Bleach Treatments and Steady State, R.O. (or DI) water

Subject: Bleach Treatments and Steady State

Michael A. Bateman

I have no strong feelings one way or the other about the bleach treatment.
I have never had a filamentous algae infestation that was persistent enough
for me to feel the need to try this method.  But because I am fully
convinced of the aquatic gardening abilities of several of the people who
advocate this as a viable method of algae control, I _am_ sure it works for
some forms of algae (which is all they have claimed)

Because my name came up in this debate, and it sounds like I am on the side
AGAINST bleach treatments, I'd like to make a couple of points.  First,
I've worked with enough planted tanks with enough different water
conditions that I would never say never to _any_ potential source of algae
relief. Some forms of algae have requirements that are so close to those of
higher plants that it is _very_ difficult to erradicate them using "just"
good gardening techniques.  If your water conditions are such that these
types of algae flourish, I'm sure that it can be extremely frustrating.  

If I had such a situation, I might choose to resort to bleach treatment
too.  Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your point of view<g>)
the copper in my tap water seems to keep many forms of algae at bay.  It
also limits the number of plant and animal species that I can work with
without resorting to bottled water. (or investing in a DI or RO system)

But the thing that really caught my attention was:

Michael Bateman wrote;

>If you have achieved a steady-state then the algae will be kept at bay.  

A "steady state", as we discussed ad nauseum at least a year ago, means
just that.  A state where doing the same amount of regular maintenance in a
tank, the tank remains in close to the same condition, or state, if you
prefer.  In _no way_ does it suggest that there either is or is not any
particular of algae present.  A steady state that one aquarist finds
desireable might be completely unacceptable to another.  That's fine.  It
would be pretty boring if every tank was a carbon copy of every other tank!
 I think all of my tanks have reached an acceptable (for me) steady state,
but there are subtle differences in each, right down to the type of algae
that is likely to appear when the thank slips slightly away from its steady

>I hope to have photos of my aquariums scanned soon so I can share them (I'm
>quite proud of them) and I can assure you there is VERY little to no
>visible algae.  Sure there is a tuft of red algae that shows up on the
>older leaves of my E. quadricostatus but these old leaves are usually
>yellowing by this time and need to be removed anyway to keep things looking
>nice. Also, I don't trim to maintain a steady-state, I trim so that I can
>maintain the arrangement and so I can see all of the plants! 

I think you would find that if you _didn't_ trim, you would lose your
steady state.  By trimming, you are removing nutrients from the system.  If
these nutrients were allowed to stay within the system, as leaves died,
they would be reintroduced to the water and could cause your tank to slip
into a less desireable (for you) steady state. 

> My M.
>pteropus 'Tropica' is attempting a takeover.

This is a common occurence in natural ecosystems.  The balance and mix of
plant species change over a period of time.   Very often a specific area
will tend toward a monoculture. If you CHOSE not to interfere, and allowed
the Java Fern to crowd out other plants, again, you would allow the tank to
slip into another type of steady state. (after a period dynamic change)  My
guess at a scenario would be as follows:

As the Javas (a low light, relatively slow growing plant) crowded out other
plants, the nutrients released by the smothered, higher light plants would
be released back into the system.  The Javas would be unable to use up this
influx of nutrients, and would not really benefit from the stronger light
levels in your tank either.  Because there would be no fast growing higher
plants to take nutrients out of the water in the new monoculture, algae
would step in to fill that ecological niche.  At this point, you would have
some of alternatives to force the tank into a new steady state.  You could
whack back the Javas and introduce more fast growing plants, you could
introduce some fast growing floaters to absorb nutrients and block some of
the light entering the tank, or probably over a long period of time, you
could harvest the algae that was produced until eventually the nutrient
levels in the tank were reduced to the point that they were just supporting
the Javas.

I'm _really_ glad that you've got your tanks where you want them... I think
I remember you had some frustrating times in the beginning.  One of the
most important lessons you should take away from that period is the value
of PATIENCE.  But don't forget that there are _many_ valid approaches to
maintaining a "successful" planted aquarium.

Subject: R.O. water

JOlson8590 at aol_com wrote:

>In reply to:

>< BTW, who in their right mind would fill their aquarium with de-ionized
water anyway?

>Discus breeders.

>Next question?

Certainly not all, and I'd hestitate to even say most.  All the discus
breeders I know add at least something to "reconstitute" DI or RO water if
they use it. Most of the successful discus breeders I know live in areas
blessed with a fairly good water supply, and , at most, run their water
through a carbon block filter on the way from the tap.  _All_ of them agree
that large frequent water changes are more important than the exact
chemistry of the water used, as long as the water does not contain toxic
substances.  In fact, from what I've read, you get better growth out of
juvenile discus in slightly harder water.

Not even the softest, most adicic waters in the world are as pure as
straight DI water.  

BTW, DI and RO water are not the same thing.  
Karen Randall
Aquatic Gardeners Association