Originally Posted by baj
Excellent! I get to discuss things with Tom Barr!! Its an honour.
Algae do not continue to take up nutrients at the same rate, it levels off while plants keep taking in more and can store more at higher levels.
do algae levels also stabilize or level off, what I mean is while they may not individually take up nutrients exponentially, the logical strategy would be to increase their numbers to uptake nutrients. So in a race for nutrients in the home aquarium or any environment, the algae and the plants are essentially doing the same thing, one is taking up nutrients and storing them and the other is taking up nutrients and increasing its numbers.
Also what do you mean by macrophytes beating algae with light?
Also, I dont think I completely understand the whole process of algae thriving in tanks that are underdosed. If one particular species of algae does well with low levels of nutrients, they would not care if the water column is rich with nutrients or not, they would thrive regardless. But the fact is they only appear with nutrient deficiencies, which to me means that they are replacing populations of algae that would have done well with higher levels of nutrients. So are plants completely out of the equation here?
The algae are at a completely different scale than the Macrophytes.
Nutrient transport, the amounts need to maintain growth etc are all much different than for Macrophytes.
The plants would die or simply stop growing at all and just sit and wait till more nutrients are brought into the system. Plants will do one of these things.
Algae are not limited though. You don't have a test kit good enough(I don't and most researchers don't for that matter) to measure many of the nutrients to the point where they might become limiting to algae/periphyton.
At higher levels of nutrients, many species are geared to grow at certain low levels, and when the nutrients get richer, another algae(or plant) starts to fill this place. So the other low nutrient algae goes to spores and waits till things are ripe once again nutrient wise.
Some things trigger resting spore formation, some trigger bloom.
Think about it like seeds that grow at a certain time of year and only in a certain set of conditions. Temperature also plays a role.
Plants are far less picky and have a wider range.
Plants have a larger surface area and are able to process light better and shade out algae below where the spores are.