[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: plant/algae identification- friend or foe -- or - How do I clean thee, let me count the ways

Daphne Freeman said:

> . . . a friend at the LFS showed me a piece of
> driftwood covered with a
> beautiful plant which looked like a soft, very short,
> very slightly clumping
> moss. . . . It is
> bright green and looks like velvet. Little short strands
> poked out here and
> there but not many and not long. . . .it was
> a bright green, shorter and definitely attached to the
> wood.  
> The only description I recall that sounded anything like
> this was a plant
> Karen Randall had about 2 years ago on some driftwood.  I
> think it was a
> cladophora.

It sounds like what I have had ever since I started my 150
gallon with driftwood.  It can cover the wood with what
some see as a beautiful soft looking carpet of green.  The
stuff is actually very tough but can be scraped off.  

Even when I got the tank going realy well, flourishing
plants and virtually no algae otherwise to speak of, this
green stuff still flourished.

When I scrubbed it off, it always came back and would
spread on the driftwood rather quickly (high light, CO2,
high nuturents) until I added ancistrus to the tank.  The
ancistrus keep the wood scrubbed and the green stuff simply
does not spread now; it can't get a fresh foothold on the
repeatedly-ancistrus-scrubbed wood.  But it remains in a
few spots here and there where I didn't manage to scrape it
off.  I.e., the ancistrus won't touch it but if you clean
the wood, it won't spread. Since my wife and others think
it's so attractive, I leave the few small patches alone
(maintaining the specimen, so to speak).

I never really had a problem with it spreading to other
surfaces, although, I'm sure if one let it go, gave it free
rein, it would eventually cover everything.

The worst problem I had with it, and this was before
putting ancistrus in the tank, was bga growing on it.  Bga
seemed to love to live on this stuff more than anything
else in the tank -- for me, it was two obnoxious neighbors
fighting with each other.  The presence of bga was always
first signaled by the appearance of lots of 'pearling' from
the green stuff -- which was either the bga beginning to
grow and gas or else the bga trapping the O2 from the
algae.  Once the bga became *visible*, wherever it covered
the "green stuff" the green stuff would die underneath the
bga.  When that happened, the bga peeled off the driftwood
jsut like the label off a banana.  But growing bga is not a
method I'd recommend to get rid of the green stuff ;-)

Then I learned that phosphates were a *good* thing and the
bga went away ;-)

Despite the green stuff's soft appearance, it appears as a
stiff wiry branching algae under a cheap microscope and I'm
putting my money on it's being some kind of cladophora.

Heck, it *looks* just like a short "algae ball" that's been
laid out flat and glued to the wood.

Whether this is a friend or foe depends as much on the
gardener as the algae. 

Scott H.

Do you Yahoo!?
Yahoo! SiteBuilder - Free, easy-to-use web site design software