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Question Has anyone used Green Water Labs' Algae control?

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(@jcurts)
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Has anyone used Green Water Labs' Algae control? It seems kind of expensive to treat my 125 so I don't want to buy it and not have it work. I'm just cheap like that.


   
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(@paul-g)
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Jeff,

I have just ordered a 6-pack of Algae Control and I mean to give it a fair trial. I think one 16 oz bottle will serve as a single dose for the 200, which is probably more like 190 gallons of water. At one dose weekly that is only 6 weeks to get results unless I buy more and keep going. The only way I'd do that would be if I see progress of some kind. The idea of using it regularly in maintenance doses does not appeal to me at the price. It is hoped that measures taken to stem algae-promoting conditions will take the upper hand at suppressing return of algae. It will be good to know that the stuff will be effective any time I need a reset. I will report this trial.

Whatever the plants like, do that.


   
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(@paul-g)
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Day 1:  Monday 11/20/23, 15:00 DST

Sixpack arrived. Test dose is half-bottle, 8 ounces (240 mL) to begin with. Also leaving SeaChem Renewal chem filtration in for this. These are safety measures only. If no sign of adverse effects, tomorrow I will put in the rest of the bottle. If still okay, Wednesday I will remove chem medium altogether. Water changes will go on as normal.

The last month I have severely curtailed the light. The last week, I have done several 'big gulp' water changes in addition to the SWCR. I have removed a good deal of visible algae (scraped glass and pruned infested leaves). I think the change in lighting has been an improvement, but that has stopped all growth in the water lily. 

I am continuing the daily dose of Excel/concentrated barley straw extract algistat cocktail and all other supplement dosing.

So it begins.

 

Whatever the plants like, do that.


   
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(@paul-g)
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Day 2: Tuesday 11/21/23, 08:00 DST

Balance (8 oz) of AC in first bottle added. A transient drop in pH when added does occur. AC is organic (reduced), so it also raises the chemical oxygen demand. Both ORP and DO show a transient drop upon addition of AC. A daily 06:00 COD spike normally occurs upon dosing of other organic additives. In future, AC will be added mid-day so that these parameter changes are kept separate in time. 

The UV sterilizer was turned off yesterday and will remain off for the duration, as it will almost certainly destroy AC.

I have seen no adverse effects in fish so far. Adding 16 oz in one dose weekly will likely not be a problem.

 

Whatever the plants like, do that.


   
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(@paul-g)
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Day 3: Wednesday 11/21/23, 12:00 CST

Filters changed and cleaned, all Renew removed. There is no chem filtration currently in the loop. Full 16 oz bottle of AC added. 

pH dropped from 6.7 to 6.5 in 30 minutes; returned to 6.7 in 2 hours. 

Whatever the plants like, do that.


   
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julianaquatics
(@julianaquatics)
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thanks for putting in the work, I tend to be overly cautious when it comes to claims products like this make. most of the time they dont really scale price wise for big aquariums. How are your plants reacting? Any noticeable change in algae? 

https://linktr.ee/julianaquatics


   
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(@paul-g)
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Errata: 1) last Wednesday was 11/22

           2) all times are CST, central standard

           3) name of SeaChem product is Renew, not Renewal

Not like me to let trivial errors such as this get through. My apologies.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Day 8: Tuesday 11/28/23, 11:45 CST

Water change 10% (approx), after today's daily dosing. SWCR continues on schedule. Following close on a water change and waiting for parameter notches to clear, I added 16 oz AC. ORP immediately dropped 83 mV with just a small transient notch in DO; pH dropped from 6.70 to 6.57. ORP is recovering; pH normalized in just over an hour.

Early days yet and I am not seeing any obvious changes. I expect that if AC has an effect on algae, some kind of change will become evident. There are lots of places around the aquarium where I have spotted patches; these I will watch for any change. I am in the middle of some re-scaping and have replanted all remaining scraps of Hygrophila difformis (Water Wisteria) in five small pots of volcanic soil. For now I have these pots sitting out in front where the hygros are easily observed and are not shaded.

IMG 0891

The bigger crypts are infested and much of this old growth will eventually be pruned out. These also are test subjects. These crypts are holding their own, but they were the most vulnerable plants when lighting was more intense. The new crypt volunteers popping up in the foreground have not totally avoided infestation. I've moderated the brightness considerably. However, crypts seem to me to be natural attractors, and their major handicap is that they are slow growers. Anubias, certainly, and, to a lesser extent, Java Fern also fall into this category.

If anything of this kind, i.e. a specific targeting remedy, had a profound and rapid effect, plainly showing the desirable improvement in conditions claimed for it by the maker, it would be gold, worth every bit of the asking price. This hobby definitely has its share of such representations. I am prepared to carry on this experiment through these six treatments, but some sort of change must manifest in order to justify any price. As is usually the case, problems of this sort trace back to poor maintenance or inappropriate parameter setups and nothing changes until the root issue is fixed. Throwing magic elixirs into the picture does not help, especially if they're expensive. 

I am not prejudicing the experiment. I am defining acceptance criteria. I very much hope AC works, but it passes or fails on its merits alone. Each individual user must decide whether any concoction is a magic elixir that really works. The cost:benefit ratio will play a role in this decision.

The formula for AC is proprietary. It is a natural organic, being a biochemical reduction of some kind, but exactly what it is is a trade secret. While I understand the commercial necessity, makers of "proprietary" stuff and things should be mindful that the more scientifically inclined people - like aquarists - are well aware of the hazard implicit in using unknown products to yield uncertain outcomes. Could we at least be told whether AC is an algicide or an algistat? Is it possible to briefly describe its mode of action without giving the game away? Unsatisfactory answers to these obvious questions simply generate suspicions. 

 

Whatever the plants like, do that.


   
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(@paul-g)
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Green Water Labs describes Algae Control (AC) on their web-site in a plain-language way that makes it pretty clear what this product is (see What makes Algae Control Different?). Short on technical details and long on marketing, it is nevertheless honest about the product's potential and is certainly not, in my opinion, inaccurate or misleading in any way. Their site is interesting and worth the read.

The central claim is that AC prevents algal population growth. The SDS for AC reads "Intended Use: Mitigation of unwanted algae/cyanobacterial growth in aquatic settings." Taken at face value, the implication is fairly clear that AC interferes with reproductivity of algae, which would make it an algistat. Green Water Labs makes no claim, and in fact emphatically denies, that AC is an algicide, and if it contained or possessed algicidal properties there would appear notifications to that effect on the label and in the SDS as required by law. So I do not expect to see wholesale destruction of existing algae except as a result of other measures. But if AC is a good algistat, further growth of algae will be stopped, assuming appropriate environmental conditions prevail. Over time, complete abatement could be achieved (but don't let your guard down). The overall effect of AC is realizable over a time period of constant ambient exposure, and immediate salutary effects would rarely be attained. Consistency and patience are key to success. This, I think, is how we are to understand the use of this product. 

It occurs to me that probably a good thing to do, at least on principle, is a minimum full day of total blackout commencing upon addition of AC. Depriving algae of light energy through a period when AC is at its greatest concentration may well be an "effectiveness multiplier." In any case, 36 hours or so of total darkness does no harm. And as long as we're doing things on principle, suspending the SWCR open drain events, or any water change, through this blackout period would be indicated. I suggest a single water change of 10% or more just prior to addition of AC. Also bear in mind: no UV and no chemical filtration for the entire time AC is meant to be present in the water column.

If dosing AC in accordance with label directions at the MINIMUM rate of 1 oz/10 gal, assuming total water volume approximates 190 gal, then 19 oz weekly is the individual dose. Even one 16 oz bottle is a slight "underdose." At the MAXIMUM rate of 2 oz/10 gal the weekly dose rate of course doubles to 38 oz. Having satisfied myself that there is no real toxicity risk with AC, I would be inclined to go with a 32 oz dose every week, the second 16 oz bottle added after parameter transient notches from the first have cleared (about two hours apart); no need to risk a pH crisis, and running aeration might be in order. Thus, a specific minimum concentration in the water column over this time period should be maintained, and this while the need to export DOM by water changes is demanded by the normal schedule. Hence, one begins with the MAXIMUM so that perhaps something resembling the MINIMUM nominally remains over that week, and the concentration is lowest just prior to the next dose. The period I originally envisioned for this experiment was 5-6 weeks, so to give it that time at the MAXIMUM weekly rate, I would need, bare minimum, another 6-pack of AC. 

So in keeping with this line of thought, I am supplementing yesterday's 16 oz dose with another 16 oz today. I will make each weekly dose 32 oz, two full bottles. As a long-term strategy for the 200 Gallon Jungle this is not economically sustainable, nor was it at even half this dose. But I really want to see AC in action, so I'm seeing this through barring something going sideways forcing a stop.

 

 

 

Whatever the plants like, do that.


   
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(@paul-g)
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Day 14: 12/04/23, 09:00 CST

12% water change. One 16 oz AC added at 08:15. One 16 oz AC added at 09:00. Added 200 mL (full dose) of WasteAway. Full-on continuous aeration. Total blackout begins. 

Whatever the plants like, do that.


   
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(@paul-g)
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Day 15: 12/05/23, 08:30 CST

Return to regular schedules. Light will be kept at minimum brightness. 

There are no abnormalities or adverse effects in evidence.

Whatever the plants like, do that.


   
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(@paul-g)
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Day 21: 12/11/23, 09:25 CST

Added 16 oz AC at 07:22 and the second 16 oz AC at 08:01. Expected COD spike occurred with ORP drop of 103 mV and DO drop of about 2 ppm O2. pH dropped 0.1 for a very short time.

Added 200 mL WasteAway and went to total blackout.

Whatever the plants like, do that.


   
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(@paul-g)
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Day 22: 12/12/23, 08:30 CST

Return to regular schedules. There are no abnormalities or adverse effects in evidence.

 

 

 

Whatever the plants like, do that.


   
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(@paul-g)
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Day 28: Monday 12/18/23

Did a 10% (approx) water change, added the first 16 oz AC at 09:05. Redox dropped 60 mV in 1 hr prior to recovery. No discernible drop of DO. Sharp notch 0.1 pH drop at 09:15.

Start blackout 09:10. SWCR suspended for next 24 hrs. Aeration in automatic mode, 6.5 ppm DO threshold.

Added second 16 oz AC at 11:40. ORP dropped another 15 mV. Sharp notch 0.05 pH drop at 11:45. DO notched down 0.4 ppm at 11:45. All parameters recovered and stable at 12:20.

 

This post was modified 5 months ago by Paul G

Whatever the plants like, do that.


   
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(@paul-g)
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Day 29: Tuesday 12/19/23

There are no abnormalities or adverse effects in evidence.

Whatever the plants like, do that.


   
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(@driving)
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2 questions:

#1.  Where do you get this product?

#2.  pH -- do we need to put in a pH buffer to keep the pH up?


   
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