Re: New tank problems, cont. :(

>From: Mike Bateman <vandi at well_com>

>I thought I had an attack of green water.  My green water ended up being
>new tank cloudy water.  The bright light and green plants gave the water
>a green look to it.  Dumping a bunch into a white 5g bucket showed no
>green coloration.  The water has been cloudy for about 2 weeks now and
>hasn't shown any indication of clearing.  Although I didn't want to
>invest in a diatom filter, I might have to so I can enjoy the tank.  My
>other tanks have always cleared up in a week or so if they became cloudy
>at all.

I have had many new tanks develop this problem and I still bet it is
suspended algae. Invest in a diatom filter. You will find many uses for it.
Since I obtained my system 1, I never use the one made by Vortex. It is the
best single investment I ever made in aquarium equipment.

>I also haven't noticed any ammonia, nitrite or nitrate buildup.  How can
>biological filtration ever establish without a nitrogen source? Should I
>increase the bioload on the tank?  I only have 4 Ottos, 4 Mollys and the
>two F. acus.

Your levels may be low, but that doesn't mean they don't exist. It could
also be a function of the test kit's sensitivity. However, after 3-4 weeks,
the tank is capable of supporting more fish. The reason for keepinging the
bioload down in a new tank does not apply the same to a tank into which lots
of healthy plants are placed together with growing conditions. The idea to
reduce feeding to the algae eaters is to 'train' them to eat new algae which
appears. Unfortunately, all algae eating fish don't like all types of algae.
It is best to start _without_ algae on the plants.

>Anyway, I'm wondering if I have too much light, too few fast growing
>plants or some other inbalance because I have hair algae up the wazoo.
>I have a little bit of spot algae, but it hasn't become a problem.  I
>haven't noticed an accumulation of any other type of algae.

>I want to get my terminology correct.  The stuff I have is green, soft
>and grows kind of long.  I had some nice locks of hair growing in the
>bottom of my skimmer cup.  I've since cleaned it and it hasn't come
>back yet.  The plants however are getting it.

If it consists of short branching threads (2-3 cm), it is Pithophora (green
bunch algae, staghorn algae, horsehair algae). I am also looking for advice
from the readers of this list on what might eat this. At least this type can
be removed by hand from the plants. Reduction in nutrients, incl. trace
elements, will help eliminate it. I would suspend the daily drops for a while.

If it is unattached thin tangled clusters of threads, it is Ulothrix (called
cluster algae, tangle algae). Baensch V2 suggests Ancistrus, Plecos.

If it is long branched bunches of threadlike green algae, it can be
Spirogyra (filamentous algae, green thread algae). I don't recall what fish
might eat this, but some are said to do it.

The common names for these thread and filamentous algae are occassionally
used interchangeably. 

>  There may also be some
>brush algae but since I've never had it I don't quite know how to
>recognise it yet.  There is a fine "fur" on some of the leaves.  Maybe
>its young hair algae.

This may be more of a problem. If the fur is green, it can be Oedogonium
(pelt algae, fur algae), and if it is a dark color, it can be red algae like
Audouninella (beard, brush algae). SAE will eat the later.
If you want to see pictures of red algae and you have access to the web,
look at the AGA home page at <http://blake.oit.unc.edu/~fish/aga/>. Baench
V1 & V2 also have good pictures of all of the ones I mentioned. The AGA home
page also has photos and drawings of the different kinds of SAE-like fish,
including the false SAE.
>I've decided its time to order some SAEs from Albany Aquarium.  I called
>them yesterday and they have them for $5@ and $30 shipping.  Better than
>what Ned's was wanting for them ($7 and $35 shipping).

You can ask your aquarium store to order them for you from Southern Tropical
Fish in Lakeland FL. I bought mine from a local shop in Raleigh for $1.79
ea. And the best part was there was no shipping. I understand that they are
now commonly seen in the US at east coast shops. But everyone in the US
should pay alot for their first SAE; I brought mine back from Germany a few
years ago. :-) 
>Another problem.  I've got two farowellas.  I don't know if there is
>enough of their kind of algae in the tank and they're abdomens are
>looking a little empty.  What could I suppliment these guys with? 

I like to give mine canned green beans (unsalted). After I open the can, I
freeze the beans and pull out a few each day. I throw them in frozen. This
keeps the farleys bellies full and keeps them from scraping on the plant leaves.

>I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong.  I suspect my lighting is too intense
>and I plan to run out tomorrow and purchase a couple cheap cool whites.
>I'll put them in place of two of the VHO bulbs and see if that slows the
>algae growth.

Until you slow the algae down, cutting down on the light is a good idea.

 The plants continue to thrive but even the faster growing
>ones are being attacked by this hair algae.  It's a bit discouraging. I
>wouldn't mind a high maintenance tank if it were the plants that were
>out of control. :)

I hope that you do not have Oedogonium or Audouninella. Once this gets out
of control, even SAE may not help. You may need to resort to the Frank
copper treatment. It is a next to last resort, but is better than tearing
the tank down. I cured the horrendous algae infested tank in the b/w picture
from the AGA page this way.

>I test my iron every couple of days and my new Lamotte iron kit shows
>the iron level around 0.4.  A partial water change didn't seem to help.
>The fish haven't shown any signs of stress.  Would it be wrong to
>suspend Duplaplant24 for awhile?  I'd like to see a visible drop in the
>iron levels.

Yup, as I said before, try to get the levels down for a while.

Hang in there and good luck.