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RE: Aquatic Plants Digest V4 #1480

> Date: Tue, 18 Dec 2001 23:42:42 -0600
> From: krombhol at teclink_net (Paul Krombholz)
> Subject: Re: pH Problems?

> >......Desperate to get my tank in order BEFORE my big plant 
> order comes 
> >from AquaBotanic! <grin at Robert>,
> >
> >Gregory  [To see everything Gregory wrote, see Dec. 16 APD]
> >
> I have looked at your pictures, and it is definitely 
> blue-green algae. Even the purple-colored stuff is bluegreen 
> algae, probably a different species. 

Awesome! It's helpful to know what I'm up against! :)

> The rise in pH was very 
> likely to your addition of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate).  
> Personally, I have no use for sodium bicarbonate. If I want 
> to increase the KH of my water, I add a small amount of 
> agricultural lime or ground limestone.  This way I increase 
> the calcium levels, and calcium is a macronutrient.  I used 
> to have calcium deficiency symptoms frequently in my plants 
> when I used the local tapwater, which has no measurable 
> calcium or magnesium but has a GH of 9, entirely due to 
> sodium bicarbonate.  All that bicarbonate makes the water 
> alkaline and therefore makes it difficult to get any calcium 
> dissolved in the water.

That sounds like fine thinking. Are there any "brand names" that come to mind that I might ask for at my gardener shoppe when it comes to agricultural lime, or is there a place on the internet I might look? (I must admit I've been tempted to try the "TropicMarin Bio-Calcium" supplement I use in my reef tank, in my planted tanks, but FEAR keeps me from doing so.. Grin). 

> You have a lot of vallisneria in the background that does not 
> seem to be getting nearly as much light as the foreground, 
> where you do not have that many fast growing plants.  Perhaps 
> if you direct more light onto the val, it could get cranked 
> up and perhaps hold down the BGA somewhat.

It DOES grow VERY fast (along with the duckweed).. Since I pumped up the nutrients the other day and added some plants, I'm seeing some serious plant perling (and the bga too! Lol)... If I keep up the nutrients AND the CO2, I suspect I may be able to beat this thing!
> I have found that livebearers do a good job grazing on soft 
> algae, including BGA.  You might try some guppies, platies, 
> or swordtails.  (Do Discus eat guppies?)

Good idea. Discus don't eat anything they can't catch OR fit in their mouths, so I suspect guppies are safe (discus are SLOOOOW). I'll get a few platys/mollies and see what they can do. :)

> You noted that your fish seemed to be breathing rapidly at a 
> pH of 7.3 or so, and, thus, you were worried about increasing 
> the CO2.  I don't think that the CO2 levels at a pH of 7 or 
> higher could be high enough to stress fish.  I would 
> recommend a little cautious experimenting.  Reduce the CO2 
> flow and see if the respiratory rates lower.  Actually count 
> the number of respirations per minute.  Try increasing the 
> CO2 just a little bit.  Does the respiratory rate increase?  
> I don't want to be responsible for the death of any of your 
> fish, so be cautious in your experimentation.

Well, I pumped up the CO2 pretty HIGH the last few days and the discus have seemed fine really.. I think I was observing them after eating (and yeah, I've been spending WAY too much time at the tank, so they're probably nervous too).. 

After I get back in town (leaving in a few days for 7 days), I'm going to try counting the breathing rate and doing some comparisons. I'd like to get over the nervousness about CO2 because I know that it can really help solve the problem (and thus help make the fish healthier too!). 

Thanks Paul!!


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