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Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V2 #1116

Sorry, I'm catching up with some items I wanted to comment on, but didn't
have a chance to respond to earlier in the week.

Subject: Bacterial Bloom Questions

>During a fit of mental blockage I added too many fish to my planted 90
>gallon.  I added 6 SAE's and 6 gold barbs to control the algae.  What I
>forgot was that I was more than doubling the fish load, and, waaalaaa -
>bacterial bloom.  I have experienced this before and found that it takes
>about a week for the thing to clear up.  But, it has been over a week and
>still I find the bacteria doing quite well.  The fish are fine, the algae
>is dying (yeeeehaaa), and the hobbiest is getting worried.  In taking with
>various plant people and experienced fish people, I am finding a wierd
>composition of suggestions.  These range from chemical treatment (not my
>plan in the least) to waiting.  My questions are the following:
>1.  Is the bacterial cloudiness the nitrofication bacteria that have become
>free-floating or is it another bacteria that has bloomed and is feeding on
>the nutrients in the water (i.e., E. coli, salminilla (humor here)?

Nitrifying bacteria colonize substrates.  They are not free floating.  The
bacteria in your water is something different, although I can't tell you
what kind.  (hey, after years of believing nitrifying bacteria were
Nitrosomonas and Nitrobacter, it looks like that might not be the case)

>2.  I have increased the temp to 78 F and have stuffed the canister filter
>with more material for the bacteria to colonize on - what else can be done
>to decrease the bacteria?

I'm not sure that increasing the temperature will have any benefit.

>3.  Some have said to squeeze a sponge, from a "stable" tank, containing
>colonized bacteria into the tank to help the process - sounds
>counter-productive to me.  Is this incorrect thinking on my part or will
>this help?

Well, it's better to squeeze it into the filter, because where you want to
build up the bacteria colony.  Even better is to move already colonized
filter material into your filter.

>4.  If the bloom does not disappear in another week then what is my next
>move; i.e., tear the tank down and start over,

Absolutely not.  You'll just remove all the bacteria they _have_ colonized.

> massive water changes,

Can slow the process down, but are sometimes necessary if the fish are
looking distressed, or if there are measureable ammonia or nitrite readings
in the tank.

>particle filtration?

Won't work.  Bacteria are too small.

The best medicine is the tincture of time.  It's time to start practicing
your patience.

>5.  The exact names (latin) of the bacteria?

Again, we used to believe that the "good guy" bacteria were Nitrobacter and
Nitrosomonas.  That may not be the case, as it turns out.


Subject: Heteranthera zosterifolia bloom

>I fallen a bit behind in the maintenance of my open top tank and have been
>rewarded with the loveliest blooms on the Heteranthera zosterifolia that has
>grown to the top.


>  I'm thinking of letting it remain at the top for a while
>so I can enjoy these dainty flowers.

I would.

> Does anyone know if allowing this bloom
>to continue will lessen the vigor of these plants?

I haven't ever flowered this plant, but I doubt it.  I've never lost any
other aquarium plant by allowing it to bloom.

>BTW: This is my first open top tank (a 125 gallon).  About a week ago I
>experienced the downside when I found my missing seventh SAE on the floor
>behind the tank. Tonight, however, I discovered that I still have seven SAEs
>(at least).  Apparently, they spawned.  It must have been some time ago
>since the young SAE I saw was almost an inch long.  Wish I had noticed; I'd
>have put sponges over the filter intakes at least.

Extra neat!

Karen Randall
Aquatic Gardeners Association