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Re: Light etc vacations

> Date: Thu, 26 Apr 2001 22:26:59 -0400
> From: A Ling <aling at capu_net>
> Subject: High light vs vacation? (was Re:Augh)
> For Tom & those with lots of light, for how long can you leave your tanks
> unattended, that is, lights on timers, CO2 left running, but no PMDD, no
> additional fish food, no water changes, before your plants think of you as
> "lazy"?  Do you reduce your light intensity while away?  Pay someone else
> to do maintenance?  I had the idea from earlier discussions that most
> automatic feeders/dosers aren't very reliable despite being expensive.
> Alex
> Rockville, Md

We can only go to work and back. No overtime. "Sorry boss can't work more, I
have a high light plant tank at home." Some bonsai folks who specialize in
very small bonsai trees actually do this:)

Dosers can be expensive a bit work quite well. A simple IV style drip will
work also. Basic fish feeder will as well. I personally don't use either of
them. I just load up on things and leave. 10 days seems okay for most tanks.
Bigger tanks will fair better it seems.
A little N limited when you come home but a nice water change and additions
of NPK and the traces takes care of it relatively fast. Things might look
so-so for a week or so.
Using a flourite or a rich substrate will help this. The non CO2 tanks will
fair the best if you like to neglect things. You can go a several months if
food and top off water is provided. You could lower the lighting intensity
if you wish. I don't. I don't use PMDD. I use K2SO4(K+), KH2PO4(PO4),
KNO3(NO3) and TMG(traces) and flourite substrates. My tap water has very
high Ca and Mg and there's lots of S from the sulfate(SO4) from the tap and
the K2SO4 but I could use KCl equally well if not better perhaps.

Often times if your tank is doing okay you can leave for a spell and things
improve. You had a long enough widow of time where the plants were not
suffering but the algae had nothing to live on and you come back to a clean
nice tank. But if you had kept going the plants would have suffered at some
point not long after. Folks come back and do their water changes and
additions and it appears that low nutrients helped their tank. It did for
awhile and if things where growing well prior. The leaning process just gave
enough time to clear off the undesirables(algae, hydra etc) and made the
algae crew actually work for a living, and punish the algae. Plants suffer a
little but you just see a weeks worth of growth and instantly think the
plants did great since most of us are use to seeing daily instead of weekly
or longer growth. If you push the time longer or shorter often this will not
be the case. 

Most of us are happy with no dead plants or fish and no algae bloom when we
get back. Getting the tanks back into shape is a little work but not too
bad. Life is more than taking care of plant tanks:)
Tom Barr