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hydra and other bits

Does anyone have any plant and fry friendly ways to kill hydra? Also, a bit 
o/t but related...I have been having some problems raising fry of 
Microgeophagus altispinosa in a planted 10. I get them to about 2 weeks of 
free swimming or 
so and they start to diminish. I have been removing the parents after the fry 

are free swimming because they tend to look like lunch and then you get 1 
upset fish and 1 sulking fish (yet very full fish.) The tank is filter by a 
aquaclear mini with a sponge on the intake that barely trickles water out. I 
a gallon or two of water every day with dechlored tap wich is about 15ppm 
nitrate. I've heard these fry are very nitrate sensitive, could the 15 ppm be 

even too much? Should I just set up a few bare tanks for breeding and skip 
idea of the planted grow out tank? Does anyone use bare bottom tanks with 
floating plants? What are the pro's and cons of different planted set ups for 

rearing fish?

Thanks for any ideas, this is a great list and I really appreciate all the 
help that is available here.