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plant/algae identification- friend or foe

Daphne Freeman wrote:

>> Yesterday, 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.  I assumed it was an algae but have never seen it before.  It is
bright green and looks like velvet. Little short strands poked out here and
there but not many and not long.  It didn't look like the cladophora I know
and hate (longer wiry, branching thin dark filaments) but was closer to the
appearance of the cladophora balls.  It was not a dark green though, it was
a bright green, shorter and definitely attached to the wood.  The driftwood
was in a standard fish only tank with no live plants, extra light, CO2, etc.
It had been in there between 6-8 months and was quite healthy.  It had put
out spores a month or so previously and he said those spores had attached to
some big rocks that were no longer in the tank but not the gravel, glass or
plastic plants.   I suggested he put a low light plant in there beside it
and see if it jumped over to infest it.

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

Initially, when I saw a cute little clump of green on the Flourite in my
tank and let it go, I started a 2 year battle with cladophora.  Therefore, I
wasn't about to bring this stuff home to infest my tank until I knew more
about it!  I would really like to get this stuff started on my driftwood if
it is "safe".

Does the description mean anything to anyone?<<

There are a number of different species of Cladophora, and this does sound
like the species I played with.  I was successful in finally getting it
attached to a big piece of driftwood in one of my tanks. (a low light, slow
growth tank) It took a log time to become established, but once it did, it
looked beautiful, and was very well behaved.  Unfortunately, I wasn't happy
with the growth of some of the other plants at that level of light and
fertilization, so I added some light, more CO2 and fertilizer.  The other
plants picked up, as you would expect, and the algae slowly faded away. I
don't think it was the conditions that bothered the algae, though, I think
it was out-competed by the higher plants.

I know that Ole Pedersen at Tropica was playing with a similar algae for a
while.  I didn't see it when I visited Tropica in the spring, and forgot to
ask about it.  I don't know if he just tired of the experiment, or whether
he had trouble maintaining it too.  In any case,if you've got the right
type, it is CERTAINLY not invasive... It seems to be tricky to maintain in
the presence of other plants.  I NEVER saw it attach to another plant, nor
to anything other than the driftwood in the tank.  That was also the
experience of the person I got it from. (Bill Curtin... if he's still
reading the list, maybe he'll add his comments as well)

Daphne, you are right, it _is_ beautiful, and it would be great if we could
learn to maintain it AND the other plants we like!<g>