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Old 07-14-2011, 06:27 PM   #1
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Theoretical Question: Nutrients in the Reef

If you have a reef tank with micro-algae growing on the glass, then you buy a tang to eat the micro-algae on the glass, have you diminished water quality since the tang is now eating the algae and pooping it out?

Is the micro-algae holding nutrients that would otherwise be in your water and effecting your corals?

Not sure if I am explaining this right, but I was justing thinking about hypotheticals today and could not wrap my head around which is harder on corals: micro-algae or fish poo.

Considering nutrient export.
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Old 07-14-2011, 06:44 PM   #2
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The micro algea is consuming nitrates and phosphates. The problem is that it will take over the tank and looks quite unslightly. I have some micro algea growing in places that cant be seen like the overflow. The fish waste will with proper flow and circulation will dissolve in the the water column as dissolved organics. They will be taken up with a protien skimmers or feed nitrifying bacteria that`s on the surfaces in your tank. The proper way is to eliminate the excessive nutrients in the tank (skimmer, less feedings and lots of nitrifying bacteria) and that will eliminate the micro algea. BTW the tang is a herbivore and does need plenty of greens so dont stop that.
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Old 07-14-2011, 06:53 PM   #3
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I have a algae turf scrubber I built many years ago that use the algae to strip the water of nutrients. Flush the algae when it builds up, or refeed it, at which time it cycles again. In my opinion, one of the most natural ways to process the water. Many YouTube videos showing how to build one in your sump.
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Old 07-14-2011, 11:37 PM   #4
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I don't have a tank large enough for a tang. Appreciate the feedback, but I was just thinking, let's say I have a good growth of algae throughout a reef tank and toss a Kole Tang in. I thought, wouldn't the tang go on a constant feeding frenzy working the algae as if being overfed......and in turn lower water quality---I'm hard headed on this I guess.

I don't think algae itself gives off anything to effect water quality just by being, but once it's consumed and digested by a fish on a constant basis, I would think that that would have an effect on water quality. Keeping all other factors and variables the same in the tank.

Like let's say you have 5 3inch fish and feed a set amount of food every day. If you add another 3inch fish, keeping everything the same including the amount of food fed, I would think that you would be no more taxing the system's ability to breakdown ammonia than that of 5 fish.
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Old 07-15-2011, 11:10 AM   #5
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I see were your coming from I'll try to ans. Once it balances out every thing will cycle recycle the fish eat the algae the poo feeds the algae which feeds the fish which feeds the algae I think once every thing reaches it's balance point it remains stable untill something is added Then the system need to reset the balance
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Old 07-16-2011, 02:34 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Crabs
If you have a reef tank with micro-algae growing on the glass, then you buy a tang to eat the micro-algae on the glass, have you diminished water quality since the tang is now eating the algae and pooping it out?

Is the micro-algae holding nutrients that would otherwise be in your water and effecting your corals?

Not sure if I am explaining this right, but I was justing thinking about hypotheticals today and could not wrap my head around which is harder on corals: micro-algae or fish poo.

Considering nutrient export.
You are dead on. That's why people with hair algae can't beat it with critters. The hair algae consumes the phosphate and nitrate and locks it up until its removed or eaten. These nutrients that algae consumes are always put into the tank as food for tank inhabitants. To combat that problem reefers usually do frequent water changes (not very effective in my opinion as I currently now only change 10% every two months), create a refugium with mud or sand and micro and Marco algae to compete for nutrients (very effective), or other mechanical means of removing (phosban reactor, bio plastics skimming ect.) phosphate and nitrate. Or sometimes all of them. I personally like a huge fuge with miracle mud and macro algae, but that's just me.
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