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[APD] RE: rift algae

>Tom, I remember reading a post a while ago when you mentioned the mulm
addition technique. Thank you for the reminder. I would have forgotton. All
of my operating >tanks contain Black Brush Algae, Audinella(pardon my
spelling). My SAE keep it under control where they can reach it, but it is
still growing on the power heads, 
>intake tube interiors, etc. If I remove mulm from these tanks won't I also
transfer the BBA? I don't want to do that unless the Africans will eat it.
The 75 gallon tank is at >my work and not home so it won't get contaminated
via any of my home equipment.

Well I do not think the algae will do well if you set it up like I suggest,
if you can get BBA free mulm that's fine.Won't hurt. 
I do not worry about transfer too much, after a few months, the spores will
be in the tanks anyway if you have one tank with, and another without.
Maybe you'll be a little safe by the work/home thing but maybe not.  
Some fish will certainly pick at it, depends on the species you plan on.
I really don't worry about it, You can kill all the algae with Copper
sulfate... whatever, then set the tank up. Blackout for a week or two etc.

That will take care of all the algae.
Look for a nice season rock/slate etc from a LFS with green spot and some
fur on it and offer to buy it or rent it for a few days.

>When I mentioned the tank had a 20 gallon sump bio filter I didn't mention
that I needed to build it. I have the 20 Long, 700 GPH pump, and overflow
system in the >tank. I'm not settled on the design yet. The filter will
need to contain my heater as well. I have access to our machine shop at
work, milling machine, lathe, saws, etc.

Well, truthfully, you could grow your algae down there, and fed the fish
above and try to grow algae in the main tank.
But......I'd try to grow as much algae as I could in the main tank, then
put a little 15 w FL light above the sump and put a tray full of Profile
etc with some netting to keep it from leaking out and put a bunch of peace
lilies in there.

I do not think the algae alone will be able to remove the volume and rate
of NO3 production from the fish. These fish eat a lot and produce a good
amount of waste. 
Algae are fine generally if you simply add more fish food. 

>I just bought about 80 lbs. of what is called "Lace Rock" in my LFS. It
was $2.50/lb at one store and $2.70/lb at another.

Ugggh:) You know, I know a guy that raises rocks down here:)
They grow slow.
I've like the lace rock a lot but I've always gone a different direction
using slate, more columar pieces of rock with more rounded edges. 

 I also bought 50 lbs of gravel labeled for an >African tank. It is made in
Florida and contains some visable small shells. It isn't crushed coral. It
is dark brown in color.I stopped at a local garden center and bought >>some
landscaping mudstone or siltstone slabs to use on the bottom. One slab is
about 15" Dia. and 1/2" to 2"thick. $2.00! Probably weighs 7 lbs. at least.
What a price >differance!

Errr landscping places are often the ONLY places to shop for rock!
The aragonite sand is great or you can use Onyx sand also. 
I like dark colored sand with rift fish as a rule.
If I use dark sand , often the rock will be dark also.

I've used lighter tan, red colored rocks and greys and bluish blacks. 
I like the blacker/darker colors over all, makes the fish stand out better
and develop better colors.  

>I'm going to place a 3/8" thick pad of spunbonded polypropylene(used under
waterlily pond liners) on the bottom of the tank with a 1/8" thick sheet of
gray PVC on 
>top of it to protect the tank bottom from the rocks. I want to try coating
the surface with sand by using PVC cement and sprinkleing the sand on it
before it hardens. 
>This way if the PVC is exposed it will only look like sand.

Good idea.
BTW, use can use the RFUG idea on the tank is you want.
I'd not bother with a good filter though.

>I may try planting some plants in pots along the back of the tank and hide
the pots with rocks. Would you recomend using orchid clay pots with slots
in the sides?

Sure, they work well.
Personally just using Anubias and adding them in between rocks is fun.
You can use Excel for carbon dosing and the fish waste and lower lighting
should take care of the rest.
CaCl2/baking soda, MgSO4 and K2SO4 are great salts for the fish since these
are the main salts from the lakes(Ca, Mg, K+, SO4).
You may need to add some nutrients for the plants if you do that later on. 
But for now, this should get things going.
> This would allow water access to the pot. I would cover the slots with
very thin filter cloth material to keep the gravel inside.

Sure if you want, I'd stick with floating(water sprite etc) and
epipdentric/epipilithic plants(Bolbitus, Anubias, Java fern/moss, some hard
water cyrpts, C affinis/aponogetifolia etc) and that would soak up the
nutrients with a plant filter below also.

You'll need to play around, but you can easily strike a workable balance
for algae or plants.
I guess another issue: how much work can you do there at work on the tank
and still do your job:-)?

The plant filter is the easiest along with floating water sprite.
Let the fish eat it and harvest it if they don't. It'll grow in the sump
You'll get more export of waste vs the algae.

Tom Barr 


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