SAE's, Actinic Lights, Anubias, Algae, Sword Flowers


Subject: SAE's and Flying Foxes

Stu Elston wrote:

> I just read this morning (digest #265) that SAEs will eat this b
> stuff, and this weekend I took a printout of the Neil Frank/Liis
> Sarakontu sample AGA article on SAE's at the AGA Web site to my 
> store.  It turns out that they had gotten a shipment of a dozen 
> these about two weeks ago, and a single customer bought them all
> find out who he was, he's probably a fellow plant person...) Any
> store knows where to get more and will try to do so.  The questi
> (finally!): how many do I want in a 20H? 1? 2? Depends on whethe
> juvenille or adult? 

It doesn't matter whether you get juveniles or adults... they grow 
fast!  I have found that 2 are plenty in each of my 20G tanks.  
One might even do away with any algae, but they do seem to prefer 
the company of at least one other.  I keep groups of 5 in my 55 
and 70G tanks, and it's fun to watch them all troup around 
> I already have a flying fox (Epal. kalopteris), (s)he's about 3"
> adult, I'd guess.  Will (s)he tolerate an SAE as a tank-mate?  T
> article says "agressive towards its own kind"; does this mean to
> Epal. kalopteris only, or towards all similar fish, i.e. Cros. s
> I ask because I've noticed that mine will chase all fish (barbs 
> tetras) from "his"  territory, _except_ for the cory cats and ot
> seems to recognize them as fellow bottom fish or fellow cat-type
> fellow barbel-bearers or whatever. 

IMO, the aggressiveness of Flying Foxes is vastly over rated.  I 
have kept a number of individuals for years without much 
aggression.  They will definitely spar with other Ciprinids of 
similar shape... my worst combination was Flying Foxes with a Red 
Tail Shark.  Even then, however, it didn't amount to more than a 
lot of chasing and an occassional split fin.

I have a 4" plus Flying Fox in my 70G with a number of SAE's with 
no aggression, and very little interaction.  Of course, they have 
a lot more room to spread out than in your 20H, but I suspect 
they'll be OK.  Just be ready to step in if the Flying Fox does 
get too rowdy.  I suspect that s(he) will not pay them any 
attention until they put on a little size, in any case.


Subject: actinic or 'day' vho?
> a friend just ordered a 6' VHO flour. hood for his freshwater 12
> he wants to plant.  The vendor recommended a "50/50 Actinic Whit
> they say is a combination of actinic and Ultralume phosphors wit
> temperature of 5600K.
> I thought the actinic was primarily for corals/salt setups and t
> have ordered the "Aquasun" daylight tubes with a temp. of 5200K.
> tell me if this will make a significant difference in his succes
>  He just got them and is still waiting for the ballast so he cou
> return them if they will be significantly less use than the Aqua

You are right that actinic bulbs were created specifically with 
photosynthetic corals from deeper water than most of our aquatic 
plants.  In my experience, these lights tend to encourage more 
algae growth than plant growth.  Tell him to trade them in for the 
daylight tubes.

Subject: another anubias question
> Last wednesday I got a shipment of plants from Mike T. that incl
> potted anubias nana.  At the time they arrived I was installing 
> dishwasher so I just placed them in the tank and intended to "pl
> later.  They looked fine on arrival but when I went to plant the
> later the leaves were about 90% brown and most of the stems were
> Could this be cold damage from shipment?  Do anubias sometimes m
> and come back like crypts?  The other plants (several crypts, re
> are fine so far.  The box had some of those heat packs but they 
> by arrival.  I was home when they were delivered so they didn`t 
> cold.  

It's _possible_ that it's cold damage, but probably not, 
particulary when the other plants (which are if anything, less 
sturdy than the Anubias, are fine.  

For future reference, shipping is hard on plants, and leaving them 
floating in the tank for 2 additional days makes it worse.  Try 
not to order plants unless you know you'll be able to give them 
proper conditions as soon as they arrive. 

OTOH, Anubias are _extremely_ hardy plants, and if the other 
plants did OK, they really should have too.  I'd call Mike and 
explain what happened.  Maybe he'll give you a credit. 
> Are they dead or should I wait  for then to grow back?

They do _not_ "melt" like Crypts.  If they have lost _all_ their 
leaves, and the stems are mushy, they are unlikely to come back.  
If you want to give it a try, remove all mushy areas, and plant 
whatever healthy rhizome is left with just the roots in the 
substrate, NOT the rhizome.  Then hope for the best!


 Subject: Red Algae Invasion

>  We need some help to get rid off a red algae plage...
>     -We have a 75 galons aquarium,
>     -CO2 automatic controled system,

Supplemental CO2 is proabably doing you little if any good at this 
light level.

>     -2 Philips-aquarele 36W fluorescent units.  

I think you mean 36", 30W bulbs.  That's 60W over a 75 gallon 
tank, less than 1W per gallon.  You need tio increase your 
lighting to _at least_ 2W per gallon set to run 12 hours daily to 
grow anything but the most shade tolerant plants.

>     -The Aquarium  is 1 year old.
>     -Dual pump filtration system (30 Galon/h) 
>        which came with the aquarium, and an extra punp 
>        that only works during the light-time (12h).

30G per hour is _very_ minimal on a 75G tank!  While it is 
possible to run a heavily planted tank with no filtration at all, 
it sounds like you are having a lot of problems.  I'd want to seee 
the tank turn over 3-5 X per hour.
>     -We change 1/4 of the water once per month. 

Not _nearly_ enough if you have any fish load on your tank.  I 
would suggest 25-30% _per week_.  You don't mention nitrate or 
phosphate levels, but I suspect they're way up there.

>     -PH [6.9 .. 7.1]  ( 7.1 during the night, without CO2 system

If you have an automatically controlled CO2 system, why are you 
turning it off at night?  (not that I think that has much to do 
with your problem)

>     -GH [8..12] ( 12 when we change the water, and 
>         using resines is lowered downto 8)
>     -Kh [5..9] ( 9 when we change the water)

Any changes to tap water should be made in a holding vessel, 
before using the water in the tank.  The instability caused by 
doing these changes in the display tank are hard on the plants and 
the animals.

>   In order to fight that horrendous & terrible algae we
>    have tried allmost everything:

Not yet!<g>  You haven't tried setting up the tank in a way to 
_encourage_ good plant growth!

>      changed water, overfiltration, changed light-time ...
>    Finaly we used an algae chemical controler called:
>           Wardleys's ALLCLEAR II 
>           which basically has something called 'Simazine '
>   We put 0.14 oz (12 tablets) of this stuff ... This 
>  ought to be enougth for a 60 galons tank. 
>   As a result of this, 15 days later,  the red algae  
> looks weaken, but also  other plants. Our AngelFish
> look depressed ;-). 

Almost always a bad idea, as you found out.  
>   We changed the water (an 1/2 extra change this month),
>  and plants and fish, look like are going back to  normallity 
> (angelfish eat again!)... and so does the f*ck*ng red-algae  :-(

You need to fix the management problems in your tank and get the 
higher plants growing fast and well.  This _includes_ reducing 
what I strongly suspect are high nitrate/phosphate levels by doing 
a number of big daily water changes until you get the levels down 
to less than 10 ppm nitrate and less than 1 ppm phosphate. Do this 
_before_ increasing your meagre lighting.  (check your tap water 
to make sure it does not contain large amounts of either 

You don't mention the type of plants you're using or the density, 
but you should start with enough _fast growing_ plants (like Water 
Sprite, Hygro, Rotala rotundifolia, etc.) that you can't see the 
back wall of your tank. (cover about 70% of the substrate)

If your fish stocking level is high, or you feed a lot, cut back 

Give your plants a chance to grow well, and you will have less 
trouble with algae.  If you still have trouble with _some_ red 
algae, (many people do)  buy several Siamese Algae Eaters.  
They're cheap, and eat red algae very well.

Subject: Echinodorus - what should I do?
> I have an Echinodorus (perhaps a E. barthii or major) that has s
> flower stalk that is at least 3 feet long from the base. The fir
> of three "bulbs" on this stalk is two feet from the base and the
> six of these "triads". My question is: should I push this stalk 
> so that it is lying across the surface of the water or should I 
> up out of the water?
> My understanding is that plantlets will develop from each of the
> I thought it might be good if they are submerged. However, the p
> trying hard to grow this stalk vertically. I pushed it under the
> once but it kept growing along the glass until it found a small 
> the cover and resumed growing vertically. It gets up near the li
> it's very warm.

You are correct that if you want plantlets rather than flowers, 
the stalk has to be submerged.  But it's fun to have flowers too, 
so take your pick!