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Re: HELP! Staghorn Algae! Water Softeners, and other nutrient questions

Hi Cheri,

I think you have a similar situation that I had when I converted to high
light. Your nitrates are a little low and chances are your potassium and
phosphates are also on the low side. Like me you don't have a lot of fish in
there and so the waste they produce is not sufficient to feed the fast
growth of the plants. I would think you have two solutions, turn off one of
the 13W bulbs and stick to low light (very simple and easy to take care of
but slow plant growth) or you will probably have to start adding all the
goodies the plants need. If you can find the chemicals locally this is the
cheapest method otherwise a quick way to start is to get Potassium,
phosphorous and nitrogen by Seachem at your lfs and start using the DIY CO2
bottle again. That worked for me. Oh yeah, and I found some root tabs in the
substrate also helped kick things off, even though lately with higher
nutrient levels in the water I have been lazy about adding the tabs and
things are still going well.

Hope that helps, it was difficult at first until you find the right balance
but keep at it and you will be very happy with the results.

Giancarlo Podio

----- Original Message -----

  a.. To: aquatic-plants at actwin_com
  b.. Subject: HELP! Staghorn Algae! Water Softeners, and other nutrient
  c.. From: Cheryl Trine <ctrine at andrews_edu>
  d.. Date: Fri, 25 Apr 2003 00:25:33 -0400


Hi all,

I've been following this list for a couple of months now, and have
really learned a lot just lurking.

I am having trouble with poor growth of some plants and luxurient
growth  of staghorn algae.  Tank parameters:
10 gal. with two 13W screw-in CF lights
Set up in January 2003
Substrate: Fluorite (replaced gravel 2 months ago)
Fertilizer: Seachem Flourish--once a week, amount according to the
directions on the bottle
pH: 8.2
GH: 1 degree
KH: 15 degrees
Ammonia: 0 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: < 5 ppm
Fish: 2 black mollies, 2 panda cories, 4 guppies
Plants: Water wisteria and some other form of Hygrophilia, Rotala, Java
Fern, Vallisneria

The wisteria has grown well and does not have a lot of "aerial" roots;
the Rotala, has for the most part just sat there, there is some new
growth, but the leaves are very small and internodes very short, Java
Fern is producing new plantlets; Vallisneria is just sitting there.

I have quite hard water (18 deg. GH, 15 deg. KH) coming from the city
water supply, with a pH of 8.2 - 8.4.  I'm using a household water
softener with the potassium salt rather than the sodium salt for the ion
exchange. Is this softened water O.K. to use with the plants.  It should
be providing K, but would it provide too much?  Is it likely to cause
some other nutrient-related problem?  Am I creating other problems by
removing the Ca and Mg?  Should I mix city and softened water?  I'd
really like to know what to do to get rid of the staghorn algae and get
better plant growth.

Oh, one more thing--I used a yeast-soda bottle source for CO2 for
awhile, but quit when the staghorn algae started getting out of control
about a month ago.  Should I start it again?  Should I go without CO2 or
fertilizer?  I'm really at a loss, this is so new to me!

I appreciate any advice!