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Why do these methods work in contravention of what seems to be found in nature?

Using simple aquarium test kits, I have measured PO4 and NO3 levels in healthy lakes which support an abundance of aquatic plant life. The PO4 and NO3 levels were too small to be measurable - nothing like as high as the levels commonly encouraged in the planted tank hobby. In these locales the lake water was very healthy, clear, not eutrophic. Algae types were neither dominant nor obvious.

While it is difficult to compare a natural environment such as a lake with an aquarium - lakes have thermal zones, areas of run-off, large dilution factors, large surface areas for gas exchange, relatively cool temperatures, and other features that aquariums do not have - the main difference I notice is that lake water is ALIVE. In aquariums, it has a tendency to become DEAD quickly, particularly as a result of chemical manipulation by the inexperienced aquarist.

IME / IMO it is all about water quality rather than nutrients - at least that is the way I tend to analyze and understand the problem or avoiding algae.

Algae prevail in DEAD water. Water changes rejuvenate the system. EI-style, which evolved in times before many people had spreadsheets etc, uses targeted dosing levels and water changes to ensure water quality is optimum. Water changes allow for unknowns to be addressed and buildups to be avoided. PPS is an analytic approach which hinges on providing enough but not too much, so as to ensure optimum water quality while having minimum water changes. When a PPS proponent fails in his/her dosing regime, they do a water change.

Nutrient dosing is just a part of the water quality story.

(Now if only that SAVE AS DRAFT button was down there I could have saved you from reading this embarrassing Plocher-like plonk).

Andrew Cribb
 

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Molecular level research is beyond the means of most hobbyists. Water is a complex media in which chemical reactions take place and solutes are transported. An aquarist has the ability to observe results of some of these changes but usually cannot understand the complex chemistry involved since the methods and tools to investigate these things are not available to him/her.

To say one compononent of healthy water is more or less responsible for the prevention of algal growth seems irrelevent. Healthy gas exchange, low particulate content etc... all contribute to healthy water. If there was one magic component (such as your suggestion of oxygen) responsible for slowing or stopping algae growing, it would have been found before now by better equipped researchers.

Andrew Cribb
 

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Approaching the problem from the converse: if someone were to start a thread on "How to grow really good algae in a planted aquarium" the consensus might be better.

Andrew Cribb
 

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"allelochemical" in some circles seems to be about as controversial as Plocher's ideas. I've never seen any report on observed allelochemical activity in aquarium plants. I've noticed that when certain plants get to a critical biomass in an aquarium, they tend to take over and other plants tend to take on a recessive mode, until they in their turn enjoy a dominant period. But would that be what we might call allelochemical activity?

The idea of allelochemical implies that a plant has a defense mechanism, a sort of immune system analgous to the one we know and love in our own bodies, and that if the plant is not properly fed its immune system declines rapidly allowing algae to take over.

Andrew Cribb
 
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