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Re: Sunlight

Mr./Ms. Healer wrote:

>I have a problem with my new tank that I set up June 19.  I still
>don't have a light fixture, but I use my tortoise's heating lamp -- a
>Reptilight I think -- and during the afternoon the sun beats down on
>the aquarium.  The plants love it (my Mad lace plant has set up
>four leaves already - I thought this plant was supposed to be hard
>to grow).  Its fun to watch them all bubble when the sunlight
>reaches them.  Its like clockwork and they only send out the
>bubbles when they are getting direct sunlight.

I have a 10-gallon tank which I initially set up to hold some cuttings
from my more treasured plants.  Having placed it near a south-
facing window it has now turned into part of the dining room decor.  I
keep this aquarium open-topped with no hood or artificial lighting.  I
am using yeast CO2. The result is that Hygrophila corombosa and
angustofolia are growing like veritable bushes out the top for a very
eye-catching effect.  I previously had Bacopa caroliniana in this
aquarium.  I removed it because it was forming a massive ball of
rhizomes in the tank to the detriment of the other plants.  Other
plants that have done well in this tank are Ambulia, Nymphoides
(Banana Plant), and Microsorum (Java Fern).  Hygrophila
polysperma, which did very well in my 20-gallon tank with overhead
lighting is growing, albeit very slowly.  Hydrocotyle and Lemna, both
floating plants which just go crazy in my 20-gallon, are not doing
nearly as well in the 10-gallon.  I attribute this to the sunlight's
oblique angle of incidence.

>I do a 25% water change every Friday, daily supplements of iron
>and Seachem's Flourish (does anybody know its percentages of
>nutrients? It doesn't say on the label which makes me suspect
>there isn't much).

The water changes are similar to mine, but you are probably adding
way too much fertilizer.  Try fertilizing only weekly at water changes
and try to resist the temptation to add too much.  In my 10-gallon I
add only about 1 mL of Kent's Freshwater Plant Fertilizer per

>Filter is an Ovation 400 Internal power filter. CO2 is yeast method.

I don't know what size your tank is, but these should be adequate.

>However, I'm getting a green algae bloom on my glass and some
>nasty gray hair algae on my ferns which is slowly killing them.
>Should I discontinue the sunlight?  Since the tank is still cycling, is
>the algae getting a hold because of cycling (I read somewhere that
>algae sometimes grows when a tank is first set up)?  What should I

Mine went through a green water cycle too.  After months of
"cycling" the algae appears to have finally burnt itself out.  This may
be due to the fact that the plants have firmly established themselves
in the tank, are actively growing, and are using up nutrients at a
faster rate.  I would not cut out the sunlight, but I would definitely cut
back on the fertilizer. It helps to have access to a diatom filter, too.
Once a month I was scraping the algae off the glass and running the
diatom filter.  Be patient and don't give up. The sun is not your tank's
enemy, however too much fertilizer is.  There is much to be said for
a naturally-lit aquarium, although one may have to experiment with
a variety of plants to achieve the right mix for success.


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