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Re: Sterilize Azolla
Walter & Jeanne Klockers wrote:
> 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).
I think you should not try to use soil if your fish are real burrowers.
I think some people may have used egg crate or similar screening to
protect a lower layer such as laterite or soil. A friend I know potted
his plants with soil in small plastic containers and securely fastened a
plastic screening around this. This prevents even the worst burrowing
fish from uprooting the plant or digging up the soil. Unfrotunately, I
don't think it can stop determined cichlids from shredding the plants
during the process of setting up a breeding territory. Floating plants
are an idea for those guys.
> Another option would be to stock the tank with Java Fern and Java Moss.
> [snip] However, in order to get the full benefit
> that a heavily planted aquarium would provide, I hoped to also construct
> a Plant Filter.
See above suggestion. I don't think you need to resort to this extreme
unless you want to experiment with some neat technical gear. In that
case: go for it!
> Now...how do I assure that I do not introduce any pathogens to my tank
> via these plants?
I think you're overconcerned about pathogens. Most things that you need
to be concerned about can simply be rinsed off the plants such as water
soluble fertilizers, spider mites, aphids or other insects. I wouldn't
worry about the microscopic flora & fauna except for filamentous algae
which should not be present in ivy or other terrestrial plants.
> Should I use a bleach solution instead?
If you have an existing aquarium, I wouldn't bother with it but if you
don't have any filamentous algae, you may want to avoid introducing any
of the bad varieties which should be easy to spot as green cotton
threads or hairs tangled upon the plants. Oedogonium is quite ubiquitous
(commonly present) and you cannot determine its presence by inspection.
A short bleach dip (1-2 minutes) will eradicate it. This is the fine,
fuzzy stuff which is fairly common but can be managed by controlling
nutrient levels and with a few good algae eaters.
> I have yet to take a serious look at the lighting that I will use for
> the filter.
You can use much stronger lights here since the emergent leaves will not
be affected by the algae growth.