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Problem with Algae


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#1 Loakesy

 
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Posted 17 August 2008 - 15:56 PM

I just got back from my hols, and found my Aldrovanda tank full of Algae. I've changed the water, cleaned out the tank and managed to painstakingly tease most - but certainly not all - of the Alga away, but how do I stop it from returning with a vengence?

#2 Loakesy

 
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Posted 23 August 2008 - 15:48 PM

Here's a photo of the plant/s
Posted Image

I think I've solved the algae problem. The tank I had the plant in smashed in my hands while I was cleaning it out. I now have a bucket of Aldrovanda sitting in the garden!

#3 JasonG

 
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Posted 23 August 2008 - 18:31 PM

I might be having an algae problem, im not sure lol. Lots of my nepenthes traps are filling with what looks like algae, I have noticed its the ones that get the most food that have developed it, is it to much bacteria. Also I have an algae pool on the opposite side of the garden which could have something to do with it im really not sure.

#4 rsivertsen

 
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Posted 23 August 2008 - 21:09 PM

They look pretty good to me! :sad: just some more live roots of some monocot companion plants, that's all! - Rich

#5 Martin Hingst

 
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Posted 23 August 2008 - 22:51 PM

I think I've solved the algae problem. The tank I had the plant in smashed in my hands while I was cleaning it out.


Wow, that is the most unusual way I have ever heard to get rid of algae ...

but your plants look really good, it seemed as if the algae did not harm them.

Good luck for your next one -

Martin

#6 LJ

 
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Posted 24 August 2008 - 10:39 AM

Sorry to hear about the tank Andy, your Aldrovanda still look happy though.

Nice to see a pic of them, we dont get that many Aldrovanda pics so its definitely good to see :sad:

Heather

#7 Alexander Nijman

 
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Posted 04 September 2008 - 01:08 AM

They look fine. The trick is to get the right balance. I grow Polish Aldrovanda with other companion plants and also some watersnails to eat the algae. And I use 100 % rainwater. The less nutriants the less algae. To remove to much nutriens you could use waterhyacint (Eichornia)

Alexander

#8 Loakesy

 
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Posted 04 September 2008 - 12:43 PM

Do the watersnails not eat the Aldrovanda? And do watersnails eat filamentous algae? That's waht I've had most trouble with.

Actually, is seems to be OK at the moment. I have the bucket partially covered in the garden, and I don't seem to have had too much of a recurrence of the algae!!

#9 Loakesy

 
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Posted 27 September 2008 - 19:40 PM

I'm now down to a couple of dozen small heads of about 10-15mm max. And a lot of dead plants choked with algae!! :roll:

#10 Vic2

 
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Posted 04 August 2009 - 21:48 PM

I'm now down to a couple of dozen small heads of about 10-15mm max. And a lot of dead plants choked with algae!! :tu:


Hi Loakesy,

I've had success combining Slack's advice with another approach:

Cut down the light:
No direct sunlight at all. Normal, indirect room light is sufficient for Aldrovanda, and really slows down the algae.

Filter your water to remove algae and spores, or use RO water:
I use kitchen paper and an old kitchen funnel, but someone suggested a winemaker's filter normally used to extract yeast, which sounds ideal.

Keep the tank covered with a clear lid:
This keeps out algal spores that inevitably drift around in the air.

Clean your plants before introduction to the tank with a high concentration of Daphnia:
They like algae and don't damage the plants.
Clean the strands as best you can, then put them in a small tank with filtered water and a lot of Daphnia.
Leave for 48 hours. The Daphnia have nothing to eat except the remaining algae on the strands, and can get into all the tiny places which we can't. The Aldrovandra also gets a good meal! :smile:

Keep Daphnia in your tank:
To clean up any algae that gets in. Slack says wait 2 weeks after setting up the tank, to allow the microflora and -fauna to develop, before putting Daphnia in.
For some reason, Daphnia don't seem to like my Aldrovanda tanks, and I don't think it's just because they get eaten! ;) I find corpses in the corners of the tanks. I have to keep their numbers topped up. It could be the acid, peaty conditions that don't agree with the animals, or the lack of algal food, of course! :D

I started doing this in March, and my tanks have had little algae all spring and summer: It never seems to get out of hand. I hope it works for you! :wink:

V2

P.S.
Other people have noted that the acid conditions required by Aldrovanda won't suit snails, as their shells are made of calcium carbonate and will slowly dissolve! I tried Planorbis (ramshorn) snails which are specialist alga eaters, and they hated it; they kept trying to leave the water, and eventually died out.

Edited by Vic2, 04 August 2009 - 21:58 PM.


#11 Loakesy

 
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Posted 05 August 2009 - 10:56 AM

Thanks Vic! Unfortunately my plants are long gone now. But next time I'll have a better idea of how to keep them!

#12 rsivertsen

 
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Posted 05 August 2009 - 15:03 PM

Again, (I hate to sound like a broken record, but), these plants, especially the green hardy forms (Japanese and Polish forms) are next to impossible to keep in artificial containers, long term; best I've done is to keep them for about 8 months, but they really never seemed to flourish and thrive as they do when they're out in some very shallow natural pond, commingled in with the marginal plants, specifically, in close proximity to large monocots, whose roots quickly absorb and assimilate excess nitrogenous matter, and release CO2; also the entire zooplankton community gets involved, not just Daphna, but copepods, rotofers, small snails and other crustaceans, even small worms, mosquito larvae etc. The small snails will actually pull out the spent carcasses from the older traps before they get loaded with filamentous algae. They and copepods actually groom the strands of any algae that may attempt to attack the strands. They really need to feed, and will quickly go into decline if they don't get enough food. The presence of clay is also an important factor as it releases trace nutrients into the water. They seem to do best for me in water that is neutral (pH=7.0), and in very shallow conditions, less than 6 inches deep, and where I churn up the silt and render the water to an opaque and disgusting thin slurry of clay and detritus. After a week, the Aldrovanda seems to make a quantum leap in growth. I'm convinced that they are part of several simultaneous symbiotic (several mutualim and predator-prey) relationships, and if ANY those factors are lost, the plant is doomed. For a seemingly simple looking rootless plant it really has a very complex life. Attempting to emulate all these amazing features into a confined artificial container is just an exercise in futility. Notice the conspicuous lack of any algae. In fact, algae goes into decline in the presence of a healthy population of Alrovanda! The trails I made in this pond are only ankle deep, and loaded with clay. There are deeper areas of this pond, but you won't find any Aldrovanda in those areas, maybe some Utrics, but not Aldovanda. Those strands that get pulled loose, and drift into the deeper areas (knee deep or more), usually get windswept into another marginal plant bed, or some hummocks, otherwise, they're doomed, and will go into decline and die within a few weeks. - Rich

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Edited by rsivertsen, 05 August 2009 - 15:31 PM.


#13 Vic2

 
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Posted 06 August 2009 - 02:22 AM

Again, (I hate to sound like a broken record, but), these plants, especially the green hardy forms (Japanese and Polish forms) are next to impossible to keep in artificial containers, long term; best I've done is to keep them for about 8 months ... Attempting to emulate all these amazing features into a confined artificial container is just an exercise in futility.


I can only relate my experiences:

The Daphnia culture I buy commercially has a small percentage of rotifers, Paramecium spp, etc. anyway. I'm now trying to breed my own Daphnia, in my Azolla tank (more on that later).

One of my Aldrovanda cultures is Swiss - coming from a colony in an artificial container established under greenhouse shelving for several years, I understand - and the other is semi-tropical, possibly Japanese, both green forms. My Swiss culture has been going quite happily (15cm strands) for over a year, admittedly with serious algae problems till I listened to Slack and other growers and developed the scheme given above; the sub-tropical culture has been going about 7 months, with algae under control and 20cm Aldrovandra strands. The latter seem to grow while I watch 'em... ;)

I'm sure they'd love a pond, and maybe they'll stop growing and die out in vitro, but so far it doesn't look like it! :)

If anyone can improve the in vitro scheme I've worked out so far, I'm all ears... :shock:

My next trial will be with Slack's suggestion of floating fern (Azolla caroliniana) as a companion plant. The Daphnia in my pure Azolla culture seem rather happier than in my Aldrovanda tanks, and I'm hoping there will be a knock-on effect.

Anyone got any Typha minima that I can have, for future tinkering?
I'll report back with the results, of course ;)

Regards,

V2

#14 rsivertsen

 
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Posted 06 August 2009 - 13:43 PM

I wish you all the best of luck in your efforts Vic; it's very labor intensive and expensive to rig up CO2 generators and pumps, and sterilizing the water with UV filters which keeps the water clear, but also kills the zooplankton critters that the Aldrovanda need for food. In my pond, they grow at an incredible rate of 1 to 2 new whorls/day, and double their numbers about every 5 to 7 days. At this rate of exponential growth, they proliferate and spread throughout the pond with astonishing speed. I can't imagine a container large enough to keep a happy and flourishing population of Aldrovanda. I've tried barley straw (www.pristineponds.com), Carex leaf litter (as Lubomir Adamec recommends), and other natural remedies to try to keep the algae blooms under control, but eventually the algae takes over. Floating plants such as Azola and water hyacinth will remove some of the excess nitrogenous matter and release CO2, but they also block out sunlight from the Aldrovanda as they spread out and take over the surface. In fish tanks, side lights can be set up, or placed where some sunlight can get in sideways. The best companion plants are the tall grasses that can be obtained from home and garden centers such as semi-aquatic ornamental grasses; and placed with their roots just a few inches below the Aldrovanda, or better yet, commingled with the strands.

I've observed them do some amazing things in this pond. They can even withstand a dry spell and can survive being out of water for weeks at a time. They can even grow up right out of water, onto a hummock, or muddy embankment, "crawl" across the damp ground and find themselves on the other side! The tragedy is that they have an incredible winter fatality rate of about 98% or more. Even in protected, and optimal conditions, 50% winter losses is actually within normal loss rates according to Lubomir Adamec. My pond gets hammered with migrating ducks and Canadian geese who have nothing better to do all day long but to gobble up all the dormant turions they can find which are rich in starches in the beginning of the winter, and rich in sugars in the early spring when they re-emerge. Almost every year since they've naturalized in this pond, I've written them off for dead and gone, but a few manage to find sanctuary in dense Juncus and Carex hummocks safe from the ravenous feedings of migratory birds, turtles and several other critters, and re-establish a population from less than 50 plants some years. - Rich

Edited by rsivertsen, 06 August 2009 - 13:58 PM.


#15 Vic2

 
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Posted 06 August 2009 - 22:49 PM

I wish you all the best of luck in your efforts Vic; it's very labor intensive and expensive to rig up CO2 generators and pumps, and sterilizing the water with UV filters which keeps the water clear, but also kills the zooplankton critters that the Aldrovanda need for food. In my pond, they grow at an incredible rate of 1 to 2 new whorls/day, and double their numbers about every 5 to 7 days. I can't imagine a container large enough to keep a happy and flourishing population of Aldrovanda. I've tried barley straw (www.pristineponds.com), Carex leaf litter (as Lubomir Adamec recommends), and other natural remedies to try to keep the algae blooms under control, but eventually the algae takes over. Floating plants such as Azola and water hyacinth will remove some of the excess nitrogenous matter and release CO2, but they also block out sunlight from the Aldrovanda as they spread out and take over the surface. In fish tanks, side lights can be set up, or placed where some sunlight can get in sideways. The best companion plants are the tall grasses that can be obtained from home and garden centers such as semi-aquatic ornamental grasses; and placed with their roots just a few inches below the Aldrovanda, or better yet, commingled with the strands.
- Rich


Thanks for the advice, Rich.
I'm envious of your pond, and even the migratory ducks!
The best wild bird I have seen at close quarters is the European jay Garrulus glandarius, which I've held during measurements for conservation studies. (The beak and scaly clawed feet are fearsome and have caused nasty injuries - you can clearly see why birds are descended from carnivorous theropod dinosaurs - but this bird is highly intelligent and lies quietly in your hand if you talk to it nicely) :)
Doubt it'll work on hungry ducks, though ;)

I've tried Norfolk reed (Phragmites australis) as a companion plant, but I can't clean the roots enough to prevent it introducing algae into the setup. Where I've managed to keep the algae at bay for a while, the Aldrovanda shows no obvious benefit from the Phragmites' presence. In fact, the former seems to grow more slowly. I suspect that the Phragmites, whose shoots grow vigorously, is extracting too much of something necessary for Aldrovanda growth from the water. But the damn' algae is unaffected. :-\

I find it hard to believe that Aldrovanda obtains all of its nutrients from captured prey; if it did, it wouldn't need to be green and photosynthetic. And the Czechs say that HCO3- (bicarbonate ion) in the water is necessary for good Aldrovanda growth. Therefore, Aldrovanda must obtain some nutrients from its water. Algae will grow in pure RO water kept in the sun, so algal control by reduction of aqueous nitrogenous and other nutrients with companion planting, IMHO simply doesn't hold water. (Please excuse the pun, I couldn't resist) ;) Companion plants may inhibit algal growth and/or support Aldrovanda in other ways, of course; as you say, introduction of HCO3- into the water may well be one of them.

I've never used a pump or a CO2 generator, but the plants grow well nevertheless. Btw, I rechecked my Swiss culture, and I've told you a fib - the strands are 20+cm long - sorry!

I agree with you that isolating one organism from an ecosystem and expecting it to flourish is unlikely to work; it's working out which of the interdependencies are most important for Aldrovanda growth that I'm interested in. E.g. orchid seeds are now routinely germinated and grown in tissue culture, as the critical requirement for the presence of certain mycorrhizal fungi has been worked out.

Incidentally, Slack advocates the use of Azolla in Aldrovanda tanks specifically to reduce the incident light and so control the algae! :) Personally, I'm hoping it will help the Daphnia too.

Anyway Rich, I'll happily swap some of your hardy garden Aldrovanda for some of my in vitro plants, if the paperwork and permits are feasible! PM me if you're interested.

Regards,

V2

Edited by Vic2, 06 August 2009 - 22:52 PM.


#16 rsivertsen

 
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Posted 06 August 2009 - 23:57 PM

Sure Vic, I'll send you a PM, and will try to research the paperwork for an exchange.

I never said nor implied that they get all their nutrients from their food, but since they are rootless, they have to absorb it in somewhere else. I suspect that by churning up the silt and detritus as I do when I walk around in there, it covers the entire strand completely; some of these mineral nutrients wind up inside their traps along with some small pond life, and get assimilated with the digestion process inside their traps. The areas where they grow the densest, are teaming with pond life, thousands of little critters swimming, crawling, and buzzing around per cubic inch. The carbonates result when the CO2 (released by respiration of those large monocot roots), react with water and these minerals, ie. CO2 + H2O => H2CO3 (carbolic acid), with one or both of the hydrogen units getting released depending upon the valence of the mineral in the clay/silt to which it has bonded.

Funny thing is that algae seems to go into decline in my pond when the Aldrovanda are growing well. I really haven't figured that one out yet, but it's probably due to the host of zooplankton creatures it seems to attract that feed on it before it overwhelms everything else. I wouldn't bother too much with washing out any algae from the roots of Phragmites, or anything else. Once the Aldrovanda kicks in gear, it may just disappear.

It's amazing to see this pond become so loaded with Aldrovanda by the end of the year, millions of them, and then to see less than 50 plants survive in May of the following season. I've even seen robins and blue jays grab Aldrovanda strands right out of the pond, presumably for nesting material. If they experience about 2 weeks of 90F temps before summer solstice (June 21), they will flower profusely mid-July for a few weeks.

The rate of new bud formation is directly linked to how much prey it has captured and eaten. Those strands that drift out in deeper water where the population density of the zooplankton is much lower than in the shallow areas have far fewer new branches and buds; some grow nearly 20 cm without a single new bud, while the ones in the shallows have multiple branches every few inches, (about 4 to 5 whorls) 2 and 3 new buds sometimes.

Keep me posted on your results. - Rich

#17 Alex Kawazaki

 
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Posted 20 March 2010 - 18:16 PM

For the photo, can not be absolutely sure (have a picture close-up of the traps affected?), but the algae plants Loakesy seem cyanobacteria, which can be treated with antibiotics.

Erythromycin (please use the powder in capsules or tablets ground. Do not use syrups, chewable tablets or solutions!) at a dosage of 250mg for every 100 gallons of tank water, reapplying it every day dose for 3 to 5 days.
After treatment change 50% water.
The cyanobacteria should disappear within 1 or 2 weeks.

The cyanobacteria have a somewhat gelatinous appearance and a strong smell of mold.