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Re: a question of balance

> I have purchased new light bulbs, since my old ones have been in operation
> since February. (Old ones haven't burned out but APD advice tells me they are
> much less bright than when new.) There are now three 17w T8s of two different
> types (one is SPX50 but I can't remember what the other is). Now I am afraid
> to put the new bulbs in. I'm worried that the formerly shaded, less-than-
> robust plants will be too slow-growing to prevent an algae bloom.

The old lights probably aren't so spent that the difference will be huge.
Fast growing plants already rooted in your substrate and acclimated to
your water conditions are in a good position to respond to increased light
and nutrients, but there might be a brief lag before they're in full gear.
You might want to put your new lights on the tank one tube at a time over
a period of a two or three weeks to ease into the change and allow your
hygro, cabomba and elodea a little more time to respond.

> My fear is that there is a small but developing
> green-water problem that the 3 big SAE are not quite handling (though they've
> developed a real taste for flake food).

I don't think SAE are equiped to filter out single-cell algae that make
the water green.  They eat attached algae.

> Should I change the light bulbs and fertilize,
> maybe with the fertilizer tablets at the roots of some plants; fertilize and
> wait for a growth spurt before changing bulbs; [...]

Watch the tank and see what is needed.  If the water turns green then you
can probably just continue with normal maintenance for a while and the
green water problem will disappear as the tank settles in again.  At the
worst, you might want to cut back on the fertilizer you add directly to
the water.

> or other plants to increase nutrient use before installing new bulbs; change
> 20% of the water every day for a week; tear down the whole thing (after about
> a year in operation) and start over (please don't say yes); or try something
> completely different!?

Whoa!  Relax!  Get a massage, cut back on the coffee or something :-).

Roger Miller

In Albuquerque, with sunshine on the mesa and snow on the mountains.