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Re: A caution (or a question) on water conditioners

A follow-up to my complaint last week about Waters of the World product which 
I used to reduce hardness. Although I changed enough water to leave the fish 
scampering for puddles, I'm back to the same problem, several days later. 
Though I have to admit, the fish were quite happy once the tank was refilled. 
Maybe they were just happy that the river didn't dry up altogether. They were 
all out swimming and looking good. 

That leaves me assuming that is algae outbreak, and that it used a 
phosphate-based buffer to increase the KH. Is this reasonable? Seems like 
there's something else going on I can't figure out. 

There is a brown algae, but not as simple as the diatom outbreak I had in a 
new tank at one time. This is a mix of algaes, all together, with some hair 
stuff stringing them all together. This stuff is going to decimate whatever 
plants are left before it's through. There is obviously a lack of nutrients 
in the water, as I noticed some sword leaves turning pale. When I cleaned the 
tank the other day, it appeared I was losing fine-leafed plants for the most 
part, now the stuff is on everything.

And how can the algae continue to proliferate when I changed nearly the 
entire contents of the tank? I'm assuming if I had high phosphates (and 
belatedly didn't think to check phosphate levels) they would have been 
reduced to nil with that massive water change. And why diatoms? It's not a 
low-light tank. It's coating stems and leaves leaving the plant rotting. I 
also washed all stem plants off. The water left behind had a green, not 
brown, tinge to it. On the plants that remained, I cleaned the leaves before 
removing the water. I even did some gravel vacuuming (unusual for me to do on 
this tank). It looks brown on the leaf in the tank; when I wiped it off, it 
actually had a mix of green & brown and particles.

For the heck of it, I threw on a phosphate remover pad I had from Tropical 
Science. It's supposed to use iron oxide as opposed to aluminum. Question: 
The aluminum phosphate removers will remove silicate after all phosphate has 
been removed (this is how I got rid of my diatoms before). Will the iron 
oxide do this as well? I recall a fellow from Tropical Science claimed when 
there is excess phosphates, it will settle into the substrate and leach into 
the water slowly, causing algae problems.  Or maybe my water supply contains 

I had an odd and random thought of adding NO3. I'm beginning to believe 
anything I add, other than water, is going to make this worse. There is 
little (if any) growth on the plants, in spite of CO2 addition.

I thought I got through the worst stuff. This tank had some unusual plants 
(unusual to find at any rate) and was stabilized. This is having me re-think 
my plans. Rather than upgrade the lighting on this and another tank, I'm 
thinking of tossing them all out. I've just about had it.

Any thoughts, ideas, suggestions or advice? Any offers to buy?


<<Over the last few weeks, I've been adding small amounts of Waters of the 
World, Southeast Asia & India version, to a tank that was heavily planted, 
for purposes of the fish in residence. This formula decreases GH, yet 
increases KH, though I don't know how it works.  I add co2, (29 gal and 80 
watts) and have had really good growth in that tank. I was reducing the GH to 
acceptable levels, similar to that in another tank which has very good growth 
(~5-6) so I would not say soft water was the reason for this problem.

Over the last few weeks, I've noticed increased algae growth. I thought this 
may have been due to removing a large sword plant that could have been using 
a lot of nutrients. Especially over the last week, I've noticed plants 
deteriorating, and seriously stunted growth. There seemed to be dirty algae, 
like sediment collecting on some thread algae, hanging from some leaves. When 
I attempt to pull it off, it comes apart (not thread algae at all, but stuff 
attached by slime). The water even began to look dirty. I started noticing 
not only leaves (those plants with needle-type leafs or fine leafs) floating 
around, but stems starting to look as if they were beginning to rot. Only 
broad leaf plants were left intact, and even eusteralis began to look very 
mangy. To top things off, I didn't notice that the fish looked especially 
vital or happy, so I decided major steps were in order. I replaced probably 
about 90% of the water. I pulled out all the stem plants. As I was rinsing 
them off (tap water only) many of the leafs just fell off. Rotala wallichii 
was hit the hardest, with not a leaf left on any stem.

I don't know how this product works, and I don't know what other ingredients 
are in there, other than that it has a syrupy consistency. There were no 
other changes made in tank maintenance during this time. I did not add an 
excessive amount and the GH was only reduced about 1-2 deg overall.