The Algae debate

Discussion in 'Nuisance Algae' started by Mekaeel, 6 May 2010.

  1. Mekaeel

    Mekaeel Moderator MASA Contributor

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    Some awesome livestock there! I see you guys battling with some Phosphates there Bob? What filtration system system you using?
     
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  3. Bob the (reef)builder

    Bob the (reef)builder

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    You are making this assumption based on the algae in the tank. I read 0 PO4 on my hanna meter in this tank last week. That is seriously low, as it is a lot more accurate than normal kits.

    No the algae in the tank is because there were no herbivores for a while as we whipped them out due to white spot in the Achilles.

    Herbivory, in my book is far more important than PO4.;)
     
  4. seank

    seank

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    Agreed, some guys need a herd of Cattle in their tank:whistling:
     
  5. Mekaeel

    Mekaeel Thread Starter Moderator MASA Contributor

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    My apologies Bob. I was always under the impression, phosphates fuel algae, and it will appear very low on a test kit because the algae is consuming the phosphates very quickly. Yes, I must agree, herbivores do an excellent job in consuming algae. ;)
     
  6. Monti

    Monti

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    That was my understanding on phosphates as well- Ive never really used herbivores to control algae.

    Nice tank though- some really monstrously sized pieces, and those clams are to ie for.
     
  7. DragonReef

    DragonReef

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    I like the algae, makes it look natural.
     
  8. dallasg

    dallasg Moderator MASA Contributor

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    The N and P are all locked up in the biomass of the algae, and is therefore sequestered from the test reagents.
    Silicates can also fuel algae growth.

    here is a paper where the uptake can be instantaneous, so by virtue of there being algae there is P and N and possibly S, which is not a bad thing
     

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  9. Bob the (reef)builder

    Bob the (reef)builder

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    No appologies necessary Bud:). Phosphate is an algae fuel no question, however, even with the minute amounts found on reefs, if we remove herbivores, an algal bloom is going to occur. This has been shown a couple of times in studies I have read. (don't ask me to quote them though.:)).

    In this case there were very low levels of PO4 before the bloom, so the algae has not simply sequestered the nutrients.

    We had insufficient herbivores prior to the tangs being removed and their removal simply allowed the bloom.

    What I am saying is that algae, if not removed, will find PO4 in any living tank (probably in the rockwork of ours) and that in my opinion, and others, herbivory is far more important for algae control than very strict PO4 control.
     
    Last edited: 6 May 2010
  10. crispin

    crispin

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    bob i agree with you for the most part, and conceed that its far easier to have herbivor fish and they are far prettier than having a sock or two in the sump to controll PO4. But i hestitate to suggest that to controll algae its best to keep algae eating fish as the stocking density of herbivors has to be taken into account. Obviously you can just drop twenty tangs into a tank that has algae which needs eating.

    i still think that its best to treat the cause with algae and find the reason that its fuelled, while controlling its growth with the use of fish and other algae eating marine life.

    Id hate someone to read into your post and think that 5 tangs, three foxfaces and a dozen blennies will sort his algae out in a 300l tank :p well they would sort the algae out i guess, but not good reef practices:whistling:
     
  11. jacquesb

    jacquesb Retired Moderator

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    Hi Bob - how old is this tank in total? It does look a wee bit new to me? Is the tank still settling in?
     
  12. Bob the (reef)builder

    Bob the (reef)builder

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    Dear Crisp.

    Please do not think I am encouraging a tang invasion.;)

    I am not suggesting that even one tang is necessary, although I have found that a convict or two are awesome algae eaters. Herbivores come in many shapes and sizes, urchins are fantastic, as are many snails slugs, etc etc.

    For a while I've seen people saying that algae is a symptom of high PO4 and removal of the algae is simply treating this symptom, that the cause is PO4.

    I feel that this concept needs revising. I feel that without herbivory algae will grow full stop. Excesive PO4 will cause it to grow faster no doubt, but it will find PO4 in any tank capable of housing life.

    I am by no means suggesting that PO4 is not a factor, it is.

    I feel that the solution to the problem is to have enough herbivores to deal with the "problem" that algae is a natural part of any reef(or any body of water in the world).

    Keeping your nutrient levels in check is a very important part of our endevours and should never be overlooked.
     
    Last edited: 7 May 2010
  13. Bob the (reef)builder

    Bob the (reef)builder

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    Jaques, I am not at all worried about the tank's health. The discusion started by Mek is however very interesting to me but is off topic in this thread, is it possible to move it somewhere else and call it Algae: Is using herbivores just treating a symptom, not the cause.

    Thanks
    Rob.:)
     
  14. schaun

    schaun

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    I think that the best practice for concerning algae is to do all that you can to prevent it . This means keeping the algae food to a minimum and having enough algae eating creatures in your system.
     
  15. Mekaeel

    Mekaeel Thread Starter Moderator MASA Contributor

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    Okay Bob.
    The way I look at it. Algae will not thrive in a tank unless nutrients are present. Test kits (no matter how accurate) will read 0 or very low levels of P04 because the Algae that is present is consuming it.

    I agree with you that Tangs do an excellent job in eating algae but, the source needs to identified and rectified first. We cant just say, if you have algae, put a Tang in, and it will sort out your algae issue.
    Bob im sure you will agree with me that there are many tanks out there, especially on the overseas forums that have no tangs and are nearly 100% algae free?
     
  16. dallasg

    dallasg Moderator MASA Contributor

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    as i mentioned before, silicates can also cause algae blooms
     
  17. Jacojs

    Jacojs

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    This guy used crushed oyster shells to make his own live rock. Have a look at the pictures and I am convinced that algae eaters keep it in check. Only thing is he says his hermits cleaned it?? Possible?



    Here are a few pictures of my DIY rock in verious stages in my tank.
    [​IMG]This image has been resized. Click this bar to view the full image. The original image is sized %1%2 and weights %3.[​IMG]
    This rock had lots of freshwate algae on it. My hermits went to town on it and completly cleaned it overnight. If you look carefully you will see my gobie and the legs of my brittle star on the bottom left...
    [​IMG]This image has been resized. Click this bar to view the full image. The original image is sized %1%2 and weights %3.[​IMG]
    The next day with a few snails finishing up the cleanup
    [​IMG]This image has been resized. Click this bar to view the full image. The original image is sized %1%2 and weights %3.[​IMG]
    Two weeks later and the coralline is really starting to grow///




    Would really like to hear comments about this!!
     
  18. Mekaeel

    Mekaeel Thread Starter Moderator MASA Contributor

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    Here's my 2 cents on this Jacojs.
    The phosphate content in the piece of rock wasnt that high. Therefore the little phosphate that was present, lead to the algae break out. The Hermits ate the algae that grew, and by the time more could grow, the phosphates in the rock was exhausted.
     
  19. butcherman

    butcherman Moderator MASA Contributor

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    so to clarify once most of the phosphates are out of the system the algae wont dissapear? so herbivores would be a way of removing algae?
     
  20. Midasblenny

    Midasblenny

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    Jacojs, i think your coralline looks like cyano btw.
     
  21. Mekaeel

    Mekaeel Thread Starter Moderator MASA Contributor

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    Butcherman. Once the phosphates are gone, the algae will tend to "fall off" (im talking from experience here). Yes herbivores are a means of removing algae, but, if phosphates are still present, the algae will grow back.
     
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