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Re: Algaefix

> Tom Barr wrote:
>> Here we go again.
> Dont jump to conclusions. I wasnt recommending its use. Only indicating my
> surprise that it existed and my curiousity if it really was safe.

*I know* you don't recommend it, we go back a ways on this issue:) Better
that you brought it up, or someone else far less knowing in regards to
algicides would have.
I wanted to take my stand on this one anyway.

> Efficacy
> is a secondary interest (for me).

Myself as well.

> I do agree with you that there ARE other
> methods, but some of the ones you mention are ONLY applicable to a fast
> growing plant tank.

Not true and I have tested for this much of last year. They work well for a
non CO2 tank as well(no traces are added for this though). Or a low light
tank CO2 enriched tank which grows slower (same application except slower
growth due to less light).
Slower growth tanks w/CO2 work very nicely almost like some well run non CO2
tanks. Growth is faster but not break neck speed. It's not the best method
for some higher light plants but it can do very well for more than the non
CO2 method. Some plants do MUCH better and have nicer growth and foliage.

Herbivores can control the slower growth adequately. Pruning, manual removal
and placing the nutrients besides NPK into the substrate deeply takes care
of the rest. This can be/is done on low light tanks without CO2.

> As you know there are other scenarios where people keep
> plants in aquariums.... including situations with a lot of fish, no CO2 and
> few plants. 

True. I use to be one. So what defines a plant tank? One small sword plant
in a 75 gallon tank?? Where do you draw that line? This is one of the first
things I ask when talking about a plant tank. Folks have different notions
of what a plant tank is or is not. Very difficult to say.
I had a large amount of water sprite in my tanks for year and years, I never
considered them "planted". Some might. Some might consider algae in the tank
planted:) Will it kill the algae on my algae?:-)
I tend to show a densely planted tank as this what many folks often want for
an example of a planted tank. To date the nicest tank overall I have seen
was _very sparsely_ planted. A couple had only a few plants. Incredible
One of my own best aquascapes was a 30-40% planted tank.

> Can you believe that is even possible?? :-)

No, they should all become fanatical plant freak zealots. I will not rest
till they are brought into the the weed choked jungle or else have their
toes torn off by carnivorous Aldrovanda rather than convert to fully planted
tanks. Buried alive by Glossostigma seems like a good method as a draconian
method of persuasion. Certainly there are other plant tortures. Invasive
crypts roots grown slowly into the ears of non believers slowly lapping the
cranial fluids to produce it's runners at its host expense is a personal

> Well, I do. In fact, I occassionally have tanks like that.

True. Right before I plant a tank or rework a tank extensively:) But yes, I
know what your saying. I have seen very very tasteful tanks with less than
50% coverage that were very impressive. My first 55 gallon plant tank was in
this range. I did well with it.
> Now, would I use algaefix. No. But the product exists, people are using it
> and the questions  are:  IS IT SAFE FOR ALL FISHES AND PLANTS AT THE

Now THAT'S a decent question to ask.
> I also get very pissed when products are grossly mislabeled.
>> 1)If you have a fish only aquarium _without_ invertebrates this product may
>> work: but...copper sulfate does the same and kills more species of algae,
>> cheap and available. It also kills a number of fish parasites. So why should
>> I buy this (Algaefix) product?
> Just to be devils advocate, all algae are not sensitive to copper. Happens
> that audouinella (BBA) and oedogonium (fur) are; but pithophora (horse
> hair?) is very resistant.

Yes, I noticed it now that you mention it. It liked(s) high water current
right at the surface. I used this algae for my algae scrubber of days past.
It was one of the few that did grow in the scrubber. Most are not  resistant
though. One of the pretty green algae. Not too much of a plant problem

> Also, while I am not sure it IS safe for fishes
> (just because the label is silent on this subject, doesnt mean caution is
> not warranted).

Never had any issue with fish at the recommended dosing using Copper Safe by
Madel Labs. Worked well for algae, parasites etc.
Yes, the fish issue does seem silent oddly. I'd be worried if they did not
say but it would be a very bad thing for them to do that without testing
that one. Many folks might have one plant or none even but most everyone has
fish. I hope this is not the case!
>> 2) Is it for a planted(macrophyte) aquarium? If so, this notion is
>> inherently flawed from the start. It is only a "band aid", does not address
>> the cause. See below.
> I cant yet comment on its toxicity to fishes or macrophytes, but if it is
> safe (and that is a BIG "if"), a band-aid approach does have some potential
> value. Ridding a tank of algae is non-trivial in some tank situations.

So is a blackout. Especially if you only have a few plants and they are only
for scenery. Put in a bucket for a few days or use dip methods. Some folks
may care about them but most just go in and buy more that have these types
of tanks.  
Some folks might want a single nice growing plant. Or two or three. These
folks do not have what I'd call a difficult time pruning either or trying to
remove algae from the leaves of the plants. If you want a plant that does
not grow and has no algae problem?
Get plastic. Some are actually quite nice when a little green spot algae
covers them. 

Perhaps there is a market for folks keeping just a few plants in a tank and
that have algae problems. Adding the plant to pot like your self allows for
the blackout and dip methods to used without much harm to the plant. I used
this many years ago when I saw someone using soil and coconut shells like
that. Did not think to try bleach or dips etc. Figured the blackout would
hurt the plant more or as much as the alga.
>> I gave up on any focus on chemical cures.
> Me too. But that is not the purpose of me initiating this discussion.
>> If you decide that poor
>> plant growth is what your goal is well... then this may be the product for
>> you:-)
> There may be some truth to that sarcasm.

That _was_ the point.
>> Herbivores, namely the S.A.E. (E. siamensis), will take care of both genera
>> very effectively.
> My SAEs dont eat green fur algae. It is possible that a multiprong approach
> is needed... ie. herbivores and good plant growth (with adequate C and
> other nutrients)

Mine did. Took care of it as soon as they where added. Did this 4 times(each
a different tank with different fish), same effect. Certainly could have
been for other reason as you mentioned.

>> I have super planted tanks with zero visible algae presence(except for a
>> Japanese Cladophra ball which I want to keep) and excellent plant growth.
> As I said earlier, this is not the only type of planted aquarium. For your
> tank, I dont recommend algaefix.

While a fully planted tank is not the only type of plant tank, it is a
predominate type here on this list. Most plants sold are not this happy
though, they are sold as secondary additions to a tank in the NA continent
that can be replaced and most often have not enough light and too many
nutrients from lack of water changes.
>> Improper CO2 levels(most often too low) are almost always the root
>> cause for the Audouinella (BBA) in most planted tanks. You cannot remove it
>> by limiting a nutrient(N or P) without stunting and killing your plants.
> I strongly disagree. In a low N,P tank with medium/low light _and_ SAEs,
> you can eliminate visible audouinella.

I disagree. I've worked on many many BBA tanks. I've tried to lower the NO3
to zero(then up to 75ppm), I've tried to lower PO4(mine sat mighty high at
1.2ppm). Steve Dixon also tried all sorts of methods based on nutrition to
kill it(ran the ranges of NO3 and PO4 as well all the way up and all the way
down).  We both failed to get rid of it and addressed this issue carefully
(he has soft water, I have moderately hard, we both used good Lamott or Hach
test kits and pH monitors). He still had BBA till he tried raising of CO2.
He had SAE's removed. So did I. Again (to use your own logic against you:))
not _everyone_ has SAE's or can get them.
But a simple increase from the old recommendation of 15ppm(which a fair
amount of testing error of the user is included here) to a 20-30ppm range
throughout the day has "cured" all the ones I have personally gone in and
fixed and they remain free of BBA today. Many of the German suggestions also
point to virtually no problems with BBA when CO2 is properly used.
Many of my BBA issues centered around lack of CO2 from the DIY yeast. MY
clients had gas. They never had BBA even though I cleaned their tank 4 or 6
times less than mine and spent much more time fussing over the details.
It was poor CO2 in every case I've ever seen and dealt with.

BBA is persistent. Even after you correct the conditions it hangs on in many
instances. So when you do test the CO2 it might seem fine but at some point
it was not and this allowed the BBA to establish and grow as these fluxes in
poor CO2 occurred.
Steve had some on rocks and placed them outside in air for months and placed
them back into his tank and the damn stuff hung on even growing a tad.
It has to be removed in some cases by trimming off the infected part or
scrubbing. I've watched it turn white and drop off a number of times by
increasing CO2. It stops growing when the CO2 is elevated. Whether it's the
CO2 or the DO that is a by product, I am not sure. It's difficult to
separate without removing the plants.

> In such a tank,  the plant tissue
> doesnt have critical concentrations of N and P, and are therfore not
> growing at optimum levels. They may even be a little stunted. But so what!!
>There is nothing wrong with some stunted pplants.
> They can still be healthy
> nice plants that require periodic weeding. Just not every week like some
> tanks REQUIRE.

Some weeds do, some don't. If it bugs you, switch from a sword to a crypt.
Go from hygro to Lobelia etc.

 In fact, I intentionally maintain some tanks with stunted
> plants which otherwise would outgrow my tank.

That's why I limit NO3. Slows them dang big weeds down. I use some slower
growing plants that don't require all that labor.
I like swords but can't keep them since they get too big. I know you are
trying to deal with some of yours that get too big. Stunting a sword is a
good thing!
But I do advocate using NO3 as a limiting factor. PO4 can and is used also.
Seems better for P stellata anyway.

>> Copper sulfate addresses the
>> issues for the fish only aquarium.
> Copper is good, but it does require the removal of sensitive fishes
> (cyprinids, livebearers) at needed Cu levels. This can be a pain. Cichlids
> are not sensitive. Some plants are sensitive to copper. Thats why
> algaecides changes from copper based in the 70's to Simazine based in the
> 80's/90's. The question is why this new chemical.


 I saw a post on the algae list serve which is a purely academic list
pondering this question and quoting your post. I'll see what comes back from
this. Saw one comment that gave a thumbs up on it. We shall see:)

Tom Barr