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Re:Bleach treatment

This is in reference to Steve's post on Oct. 10.  I notice an inverse
relation between daylength and the length of his posts.:-)

My quarantine tank is just a five gallon with some coarse gravel on the
bottom.  Since I am moving fish out of a fur algae-infested 20 gallon tank,
I am doing them in about three groups. so as not to overcrowd them during
their stay in the quarantine tank.

No, it wasn't Java moss that is as tough as nails, although Java fern might
qualify.  The most I ever gave Java moss was two minutes, and unexpectedly
it survived.  All the little 'leaves' got killed, but the stems lived.
Actually that is pretty tough for such a skinny little plant, but I never
had Java moss in bleach for 5 minutes.

My experience with hair algae has been pretty extensive, and I have seen a
lot of the types.

Cladophora is one of the very bad ones.  It is bushy, has a characteristic
rank smell and it attaches to things.  A typical filament has numerous
short side branches.  It occasionally sends out flagellated cells,
zoospores, which anchor somewhere and start new growth.  This is not
common, and much of the spread is by pieces of the filaments.  It requires
4 minutes in the 5% bleach, and is the most resistant hair algae species I
know.  Fortunately it is usually attached to old plant stems and the bottom
gravel, and the recently grown parts of thin-stemmed plants that might not
survive 4 minutes of bleach are usually free of it.  The kinds of plants I
have found it attached to have been plants that can withstand the 4 minute

Oedogonium is very bad, also.  It is probably the one people are calling
fur algae.  It spreads very rapidly and prolifically by means of
flagellated cells, and covers leaves of plants and other objects in a dense
coat of unbranched hairs, about 2 to 5 mm. long. It is much more sensitive
to bleach than Cladophora, and can be killed by one to two minutes, but if
the coating of hairs is dense enough, the bleach doesn't circulate well
enough to kill the basal cells.  I have treated densely furred plants two
to three minutes and seen the Oedogonium return.  When it is only scattered
hairs, it can be eliminated completely by a short treatment.  I am in the
process of getting rid of an Oedogonium outbreak now, and I had to treat
some myriophyllum twice to get all of it.  I have been putting my treated
plants in gallon jars on the windowsill, and, when I noticed the Oedogonium
getting started in the jar with the myriophylum, I just pulled out the
plant, retreated it in bleach for two minutes, and set it up in a new jar.
This time it looks like I got it all, and the plant didn't seem to show any
damage from the second bleach treatment.

The So-called black beard algae is a kind of red algae, I think.   I got
some plants from a store in New York City that were badly covered with it,
and was able to eliminate it with a three and one half minute treatment.  I
had another type of red algae a long time ago that had greenish to copper
colored, branching strands that were thickest where they were attached and
became more slender as they branched.  I can't remember how many minutes of
bleach I needed to kill it, but it was probably around three.

Finally I have had to deal with long, tough, unbranched threads that form
tangles around plants or green mounds out of which the plants attempt to
struggle.  One of these types may be Rhizoclonium. They seem quite
sensitive to bleach, and two minutes appears to be enough.

Actually, I make the bleach treatment as long as I think the plant can
stand, rather than timing it according to what kind of algae may be on the
plant.  I havn't found any plants that can't take at least a two minute
treatment.  I was sure the Java moss couldn't take that, but by golly, it
did.  Thin-stemmed plants like Ceratophyllum are more sensitive to the
bleach, and they will lose all their leaves after a two minute treatment,
but with good light and iron in the water, they recover nicely.  Elodea
(Egeria densa) has a nice thick stem and can withstand three minutes
easily, although not without loss of the leaves. Anubias is extremely tough
and could take six minutes if it needed it, and so are the rhizomes of
crypts, lace plants and other aponogetons, etc.

I am currently battling a worse problem than hair algae---a species of
ostracod that chews up my plants.  What's the problem, you ask.  The
problem is that it lays eggs that have delayed hatching times of up to a
year or maybe even longer.  The eggs are also resistant to drying, full
strength bleach and concentrated hydrochloric acid.

Paul Krombholz in Jackson, Mississippi where the rains have been staying
off to the west.