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Re: Algae Challange

Hi Caleb, 

I was going through what you are going through a year ago, but with little
low tech Eclipse 3 and 6 gal tanks.  Lots of help from the list made a

I also found a book by Diana Walstad which changed my whole approach, called
Ecology of the Planted Aquarium - it advocates a soil substrate, but she is
a chemist and has lots of useful info on why things happen, in a pretty
understandable way, for the most part!  I find that a soil substrate gets
things growing really well, but the last thing you should do is change your
substrate again right now, poor plants!  And what you have should work well
too.  If you do take them out again, leave them submerged in the tank water,
in a well lit spot, so they keep growing a bit.  Try to get as many stem
plants as you can, and also some floating plants - hornwort and pennywort
are two good standbys - they are good at sucking up excess ammonia and
nitrites, although you say you don't have any, so maybe you aren't adding
enough fish food!  

I think you are doing it too tough by having such a high level of light
initially - I would take one of the globes out, and do it that way for a
while, so things happen slower, and you can figure out the right balance of
nutrients etc to get the plants growing well in that scenario, then later go
for the full speed ahead, fast growth high light scenario, if its what you
want to do - lots of extra work!  The only difference is you can grow more
of the red plants, but I find that red cabomba grows well for me, also
sunset hygro, and the bolbitis colours up really well, even in half the
light you have. 

I am using Seachem's Equilibrium to bring up the GH of my very soft water
(it has 0 everything!)  to about 9 degrees, using the Aquarium
Pharmaceutical test kit - for everything else I use the Hagen suitcase of
tests, cheap but ok for my needs.  I also add Seachem's Potassium, and Excel
for the carbon element, it works great on my very low tech and also the two
tanks which have about half the light you have; I'm looking at getting a
Carbo Plus unit down the track a bit for my 80 gal, which has 110 w of
compact fluros, the All Glass commercially available light.  I bring the pH
up using soda bicarbonate,  the tap is about 5.5 pH.

I have a high fish load with minimal algae eaters, 5 otos and lots of snails
in my 80 gal, snails only in my guppy tanks, they eat a bit, but not much.
I feed heavily (lots, 3 times a day), so I supplement heavily with potassium
(hygro is the indicator plant, forget the expensive tests - when the leaves
get small round holes and go whitish, you need more potassium).  The N and P
comes from fish food/poop, the K you have to add, to keep it all in balance.
Then for micros I use the Equilibrium to give me the 9 degrees of GH, and
the other major missing element is carbon, which you have with the Carbo
Plus - I only use between 5 - 10 ppm, the higher levels in my better lit
tanks, and plants grow so well I am constantly pruning in the latter, and
about half as much in the standard tank lights scenarios.   The good soil
substrate helps, but one of my low light tanks has Profile only, it took a
while for some mulm to build up, now the plants are doing ok, but it took
about 3 months to get going.

Hope that helps,

in sunny Vancouver, where the locals think 22 C is a heatwave!