right onFor the book - there is a huge difference berween a freshwater aquaria with higher plants - specialised in converting NO3 into NH3 in the uptake moment with a saltwater tank lacking the highly specialised plants in the display. I think it is a need of point out that the main and most important factor is competition for living space and limited factors. IMO in a saltwater aquarium the algae mostly will win that combat. Even against heterotrophic bacteria. In a saltwater aquaria - there is no limit for the inorganic carbon (needed for the photosynthesis) but there is a strong limitation of DOC (dissolved organic carbon) - needed for growth of heterotrophic bacteria. Just ad unlimited amount of DOC in your aquaria and watch what will happens. Heterotrophic bacteria are as effective as algae in order to take up NH4 but lack of DOC normally hinder their growth. However - algae will leak some very effective Doc's and algae plus more growth of heterotrophic bacteria will create a bacteria driven ecosystem instead of a coral driven system. Algae will - together with bacteria create this because the Algae's faster growth rate make it able to compete out the corals according to living space. It is true that photosynthesis in corals will leak some DOC too but IMO – with corals there is a little bit different situation. Some say that it is a different type of DOC compared with algae – creating other types of bacteria – but I´m not sure that´s true. My idea is more that the animal part of the coral just uses these bacteria (in the slime) as food, hence recirculate the nutrients again! But some of the coral released DOC will favour microalgae too but in a normal reef – you will not see them – they will be eaten directly.
This is a huge difference from a freshwater planted tank there the two main combatants can grow as fast as the other and they use the same type of carbon (inorganic), further the higher plants can in an effective way use the nitrificated N source too - NO3. In this environment – higher fast-growing plants will always win if there is nutrients enough (both the “normal” nutrients and inorganic carbon (read CO2 for all plants and HCO3/CO3 for some plants). It is true that just adding NO3 as a nitrogen source will give micro algae a disadvantage – but it does not mean that NH3 will favour micro algae – more give them both the same possibility.
In a reef tank, algae will always win against the slow growing corals and corallines in the establishing stage (and later on with many corals). However. some corals have a trick – during photosynthesis they swell – creating a larger surface for photosynthesis (primarly effect) but also put the space below them in shadow, hence no algae can growth below the coral (mostly softies but even many solitary LPS) – secondarily effect.
However – in a aquarium - you can manipulate where algae will grow through create special places for them like refugium and scrubbers – but in the end they will win the battle if they are able to grow without control. Grazing is a very good control tool - it does not only remove algae - it also creates new spaces for slow growing corallin algae in order to establish themselves.
I'm confused after reading several posts. But what confuses me most is the bold title at the top of the thread I(the title of the article - the problem (to me) is that there is no evidence that ammonia is causing any problem :Much was discussed, but a key focus of the discussion were different overall tank maintenance strategies.
This is an algae outbreak reaction strategy. Much different from an overall tank strategy.
Hopefully this will clear up any uncertainty that this should be a regular weekly tank routine. The last thing I want is for people to go to their tank that is performing well and suck out every last bit of detritus. I practice a hands off as much as possible approach to my overall tank strategy.
There are plenty of people who do this as a routine every month or every couple of weeks and that is fine if it works for them and helps their tank achieve balance. I believe these are mainly people who have an imbalanced bioload to filtration ratio, do not have a sump, high powered skimmer, or very much live rock to improve their bacterial filter and buffer against an algae epidemic. The ultimate goal is to have a balanced tank without having to occasionally export detritus, at least not every month. And remember, manageable amounts of algae are a good thing! Detritus is also a good thing, it is the life source for your tank!
From what has been mentioned in the discussions, it sounds like the answer lies in the hands of a balanced stock list, a good clean up crew, a good amount of healthy rock (im sure a little rock basting every now and again is a good thing ), and a balanced bioload/bacteria surface ratio. If you have all these things, you have a foundation for success and shouldn't have a need to export detritus - at least not every other month.
If by some chance you have all these good things and you're facing a huge algae outbreak, the answer may be to follow the algae outbreak control strategy and wait to see how your tank reacts... Then consider necessary adjustments to your overall tank strategy, your stock list, clean up crew, and re read the steps and other threads for inspiration on what could be altered to help your tank reach balance...
I've also requested this summary of sorts be added to both the article, and the main post.
I think I feel comfortable referring people in the algae help forum to this thread when they ask for help. Hopefully we can help some people out with their algae outbreak, and most importantly, getting them thinking about the big picture and overall tank strategy.
No article or thread is ever complete until it has a couple thousand people view and contribute their well thought out responses. Thanks again everyone for contributing.
So lets see if i get this right. If we have a low nutrient tank with alot of algae and ammonia is the source for nitrogen which feeds the algae, increading nitrification could/should in other words help with competing for the ammonia and reduce the potency for algae? In my case i have hair algae and i cant say i overfeed nor have alot of detritus, i recently reduced my filtration with removing passive siporax. Im debating weather i should reuse the siporax in a high flow reactor to make it nitrify for example. Would this be concidered a solid action of achieve better nitrification and try to compete for nitrogen sources (read ammonia)?
I’m gonna take the blue pill! This is garbage, ammonia nitrite and nitrate are essentially the same thing, far too much contradiction going on here! I could go on but it would be pointless, so much wrong info!
I'd just like to say thanks to Fish_Sticks for this post. Read it when first posted about 3 months ago. My 20 gallon nano was going through a nasty case of green hair algae. Was tempted to try many of the suggested quick fixes, instead I played it cool. Cut down my feedings, blasting my live rock, increased flow, lowered my light a little and did a ton of manual removal. That all seemed to help a little, BUT I think the thing that really turned the corner on my issue was putting a bottle of live bacteria into my tank. I'm pretty sure I was suffering from a non-diverse colony of bacteria due to starting with man made rock and doing the standard ammonia cycling process. At any rate, around 2 months later my algae issue is gone entirely and I've started to really enjoy my tank again.
So, if you remove the detritus, you solve your algae problems. Don't let anyone fool you otherwise!
I thought the definition of detritus is: waste wich can not be remineralized in the present conditions.
As it can not be remineralized it may and will build up. As it can not be remineralized it does not contribute to the amount of available building materials. How detritus will contribute to the growth of algae?