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Thanks Christian, for sharing this wonderful publication. I live in the Netherlands and the people making those famous dutch aquascapes are almost all doing this under low-light condition. Plants don't grow really fast under low light so as a result we need to keep fertilizers as low as possible to prevent algae-outbreaks, kind of like your approach. 'Fertilizer-pools' are not really an option. Inspired by the stunning nature aquascapes, I set up a high-light (high-tech) 100 gallon aquarium. ADA-style cabinet, open hood, co2, etc.
The fertilizing method I was using till recently was keeping my PO4 as low as possible (not adding anything unless I spotted signs of GSA) and keeping my NO3 at 5ppm (measuring it twice a week).
I had some GDA sometimes but it disappeared (after cleaning daily) in a few days usually so I didn't really bother.
Because the fact that I couldn't really use information from friends because they are all running lower light conditions I started searching the internet and found your MCI thread. I checked the water parameters from my water company and I had high calcium levels (63 ppm) in my tap-water. Fortunately for me I was already using 1/3 of RO water to decrease hardness, otherwise I assume it would have been way worse. I don't really know how I am going to lower this because of using more RO water will decrease my hardness to much but I must say it helped me a lot in understanding this algae.

Convinced by your expertise, I thought I give your KNO3-protocol a shot. This would really help me using less NO3 test kits, and so saving money. Unfortunately after I reached the GSA-point I started seeing BGA at my hemianthus callitrichoides and having GSA at my glass at the same time. Can you explain to me how is this possible, because I thought your were saying it is not possible to have other algae at the same time with GSA?

Thanks in advance!
 

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Yo-han, have you done the Co2 protocol before the Kno3 protocol?
You might have low Co2. Please double check it.
Regards
I didn't do that indeed, but I have a aqua medic 1000 reactor with 1200 L/h flowing through it, and if I turn up the CO2 anymore, the reactor is starting to fill up with CO2 and it is no longer dissolving. I assumed I was already quite near to its max. I turned it up a little bot more and will be checking my shrimp the next few hours. You think this will make a big difference?

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Yes!
You should improve the efficiency using a small powehear just over the diffusor you have. But be very carefull, we don`t want an overdoze. The idea is that the microbubles pass by the power hear`s rotor.
You should do this one day you can spend some time watching your tank.
Another option is to use 2 diffusers.
Regards
Hmm.. This makes it even more complicated. I'm using CO2 with pH controller, so as you said, I turned down the pH and thus turning up the CO2. But I turned it down till a pH of 6.1. My shrimps still not moving around, but my kH is around 5dH (tap water 6.8dH and using 1/4 of RO-water). So I recalibrated my electrode, but still as low as 6.1.

I know you said a CO2-chart is not accurate but calculating the CO2 gives me an amount of > 120mg/L CO2. I don't want to kill my beautiful redback angelfish. Should I continue?

Regards!
 

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Good point.

You can´t add Mg to reach the ratio I suggest if you have a high level of Ca as you actually have.

Seems that a high level of Mg could be toxic, I read this several times but I could´t find info about how much is the limit we can add.

So I made it simple and I follow the standard suggestion about adding 5 ppm as the limit.

I suggest to add Mg until 5 ppm, this is arbitrary as I mentioned. It´s means 1.25 ppm of Ca if you use the ratio I suggest. Sounds not enough, right?

1.25 ppm is the low end of Ca you can use safely about algae.

If you have plants with priority consumption of Ca like rotala macrandra or ammania gracilis, then you will need more Ca for sure. One thing is clear, you will never need 4 times more Ca than Mg.

The ratio should not be follow as a rule, is more like the north in the compass, It help you to know where you are and where you should go. That´s it.

If using ro water is not an option, then I suggest you work about Po4. You probably are adding the Po4 improperly. Have you done the Po4 protocol to find out the amount you need?

Regards
From scientific papers I ones read that Mg is starting to get toxic for some species starting at concentrations of 30 ppm and most fish were doing fine at concentrations of 60 ppm. (in seawater 4000 ppm). BUT the ratio Ca:Mg was very important for this toxicity. When this ratio passes 1:9!! even low levels of Mg are toxic.
In one of his books Takashi Amano advises to keep Mg for fresh water tanks in a range of 10 - 15 ppm. And Ca concentrations at 20-40 ppm.

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As previously mentioned I had a severe algae outbreak after following the NO3 protocol. I guess algae were using the opportunity that I was not dosing any of the other macro's and micro's and increased enormous. I had Cyano, staghorn, GDA and GSA. Still confident in method I started using the algae control approach.

I first followed the CO2 protocol and then I started with the worse, Cyano. I removed most manual and blacked out my tank for 3,5 days. Before blackout I raised my low NO3 levels to 5 ppm and after the blackout Cyano was gone. As a happy surprise I noticed the staghorn was dying as well. It was still there but now it was very easy to remove manual.

With the Cyano gone my NO3 levels were not decreasing as fast as before any more and I started raising PO4 a little to 0.2 ppm while removing GSA. GSA disappeared and GDA decreased as well. By adding extra Mg I finally conquered all of the GDA. The only algae I've now is short green algae, I think it is oedogonium. But I'm confident I will beat that as well.

The reason why I started with the MCI is because I want to use as less test kits as possible (because of the unreliability and expenses).

When everything is stabilized again I'll give the NO3 protocol another shot, but isn't it possible to keep PO4 at an desired level during the NO3 protocol. And also dose micro's for an estimated amount?

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Ok, then you were short in No3 (ciano) and in Co2.

How much iron were you using?

About Po4, if you do the Po4 protocol instead of adding in ppms you will have no issues.

The lack of micros should be a cause of algae, but if you were using a lot of iron and you stoped it, then Po4 was the issue.

The only test I suggest to use is Po4.

Regards
As Iron I use 'Easy Life Ferro'. I don't know the absolute amount. The manual says 10ml per 25 gallon will raise iron with 0,5 ppm. I use 10 ml per week for my 100 gallon thank, so I add 0.125 ppm a week (spread over three times on the days I'm not dosing PO4). And off course there is a little amount of Iron in my micro's. Should not be too much, or is it?

But do you have any experience whether the NO3 protocol can be used while dosing PO4 and micro's?

Regards!
 

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Well, you should add less iron for now.

No experience doing kno3 protocol while you add micros and Po4.

Regards
I'm not using any extra iron anymore and decreased the amount of micro's a little. I'll also buy a bigger cleaning crew next week to clean up the last algae. Extra shrimp and also Otocinclus'. Hope everything will be balanced in one or two weeks now. Thanks for all the advice!

I'm not (yet) really convinced by the fertilizing method (using the KNO3 protocol), but as a algae treatment guide, this is perfect. And using this as a treatment guide to balance everything out, I basically found out my optimum fertilizer levels. Also in the future I'll be able to tweak my fertilizers easier by using the algae as guide. So in the end it worked very well for me. Thanks for translating this method (my Spanish isn't that good) and all the replies and advice! :thumbsup:

Regards
 

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Hi Christian,

I was wondering what you think that causes the imbalance for staghorn. I had it before my blackout and I saw multiple threads about it, but it was missing in your algae guide. So you got any ideas?

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Hi Christian,

After the first two days of dosing about 5ml of kno3 I got GSA. I wanted to check if there has to be a GSA bloom or if you just have to look out for traces of GSA? After 2 days of dosing I got GSA but traces of it and on the third day I got GDA bloom all over the tank. Do I continue to fertilize or hold back and do the PO4 regimen? Please advise.

Thanks,
Sam
Hi Sam,

I suggest you read and re-read the thread (http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/algae/69737-method-controlled-imbalances-summary.html) because it will answer most of your questions.

You should do a 50% waterchange when GSA starts, so you are already too far. Use the NO3 dose you added when GSA started, do a 50% waterchange and start the PO4 protocol;)

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Hi,

So that is what I am confused, I read it more than a few times.

1. First day 50% water change.
2. Stop fertilizing at all.
3. Add daily 1 gram od Kno3 every 50 gallons until you reach GSA.
4. As soon as you reach it or on the seventh day, 50% water change.
5. If GSA didn't bloom the first week, after the water change ad double the amount of Kno3 during this week.

It says stop when you reach GSA. Am I supposed to look for a bloom as it says bloom later or just traces of GSA? If it i just as soon as I reach GSA then I know the dose and will start with the PO4 protocol.

And from what you say yo-han it is only traces - I just have a cluster. I guess it is time to start PO4 or as earlier suggested by Christian start with 20 ppm and do the po4.

Thanks,
Sam
As soon as you reach GSA, because this is the point you want to have, if you go futher then you will always have GSA and you don't want that I guess. Because you are searching for the point where GSA starts (imbalance starts) and want to keep just below. So I suggest starting PO4...

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What do you do if you have both GDA and GSA. I have GDA on the glass and GSA on my plants and some on the glass. The GSA came on strong when bumping my PO4 levels up.
That means you're NO3:pO4 ratio is high (GSA), so you need to lower your nitrate (waterchange) or if it's lower then 5 ppm, raise you PO4. And your Ca:Mg ratio is high (GDA) so you need to lower Ca by a waterchange with water with a low GH or RO-water. Or add Mg, for example MgSO4.7H2O

The solution depends on your waterparameters. So check GH; is it high (say above 7) then do a waterchange, make sure the water you're using has a lower GH. Otherwise ad Mg.

Regarding GSA, same story; check PO4 and NO3 and depending on there values, waterchange or add PO4!

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I know its GDA on the glass and not sure if its GSA or GDA on the plants. It happened when bumping up my PO4. It was around 5ppm and nitrates were around 30ppm. I was away for awhile and since being back have the NO3 at 20ppm and PO4 at 1ppm. GH had crept up to 7'. I normally keep it around 5 to 6. I will add a bit of MgSO4 tomorrow with my water change and dose a bit less KNO3.

My water here is VERY soft so I always add a GH powder mixed for me: 3 parts CaSO4 + 1 part MgSO4 + 1/40th part MnSO4. Do you need MnSO4?
Regarding GDA I would slightly change the powder mix. Apparantly your plants are using more Mg then Ca. The mix is good at the moment you put it in your tank but during the week I guess the ratio changes.

About MnSO4, I never used it, so no experiences. Manganese is in my tracemix (I use a stuff called ProFito).

I keep my NO3 in a range of 2,5 - 5 ppm and PO4 at 0.1 ppm (I daily dose 1,5 ppm NO3 and 4 ppm PO4) and only have GSA when NO3 raises to 10 ppm. This works for me so you can try to lower NO3 to about 10 ppm. Or if you like plants to have a little extra, raise PO4, but using this last method you are not really using MCI, so I suggest you take a look at the articles of Tom Barr;)

Regards
 

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you PO4 uptake must be really high, daily dose of 4ppm and you can only maintain it at 0.1ppm?
I think I even need to increase it because my plants grew significant last period and last few times I was measuring 0,03, so there was not really much left.

So to answer a question in an old post about plants using lots of NO3 or PO4. Rotala's definitely use a lot of PO4, because half of my plants are Rotala sp. Green and Rotala indica/rotundifolia.
 

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Still not sure what algae I have. It has slowed down mostly on the plants but not the glass. I scrape the glass about every 2 days. The stuff on my crypts is slimy, very green, doesnt rub off, doesnt smell and is in the flow from a powerhead. When I scrape the glass it looks rather odd; somewhat jelly like - then dissipates. Dont really think its BGA as my nitrates are about 20 - 25ppm.

Here is a link to a thread I started: http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/algae/75366-help-me-id-algae-please.html
Don't really think it is BGA either (as replied in the other thread), because you would see a major drop of NO3 because BGA binds N. If it is in the flow from you powerhead, I can only think of a form of GDA. I had this a while ago and read this thread. Christian suggests a ratio of 1:4 instead of 4:1 regarding Ca:Mg. For me this is not possible because my tapwater has 64ppm Ca and 4.5ppm Mg, so this means I need to turn up Mg till (probably) toxic levels. I lower Ca with RO-water to about 30ppm and raise Mg to >10 ppm. I had no GDA since then. So as suggested before. Try shifting this ratio more to Mg and if you assume it is BGA, go for the blackout above antibiotics!!

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Thanks for your replies Yo_han. I think BGA can also be caused by high PO4, high organic content and wrong spectrum of light. I had been overdriving a pair of Philips Aquarelles and just changed them out and wired it normal output. The bulbs were installed April 1st this year but had shifted in their color.

I was away for a bit and had a large SAE die. Never found the body, just some bones.

I have very soft water and the Ca:Mg levels are 18mg/L to 4mg/L
I can easily dose individually.
Do you know if Manganese (MnSO4) is really needed?

More responses in my other thread in the Algae Forum.
IMO BGA doesn't really get caused by high PO4, but by high PO4 compared to NO3. But I said nothing about the cause, I just said that if it was BGA (despite the cause) you would see a major drop of NO3 level, because BGA is a nitrogenbinding bacteria. So with NO3 still at 20 ppm I think you should think of another algae.

As told before, my experiences with manganese are limited because it is in my tracemix, so maybe someone else can answer that question for you.

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Uv can't destroy inorganic salts like KNO3. I think the reason is the 200W over 190L, this is 150W more than needed and you're more likely than not to have algae.
 

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I think this is not a very popular method on this forum. I tried almost a dozen common methods right now including MCI and this one failed the hardest for me.

First off I had problems finding the exact amount of each nutrient. When to stop, are 3 spots of GSA ok, or do I continue till absolutely nothing is visible. Second, a month later the uptake of every nutrient changed. First of all due to the fact that plant mass doubled. Second because plants can buffer certain nutrients as does my substrate (aqua soil). So it's quite Hard to get constant results. So I never used it and I know very little people on this forum who do, so expect very little response except from Christian himself perhaps.
 
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