate compounds, and this reservoir will then supply enough PO4--- (orthophosphate ions) to repeat the whole process again and again. But, it isn't applicable to aquaria. The levels of phosphorus in an aquarium will always be high enough to support algal growth, unless we take extreme measures (100% total RO water changes, chemical adsorption) to remove it.
cheers Darrel
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  #20  
Old 31-05-13, 01:26
pauldoit pauldoit is offline
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Thanks all for inputs to the informative debate. I've certainly learned that mainstream thinking on phosphates and freshwater algae is a contentious issue and that the other camp may not have the bulk of the scientific community behind it but sure does have a lot of evidence in terms of real life cases in peoples beautifully planted algae free aquariums...
French51 do you have some spare time and cash to go get a CO2 unit and a big bottle of fertilizers and show us whether the Barr EI method works?
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