So, after finding out how to grow the algae, it occurred to me that algae produces a LOT of oxygen. when looking into
a stagnant tank that I had placed some of the floating mat of algae, I saw that it quickly began to pearl. It was pearling
without any CO2, and continued to do so until it floated to the surface. This got me thinking. What if I applied current
to it, and bathed it in 24/7 bright light? It would end up with a LOT of oxygen.
As it turns out, algae is incredibly efficient at producing oxygen. If you stop and think about it, it makes sense that
hair algae would be far more efficient at producing oxygen than plants. Every single cell in a strand of algae will
continuously grow. plants don't. Generally speaking, once a leaf is formed, it no longer grows, and is only there to
support the overall organism. This means that a plant can survive harder times than algae can, since it does not need
a constant supply of nitrogen to ssurvive. It can survive long periods of relatively infertile times because it can store
its resources and continue to grow later on. Algae on the other hand, cannot. The best it can do is form some spores that
are able to rest in a dormant state and bbegin growing when conditions are more favorable. When conditions are good, it
will grow incessantly, since it cannot store much in its cells. any and all nutrients available will be used as fast as
the algae can use it.
Now, on to surface area. A clump of hair algae has a lot of it. We already addressed the way algae grows in a constant
vegetative state when it can. When you think about it, that means that one ounce of hair algae will end up pulling out much
more ammonia and produce much more oxygen than one ounce of plant will. It comes down to how fast the algae
can double its mass.
A plant may produce a few more leaves in a week, but hair algae given everything it needs will completely double or
maybe even triple its mass. and of course, it will continue to double its mass as long as it is not limited by nutrients.
Now, here is the interesting fact: algae can survive with very little in the way of additional nutrients as long as it has
access to light. It's capable of recycling some of the nutrients it has in order to stay alive, just as long as it can carry
out photosynthesis. During dark times, if the water is completely devoid of nutrients, it is unable to do this. Cells will
begin to produce spores, which don't grow. With light, they just continue producing oxygen, slowly accumulating nutrients
until the cell can divide.
Providing the algae with high flow does several things. First, it ensures a constant exchange of dissolved gasses around
the individual cells. The algae becomes more dense because it can. without high flow, it quickly uses up all the available
carbon dioxide, supersaturates the water around its cells with oxygen. It will continue to live with all that oxygen present,
but without new water, it has only the resources in its cells an in the interstitial space between its cells and the cells
of adjacent strands. providing it with high flow ensures that it will have plenty of resources available to continue doing
what it does best: turning carbon dioxide into oxygen and converting available phosphorus and nitrogen into more cells.
In a tank with fish, this means that the water will have the highest possible levels of oxygen, and the lowest possible
levels of ammonia and every nutrient that algae needs. The benefit goes beyond this though. every surface under water
bio-film on it. These bio-films are just a bunch of tiny living things, which sometimes produce a matrix of protein and
sugar, which protects them and produces a better environment for them to live in. With so much surface area, a dense
clump of algae has a LOT of it. There is a HUGE variety of living things that are able to eat these bio-films. Infusoria
living on the surface of decomposing leaves and such is an example. with all the oxygen that algae produces, a dense
clump of algae can sustain a lot of these tiny critters.
All this adds up to a tank that is able to produce the best possible environment for fry to live in. With a huge variety
of living things available, fry are able to have access to an appropriate food animal at all times, regardless of their
size, up until they aare large enough to eat something larger, like grindal worms. The fish is too small to eat newly
hatched brine shrimp? no problem! The algae is absolutely crawling in ciliates that it can eat. When it gets a little bigger,
eating the rotifers that are also present in such large quantities. After its grown up a little bit, it can start
eating the great number of ostracods and copepods that have been growing unrestricted in the algae. later on, if they are
present, dero worms and grammarious will be taken up. at that point you can start feeding them grindal worms.
Actually, at that point you can feed them anything you want. The algae will have reach a point where it is being limited
by nutrients, and anything that isn't eaten by the fish will be quickly converted to algae, just as soon as it starts to break
down and release ammonia. With so much algae ready to suck up the ammonia, you will probably never be able to get a
reading. This makes it very hard to over feed.
Using these methods, I have been able to raise this many bluefin killifish in a five gallon tank, up until they are all at
least an inch long.