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Thank you

Hello all.  I wanted to write and thank everyone who contributes to this 
mailing list.  Thanks to you I have a very beautiful aquarium.  I subscribed 
to APD about a year and a half ago.  Last December I finally got the tank up 
and running.  I have a heavily planted 55g tank with Rainbowfish and a few 
neon tetras.  I use the Conlin/Sears PMDD courtesy of the Steve Dixon 
posting with Plantex CSM.  My substrate is a variation from the Jim Kelly 
posting with added lauterite and unwashed river sand instead of loam.  The 
data posted by George Booth was used for setting up my lighting.

I test for pH, calcium, phosphate, alkalinity, nitrate and iron.  I found 
that for me, (I am an engineer with NO natural understanding of plants) it 
was necessary to spend the extra and get LaMotte nitrate and iron test kits. 
 I change 30% of the water every two weeks and replace it with RO water from 
an under sink unit.  The pH stays at 7, the calcium is 30ppm, alkalinity at 
100ppm, nitrate at 3 to 5ppm and the iron a little less than .1ppm.  I have 
a little crushed coral in the tank to replace the calcium from the water 
change.  I am injecting CO2 into the impeller of my pump along with an equal 
amount of air.  The 5lb CO2 bottle is on its 8th month.  Everything is 
stable and looks great!

My only major problem with the tank was more algae than I wanted.  I finally 
realized the problem was threefold.  I was not pruning the plants enough and 
they were so thick I wasn't getting good water circulation, I had to many 
fish and I was using to much light.   I trimmed the plants back enough to 
give adequate water circulation and readdredded the lighting but I still 
have to many fish.

I have four 40W fluorescent bulbs in two fixtures for lighting.  I found 
that running all four for 10 hours produced to much algae growth.  I 
installed a second timer so that I could independently control each fixture 
and now I run 4 hours of 80W of light followed by 4 hours of 160W followed 
by another 4 hours of 80W of light.  This seems to be about what my tank 

It would seem that the fish load can be to great for the plants without the 
fish being crowded.  At least this seems to be logical.  My phosphate level 
stays at about .2ppm even though all other parameters are good.  The fish 
are quite happy and the Rainbowfish have spawned(don't know which ones but I 
have a tiny rainbowfish).  For best algae control though, it would seem that 
only enough fish to produce the needed phosphate would be best.   If you 
want a good looking tank with enough fish to look at, then you apparently 
have to pay with a little higher phosphate level and a little more algae.  
Anyway the algae is not a serious problem even though the phosphate level is 
higher than I would like.  The plants continue to grow well and everything 
relay looks great.

Again thanks to everyone who contributes to APD.

k5vkq at ix_netcom.com