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Re: That old beard algae
Tom Brennan has a serious beard algae problem:
Tom, I would urge you to work on the water chemistry problem
before (or instead of) tearing down the tank. If you don't
solve the problem now, your new tank will have the same
First, as you noted, too much fish food may be at least part
of the problem. Try reducing the feeding to no more than once
a day. (The fish may get a bit hungry, but a little dieting
won't hurt them.) Second, keep up with the water changes,
monitoring the nitrate and phosphate levels. Does the
phosphate concentration drop as expected with the water
changes? If not, than you are either adding large amounts of
phosphate, or leaching it from your substrate. (I don't know
the composition of Osmocote. Does it have high phosphate?
Your phosphate reading of 30 ppm is astonishingly high. Are
you sure of the decimal point? You want to get it down to a
trace (or no more than 0.1 ppm)).
I would also suggest adding lots of very fast-growing
plants, such as water sprite (Ceratopsis), Rotala indica,
ludwigia, and such, to try to sop up as much of the nutrients
as possible, and to provide increasing shade. I recently
added some Riccia (a floating liverwort) which grows rapidly
and forms rather attractive rafts which my angelfish like to
much on. When it starts getting out of hand, you can simply
scoop some of it out.
The water changes and the reduced feeding should
help with the nitrate problem. You probably should also check
your iron levels. Excessive iron levels may also be
contributing to your problem, and I see you are adding
regular iron supplements. You may want to stop them or reduce
them, at least temporarily until you get this problem.
I hope your problem is not excessive phosphate
leaching from your enriched substrate. If so, I fear you may
have to tear the tank down after all. But it is certainly
worth pinpointing the source first!
Rick Denney, Dickinson TX
rdenney at ibm_net