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3,985 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been around this hobby quite a long time and have heard many "rules of thumbs" and myths. Lets debunk some of them!

First one, adding phosphate will cause an algae outbreak.

Why is this NOT true??

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540 Posts
The first time Tom Barr told me to add PO4 my tank had too little light and not enough nutrients. I added a little PO4 and I got an algae bloom. Of course, the plants were very sick from poor conditions.

Now that I am adding excess nutrients to my tanks I have never gotten algae due to an excess of PO4. An excess of PO4 may not eliminate algae, but it has never encouraged it in a healthy tank. Rather, not having an excess of PO4 will cause algae in my tanks.

Steve Pituch

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495 Posts
1. clown loach eat your amano shrimps - had them together for over 4 years with no casualties
2. u cant breed amano shrimps in planted tank - last night i saw 2 new 8mm amano's in my 220 liters tank
3. pleco will eat your plants - not all of them... i have two rare ones (not sure about their names) but they never eat my plants - i dont have echinodorus though...
4. all the demanding plants need soft water - a big no no!!!

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25 Posts
mor b said:
1. clown loach eat your amano shrimps - had them together for over 4 years with no casualties
100% agree there. in fact, they dont want any shrimps, I have clown loaches in with 2 red claw shrimp who have just bred. They havent even devoured the babies!!! I am amazed - perhaps mine are just well behaved!

My plecos do not eat plants either (Bristlenoses and a peckoltia lda01). and I have watyer that is ph7.8 gh 10 and kh 9 out the tap - most plants do alright, soon to see if they do excellent with proper ferts and light ;)

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4,700 Posts
It is a myth that there is some "balance" or proportion of nutrients where your plants will grow and hair algae won't.

It is a myth that aquatic plants can not take up nitrate or do not take up nitrate very well and would do much better if given ammonia.

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164 Posts
Edward said:
- silicate SiO4 will cause an algae outbreak
I'm not so sure this one is a myth.

Our city water supply rotates through a series of wells - and I can tell you exactly when they hit a specific well. It's got very high silicate levels (It's at the top end of what's acceptable for drinking water), and every time I do a w/c while they're pulling from that well - I get a nice BGA outbreak. The rest of the time - the tank is fine.


· Banned
2,072 Posts
Few water supplies do NOT have silicates.
Unless you plan on removal, most folks would have to do a fair amount of extra work to deal with this.

Check around at the levels in taps waters.

The research I've seen concerning PO4 and algae over looks the plant's PO4 bound up except in a few cases in some research here in FL.

When they added the PO4 that is in the plant biomass and compared it with an algae dominated lake, suddenly there was no correlation with lake algae/plant domiance and tropic PO4 gradients.

They had been including the phytoplankton PO4 components in their algae dominated systems but not the plant's PO4. Doh!

There is a good deal of research done out at the Water conservation area 2, west of Miami, south of Okeechobee. Regarding plants, periphyton and tropic gradinets also.

Adding PO4 changes the plant communities as well, not just the algae in natural systems.

Plants need a higher amount of PO4 than algae also with the same biomasses.

Myths.............well there are many. I've pissed off everybody at one point or another over many of them. Neil Frank and I went around and around. Algae and PO4 still bother him and likely Art as well.

It's somewhat relgious in nature in a joking manner, the gospel. Blasphemers are not taken lightly.
But sometimes you get lucky and don't get burnt at the stake or nailed ot cross.

I never "dioscovered" that high PO4 does NOT cause algae, it was Steve Dixon. I had the tank, he did the test, scratched his head quite a bit after testing my tap and tank water which was about 1.2ppm PO4, and then added PO4 to his limited tank and it was his questioning about how this could be the case that led to me bothering people over it.
I was more concerned about the substrate back then.

Other myths generally:
RFUG's are bad
Cables are needed
Substrate fertilization is needed,
high light is needed
CO2 enrichment is needed for many plants
RO water is needed
Plants prefer soft water
Pennywort drinks taste good.
Discus or picky fish are not compatible with plants.
CO2 will not help a lower light tank
Antibiotics are needed for BGA

I think the independent variables are often not considered(The CO2, light, NO3 and so on and the PO4 is manipulated), causes many to think one causes another in their tank and then they believe it and assume it to be true. Later it becomes repeated and multiplied.

Tom Barr

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215 Posts
How about this one: You don't reallt need plants, this new plastic one are just as nice, and you can even chuch them in the dishwasher when you get algea on them (local fish store...)

Or the one thing EVERYBODY told me when i sett up my first real plantet tank: With that much light, there will be so much alge in your tank that by the end of the week you have to use a showel to get it out of your tank!
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