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Fert algae Kevin Novak

1515 Views 3 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  emorneau01
I had never a time when there was no algae in my tank for the past 8 years!

This is the first time when all the algae has just vanished and plants are pearling and growing like they have never thrived before.

All these years I used EI ferts, pressured CO2, 6500 K LED light, Amazonia & river sand substrate, weekly water changes, wave makers, 24 hours of Ehiem filter and dechlorinator salts all these years. The advice I got once was don't use river sand or algae will proliferate.

These last three months the schedule continued as, the wave maker is on from 1000 hours up to 2300 hours, CO2 from 1500 hours to 2200 hours, LED from 1600 hours to 1800 hours and again after an hour's break, from 1900 hours to 2330 hours - all remained the same. The only change after viewing Dr. Kevin Novak's videos on Youtube, I realized that I was dosing the ferts at 1000 hours, instead of at 1930 hours, as he recommended - adding ferts in the last four hours of the photo period. Due to the reduced algae the Ehiem filter that used to be on for 24 hours, now works from 1500 hours to 2300 hours only.

Only by changing the fert dosing from 1000 hours to 1730 hours, I am giving the plants four hours to have their food and perform the entire photosynthesis process in the last four hours that lights are on. Earlier the algae absorbed all the ferts without the lights being on as they don't need photosynthesis like plants, from 1000 hours till the lights came on at 1600 hours, leaving no food for plants. The multiplying algae hampered the plant growth and was a menace for every week for me, while changing the water.

Just one piece of advice in summation: Dose EI ferts at 2000 hours, pressured CO2 from 1500 hours to 2200 hours, 6500 K LED light from 1600 hours to 1800 hours and then from 1900 hours to 2330 hours , ADA Amazonia only substrate, weekly water changes, wave makers from 1000 hours to 2300 hours, Ehiem filter from 1500 hours to 2300 hours. Algae shall vanish and plants will grow and pearl!
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Why would this cause algae problems to go away? When you can explain why something works it is much easier to persuade people that you are right.
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Please read my second last para
It's an interesting theory. I'd have to see some hard numbers on the various levels before and after the ferts are added, but I doubt any home aquariast would have the means to take those readings. I'm not familiar with Dr. Novak's work, so I'll have to check it out. The EI method should keep your water column saturated with readily available nutrients at all times, so you would have to be running pretty lean for the fertilization times to make any major difference. If I had to guess, I would say that the combination of your short lighting period in conjunction with the amount of nutrients that you're adding is why you are seeing such a dramatic change after adjusting your fertilization times.

You have some misconceptions about photosynthesis and algae, though. Plants will only begin that process when exposed to light. If you're following a true EI dosing regimen, it shouldn't matter when you add the ferts. You would always have more than enough nutrients in the water column available to the plants at all times when the lights are on. Any excess nutrients would then be removed by your water change. As for the algae, it photosynthesizes just like any other plant and only when exposed to light. The major difference with algae is that it takes longer for that process to ramp up compared to more complex plants which start the process almost immediately and fully when exposed to light. For this very reason, many of us with low tech tanks exploit a split lighting period (lights on in the morning and evening with the lights off for a few hours or more in the afternoon) to control and limit algae production. The complex plants don't mind the split period as long as they're receiving their 8 to 10 hours of light a day, but the algae production is halted by the rest period before it can fully ramp up. It seems like you're doing this, but to a much lesser degree. I don't think an hour break after only two hours of light is sufficient enough to really make much of a difference. I don't know what types of plants you keep or what the intensity of your lights are, but 6.5 hours seems a bit short of what most common plants prefer.

The other added benefit is that the plants, including algae, will begin to respire during the rest period when the lights are off, and this will boost the CO2 levels before the lights come back on. Probably not as beneficial if you're running pressurized CO2, but helpful for those of us with low tech setups. As always, light intensity will factor in to the balance of things one way or the other depending on the demands of the plants. Ultimately, lots of optimally growing healthy plants should be able to outcompete the algae for the available nutrients.

At the end of the day, it sounds like your plants are happy and you are happy, so I'm glad you discovered a method of controlling algae that's working for you. :)
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