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Re: Starter culture and algae

    * From: ROlesen104 at aol_com
    * Date: Mon, 31 Dec 2001 07:24:53 EST

Bob Olesen wrote:

...Are you concerned about also inoculating the tank with algae in this fashion?

I don't mean the soft innocuous, green and brown algae that almost always
make an appearance at some point. These usually show up sooner or later
anyway and can be brought under control quickly enough with the usual
strategies. No, I mean those nasty Red Algae from hell that drive many people
out of planted tanks altogether.

I assume therefore you collect this soil well away from bodies of water which
might contain this class of pestilence? Do you think their spores could be
found in common dirt? ........<rest of post deleted>.........

At least one of the bad kinds of hair algae that snails can't eat can come
from soil near a lake or river.  Since I got my plants free of hair algae
in the '60's I got one reinfestation of the type that is long, straight,
green, unbranched hairs, and this came from soil that was on a hillside
about 100 yards from Lake Mendota in Madison, Wisconsin.  The strong north
winds that can occur in that area create waves and spray that could carry
fragments of the algae that far.

I have had three other reinfestations.  One came from a fish that a student
gave me.  Without thinking, I dumped the fish along with the pint of water
it was in into my tank.  The algae, again the long unbranched kind, showed
up quickly and obviously came in the water with the fish.  (The fish, a
Chinese algae eater, grew into a big thug that hogged all the food and
showed no interest in algae)

The other two reinfestations I currently have, and they came from new
plants.  I had treated them, but the algae survived the treatment.  I am
pretty sure this happened because the bleach came from a bottle that has
been kicking around in the biology dept chemical stock room for at least
five years.  I think that bleach can lose its strength slowly, and I have
resolved, from now on, to use newly purchased bleach.  One infestation is
Cladophora, and the other is the long unbranched kind, again.  I am just
now gearing up to set up two tanks to receive the treated plants from the
two infested tanks.

Aside from the soil near Lake Mendota, I have never gotten hair algae from
soil.  When I lived in Milwaukee, I got soil within 20 yards of the
Milwaukee River on 3 or four occasions and never got any hair algae.  I
have been in the Jackson, Mississippi area for the last 24 years and have
not gotten any hair algae from rainwater collected from the roof or from
soils in the area.

Bob, when you refer to the "nasty Red Algae from hell", I assume you mean
what is also called black beard algae.  I have purchased plants now and
again that have been covered with it, but the bleach treatment has always
taken care of it, and I have never had an infestation of it.

Paul Krombholz, in cool central Mississippi, with the word, snow, in our
forcasts for this week.  Best chance on wednesday.