Iron Substrate, Filter, Adjusting pH, Hair algae nests

Subject: Iron in Substrate

> It is 2-3mm diameter.
> >There are no additions in the substrate. I discovered an intere
> >about this gravel purely by chance when cleaning glass with a m
> >scrubber. As I got close to the gravel, the magnet would become
> >gravel; this gravel is loaded with iron.

Roni Talukdar wrote:

> That's interesting but I don't know how beneficial this will to 
> growth.  In my understanding, plants use iron in the chelated fo
> mainly).  That's why dropping a nail in a tank will not have a p
> impact.  I would still recommend a fertile substrate (laterite, 
> vermiculite earthworm castings, or any combination plus several

In an anaerobic substarte, plants _can_ access non-chelated forms 
of iron.  The biggest problem with dropping a nail in the tank 
(assuming that you bury it in the substrate and don't leave it in 
the aerobic water layer) is that it has comparatively little 
surface area.  Adding micronized iron to substrate _does_ supply 
iron that palnts can use.  I suspect that a gravel that has a lot 
of iron in it could be beneficial, even if it does not supply the 
total amount of iron needed bny the plants. 


Subject: Canister Filter

Bob Hoffman wrote:

> I have three magnums that I use on freshwater and reef aquariums
> disagree with your conclusions.  The magnums are cheap and easil
> modified to be used in virtually any manner one wants.  It just 
> little creativity.  I have never had any problems with them in t
> years I have used them.  Periodic O ring replacement is the only
> have had to do to them.

I have to agree.  I have 3 Magnums, all of which have been in 
operation for a number of years.  They are quiet, easy to use and 
clean, (as long as you get the quick disconnect valves!) and have 
proved very reliable.  I've never even replaced an O-ring.  I _do_ 
use the Marineland filter sleeves, but it would be easy enough to 
make your own out of filter pad material and some fishing line.  
As for having to use their carbon,,, you can use what ever you 
want in the media basket... I keep mine filled with gravel.


Subject: Adjusting pH

> I need a recommendation abotu how to change the pH in my tank an
> buffer it safely.  The tap water is over 8, and I'd like 6.5-7. 
> used Acidifier to lower it at first, but it bounced back quickly
> then I read the bottle and found that it was Sodium MonoPHOSPHAT
> (argh).  Anyway, I can get almost any chemical imaginable- I jus
> need to know a safe recipe for changing the pH and buffering it 
> won't harm the fish or help out the algae (a CO2 system is in th
> works- but it will be a while before I can change the pH that wa

As far as I'm concerned, I have yet to see a method of reducing pH 
in a planted tank other that within the carbonate buffering system 
(i.e. using CO2) that is better for the plants  _or_ the animals 
than just leaving the pH alone.  People who mess with the pH in 
other ways are doing it for themselves, not for the tank 

Just keep plants that can tolerate the low CO2 levels in your 
water until you can set up a system for supplemental CO2.  There 
are quite a few that can. (Anubias sp, Java Fern, Jave Moss, 
Valisneria, many Crypts)  It's the CO2 (or lack thereof) that's 
the problem, not the pH.  As for the fish, almost any "community" 
type fish can tolerate a pH of 8 if you don't intend to breed 
them.  I have 4 year old Rummy Noses and Cardinals - supposedly 
both "sensitive" soft/acid water fishwho have lived their entire 
lives in my paludarium with a pH over 8.  Instability of pH is 
much harder on fish than just leaving it alone.


 Subject: Hair algae nests

> I recently found some collections of hair algae in my plant tank
> the usual places. It seems that my two male dwarf gouramis are b
> their nests out of hair algae. I can't find the algae anywhere e
> SAEs may be getting to the rest or the two males have been busy 
> the algae from around the tank. You don't think the two males ar
> hair algae!? ;-)
> I hardly have any algae at all so I thought this method of "cont
> hair algae might be interesting to some folks.

Ive heard of farming ants, but this is something new!<g>  I love 

Karen Randall
Aquatic Gardeners Assoc.
Boston, MA