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Re: algae on the tops of plants

> My situation:  40gal planted tank (S. American plant species) set up since
> Feb. 5th, DIY trickle filter, laterite+flourite substrate, DIY CO2, PC
> fluorescents (48" 2x65W Custom Sealife BriteLite) 150w WeissLite, using
> PMDD.  Temporarily, I have 8 black mollies (wondering why - read on).  My
> tap water is HARD.

Sell the 150w light and get a gas CO2 system. They will cost more than the
PC's in electric cost in a year. That's the idea behind the PC and energy
saving bulbs. They cost a bit more but after a year or two, they save a lot
of $. Buy some more fish, algae eaters also.

> My issue: Persistent green hair or beard algae.  Not much on the glass, but
> growing as hair on the tops of the plants.  I have been attempting to lower
> the phosphates with Boyd's Chemimat and now Seachem PhosGuard,

Don't do this. It is not the source of your problem nor will it cure much
with your set up.

> but not much
> luck yet.  Also, my pH has risen to 8.2!  Now why so high?

Not enough CO2 which is also why you have algae(the main reason anyway).
Plants use it and that drives the pH up. DO NOT ADD ANYTHING OTHER THAN CO2
to lower your pH. Read that last line again.

  Is it because my
> particularly high evaporation rate is forcing me to top-off with tap water,
> concentrating the hardness?

Well if you do regular water changes that removes build up.

  Or does this have something to do with my
> attempts at removing the phosphate?   I remember from my youth seeing a pH
> lowering compound made from sodium biphosphate, and I think Discus Buffer is
> phosphate based, so does removing phosphate drive pH up?  Is Seachem's
> Neutral Regulator phosphate based?

I believe it is.

> Also, I have a friend with no algae
> problem who swears by Poly Bio Marine's Poly Filter, but while I believe
> Poly Filter may help with my phosphate problem, I'm afraid that it will
> remove my PMDD.  The package says remove before adding trace elements.  Any
> experience there?

Sure, don't use it.

>  Ammonia is at zero, and although I don't know the nitrate
> level, the tank is relatively new and I feed VERY sparingly (hungry mollies
> eat more algae). 

Add KNO3 to get 5-10ppm of NO3.

 Should I cave in and splurge for an RO unit? (especially
> since I want S. Americans).  Will this help my algae problem, even
> secondarily?

No and no. Get a CO2 system before you buy an RO(certainly not needed for
plants, unless you have high copper or something *very unusual). RO water
taste good though.
> Thanks for sharing your experience, people.  As I gain more practical
> experience, I hope to give back where I can.
> Lew Newcomb

Address the CO2. Address the CO2.  Address the CO2. Buy a pH test kit and a
KH kit. Test them and compare with the chart on the Krib or sfbaaps.com
under pH/KH/CO2 table. Shoot for 20-30ppm CO2.
Since you have the chemicals for PMDD, you have K2SO4, KNO3 and the trace
mix. You likely need more NO3 and K and traces. These will not be used
unless you get enough CO2 which you do not have right now. Address the CO2
before you proceed any further. Unless you like algae.
Tom Barr