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Re: Bleach and algae

> Subject: Do you submerge plant roots during bleach treatment?


> I have a question about the bleach treatment.  Do you submerge the whole
> plant in the bleach/water mix or just the green part and not the roots.

Just the infected parts.

> I'm afraid the roots will absorb the bleach water and the plant will die.

Bleach is rough on the plants and some much more than others. Bleach is good
for Anubias and other tough plants that get black brush algae(BBA), green
spot etc. If you raise your CO2 levels up in the 25-30ppm range throughout
your photoperiod, BBA will not be a problem though. Dip only infected part.

Algae should not be growing on your roots. Roots should be in the substrate.
Algae need light etc. Many plants will grow new roots anyway. Some plants
that grow on the surface or like Riccia, Java Moss, etc will die if you
bleach them. Some plants like Java fern some Anubias are grown on branches
and have the roots exposed. Trim off any infected part. But you still won't
get all the algae.
It's a pain but I think you'd have to be quite unreasonable in your approach
to really think you'd be able to do this for any length of time before an
alga got into your tank.
Folks have a hard time with duckweed and Riccia. Algae are microscopic.

> On the other hand if I don't bleach the whole thing some nasty algae may
> hitch a ride.

Your not going to be able to prevent algae from getting into your tank
unless you go to great lengths and are always on top of it for the life of
your tank. And even then they will make into your tank one way or another.

It's kind of like us, we are nice and healthy but if we get stressed then we
get sick. Plants have little problems with algae unless they are stressed.
We cannot live in a sterile environment and spores of all sorts are floating
around and algae are no different. You find algae all over and it'll make
into your tank, I guarantee it. No amount of prevention will solve that.
Prevention by liming, bleaching etc is a fruitless endeavor. Focusing on
good plant health with a nice balanced diet of light , CO2 and nutrients,
will yield better results for the plants and algae control.

Any prevention of one type will merely let another type take over if the
conditions are ripe for a bloom. The trick is to not let the conditions get
that way. 
I have heard some folks using the bleaching to get rid of hair algae, namely
Cladophora. I've introduced over 5 species of this algae to my tank
purposely. You will see neither hide nor hair of it though. I did not use
the bleach or any such method. Algae eaters, regular maintenance and good
plant health was the trick. I can add any algae and it will be pushed into
submission. Green spot algae that grows on the glass is the toughest one to
really control but it too can be controlled but it a slower growing non CO2
tank. And perhaps in a CO2 high light tank as well. I have not figured this
last El Dorado of algae control ....yet. But someday I will.

You can use the bleach etc as a quick dip for other things(snail eggs
perhaps, other aquatic pest, attacking the BBA on an Anubias that someone
gave you) and just manually picking it off to lower the amount being added
is a good idea generally. But you will not prevent algae somehow from this.
The plant health is what will prevent the long term algae problems. So worry
about the plant's health and less about the algae getting into your tank.
Happy plants = happy fish too.

Most plant list focus too much on messing with the algae and trying to limit
it by a low nutrient approach rather than a plant health perspective. Algae
can live and grow on infinitesimal amounts of nutrients far beyond what we
can possibly test for with our best hobby levels kits. You might slow it but
you hurt the plant worse. Plants cannot live well on these very low levels
like algae. 

Perhaps that might give you some ideas to focus on rather than spending your
energy on bleaching/dipping etc. I promise you'll have algae no matter what
you do there. Focusing on plant health can suppress algae to were it is not
an issue. You won't ever get rid of it, it will always be there. Even the
most pristine nicest tanks have it, just waiting for the conditions to get
messed up.
Tom Barr