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RE: Halogen light

>The old plant was under the halogen light (at one end of the aquarium),
>whereas the new plants are under 2 fluorescent strip lights at the other
>end. Could the excess infrared light from the halogen light be affecting
>the plant growth? 

No, I have had this plant and these lights. Grows quite well with them.

If the problem is a nutrient deficiency, wouldn't all
>the other plants be affected, also?

No, some plants will show signs before others. Hygro's are good as an
indicators plant for this reason actually. Fast growers are kind of like the
canary. Yellowish leaves, holes on lower leaves are often signs of low N
levels. Could be iron even. Get a test kit and find out. 
Or add a Jobes palm stick under the roots and wait and see. You could also
add some clay iron rich balls to see for the iron. Ca and S are not so
common deficiencies. A little oyster shell can help the Ca or Sea Chem's
Equilibrium can help also. CaCO3 is another good source. Sulfur is likely
not it. That would be a rare one. Adding the regular amount of PMDD or
TMG/Kent etc trace fertilizers should give enough of the S, Fe, and
depending ...the Ca. N can also be supplied by feeding more food to your
fish or by adding KNO3. Jobes is likely the best quick fix. 
>Question #2: From what little reading I have done about the marine side
>of the hobby, I know that some of them think that it is bad to use
>mechanical filtration constantly in their marine tanks, because it
>removes the beneficial plankton. Are there any opinions on mechanical
>filtration in the freshwater planted aquarium?

You could go either way. No vac-ing and doing water changes from the column
only and letting the detritus build up can help the soil/substrate build up.
This can be somewhat unsightly. Mechanical filtration can be done as much as
you want pretty much with little ill effect also.
It depends on how you like to maintain your tank, but it is not nearly as
debatable as the plankton issue in Saltwater. I have tanks that are crystal
clear that get no filtration at all and don't need any mech filtration. I
also have tanks that get a fair amount but not nearly as much as most
regular fish only tanks. Low to moderate stocking levels always helps.
I have used a diatom/ or pleated cartiage plus a UV for a temporary cleaning
after a big cleaning sometimes.
Plants are the only "filter" needed in most cases. You need only something
to move the water around so a power head is basically all you need. I don't
even add sponge prefiters to them.  With some plants like Uticularia
(bladderworts) you wouldn't want so much filtration as they do feed on
plankton/rotifers etc. but the vast amount of plants don't care too much.
Just minimal amounts of filtration are needed IMO. Let the plants and
bacteria do the work instead.
>Josh Liechty

Tom Barr