#1 WHAT IF I TOLD YOU... Ammonia is causing your algae problems?

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Lasse

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I was under the impression that only a few species of heterotrophic bacteria would utilize NH+4, and even then, it was in the absence of other nitrogen-based energy sources (a condition unlikely to be encountered in an aquarium)

@Lasse ?

Also, I very much agree on the use of urchins. They’re tremendous algae grazers, they eat practically any kind of algae out there. Not sure if they eat most dinos and cyanos...they might, but that stuff grows back so fast nobody would ever know it’s been eaten.

If you have asked me this a week ago you have had the answer autotrophic organisms are autotrophic and only use inorganic nutrients and heterotrophic organism are heterotrophic - using only organic nutrient. But - with the NH4/NH3 thats not true. Bacteria and many algaes are single cells organisms - it means that NH3/NH4 can penetrate the cell membrans directly - it is a part of the nitrogen transport into the cellsystems. Another funny fact is that even aminoacids can do this and thats has been shown that the cellmembran transport favor aminacids before NH3/NH4. I have had this discussion the last days with a guy at the Swedish salt water forum - his PHD thesis was about these things :) It is true for organisms that have a single cells layer between the body and water too - like the coral animal

Sincerely Lasse
 
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AS

Lasse

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nice, I see what you guys mean. he's really interested in discussing the cause, can't blame a guy for only dreaming about the fix heh

Working in line with what I have writen I have no problem to fix.

But if anyone get the problem - his step will fix the problem and delay/hinder another outbreak.

Sincerely Lasse
 

sde1500

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I still want to see production work, how is this info useable so that res publica can get control over tank algae better than current standards. We're about to get out to a 20 page theory thread and no cures

The title lists the causative and it's well reviewed biochem wise agreed. Now to test: make five algae challenge tanks comply across genera using the opposite of this causative. Total humbling ensues to the point we remain a pure theory thread I'm thinking. By page twenty, five cures, or I'm out. I know that's no loss lol but isn't winning skeptics like the third funnest aspect of this hobby? If someone said this in my algae thread Id love the challenge and post ten works, rounded up from more than one board
Really though, what part of this do you believe won't work? There really isn't much to it when broken down.
  1. No knee jerk reactions to the extreme.
  2. Patience, this won't be fixed over night.
  3. You'll still have algae, just less.
  4. Manually remove algae.
  5. Slow and steady, kinda just repeat of 2.
  6. Something about light that really doesn't fit the flow of this
  7. Don't throw a billion snails at it
  8. Measured clean up over time
 

jda

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Thanks Lasse - I had to read that like 6 times, but I am adding it to the database in my head. I have often wondered if dosing aminos was more likely to feed single cell orgasms and even coral through osmosis, rather than being captured and filtered by polyps - this might also mean that the corals might be the last organism to use aminos since they seem to be easily outcompeted by single cell bacteria and algae. Good stuff.

It is not like there are not blueprints for having a successful, algae free tank. Mine is simple and easy... 3 inches of sand, REAL live rock from the ocean (phosphate free and porous), heavy skimming, no media or chemical control during the ugly phases while waiting for about year until the N cycle finishes with anoxic bacteria that can turn the no3 into N gas, and, lastly, consumers. Simple. Easy. Lets nature take over, and nature is good at her job. However, people want to save money with dry rock. People cannot wait a year and think that using media in the first few months is good. People are convinced that sand is bad. People cannot wait out the algae and diatom blooms. Often, but not always, people follow the wrong advice on the internet. There is no secret to any of this, but a wholistic approach is needed.

Urchins will scratch acrylic tanks, but I mostly find them not wanting to leave the rocks or walls with lots of coralline... not to say that they will not do it some of the time. They are also not good with frags around since they like to grab ahold of frag plugs and carry your prized stuff as protection on their back.
 

brandon429

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Sde

The reason I think you're going to have trouble actually working with it is because of big work threads that took more to earn cures. This sounds good though, need that final step, the actual tests

I think most people in algae cure threads are already employing most of this technique they still show up for help anyway
 

Gregg @ ADP

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If you have asked me this a week ago you have had the answer autotrophic organisms are autotrophic and only use inorganic nutrients and heterotrophic organism are heterotrophic - using only organic nutrient. But - with the NH4/NH3 thats not true. Bacteria and many algaes are single cells organisms - it means that NH3/NH4 can penetrate the cell membrans directly - it is a part of the nitrogen transport into the cellsystems. Another funny fact is that even aminoacids can do this and thats has been shown that the cellmembran transport favor aminacids before NH3/NH4. I have had this discussion the last days with a guy at the Swedish salt water forum - his PHD thesis was about these things :) It is true for organisms that have a single cells layer between the body and water too - like the coral animal

Sincerely Lasse
Interesting.

I don’t know enough about facilitated diffusion in bacteria to know what determines what gets in when. I know that in algae, it’s highly regulated, with something like 3 different transport protein families handling NO3 assimilation alone.

I would be really curious to see the transport regulation and pathways in bacteria when it comes to NH+4, NO3, AAs, etc. Going back to the algae assimilation I mentioned, the regulation is determined (if I recall correctly) by relative concentrations and varying NO3 affinities among the different transport protein.
 

brandon429

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Yes I'm still a full-on skeptic it can be used to even cure five tanks in the same thread and I don't mean pulling examples from five tanks that happened to work out I mean 5 live entrants right now which peroxide and rip clean would have fixed to the tune of 100%

I think by page 20 we w have no such work here unless it's prompted


Regarding causation, I'm all in

In fact let me nominate the five from my private message tanks :)
 

Rakie

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Having watched numerous tanks with zero nitrates and phosphates struggle with algae has made me wonder about this as well. I've also read the ammonia is taken up more quickly and easily by plants and algae as well. This was very interesting, and definitely something I have thought about!
 
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jda

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I can almost assure you that I can fix the algae issues in any tank if you do exactly what I tell you, when I tell you and have some patience, like up to a year. There are many people who can. Most folks with algae issues just don't want to wait, spend the money, want to use a method or technique that is an outlier, a product, etc. Unfortunately, with some tanks, they are so far out of whack biologically speaking that they might need more time to correct themselves before they can move forward. Ecosystems do not develop fast.

Rakie - those tanks do indeed have nitrate and phosphate, they just don't have any residual for a test kit to catch. We have kinda shown in the last few pages of this thread that it is not likely that the macro algaes that people hate so much are using ammonia for a fuel source, even though they can - it mostly get used by the bacteria and single cell organism in the tank and then moved down the N cycle. Does ammonia help out some hair algae - probably in very small quantities. Like Lasse has pointed out, a lot of this research is done in FW planted tanks, which does not apply to our saltwater ecosystem... so you gotta make sure that you read the fine print with any post or article.
 

brandon429

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we find opposite; your way takes into account slow internally reset eutrophication, ours is rip cleaning all the detritus out, restoring full porosity, full nitrification surface area re exposed, and its improving redox to the best potential possible cuz we use a full water change after stripping all organics, we use skip cycle biology to not lose a single organism across like 8 years and lastly, we have some years on file to check for patterns

We -never- dose peroxide into the tank unless it's a dinos strategy. It's used solely as a post rasping tool, and by rasping we mimic what turtles parrotfish and urchins do, another point of agreement

its amazing to take into account complete and total noncompliants. Anyone who writes a guide to algae that seems closed-ended in an approach has not tried a work/test thread in my opinion, work threads are humbling by variation required


This is why you don't see lots of book authors running tank restoration threads in my opinion; setup and precise artistic control in ones home is one thing/working in others tanks, taking into account unspoken details, causatives that people don't report, is totally different.

the cause of all algae invasions: the keeper sits right there and watches it take over because luck and bio reasons didn't do all the work for them. Owning an invaded reef tank is a psychology not a biology, growback is the biology. 20 pages says anyone can will themselves into an uninvaded state, the invaded want it that way or don't know of alternates.
 
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Juano908

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Very nice write up beside all the heat, lol.
I’ve been having algae problems in my tank for a while now, I’ve been bringing my NO3 and PO4 up and down trying to find the perfect numbers to rid the algae, I’ve never thought about testing for Ammonia ever since my tank cycled but now I’m curious.
 
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Fish_Sticks

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Very nice write up beside all the heat, lol.
I’ve been having algae problems in my tank for a while now, I’ve been bringing my NO3 and PO4 up and down trying to find the perfect numbers to rid the algae, I’ve never thought about testing for Ammonia ever since my tank cycled but now I’m curious.

Testing for ammonia wont yield any results. The ammonia is used up quickly after it is created, a constant revolving door of ammonia. The problem is that there is more ammonia being created than your bacteria can handle; an imbalance of bacteria to bioload.

Thats when the algae takes up the additional ammonia.

Focus on creating more bacteria, or remove some of your bioload through detritus export. Again I'll say only if you're experiencing an algae outbreak (Or more algae than is healthy for your tank, not more than you would like), as manageable amounts of algae are a good thing, and detritus is a good thing.

I'll probably write a math equation for this some day, but nobody likes math.
 
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brandon429

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Seneye ammonia metering is a way to test claims here, before and during algae invasion. Handy to know at least we don't have to colorimetric guess, the increments of uptake you propose can be measured

I think seneye goes out to thousandths or ten th it is designed to detect micro shifts in ammonia levels
 
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I don’t know enough about facilitated diffusion in bacteria to know what determines what gets in when. I know that in algae, it’s highly regulated, with something like 3 different transport protein families handling NO3 assimilation alone.
This true for NO2 and NO3 - but not for NH3/NH4 and aminoacids - they will been taken up by direct tranport trhough the cellmembrane in both bacteria, coral animal and algae. No extra enery is needed. In this case the OP is right - NH3/NH4 is the prefered species (after aminoacids that my frien high lited) of N and give the best growth result - not demand any extra energy .

I would be really curious to see the transport regulation and pathways in bacteria when it comes to NH+4, NO3, AAs, etc. Going back to the algae assimilation I mentioned, the regulation is determined (if I recall correctly) by relative concentrations and varying NO3 affinities among the different transport protein.
NO3 have to be changed to NH4/NH3 before transport through the cel lwals - pure NH4/NH3 and aminoacids do not need any cenversion.

Sincerely Lasse
 

Gregg @ ADP

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NO3 have to be changed to NH4/NH3 before transport through the cel lwals - pure NH4/NH3 and aminoacids do not need any cenversion.

Sincerely Lasse
Are you talking about in algae, or bacteria? In algae, there are two reductions to get NO3 to NH3/4 within the cytoplasm, catalyzed by two different enzymes...NO3 to NO2 by nitrate reductase, and NO2 to NH4 by nitrite reductase. That’s why the transport proteins are needed...to bring the NO3 into the algae cell.
 

Belgian Anthias

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What is the definition of an algae problem?

If usable organic carbon is available most of the ammonia becoming available will be used up by heterotrophic r-strategists present in the water column and or in the communities. Ammonia is used very fast. The order in using ammonium in an aquarium depends where the ammonia is produced and the availability of usable organic carbon which is produced constantly in microbial communities. Algae and other photo-autotrophs are not dependable of organic carbon and have the availability of an unlimited energy source. Why nitrate may be produced in a closed system? How autotrophic bacteria and Archaea are able to compete with algae and heterotrophs for ammonium. Is the ammonium used for cell synthesis or for respiration? How much energy must be provided or is used for nitrogen transition ? What ere the different pathways used, how the enzymes are activated, how effective is the organism in using ammonia and oxygen ?
The consumption of ammonium, the use of nitrogen, in the coral holoboint or in a nitrifying or other microbial community may be completely different of the situation in the water column ? Ammonia reduction is very dependable of oxygen availability.
Much of these microbial communities, microbial mats, may become undependable of the nitrogen source in the water column. The production of ammonia within these communities!? Algae leak +- 10% of total nitrogen consumption as ammonia as do most photo-autotrophs. Photosynthesis needs a lot of nitrogen. The light source, spectrum and intensity, in combination with the nitrogen source used will control growth in function of the support for different pigments needed for photosynthesis in the specific light condition.

Ammonia is essential for algae growth and they may use what is left over or reuse from own production. Algae grow about twice to four times as fast when they can use ammonium instead of nitrate as nitrogen source ( depending of the light ) but there primary nitrogen source for growth will be nitrate-nitrogen as they are not able to compete for ammonia with r-strategists. Algae leak ammonia depending of the light source and the nitrogen source used . This ammonia will be used by the community in the microbial environment.

Nitrogen consumption in a closed system is controlled by the availability of other nutrients and building materials in which a skimmer plays its role.
Limiting nitrogen availability in the water column in a way it limits algae growth will effect all live in the closed system as algae growth is the indicator for a healthy nutrient balance. Algae growth will not steal and or take away nutrients and building materials from other organisms but will divide the availability when there is enough of it.

What is the definition of an algae problem?
Or better, what is creating to much algae growth?
Ammonia availability? Than one has a problem of which algae growth is only the result and indicator.
Help, there is ammonia in my tank!
 
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Juano908

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Testing for ammonia wont yield any results. The ammonia is used up quickly after it is created, a constant revolving door of ammonia. The problem is that there is more ammonia being created than your bacteria can handle; an imbalance of bacteria to bioload.

Thats when the algae takes up the additional ammonia.

Focus on creating more bacteria, or remove some of your bioload through detritus export. Again I'll say only if you're experiencing an algae outbreak (Or more algae than is healthy for your tank, not more than you would like), as manageable amounts of algae are a good thing, and detritus is a good thing.

I'll probably write a math equation for this some day, but nobody likes math.

Tested my tank water and the result is 0 Ammonia.
So still braking my head about what is causing the algae in my tank.
 
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Fish_Sticks

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Testing for ammonia wont yield any results. The ammonia is used up quickly after it is created, a constant revolving door of ammonia.
 
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