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Re: Amano's Algae

On Fri, 19 May 2000, Michael Moncur wrote:

> Maybe I'm cynical, but I see two very obvious answers:
> 1. Ten minutes before the photo was taken, the driftwood was in a different
> tank.
> 2. Amano and his minions painstakingly trimmed every last trace of algae
> from every other object in the tank.
> Given what we know about Amano's tanks, neither answer would surprise me...

Perhaps I'm less of a cynic, but I think it is possible to maintain a
single type of algae in a tank without having the whole tank overrun by
various other types of algae.

It seems that algae are specialists; each type is adapted to grow under a
narrow set of conditions.  Only a rather few algae actually grow well
under the conditions we usually provide in aquariums.  Also, algae eaters
tend to be specialists.  Some will eat green hair algae, others will eat
fur, and still others will eat bba, etc.  It's possible to set up a
combination of tank conditions and algae eaters so that one type of algae
grows dependably but not too uncontrollably, and most or all other algae
remain substantially under control.  Usually what we see is that the one
algae that isn't kept under control by grazing tends to grow too fast and
it quickly becomes a nuisance.  Hair algae is great for that.

I once brought a small bit of beaver-chewed driftwood home from the river
and plopped it into a tank in the hope that I might innoculate the tank
with something interesting.  At first it didn't look like anything
succeeded in adapting to the tank, but after a few weeks I saw a few small
tufts of a bright green, slow-growing fur algae.  Over the period of a
year it grew to form a very nice thick fur coat.  The tank had no problem
algaes; some appeared now and then but it never lasted for more than a few
weeks before something ate it or I got it under control. The green fur
slowly spread out onto nearby rocks, but those could be removed and
cleaned so it really wasn't a problem.

Eventually I needed more space in that tank so I pulled the algae-coated
driftwood out and threw it away.

Roger Miller