> Soils have a longer lasting supply of iron than laterite; with soil,
> you do not need to add iron. By keeping the iron in the substrate and
> having less or none in the water, the algae doesn't do as well.
You have gotten my attention. Since week 2 my 75g tank has had an
infestation of brush algae. Algae control up to this point has been
100% manual. On more than one occasion I've taken the plants out and
soaked them all in a 5% bleach bath for 1-2 minutes. This is a 3 hour
task! The brush algae just falls off. What doesn't fall off turns
white and the Mollys make quick work of it.
In addition to the baths, I have also reduced my lighting considerably,
which I don't even know if that is the right approach. Maybe I should
give the plants MORE light to consume the nutrients faster?
I ordered some SAEs from Albany Aquarium. They are very nice to work
with, BTW. For the first week they took NO interest in the algae at
all. Just today they decided that they were hungry I suppose and are
now spending quite a bit of time munching on the plant surfaces and have
cleaned at least one plant. I hope they can do something about the
This leads me back to your point: Keeping the nutrients out of the water
column. What type of soil mix have you found works best for a range of
plants (ie: not just crypts or apons)?
Do you add any fertilizers to the water column? Do you use CO2 on
these soil-substrate tanks? How long do you think the nutrients last in
the soil and how do you replace those nutrients?
My current setup uses a traditional laterite/Dupla fertilizer regimen
(tabs and drops). I have substrate heating and automatic CO2
fertilization. Plant growth is outstanding but unfortunately so is the
algae growth. (Brush algae mostly and a few spots on the walls) The
swords seem to be the most heavily infested and the most suseptable to
attack. The tank is still new (roughly 2 months old) and I'm trying to
be patient and allow the plants to slowly fill every void in hopes that
they will slowly outcompete the algae for food and light.
I have a full algae patrol on the job consisting of six Ottos, one
Farowella, five Mollys, and five SAEs. They all seem to work very hard at
eating the algae and are definately NOT underfed. The Farowella is a
bit of a slacker though. :)
I have a 45g tank that I want to tear down and re-do and I would like to
give your method a try. I suspect that substrate heating isn't
essential to your method since you are using a very rich substrate in
the first place?
Mike B. in St. Louie