Re: Satanic Algae, methods for leaching iron

> From: Todd Ellerbee <Todd_Ellerbee.DBS at dbsnotes_dbsoftware.com>
> And I also have a big algae problem.  In fact, it's the algae from hell.  I'm 
> 99% sure it's the black brush algae [snip]
I think you're on the right track by checking phosphate and nitrate levels and
introducing CO2. This will definitely assist your plants in competing with the algae.
Once you have that in place; I'd suggest removing any leaves or objects with
too much algae and sterilizing your driftwood. One method is boiling it. (hard
with big pieces). Are other methods such as bleach effective or safe? I've used
a toothbrush and plain hot water on some of my rocks effectively. Algae never
really goes away entirely. You need healthy, vigorous plants which can produce
new leaves.

Subject: UG heating coils & RUG filters

Picked up my copy of the Optimum Aquarium over the weekend. Interesting reading
but we still are starving for better, newer scientific information. This book
goes a lot further than most and was good in that respect although, one should
remember the authors are principals in the Dupla organization (hence their
enthusiasm for Dupla methods :-) They have some important points to make:
1) s-l-o-w circulation may be the critical factor: the LOW oxygen environment
in the substrate and the presence of HUMIC acids are thought to be what permits
the extremely high concentrations of available iron, magnesium, aluminum which
are observed in the underground springs found in the tropical Crypt streams.
The extremely high concentrations of iron silicates in the laterite soils was
felt to be critical.
2) it is virtually impossible to obtain the desired uniform and low circulations
by any other method except the heating coil in a reliable and repeatable manner.
Presumably the authors experimented with reverse undergravel systems and performed
dye circulation tests to determine that MOST of the flow in a RUG system will seek
the path of least resistance. Some circulation (at least initially) may occur in
the other zones but with time these will become clogged.
3) plant roots can also provide oxygen to the substrate to prevent anaerobic

Here's my concept: what if we take some 1-2" dia PVC tubing and fill it with
sand, organic material and laterite (or other iron rich clay) and place it in
the corner or bottom or even OUTSIDE the tank and allow water to leach through
this into the substrate. The substrate can be a mixture of vermiculite, sand or
fine gravel over a conventional UG filter plate or tubes. The outflow from the 
leaching column could be directed under the substrate and provide circulation
to the substrate. Since much less organic material would be found in the
substrate, the problem of H2S formation should be much less! The organic
material could be humus, compost, peat or regular dirt. This would provide 
humic acid which should be able to reduce some of the iron compounds. The 
factors which require tuning are:
a) organic material b) % composition c) flow rate d) temperature? pH?

 - Steve