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Re: Sterilize Azolla

Stephen and List:

Quoting those immortal words from the horror movie classic, "The Fly":
"Help, me! Pleeeeease, help me!"

When I first joined the APD (a few months ago), I had thoughts of
revamping my current 80 gal tank into a planted aquarium. My thinking
has changed over this period of time. I simply cannot bear to part with
my mischievous, digging, burrowing loaches and eels. I'm afraid that
they would make quick work of any planted substrate that I were to
introduce. (The idea of potting the plants doesn't appeal to me).

Another option would be to stock the tank with Java Fern and Java Moss.
That way I could attach them above the substrate to the pieces of wood I
currently have in the tank. However, in order to get the full benefit
that a heavily planted aquarium would provide, I hoped to also construct
a Plant Filter. I was inspired by Lee Newman's article in the June(?)
issue of AFM. Lee adapted his wet-dry filter into a Plant Filter using
emergent Brazilian Swords (Spathiphyllum spp.) held in place by egg

I plan on doing something similar -- using my current wet-dry skimmer,
prefilter and return system. For the "box" I thought I could save a
little money and purchase a rubbermaid container instead of an aquarium.
The containter measures 36"L X 18"W X 17"D (Please place the attached
file into Windows paintbrush to view complete plans). I thought it would
be a pain to constantly have to take out and trim Brazilian Swords from
horizontal egg crate, so I designed a very simple "vertical version" of
Lee Newman's filter. The vertical slats of egg crate can easily be
removed to give the plants trimming without hassle. To the vertical egg
crate, I hope to grow a very hearty variety of English Ivy that
apparently doesn't mind wet feet: Hedera Helix 'Needlepoint.' (The stuff
loves it in my 90 gal paludarium!) Because this variety of plant can
grow vertically, and has very fine leaves (not blocking out too much
light), I thought this would also allow for some floating plants in the
filter like Azolla and/or Salvinia. Both of these floating plants are
readily available at a local nursery. 

Now...how do I assure that I do not introduce any pathogens to my tank
via these plants? I was under the impression (correctly?) that a
solution containing potassium permanganate would do the trick. I
purchased a 2 fl. oz. containter of Jungle Clear Water for this purpose.
It's active ingredient is .53% potassium permanganate. I earlier posted
a query as to how much to use and for what duration, but got no
response. (Archives listed 1:1,000 for 30 sec, or 1:100,000 for 30
minutes -- sorry, I'm a math flunky -- how does that translate to my
bottle of Clear Water?) Should I use a bleach solution instead? I really
don't care about snails. (If any snails where to make it into the tank,
they would probably be quickly consumned by the Botia macracanthus and
B. sidthimunki). I was under the impression (correctly?) that if the
Anabaena azollae in/on the Azolla were harmed, that the plant would
suffer. True?

I have yet to take a serious look at the lighting that I will use for
the filter. Perhaps I should have done that first...knowing that it
would have an affect upon what type of plants I'd use for the filter!
<g> Any suggestions here, PLEASE? <g> I do realize that the Salvinia and
Azolla will require a high amount, but how much? (My observation: ivy
can tollerate low light levels, but will rapidly grow in higher levels).
There should be about 4 - 6" of water in the filter, so the lights will
be at least 11 - 13" above them. Curious, what effect does (clear) water
have on light? Any difference in the intensity of light between the
light source and 12" of water verses 12" of air?

Any thought on this project from you folks with knowledge and experience
in the planted aquarium realm would be *greatly* appreciated! :-) TIA

Walter B. Klockers
Elma, Washington...wet...wet...wet...wet...wet...wet....
(Our neighbor to the Northwest, Forks, has accumulated a total of 155"
of rainfall *so far* this year. That's over 12' (FEET) of rain!!!!!!)
Most folks do not realize that there IS a rainforest in the continental
United States...however, it's NOT tropical! <g>