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Thread: Light spectrum and Algae growth?

  1. #1

    Question 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. #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

  3. #3
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    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.

  4. #4
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    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

  5. #5
    Quote 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.

  6. #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 at 11:20 PM.

  7. #7
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    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

  8. #8
    Quote 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

  9. #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

  10. #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

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