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Algae and Reefs

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Turbo, Nov 25, 2013.

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  1. Turbo

    Turbo Does not really look like Johnny Carson Staff Member Site Owner Multiple Units! Customer

    This site below has a few rather adament algae-haters, and not just with respect to Algae Scrubbers but algal use in aquariums all together. This thread is short currently but interesting.


    The claims that users of Algae Scrubbers are basically running a ticking time bomb I find curious. I just don't see how having algae in a system equates to essentially an accident waiting to happen. Saying that algae is opportunistic, I can't really dispute. But that is a far cry from algae basically biding it's time until it can attack and populate a tank.

    I haven't read the links on the lasts post yet, so I have to preface this post with that.

    Most of the algal outbreaks that occur on systems where scrubbers are added tend to happen initially, when the tank is getting "cleaned up". After that, the algae in the display pretty much goes away and doesn't come back. So if there is a condition by where there is a tank crash and a bunch of coral death and bacterial colony death happening, and these life forms were uptaking the nutrients in the system and now no longer are, then algae can and probably would take over, but I think it's a stretch to say that algae caused the crash. That's like blaming cholesterol for hardening arteries because it is at the scene of the crime, when the cholesterol is doing exactly what it is designed to do (so is calcium, but it doesn't get blamed for come reason)

    Again - haven't read the links, honestly don't have much time, but I just wanted to share this link and get some insight from this side of things.

    Link was originally posted on RC by FlyPenFly
  2. Turbo

    Turbo Does not really look like Johnny Carson Staff Member Site Owner Multiple Units! Customer

    And my reply

    It seems that anyone can take a study out of context and raise a red flag. Just in reading the abstracts from these, not the entire study, here is my take

    From the above thread:

    The relationship of all reef organisms is important. Take one away and the balance is throw off. Algae could be seen to prey on this opportunity.

    This above study right off the bat mentions that algal outbreaks occur when nutrients are high, or herbivores are not present. I agree. But this does not mean that the mere presence of algae is a death sentence. Also reefs do not run algae remotely, in a dedicated separate system focused on outcompeting other algaes, so the initial parallel is not even there.

    Basically, algae uses chemical warfare. This is not news. So run a skimmer and/or carbon to offset this if you are using an aggressive algae scrubber. If you system is big enough or heavily loaded enough to warrant such a large scrubber, you really need to be running mutli-tiered filtration anyways.

    Again, our systems are not an ocean reef. Everything we do in this hobby is some kind of veiled attempt at mimicking an actual reef ecosystem, but in reality it doesn't even come remotely close, and I don't care what kind of tank you run or how big it is.

    Again, remove herbivores from reefs and the balance is thrown off. Direct contact of algae with corals does harm. I agree. We are not running seaweed in the tank adjacent to corals. We are running a remote algae scrubber meant to outcompete display tank algae.

    If this argument could be used against an algae scrubber, you might as well run it up against any refugium type of filtration system and call them all time bombs, because they are at there essence one and the same.

    You are dealing with Algae Scrubber haters. These types are fostered by the claims of the extreme Algae Scrubber supporters who have in the past adamantly claimed that is is perfectly fine to run an algae scrubber as primary and sole filtration on any type of system without any issue. It's simply not the truth, nor is it with ANY kind of filtration. This kind of stance raises the hairs on the backs of people's neck and gets them all in a tussle about how things really work, so they become the people on the other side of the fence, and you get this kind of response you get.

    Take everything in context and don't go into this believing that there is any kind of magic bullet. You will simply lose such an argument.
  3. Mud

    Mud New Member

    First of all, the same people who think that if you "run your system correctly then algae won't be able to grow at all" advocate adding one cerith and one astraea snail per gallon. Why do they need grazers if their tanks aren't growing algae at all? The idea of spending $400+ on snails is ridiculous to me.

    Secondly, I always thought that marine microalgae could utilize nutrients before they are nitrified. Am I ok thinking this? I mean, there's no need for the system to be eutrophic because the nitrogen becomes biomass directly from ammonia...

    Finally, the analogies all made me laugh. Anyone can come up with an analogy to support their side of an argument. That doesn't mean the parallels are anything more than rhetoric.
  4. Mud

    Mud New Member


    Sorry, couldn't resist.
  5. Turbo

    Turbo Does not really look like Johnny Carson Staff Member Site Owner Multiple Units! Customer


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