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  • Light spectrum and Algae growth?

    I read somewhere that BBA did better in blue light, which I suppose means other Algae do better in red light. I did a search but did not find any research here to back this up? Does spectrum really matter/help that much? I do hate the 'colour' of 3000K bulbs.

  • #2
    Sounds like a tightly wound coil on the front lawn to me. BBA shouldn't be an issue in any properly balanced tank; any decent planted tank under 50/50 actinic kills this theory outright. There may be a study somewhere that shows that BBA does slightly better because of its heavy carotenoid level, or one of the more obscure chlorophylls liking 500nm-ish light, but it's definitely not necessary to change your light to fix the problem.

    Look to your CO2 rather than to your light when BBA happens.

    -Philosophos
    - Dan

    Comment


    • #3
      I need to testify

      I've watched BBA melt away with a sufficiently large, consistent level of CO2. It does come back, here and there. My diy CO2 goes cold now and then. I fix that and I expect I'll see less BBA.
      :encouragement: Roll You're Own: Greater Washington Aquatic Plant Association
      Mixed with a sound of water's murmuring
      a sensitive plant in a garden growing.

      Comment


      • #4
        The book "The Biology of the Red Algae", Kathleen M. Cole, Robert G. Sheath (1990) says that growth of red algae is at a maximum around 550nm.

        Nice to know, but it also shows a graph that it grows in the entire range from 300 to 700 nm. Impossible to avoid with any lamp.

        The real difference makes high and consistent CO2 combined with adequate circulation.
        regards,
        dutchy.

        My 2011, 2012 and 2013 AGA aquascaping contest entries:
        http://www.barrreport.com/album.php?u=21013

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by dutchy View Post
          The book "The Biology of the Red Algae", Kathleen M. Cole, Robert G. Sheath (1990) says that growth of red algae is at a maximum around 550nm.

          Nice to know, but it also shows a graph that it grows in the entire range from 300 to 700 nm. Impossible to avoid with any lamp.
          [CO2 Mantra snipped]

          Thanks Dutchy, I gather the curve was fairly flat.

          The question was purely theoretical BTW guys, I hadn't planned to give away my CO2 or put in Infrared bulbs.

          Comment


          • #6
            Interesting that it'd be 550nm, dutchy. Chlor a, b and carotenoids don't seem to be stimulated by this spectrum. At the same time I haven't been able to find any good spectrum plots of c1, c2 or D. I also wonder about phycobiliproteins in red algae and their action spectrum. Does the book happen to give any hints as to what's causing this offbeat action spectrum?

            *edit* Check this out:


            That'd be the pigment responsible for the color in BBA (Audouinella spp.)

            -Philosophos
            Last edited by Philosophos; 10-24-2009, 11:20 PM.
            - Dan

            Comment


            • #7
              I looked it up. Chlorophyll and cartenoids seem to peak around 425nm, while phycoerythrin peaks around 550nm and up. Seems I got those two confused.

              It's possible to buy lamps here that don't emit light under 400nm.

              It's an interesting book. You can find it a Google Books. It also has a part specifically about FW red algae.

              Biology of the red algae - Google Boeken
              regards,
              dutchy.

              My 2011, 2012 and 2013 AGA aquascaping contest entries:
              http://www.barrreport.com/album.php?u=21013

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by dutchy View Post
                The book "The Biology of the Red Algae", Kathleen M. Cole, Robert G. Sheath (1990) says that growth of red algae is at a maximum around 550nm.

                Nice to know, but it also shows a graph that it grows in the entire range from 300 to 700 nm. Impossible to avoid with any lamp.

                The real difference makes high and consistent CO2 combined with adequate circulation.
                Was this specific to Audouinella and Compsopogon?
                Those are the only two pest red algae we have.

                I'm afraid generalizing, is just that, a bit too general
                As folks know, learn more, they need to focus more on the pest in question, this means a precise definition of what the pest is.

                Red algae can be found 800ft deep, or at the surface, massive large macrophyte sheets, or microscopic, 20 different life histories etc.

                They might have a few things in common such as pigments, but the amount of those vary greatly depending on species, habitat, intensity, other growth factors etc etc.

                We really cannot say a whole lot.

                Red algae are less of an issue for folks who get their CO2 right.
                Green algae are the closest to plants, so they are the worst pest in general.

                Regards,
                Tom Barr
                www.BarrReport.com

                Comment


                • #9
                  I think I see your point, Tom...

                  From: LIGHT AND ADAPTIVE RESPONSES IN RED MACROALGAE
                  "In the red macroalgae, the most abundant pigment is R-PE [66, 67] with g and g ’ subunits [47]. The PE g units are bifunctional phycobiliproteins that act as light-harvesting phycobiliproteins and as linker-proteins [41]. In Audouinella saviana under B, R-PE underwent spectral changes, that were interpreted as indicative of molecular rearrangements [53]. Similarly to Cyanophytes, R-PE of red algae might play a role in adaptation to sudden irradiance and light spectral changes with its light-harvesting and linker function (through the g subunits) within PBSs. Furthermore R-PE may be considered an ecological advantage for algae living in sublittoral zones. In fact, among all the biliprotein subunits, the g- polypetyde carries the greatest number of PUB chromophores capable to extend the biliprotein absorption spectrum toward the B/G shortest wavelengths."

                  So then I'm guessing one shift from phycoerythrin to something like allophycocyanin turns the spectrum from 550 to 660 based on availability, meaning it just matches up to chlor A's action spectrum. Just one of a few ways to adapt, besides the fact that you'd be changing the parameters to favor some other advantageous species.

                  -Philosophos
                  - Dan

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Why does good CO2 retard the growth of BBA and other algaes?

                    Does it make the plants healthier so that they can outcompete the algae? (I assume not)

                    Are the algaes somehow "poisoned" by the CO2?

                    And, why are non-CO2 injected tanks often algae free? Is there something else?

                    Bill

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Overall lack of need for structure means algae has a lower carbon requirement than plants. By elevating CO2 levels you're giving the plants a nutrient the algae does not require to the same degree, and offering an advantage.

                      Non-CO2 tanks could be free of algae for any number of reasons. Non-limiting CO2 through lowering the light is one, phosphate limitation is another method, keeping spores and NH4 down through regular water changes and high filtration works, and so does scrubbing like a mad man.

                      I have my father up in Canada currently managing his algae problems through non-CO2 methods with limiting CO2 until he can get compressed. Heavy maintenance routines are doing the job.

                      -Philosophos
                      - Dan

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Philosophos View Post
                        Overall lack of need for structure means algae has a lower carbon requirement than plants. By elevating CO2 levels you're giving the plants a nutrient the algae does not require to the same degree, and offering an advantage.
                        I can understand how increased CO2 can help the plants, but I don't understand how that could discourage the algae. I don't think that you suggesting that the larger plants would then better outcompete the algae, are you?


                        Non-CO2 tanks could be free of algae for any number of reasons. Non-limiting CO2 through lowering the light is one, phosphate limitation is another method, keeping spores and NH4 down through regular water changes and high filtration works, and so does scrubbing like a mad man.
                        LOL in the scrubbing! The lower light could be the reason that the algae is less, I guess. I think typical low light, non-CO2 plant growers don't do much water changing nor nutrient manipulation, though.

                        I have my father up in Canada currently managing his algae problems through non-CO2 methods with limiting CO2 until he can get compressed. Heavy maintenance routines are doing the job.
                        I'd say the poor man has several problems <g>

                        Thanks.

                        Bill

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by aquabillpers View Post
                          I can understand how increased CO2 can help the plants, but I don't understand how that could discourage the algae. I don't think that you suggesting that the larger plants would then better outcompete the algae, are you?
                          I'm suggesting what's been said often enough; that aiding plant growth prevents algae from growing on the plants through encouraging growth. It's got nothing to do with directly harming algae.


                          LOL in the scrubbing! The lower light could be the reason that the algae is less, I guess. I think typical low light, non-CO2 plant growers don't do much water changing nor nutrient manipulation, though.
                          Most of the nutrients can be taken care of just through feeding and water changes with stock lights if the density isn't too high. I keep low tech tanks with ADA AS bottoms and 50% WC's every 2-4 weeks, with the odd bit of ferts and they're surprisingly clean.


                          I'd say the poor man has several problems <g>
                          His first mistake was deciding it'd be a cool idea to get a bunch of plants and ADA AS while visiting SF with me. The next was trusting the LFS owner about his 2x36w being able to run as a 1x36w. His final mistake was opting out on the CO2. Now he's stuck in the hobby, and looking at his first CO2 system

                          -Philosophos
                          - Dan

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Philosophos View Post
                            I'm suggesting what's been said often enough; that aiding plant growth prevents algae from growing on the plants through encouraging growth. It's got nothing to do with directly harming algae.
                            OK, but why does "aiding plant growth" "prevent[s] algae from growing"? The only reason that I can think of is some kind of improved competition mechanism in the plants, but we know that plants can't outcompete algae for nutrients. Right?

                            Or could it be that the plants produce a substance that is toxic to algae in large doses, and that critical point is reached when the plants get larger? I am not suggesting that process the name of which starts with "A".

                            Most of the nutrients can be taken care of just through feeding and water changes with stock lights if the density isn't too high. I keep low tech tanks with ADA AS bottoms and 50% WC's every 2-4 weeks, with the odd bit of ferts and they're surprisingly clean.
                            I have even lower tech tanks without the water changes, and some of those are surprisingly clean too. Some aren't, do to long deferred maintenance.

                            Water changes are discouraged in low tech aquaria in part because they often temporarily increase the CO2 and cause instability.


                            Your dad is heading down the primrose path. Get him a copy of Diane Walstad's book.

                            Bill

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by aquabillpers View Post
                              OK, but why does "aiding plant growth" "prevent[s] algae from growing"? The only reason that I can think of is some kind of improved competition mechanism in the plants, but we know that plants can't outcompete algae for nutrients. Right?
                              It is a paradox.
                              However, perhaps our own need to explain is less complicated that this.

                              Maybe it's simply algae responding to change/changes over some unit of time.
                              Has nothing to do with nutrients(which would support observations).

                              What changes?
                              CO2 seems to be a big one.
                              NH4 is another.

                              But adding them or not, is not a simple on /off switch either.

                              HOW we add NH4/CO2 seems to be a huge role and over what time and how high or what rate variation we use.

                              This is going to be different for each light intensity.
                              At higher light, we'd expect more/faster change responses.
                              Same if you add enrichment for CO2.........

                              The levels can go higher/lower, more extreme.

                              Seems a stable system that's rich or somewhat lean can support an established plant community pretty well, both in aquariums and in natural systems, lakes, rivers etc.

                              The rates of growth will be slower in lower nutrient systems, but they will grow and be fairly algae free. I'm including both water column and sediment nutrients.

                              Or could it be that the plants produce a substance that is toxic to algae in large doses, and that critical point is reached when the plants get larger? I am not suggesting that process the name of which starts with "A".
                              If........you buy into any of that, then adding activated carbon(AC) in high amounts would INDUCE algae, since AC removes organics very effectively.

                              No, I do not buy that argument that it only takes a tiny amount to cause the effect, unidirectional rivers also have the saem dynamic and there's no way at 2 knots of flow, that the allelopathic chemicals are going to have any affect, dilution factors and differences in these systems are way too wide spread.

                              Also, we can fine plenty if high density planted systems, aquariums included, where the plants are growing well, and we also have high levels of algae.

                              So this does not support the observations that well if.....you look at both sides of the coin.

                              AC is used in allelopathic research as a control, where allelopathic has actually been demonstrated, so we KNOW it works in such systems, alleleopathy has never been demonstrated in a natural system aquatically.

                              In a tiny test well, we crush plant material(hardly a natural of aquarium state), add to an algae culture and get a % reduction in biomass(not 100% reduction), this is NOT support for allelopathic response in natural systems or aquariums where we use live plants that are intact.

                              You can argue it all day, but it will not offer any support.
                              The results do not support the conclusion.

                              Water changes are discouraged in low tech aquaria in part because they often temporarily increase the CO2 and cause instability.

                              Your dad is heading down the primrose path. Get him a copy of Diane Walstad's book.

                              Bill
                              I speculate this, and I can show research that supports it for plant health/adaptation, but I have not demonstrated it as far as algae.

                              Correlation, but not cause.

                              I do not agree with the conclusions in Diana's book about algae causes, I've tested some of them and they do not support the hypothesis she speculated.

                              AC is one way to test it, that will be extremely tough to show. I'd give it a 0.001% chance at best. Fe limitation is a simple test, add say 0.5ppm Fe as ETDA, DTPA, etc to a non CO2 planted tank, or a CO2 enriched system, result= no algae bloom.

                              Cannot be that either.

                              Carbon(CO2) stability, NH4 loading rates seem to be the better bets.

                              We can add perhaps 0.8 ppm per day to 1.0ppm of NH4 without ill effects also, but like cycling a fishless tank, adding NH4 increases the bacteria. They modify the rates and residuals of NH4 like plants do.

                              So adding more NH4 slowly over time to induce algae will not work either, just like having a planted tank with high light/CO2/nutrients and ......a high fish load.

                              If you rapidly overload the tank with too many fish/add say 3-4ppm of NH4 to an established tank where the bacteria cannot respond for a couple of weeks, then you get algae. This is common in new aquariums, GW. Still NH4 seems to only induce GW and perhaps a few others like BBA/Staghorn secondarily with high fish loading(not able to do this with NH4Cl).

                              In order to test any algae bloom, you also need a standard reference aquarium to compare to, and be able to fix it and get it back to that state once you do a treatment.

                              If Diana, or myself, or anyone wanting to test this hypothesis cannot do that consistently, then you cannot test the hypothesis, you lack to control to do the test properly. You have to do it in blocks, then fix it and try it again and repeat the test.

                              There are too many variables to do matched pairs in normal aquariums hobbyists might own.

                              So a set of repeated replications is required.
                              This is easy if the results show no affect.
                              If you get a nasty algae, then you have to reset thing.
                              So then it takes a long time.

                              So you can rule things out much easier than you can support possible nutrients/CO2/light causes/correlations.

                              That's why I have so many rationals as to why something does not cause algae, and can be pretty certain about it, but few reasons as to why and what causes an algae bloom

                              Think about that.

                              Regards,
                              Tom Barr
                              www.BarrReport.com

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