Plants, algae, carbon, nitrogen

Discussion in 'The Planted Tank' started by Lady J, Aug 14, 2012.

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  1. Lady J

    Lady J Peppermint Shrimp

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    I read a little about them--the author said they can starve if they don't have enough algae. Soooo, not sure what the best solution is because I think once I get everything balanced I probably won't have an algae issue. I'll think about it.

    Any thoughts as to why some of the plants have algae but the anubias and banana plant don't?
     
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  3. 2in10

    2in10 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    On the plants location in relationship to water flow would be a possibility. Otocinclus do not actually consume algae as their main food it is biofilm that they seek the algae removal is a nice byproduct of there search.
     
  4. Lady J

    Lady J Peppermint Shrimp

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    Hmmm, I've never heard of biofilm. Flow is certainly a good point although one of the plants growing algae is benefiting from the nano powerhead and now is gently swaying. Maybe I could just ask the plants why they are getting algae. ;D
     
  5. 2in10

    2in10 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    LOL the thought has occurred to me also.
     
  6. Lady J

    Lady J Peppermint Shrimp

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    We're silly. :)

    Well, I can't do anything about fertilizers until next week but I have been increasing the amount of carbon I'm adding everyday. IDK, I guess I'll just have to monitor it for now.

    I do have a question though if you have time whenever you can answer. I know what the ratio should be between nitrates and phosphates, but honestly I'm not sure why it should be that. Since phosphates are one contributor of algae, wouldn't a very low level mean there should be no algae?

    The difficult part of trying to problem solve is often there are SO many variables thus trying to pinpoint which one is causing issues is often difficult.
    Not enough carbon, not enough nitrates, too many nitrates, too many phosphates, not enough phosphates, good flow, not enough flow, better lights, too much light etc. etc. etc. AAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! :juggle2:
     
  7. 2in10

    2in10 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    That ratio was found through the experience of hobbyists and finally measuring when it became available. It seemed to be the ranges where algae growth was limited by rapid plant growth and gave the best balance to keep algae growth down.

    Not a lot different than reef keeping really except there are fewer tools to work with.
     
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  9. Lady J

    Lady J Peppermint Shrimp

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    Ok, I did some very basic reading, and I mean basic. ;D

    The 10:1 comes from the Redfield Ratio. It gets extensive in its explanation which I don't want to try to discuss because I don't know what I'm talking about. Anyway, it seems that when N and P are around 10:1 it keeps algae growth to a minimum. If the ratio was, say, 20:1 an algae outbreak would occur because of excess nutrients, and could also occur if too much iron is in the water and either N or P are out of balance.

    My tapwater nitrate reading is 5 so if I'm interpreting the information correctly, I need to add nitrate fertilizer but not phosphate fertilizer (unless the PO4 is at .05 and I'm not sure a test kit can measure that low).

    I really need to get a phosphate test kit because I cannot decide how to progress with this imbalance until I know exactly what the imbalance is. I still think that maybe there are high phosphates in the water which is out of balance with the nitrates. And, I've put additional carbon in my filter and that may be adding more phosphates, IDK.

    I do believe I'm getting a headache. :p
     
  10. 2in10

    2in10 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    You are on the right path and have it figured out pretty well. And yes a headache comes with the territory.
     
  11. Lady J

    Lady J Peppermint Shrimp

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    You're a great moderator! :)

    Got any Tylenol?
     
  12. 2in10

    2in10 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Thank you and yes I do.