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RE:Bleaching monthly?

Cath wrote regarding the bleaching:
> I am pretty new at all this, so I know I am probably making a mistake
> somewhere, but can't figure out what it is.  I started this planted tank in
> Feb. I recently took out all my plants and gave them the bleach treatment (19
> parts water, one part bleach, a soak for three minutes, then a soak in
> dechlorinated water for longer, then a final rinse).  This was successful,
> though it appears Amazon swords don't like this treatment -- they have
> several leaves that are skeletonizing (new verb for planted tank world). :o)


> Anyway, I was pretty happy with that day's work because it also gave me a
> chance to re-landscape to correct some of my first mistakes in design.  I
> have been working at keeping my CO2 very high with DIY CO2.  Some mornings I
> have had to do water changes because the fish were gasping.  Currently my pH
> is 6.8 and my kH is 6, making for a CO2 level of 28 according to the charts.

DIY presents challenges keeping the amount steady. I set up a system that
varies .1 unit through the whole day last week. It was a gas tank set up:)
If you can....get one. It'll be the best thing overall you can do unless you
like lower lighting ideas.
> Other stats:
> *25-30% weekly water changes
> *quit feeding as often
> *38 gallons, 110 watts CF
> *No SAEs or Amano shrimp available in my area.  I have three CAEs

Order them. they will help you greatly in the algae BBA area (SAE's).

> *No pearling to speak of, things are growing but not like they used to

If you lots of flow sometimes you won't see much. I doubt you have much flow
though. Gasping fish tanks have too little at 28ppm. This depends on your
fish tolerances/load/plant growth rates-types etc but most fish have little
issue with it as long as there's some turnover and good
movement/circulation. We won't throw you in "CO2 jail" if you lose some due
to water movement:)

> *I am supplementing with Kents blue bottle, Flourite substrate, with Flourish
> tabs

Don't need the tabs but they don't hurt too much either. I'd back off the
trace mixes(liquid water column stuff) for awhile(4-7 days) and see what
happens. Your feeding the algae likely. Work on the other (NO3 and CO2).

> *Nitrates test 0, but it is one of those color kits -- the next color would
> be 12, so it   could be in between

Well it needs to higher than 0. Hard to say since we don't know.
Try this though:
Check you tap water's nutrients by asking the water company, PO4, NO3, KH/GH
etc. Do a large water change and assume that it's close to what they say it
is. Add enough KNO3 to raise it up to a decent level(in your case about 1/4
teaspoon should yield about 6ppm I'd guess for your tank). Add a 1/4
teaspoon of K2SO4 or KCL as well. Feed fish well. Wait a week and see what
happens. Keep up on CO2 and water movement.

> *I have also put in a half teaspoon of stump remover a couple of times
> *Leaves on the sag. are rotting off, and I don't see new growth

Could be something else unrelated(CO2 most likely), doesn't show/prove
direct cause.
> Now I can see the algae starting to form again, the black furry stuff on the
> edge of the leaves.  I don't want to have to bleach the plants every two
> months -- it was a lot of work.

You don't:)? Come on it's weal fun:)

>  Even if it did kill the algae, it is
> obviously hard on the plants.  Does anything I've written give you a clue as
> to what I might be overlooking?  I am determined to get to a point where all
> I have to do is scrape a little green spot off,  but I'll be darned if I can
> figure out how to get to that point.

It's CO2 plainly in your case. I was at this point years ago. Drives folks
bonkers. I've been there and was there for about a year or two.  CO2 CO2
CO22. Keep it steady and a good amount in there. Move your water around
some, even the surface a little. Consider a gas tank. It's not that bad and
once you get one you'll be like " Gee, If I had only known it was this easy"
and you almost never have to mess with it. I touch mine once every 2-6
months for maybe a minute tops. Quite a few only get touched when they
bottle changes which are 10-15$ each and occur once a year to once every 5
years. The big part of the plant equation is taken care from then on. Easy
for you and the fish/plants and hard on the algae. Is it worth it?
The gas set ups are not that much money anyway. Reg and valve for 75$ and a
tank for 40-100$ and a reactor some method of adding it to the tank free to
30$ or so. And you can daisy chain off that same system and add another CO2
enriched tank for the cost of a valve and another reactors set up(20-50$).
It gets cheap and easy then. Plants grow and algae doesn't. Many folks that
do have the algae problems have namely no N, P or K or have DIY CO2 with
something not being done right etc with CO2-namely lack of CO2 during their
photoperiod. Excesses are generally caused by lack of plant
growing/assimilating the macro nutrients so they build up instead of going
down. Get a good NO3 kit like the Lamott(45-55$) and a good CO2 set up. Life
will be easier. SeaChem makes a cheaper one that's decent(15$) but I'm still
quite partial to the Lamott. Sorry Greg:)
Tom Barr

> Catherine