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Actinic lights in freshwater plant tanks and algae problems

>Many people (most of us I guess) use certain "aim points" for particular
>nutrients in the water column - we want iron, to be at one level, phosphate
>below another level, etc. Many of these "aim points" come from hydroponic
>studies. Diana reminds her readers that in tanks with enriched substrates
>(her's are soil based), iron should really come from the substrate, not the
>water - so our additions of chleated iron to the water column might be
>counter productive and based upon research which is not really applicable or
>appropriate for an aquarium.
>Comments or thoughts, anyone???

James, I've bee struggling with algae for 25+ years. Here's my take on it:

1) You're gonna get it, no matter what.
2) It's proportional to hardness. I've never seen it in rainwater tanks
3) It will run it's course; this may take a year, but eventially it
will be minimal
4) Don't change the water and you'll get a nasty outbreak of it
5) You need things to eat it. I prefer Endlers livebearers
6) When your the tank is chock full of healthy plants, growing
well, small pockets of algae strugle to survive
7) Rapid sudden increase in lights will cause an algae bloom
8) A little (!) bit is ok. If you can't grow algaw you probably
can't grow plants.

The only algae I'm still having a problem with is the tough filamentous
stuff that seems to attach to thing with a structure that is analagous
to a marine algae stipe. All plants are quarenteened for this stuff
now. My flagfish can't eat it fast enough in noe tank that has
a very nice Bolbitis heudalotii and some weird crypts. I'm going
to try shrimp. If that fails I'll take the water out, let most of it
die back, then pull the plants and put them in a dark place
for a month; mechanically remove all I can then try again.

I think 10000K lights are a bad idea in the fitrst place. Why
would you want that much blue ? You're red deficient and the
plants will be too elongate.

Having said all that there was a time last summer when I
added chelated iron that the tank would go cloudy in the
morning and clear up by diner time every day. Looking
end to end I think it was suspened algae. I switch
from a single small sponge filter (in a 35) to a Fluval
and it's gone away.

Richard J. Sexton                                         richard at aquaria_net
Maitland House, Bannockburn, Ontario, Canada, K0K 1Y0       +1 (613) 473 1719