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Re: Ideas, please

Roger Miller wrote Mon, Oct 27:
>I'm looking for plants that will coexist in unfertilized, very brightly
>lit tanks with val. americana, hornwort and crypt. wendtii.  The water has
>very little general hardness, but plenty of carbonate hardness and I've
>measured the pH in the tanks over 9.  Soon (when the leaves finally fall
>outside) these tanks will be getting about 6 hours/day of direct sunlight,
>and they each have 2 15-watt flourescent tubes with soon-to be upgraded
>reflectors.  Over the last couple years I've tried java fern, anubias nana
>and a myriophyllum sp. with varying degrees of miserable failure.
>I want to get enough growth in these tanks to put up some significant
>competition with the green water.  Alternatively, can anyone think of any
>(available) filter feeders that will live with grass shrimp, guppies and
>otos?  One tank has a clam in it already - clams do so-so, but I haven't
>been able to keep them alive more than about 9 months or so.

One possible filter feeder is the tadpole of the African clawed frog,
Xenopus.  They clear up green water fairly well, but, unfortunately, they
soon turn into frogs.

If green water is the major problem, then maybe the solution is a denser
growth of the plants you already have.  I would try to get more of the val
established.  Hornwort isn't very effective in clearing green water, even
when the tank is  packed with it.  Val, I think, is better.  Najas is also
a plant that grows well under high light, low CO2 conditions.  So is Egeria
(Elodea).  Perhaps some of the swords can also duke it out seccessfully
under these conditions.  To get rid of persistant green water I net out my
fish and add Daphnia.  After they clear the water, I keep the fish out for
several months longer, allowing the plants to grow more.  Then, when I
return the fish, the water has always stayed clear for at least a year.  My
planted tanks with any fish at all tend to have a rather low ratio of fish
to plants.  The higher this ratio gets, the better the chances for green

Another low tech solution is the Daphnia cage, a cage of monofilament
polymer cloth where the mesh size is just small enough to keep Daphnia from
getting out.  The water circulates through, and the Daphnia clear out the
algae but are protected from the fish.  It works quite well for me and
requires very little upkeep.  See TAG 5:3, pp 50-54 for an article on the
Daphnia cage.

Paul Krombholz in chilly, Jackson, Mississippi, where we are forcast to get
our first frost tomorrow morning.