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swords too tall, CO2 too low

Hey, everybody!  I'm a long-time lurker, although I did post a few times
with questions very early in my experience.  I'm a year older and wiser now,
but somehow I still have questions, and I can't help feeling that I should
know the answers already.

Well, anyway - I have a 40long with S.A. flora and fauna.  I have several
kinds of sword plants, including a large Rubin.  I have Jungle Val and Red
Ludwigia (?), all doing well.  My chain swords are not doing so well because
they are too shaded these days - that's a reason for one of my questions
today.  The tank has been set up since Feb. 5th, 2002 with a DIY trickle
filter, laterite+flourite substrate, pressurized CO2, PC fluorescents (48"
2x65W Custom Sealife BriteLite), and I use PMDD (try to).  I've almost
always had a problem with green hair algae, but during my newest attempt at
CO2, that seems to be ameliorated somewhat.  My fauna consists of:
(to the tune of the twelve days of Christmas)
5 Rummy Nose,
4 cory cats,
3 Bolivian Rams,
2 Cardinal Tetras,
and an ot-to-ciiiiin-clus!

OK, dumb question number 1:
How does one trim a sword plant?  Mine have never "spawned" child plants,
but instead grow taller than I can accommodate.  I have just been cutting
off the tallest leaves near their base, but that makes for a scraggly
looking base, although it doesn't affect the growth overall.

Dumb question number 2:
I can't seem to KEEP CO2 in the tank.  Taking a hint from Mr. Barr, I
relocated the spray bar to the bottom back of the tank.  However, I still
can't get high enough CO2 concentrations in the tank.  Clearly, it's the DIY
trickle filter dissipating it all.  My plants pearl lightly, but my pH never
drops below 7.5 (kH is 4).  If I crank up the input, I can accomplish this,
but then I use up a 10lb tank in about three weeks that way.  To make it
last longer, I needle it down to around 2-3 bps, which is where I'm at now,
but, like I said, I don't consider that an optimal pH.  Is there anything I
can do to eliminate the excessive loss of CO2 that I figure is happening at
the trickle tower?

Finally, this list is awesome.  Do you know what the APD has in common with
the books of J.D. Salinger?  It's filled with smart people that make feel
stooopid by their very presence, a feeling I neither expect nor am
comfortable with.  Ah, well, I'll just have to live with it, eh?  I hate to
admit it but before I joined I would have never thought that an aquatic
plants discussion board would have been the place to find intellectuals, but
it just goes to show.  I'm continually amazed by the BREADTH as well as the
depth of knowledge from people like Tom Barr, Bill Wichers, George Booth,
Scott Hieber (who nearly always makes me chuckle, also) and many others.
Thanks for sharing.

Lew Newcomb,
SE Lower Michigan

p.s. ...and who came up with this   <"///><   ?  It's hilarious!