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> Date: Fri, 6 Apr 2001 13:12:28 -0600
> From: "Aaron Ivers" <aivers at betamachinery_com>
> Subject: Microscopes and algae id
> I'm wondering how difficult it is to identify various algae using a simple
> microscope (up to 200X). Is it possible for the "scientifically challenged"
> or should I just forget about it?
Well to what purpose do you need or want to ID them? If you need general
ID's you likely can get reasonably close in most cases. It helps a great
deal to have someone show you what to see and look for. There are a number
of links but they often don't have the aquarium types at the microscopic
levels and even then some of these are not so easy to make out one from the
other. You cannot for instance see flagella without considerable difficulty
and not at all with the scope you have. Even a good 10000$ scope is very
But once you ID your algae what then? Is it going to really help in some
way? There are different treatments to each algae plague etc but they all
fall into the broad grouping " Good general overall conditions for your
plants regarding CO2, light, maintenance (trims/water changes), moderate
fish loads, algae eaters, good nutrient levels.
Some are easy to spot and figure out what they are and some are next to
As far as the general folks going into it and using a key to ID it? It's not
something most could or want to do. I'm still a ways off at getting really
good at it. But some are easy and some not so easy. Diatoms are easy to see
the general groupings or Scenedesmus or Zygnema.
I'll have something done by fall in the form of a book/pamphlet. I'll have
micro and macro photo's in it and ways to deal with it.
You may like having the scope though and it is useful. Try it and you may
find some neat stuff. Too they are so small because we'd like to have many
of them in algae tanks if they were nice and big, if nothing else for the
diatoms alone. It would be neat if they were the size of snails.