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[APD] RE: Qs: Water conditioners, algae, PMDD

Hi again,

I have sent this message a couple days ago and I haven't received any
response, so I was just wondering if I did something wrong so that the
message didn't get through or it's maybe no one has any insight on the

Anyway, I'm resending the message. Hopefully it'll get through Ok this


-----Original Message-----
Sent: Tuesday, April 13, 2004 2:30 PM
To: Aquatic Plants Digest
Subject: [APD] FW: Some Qs: Water conditioners, algae, PMDD

Hi everyone,

I'm new to this list so bear with me as I have a few questions :) I have a
55 gal tank which has been running just over 1 year. I really like planted
aquaria, so I decided to have a try myself. I had it set up with some basic
plants - three amazon swords, a dozen cryptocoryne plants (of two kind,
don't know exactly which), Hydrocotyle leucocephala, Vallisneria tortifolia,
Microsorium pteropus, Hygrophila difformis.

I also have 9 Neon tetras, 4 Rummynose tetras, 7 Zebra danios, 4 SAEs, 3
Otos, a pair of Dwarf gouramis, 7 Kuhli loaches; also 7 Cardina Japonica and
2 Atya Gabonensis shrimp.

I have a pair of 48" standard fluorescent light bulbs (80W total) - (one is
Hagen Power-Glo and one is Perfecto). I use Fluval 304 canister filter and
up till recently I had my own DIY yeast CO2 injection.

I've been battling red algae for quite some time. It is the kind that is
similar to green spot algae but instead it's red (almost black) and slowly
covers the leaves from the outer rim, then a lot of dark dots appear until
some portions of the leaf become completely covered. I agree that I didn't
add fertilizers properly and was doing it rather irregularly (I was using
Flourish, Flourish Iron and Flourish Potassium once a week - 1 ml Flourish,
about 2 ml Iron and 4 ml Potassium) and know I know that it wasn't enough.

But still the plants were growing OK and if I didn't trim them for several
weeks, they completely take over (especially Hydrocotyle and swords). Then I
decided to add some more light and installed additional two 18" lights which
originally came with the aquarium (30W total) and then the red algae really
started to take over. So I removed the extra lights and I'm back to 80W.

Anyway, after reading various articles on proper fertilization, etc
including the one by Conlin & Sears I have a better picture of what to do. I
decided to drop the idea of having DIY CO2 injection and upgraded to
pressurized system (I have a 10 lb cyclinder, with solenoid valve connected
to Milwaukee SMS122 pH meter/controller with Aquamedic Reactor 1000
connected to the output of the canister filter). This was done a couple days
ago.. I also stopped using the Flourish stuff (it's too expensive anyway)
and got all the components for PMDD instead which I started dosing recently.

Before I switched to pressurized CO2 system, I removed all the plants,
cleaned the aquarium sides from algae using razor blade, removed all
algae-covered leaves from plants and replanted them back, cleaned all décor
items too. So now the tank is clean, but unless I do everything right, the
algae will be back before I know it :)

After adding PMDD for 4 days, my nitrate levels are still elevated (about 25
ppm) and don't go down. However the iron is about 0.1 ppm. Both ammonia/um
and nitrite are 0 as have been since the tank had cycled.

Ok, now that I introduced myself :) I have a few questions. First, is
regarding tap water conditioner. I've been reading contradicting things
regarding various products available. A lot of people recommend AmQuel for
planted tanks (as it doesn't bind heavy metals) but some others (even on
this list) say otherwise. What do you use and what would you recommend? Keep
in mind that my planted tank has plants, fish and freshwater shrimp.

I also realize that my light is on the weak side, but going to VHOs is a bit
challenging (have to recover from recent spenditures :). What else would you
suggest to make sure that the algae are kept at bay? After pruning all the
leaves right now the tank is half empty. But I hope they'll grow off pretty
quickly. However should I get more plants for now to ensure that there is
enough nutrient depletion and there is no excess of P?

In the past I also noticed some leaf difformities in crypts and vals (leaves
curled, weird looking). And new leaves of the swords are quite pale. I was
dosing iron in the past (even though it may not have been enough). Does it
mean that some other nutrients were in short supply (like Mg or Ca?).

Should I initially doze PMDD more to build up the required amount of
elements in the water? Right now I'm dozing about 0.4 ml daily (about 10

Sorry about the long message.


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