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Thread: Understanding String Algae

  1. #121
    Oyagoi yerrag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
    I am referring to all algae in the pond. Without regard to location, all of it is consuming nitrogen. The population density may have shifted from the walls to the waterfall, but if the total mass is the same, there is no meaningful change in nitrogen consumption by the algae in the pond as a whole. It is one system. It can be hypothesized that the change in the angle of the sunlight and water temperature is benefitting the algae around the waterfall, and retarding algae on the pond walls... a seasonal change. But, I doubt there is any convenient way to establish whether that is the case.
    We all agree the nitrate reduction is substantial. But if I cannot weigh the total algae in the pond, would that be construed as there being no convenient way to establish a case? I know this is a public discourse and care is needed in making conclusions lest the gullible public be led astray, but we need not cloak every statement like a lawyer would in advising his client. Else, everyone will invoke the fifth amendment. I'm glad that the nitrates went down. For me, the most likely cause is the string algae growth in the waterfalls around this time of year, when the sunshine is hitting the waterfalls strongly enough throughout the day. The string algae consumes a lot of pond nitrates, and is instrumental in the reduction in nitrate levels. The reason there are algae turf scrubbers in aquariums is because not having them does not help reduce nitrates, even if the aquarium has a heavy growth of carpet algae around its walls. So to me, to say total algae mass is what's important is to downplay the importance of the use of an algae turf scrubber and its effect on nitrate reduction. Am I to deny the possibility that my waterfalls is now acting as an algae turf scrubber? Is there more reason to or not to?

  2. #122
    Oyagoi yerrag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sacicu View Post
    I am just suggesting that it could be possible that the bacterial supplement are much active in warmer water temperatures in dissolving the organic waste and producing higher nitrate levels as compared when temperature are lower.
    Also, waste are less when water temperature are lower(27c compared to 25.5c) with quantity of koi food still same. Combined that with more frequent removal of waste thru siphoning might result in a more lower nitrate reading. Nevertheless a drop from 80 to 20 is impressive considering water change as you say remained constant.
    I agree that more frequent cleaning makes a difference. The temperature also. It adds up. As far as weighting the factors goes, I believe the waterfalls has the most effect though. It was only around May or June this year that I started to use my waterfalls as my main pond return. In the past 2 years, I have gone thru seasonal temperature changes and haven't observed such effects from cooler pond waters.

  3. #123
    Jumbo sacicu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yerrag View Post
    We all agree the nitrate reduction is substantial. But if I cannot weigh the total algae in the pond, would that be construed as there being no convenient way to establish a case? I know this is a public discourse and care is needed in making conclusions lest the gullible public be led astray, but we need not cloak every statement like a lawyer would in advising his client. Else, everyone will invoke the fifth amendment. I'm glad that the nitrates went down. For me, the most likely cause is the string algae growth in the waterfalls around this time of year, when the sunshine is hitting the waterfalls strongly enough throughout the day. The string algae consumes a lot of pond nitrates, and is instrumental in the reduction in nitrate levels. The reason there are algae turf scrubbers in aquariums is because not having them does not help reduce nitrates, even if the aquarium has a heavy growth of carpet algae around its walls. So to me, to say total algae mass is what's important is to downplay the importance of the use of an algae turf scrubber and its effect on nitrate reduction. Am I to deny the possibility that my waterfalls is now acting as an algae turf scrubber? Is there more reason to or not to?
    Algae scrubbers in aquarium are man made with the sole purpose of removing nutrients by harvesting the algae before it comes to a point that the algae dies and becomes nutrients in the water as well. The bigger the water and the higher the nutrients to be treated the bigger the surface area of the required algae scrubber needs to be.

    Definitely some wall algae whether it is at the wall of the pond or exposed to air like in a waterfall setting acts like an algae scrubber provided the water molecules comes in contact with the surface where the algae grows on the surface. Some plants acts like that as well as they soak up nutrients. The problem is all these algae and plants need enough nutrients to survive or else they die out.

    The question now is whether your wall algae developing in the waterfall acts as algae scrubber in reducing 80 to 20ppm of nitrates. Perhaps but perhaps also that it played a minor role. Like I said the pond dynamics is a complex one and many other factors are in play.

  4. #124
    Oyagoi yerrag's Avatar
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    yes but algae turf scrubbers merely imitate nature. there is always that big kahuna that makes the difference. the rest is just gravy.

  5. #125
    Jumbo Appliance Guy's Avatar
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    I remember algae turf scrubbers from reef aquariums in the early 90's. I played around with a few but never really gave it a full go. What I did find is that the algae did not isolate itself to the scrubber and eventually, spores made it in main system and began to populate it.

    I'm thinking that a koi pond would have to have absolutely giant scrubber to be effective. My understanding is that the nitrate is bound in the cells of the algae and the cell wall membrane is shared with the surrounding water. While nitrates are consumed by the algae and used for energy, growth, and reproduction, etc...- most of the nitrate itself is still in the cells and is not being utilized. So, the while the alage will consume the nitrate, it also stores it. Consumption of nitrate is very small, but if you can physically remove the algae- well that is total removal of bound nitrates.

  6. #126
    Oyagoi yerrag's Avatar
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    While I have given up on the idea of a veggie filter to remove nitrates, I have found my waterfall to be the most likely explanation for the huge reduction in nitrate levels in my pond. I made a veggie filter for my pond, then realized that, as MikeM had explained it, that it would have to be of a size as large as my pond, or larger, to be effective. That idea was scrapped and my veggie filter is now just another pond, mostly filled with black mollies and two turtles. But an algae turf scrubber doesn't have to be as large, and if you look at the aquariums with it, the scrubber only takes a small fraction the size of the aquarium. Appropriate and enough lighting and plenty of aeration are important, it seems to their success. Plus plenty of area for the algae to cling to.

    I had not planned on using my waterfalls initially for anything but for the look and for the sound it gives. In fact, I had accepted its use as being primarily cosmetic and its aeration function as marginal. Even at some point desired to have a bakki in its place. But now I'm giving it the respect it deserves.

    Like I said earlier, I had diverted all the return flow from the filter. Instead of the tpr as my main return, I had channeled it to the waterfalls. I did it to increase aeration, to supplement my air diffuser, in the midst of a very warm summer when my koi developed skin infections. I stayed on with the setup even after the pond crisis was over. It wasn't only because of the nice sound of the stronger rush of water, it was mostly because I realized how much better my pond circulation came to be, making the conclusion that the tpr in fact interfered with proper pond circulation (not aeration-wise but waste-wise), and many suspended waste solids caused the pond to be more turbid. Nitrate readings didn't change thereafter (for 5 months), until I took readings last week.

    I'm more confident now saying that it was the change of the seasons that tipped the scales. I have been using an app on my tablet called Sun Surveyor for a year now. I bought the app to track the sun's location relative to my home. It tells me where the sun is at any given time at any day of the year. It tells me where it is shining from in terms of north, south, east, west, and also how high it is over the horizon. The lower the sun is, the less direct its strength and thus the weaker it is. So I can say that relative to where my waterfalls is, at this time of year it is having the sun shine on it very generously. And so, I am seeing that the pond is benefiting from it.

    Had I spent a huge sum on money or effort with nitrate reduction as my goal, I would understably be jaded into making hasty conclusions on the 'flights of fancy' category. But this nitrate reduction was merely an unintended consequence, of which there is no reason to be unduly invested in, in speculating about and making educated guesses with.

  7. #127
    Nisai vipertom's Avatar
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    Since installing the RDF with three showers and a high turn over rate of 15,000+ GPH on 12,000 gallon I see no algae at all on the pond walls or floor. The walls have a light brown color but no algae of any kind and water temperature has been around 61*. Is this a sign that I have a very healthy pond ?

  8. #128
    Jumbo sacicu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vipertom View Post
    Since installing the RDF with three showers and a high turn over rate of 15,000+ GPH on 12,000 gallon I see no algae at all on the pond walls or floor. The walls have a light brown color but no algae of any kind and water temperature has been around 61*. Is this a sign that I have a very healthy pond ?
    Well I suppose that depends if your koi's quality and size has improved after your new filter setup.

  9. #129
    Oyagoi yerrag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vipertom View Post
    Since installing the RDF with three showers and a high turn over rate of 15,000+ GPH on 12,000 gallon I see no algae at all on the pond walls or floor. The walls have a light brown color but no algae of any kind and water temperature has been around 61*. Is this a sign that I have a very healthy pond ?
    I must have asked you this before, but I forgot your reply (Besides, it's getting difficult to use this site as there seems to be a lot of latency with the server, making me spend a lot of time watching the proverbial hourglass going thru past threads and posts.). But what was your setup prior to this and were there plenty of algae?

    Not having plenty of algae is a good sign as it means there isn't enough nutrients for plants and algae to feed on, and ammonia and nitrates would be those nutrients. Phosphates as well. But clear water and lack of algae growth can lead to complacency. And if certain regular maintenance of the filter and its components are skipped over, it could lead to conditions where pathogenic bacteria could dominate. Even when no evident markers such as sores and ulcers are seen, it doesn't mean the koi isn't using its energy to defend itself against these opportunistic bacteria. Energy spent to defend itself against a constant stream of bacteria in the water column is wasted energy, which could have been spent on growth and on developing the koi's coloration.

    I don't have a setup like yours, which by the way is very nice to have, but any setup requires its its own maintenance schedule. As long as you're not sitting pretty and always lying on the lounge chair and basking away, your pond has no reason to not be healthy.

  10. #130
    Nisai vipertom's Avatar
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    I had two Cetus and two 175 gallon upflow filter with bacitwist.

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