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Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V2 #1112

Subject: Yet more green water!

>I do belive that I offered a possible cure for bacteria bloom, initail
>questiom was in regards to running in a new tank.  If I erroniously
>stated it was a cure for green water I apologise.  Within the context of
>the discussion though I belive it was clear that it was "green water"
>(should this be called white water?) due to tank run in.  I have never
>actually experienced true algea bloom so I can't say much about it. 

Just so you don't confuse them again, "green water" is green.  The
bacterial bloom that sometimes is associated with NTS is whitish.  It has
no green color to it because it is not algae.  A product that introduces
more nitrifying bacteria into the tank may hasten the end of a bacterial
bloom.  But then again, patience will work just as well and is less expensive.

>It takes some courage for a relitive novice such as myself
>to post here.  If sometimes we make mistakes, novices that is, please
>excuse us.  Nobody learns without mistakes, not even the Gurus

That is certainly true.  But novice or guru, if you make a mistake, you
have to expect to be corrected.  Otherwise none of us learn from the


Subject: Running In of New Tank

> I think I have done
>all the "right" things in setting up the tank, but I am currently battling
>an algae plague.  The algae is brown (and from what I gather is probably
>diatoms), and it is spreading at a very fast rate.  If left on the leaves
>of the plants, the brown algae grows into a thread like texture.  I have
>been manually removing as much of the algae as possible, but they reform on
>the leaves as fast as I can remove it.  

I am not _positive_ that what you have is diatoms because of your statement
about the thread-like structure.  Diatoms themselves make only a dusty
covering on things.  But it is possible that you have a colony of diatoms
and another algae growing together.  If it _is_ diatoms,  nothing will take
care of it faster than a goup of Otocinclus sp.  I've seen a group of six
clean out a heavily infested 55G tank in a weekend.

>The tank specifications are :
>Bottom 1/3 laterite base, upper 2/3 gravel (3 mm size)
>Approx. 35 gallons
>70 watts of lighting on for 12 hours per day
>No PMDD fertilisation at present
>Water changes at approx. 30% per week
>Fast growing plants, such as cabomba, hygrophila, vallisneria, water
>sprite, and ambulia (approx. covers 60% of tank) all growing well and
>putting out new shoots.
>Can anyone provide suggestions as to how I can get rid of this type of
>algae ?  eg. more frequent water changes, additional fertilisation of
>plants, CO2 injection, longer length of lighting ?  Or do, I have to be
>patient and hope that this is just a running in phase, and it will
>disappear by itself ?

Your light is a little on the low side for some of the plants you are
keeping.  Are they growing well, or are you seeing a lot of dying leaves?
Something in your tank is causing nutrient levels high enough to cause
algae problems.  This is one possible source.  Another possible source is
the PMDD's.  If you are adding nitrate this early in the game, that may be
causing your algae problems.

Adding CO2 to your tank would most likely give the plants a boost, which
would probably to help them in their battle against algae as well.

Subject: antisocial plants and independent fish

>There must be other cases of allelopathic incompatibility, and probably 
>hoards of examples where one plant out competed another.

I can add an anecdote about one plant outcompeting another.  I once had E.
tenellus growing in section of the front of my 70G tank, and Lillaeopsis
brazilliensis growing in another.  For a while, both did about equally
well... if anything, the tenellus spread a little faster.  Then we had a
very hot summer, where the temperature in the tank hovered around the 90F
mark for almost 6 weeks.  Most of the plants held on, but most looked as
limp as we all were feeling.<g>  The Lillaeopsis, however started to grow
very quickly.  The E. tenellus, which I think was weakened by the prolonged
heat, retreated, and every inch that the tenellus retreated, the
Lillaeopsis took over.  Within a couple of months, there were only a few
scraggly pieces of tenellus left.  

I ended the experiment there, because I liked the Lillaeopsis better
anyway.  I pulled out the little remaining tenellus, so I'll never know
whether it could have won back some its territory with the onset of cooler

- -------------------------------------------------------------------------

>Lots of primarily algae-eating or biofilm-eating fish (like otos) could
>probably survive in an aquarium without feeding.  I can think of two
>essentials:  1) You must have a small fish population and 2) the tank must
>contain a diverse community of algae and potential prey.  Obviously, lots
>of other blanks would need to be filled in, too.  This is something I'm
>working very slowly toward. 
>Adey and Loveland (1991.  Dynamic Aquaria, Academic Press) describe a
>2,500 gallon, self sustaining freshwater "tank".  At that size the system
>was actually able to maintain a fairly diverse fish population without
>feeding, including several kinds of tetras, several kinds of catfish,
>common livebearers and even a cichlid (butterfly ram).  Their book is a 
>little short on the details. 

I have a little unintended experiment of this sort going on in my basement.
 I have a 30G tank there set up to hold various plants that I'm not using
in my display tanks.  The idea originally was to use it as a holding tank
for trimmings from upstairs.  Unfortunately(?) things started growing there
too, so it has become another tank that needs occassional weeding.  When
the water level gets _really_ low, I fill it back up again, but that's
about all I do.  The plants are potted in soil, so they get their nutrients
from that.  

There are a number of small snails in the tank as well.  The other day, I
noticed an inch long Aplocheilus lineatus in the tank.  I never
intentionally put him there, but as I do have an adult pair in an upstairs
tank, I can guess where the egg came from.  Since there are no other fish
in the tank, I never put any food in.  He must be surviving on microscopic
critters in the tank, or on snail eggs.  One way or the other, he is
obviously finding enough to eat and grow, as his belly is nicely filled
out.  For those who don't know this species, it's an Asian Killie, and
normally a little surface predator... it does not normally eat algae.  

I'm going to keep my eye on the situation, and as long as he continues to
look healthy and keep growing, I'm going to leave him where he is, and see
what happens.

Karen Randall
Aquatic Gardeners Association