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I got them old, old beard algae blues.

Hello All,

(Twwaannggyyy guitar)

I got them old
old beard algae blues
and its wearin holes in my shoes (from water changes)......

I am about fit to be tied with red/black beard algae after months of trying
to control it !!  Nuking the tank seems to be my only option.

The beard algae from HELL is all of the leaves of most of my plants except
the (of course), the least like banana plants.  Its on the heater, inflow
and outflow tubs of my Magnum 350 and ends of the bio-wheel housing where
the water dumps into the tank, on driftwood, and it's starting to even take
hold on the substrate .  AARRRUUUGGGG !!  OK I'm venting. 

Tank specs: 29g, medium plant density, 3 2" Discus, 10 various tetras, 2
corys, 2 black mollys and on CAE (just because I have not had the time to
try to catch him and put him in my other 10g). 

pH - 6.4 to 6.6
kH - 4.
gH - 2.
Nitrite, Ammonia both 0.
Nitrates run between 12 and 25 using the tetra kit, yes this is high.
Co2 - 20-25 by LaMotte and tables in the APD archives
DIY yeast/sugar Co2 injection -  consistent 1 bubble/sec.
Lighting - 3  40w fluorescent tubes, 1 GroLux daylight, 1 full-spectrum, 1
cheepee that came with  fixture. 12-16 hours/day
Substrate - 1.5" Profile pond planting soil then 1.5" vermiculite then 2+"
clean sand/gravel from Home Depot. Sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of
Osmocote through the verm before covering with sand.  Home made RedArt Clay
laterate balls mixed with LillyPond plant tabs pushed under swords, anubas,
baby-tears, crypts and other large plants after about 4 months of operation
way into the substrate.  No sign of foul odors or sulfides etc.. All roots
are very extensive, no sign of rotting,  lots of fine hairs upon
Fertilizer - 1.5ml Flourish, 4 drops micro nutrient (came with useless
RedSea Co2/Fe test kit), with water change, sometimes injecting in the
substrate around major plants

I think the trouble started when I added reflective mylar material to the
lighting fixtures. Looking at some of the posts this will significantly
increase the "output" from your lights !  I have a sneaking suspicion this
is what started the green hair algae and green spot algae.  The hair algae
started on the baby-tears and got so bad I bleached it  (19:1), along with
some swords and crypts.  When I put the baby-tears back in the tank the
hair algae start right back up.  I retired the baby-tears and the crypts
did not make it.

About two months ago I bleached all the plants and scrubbed and cleaned
most of the tank and equipment, but did not bleach the tank itself.  I
started a rigorous regime of 30% water changes (and vacuumed top layer of
sand), every other 2-3 days time permitting (the Discus love it!!) in order
to reduce nitrates and hopefully phosphates. I cut back to just 2 lights
(80w).   I even purchase two black mollys to see if they will eat the beard
algae. Low-and-behold they started in on it right away but soon learned
that they could compete quite well for the Jack Whaltney's discus delight.
The mollys still jab at it but I would need thousands of them to keep up
with my algae growth.

I had a long discussion with a noted Washington, DC aquarist and he
convinced me this was a phosphate problem. Humm hadn't thought of this,
ignorance is bliss !   Purchase the phosphate kit and some Phos-Sorb. 
Phosphate test came out around 30....Yikes !.  Overfeeding,  too high fish
load ? maybe ? My well water is nearly zero phosphates.  Where is it coming
from ? Probably the discuss food. I feed moderate amounts 2-3 times a day.

Any way, I certainly have a nitrate/phosphate problem to deal with along
with too much light did me in.  I am pretty sure of it. 

Unless some has some way of dealing with this tank another way I see no
other alternative except to do a TOTAL TANK/FILER BREAKDOWN AND BLEACH

I think I am going to stick with basically the same substrate. It seemed to
work very well. I am going to plant heavily from the start and test more
regularly for Nitrate/Phosphates and Iron.  If time permits I may go PPMD.

I don't like the idea of re-cycling the tank especially because of the
discus.  Any suggestions on how to quick-start the new tank and how to keep
my discuss for the 4-6 hours it will take to do the job right.  I am
thinking of using a 10 gal bucket with heater, airstone,  using water from
the tank. I know I need to what the pH and temp. Then I will duplicate the
water conditions in the "New" tank and re-acclimate over a couple of hours.

Any suggestions on the bleach treatment, types of plants and substrates for
the "NEW" planted discuss tank.


George/Karla, should I start praying to the Dupla gods.  I promise to drink
tank water for a week if I can just do it all over again and get it right !
Thanks for listening

Tom Brennan
Brennans at ix_netcom.com