Re: Bleach Treatments...

>From: "Michael A. Bateman" <spine at stlnet_com>
>Date: Sun, 19 Jan 1997 02:36:47 -0600
>Subject: Bleach Treatments...
>I am uncomfortable with this concept.  It seems to me that it is near
>impossible to prevent algae from entering the aquarium unless you start
>with a sterile system, use tissue cultured plants, introduce no fish and
>keep the system completely isolated from other non-sterile aquariums.

You are entitled to be uncomfortable with the treatment. I was skeptical at
first myself. 

>The bleach method seems to me to be flawed.  If the plants survive a bleach
>dip then what is to prevent algae from surviving the same dip?  Algae seem
>to be a pretty hardy little form of plant life.

But they are much simpler structures. Also, the method is not flawed, maybe
it is your assumptions. <g> The treatment is not intended to ensure an algae
free tank.. only to eliminate specific algae that you do not want to
introduce with new plants (Audouinella, Pithophora, etc). Even if not
eliminate completely, then the method will eliminate a very very large part
(let's say 99.99 percent). Even commercially available algicides (copper,
simazine) are not intended to eliminate 100%.

>Let's assume that the total bleach treatment does work. When you introduce
>a new fish into the aquarium, even with quarantine, what is to prevent
>algae spores from the quarantine tank from getting into your "sterile"
>tank?  I would think it would only take a spore or two to get things going
>and those spores could journey across on your net, on the fish, on your
>hands, etc...  I don't know if any or all algae spores are airborne or not
>but it seems feasible.

Let's assume that you did not try the treatment. Speaking from experience,
the bleach treatment DOES work. Personally, I do not worry too much about
spores getting into my tanks. Nets from a tank with nasty algae are another
story. Unless I am lazy, I try to dip my nets into weak bleach to disinfect

>I have a Dupla-style high-tech planted tank.  During its first 6 months I
>experienced just about every form of algae one could imagine.  Brush algae,
>green algae, filamentous algae, etc.  As if it was part of the natural
>cycle of the aquarium, the algae came and went. In its place, other algaes
>appeared.  These too came and went (some faster than others).  After a
>while all but trace amounts of algae had disappeared!  I still have to
>clean the front glass of spot algae every week or two and what I believe is
>"blue-green" algae lives happily in my skimmer cup.  However, the plants in
>this tank are huge, gorgeous and virtually algae free.

I also watch some algae come and go in my "high tech" tank. However, I do
not have much visible algae. (e.g. I rarely ever scrape the glass, and then
only when I need to take a photo).  But, the dupla style/ high tech tank is
NOT the ONLY way to grow and enjoy plants. While this approach, by design
will keep algae under control, other algae strategies are needed in other
style aquariums.  

>In my opinion the algae war cannot be won.  I live by Karen Randall's words
>of wisdom from some time back where she explained the importance of finding
>that "steady-state" of your aquarium.  The steady-state being the point at
>which the correct balance of all requirements has been reached.  Just the
>right amount of light, just the right amount of CO2, and just the right
>amount of nutrients.

Reaching the steady state IS victory. The algae war is only lost when it
takes over.  However, to achieve the desired steady state (even for the high
tech tank), it doesn't hurt to include some algae eating fish to help create
the needed balance. And why not give the system the proper initial
conditions by starting with healthy, algae free plants. Eveything else being
equal,  I always opt for including new plants that are NOT covered with
algae. <g>
>I'm also in agreement with George Booth and rationalize that some algae
>will always be around in a healthy, well functioning aquarium.

Yes and No. Yes, algae is going to be in all but the sterile laboratory
aquarium.  But, No, it doesn't HAVE to be a visible or even major part of
the aquascape. I have seen many tanks (including some of my own) where algae
is essentially invisible in the tank.  Why tolerate a "little" red algae on
the older leaves of slower growing plants like Anubias, when none of the
leaves need to have it. I also do not consider "trimming" to be a necessary
part of the steady state. 


I only wish I knew how to rid my tank of Bladderwort (Utricularia) that
established a foothold and seems to survive at very low nutrient levels. It
also appears to be resistant to the tank's defensive chemicals form the
other plants.

Neil Frank      TAG editor         Raleigh, NC