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re: Removal of plants

Adam wrote:
>I have plants that are showing some brown spots on them... should I be
>pulling out plants to clean them as described above? Somehow, that doesn't
>make sense to me... or, as suggested to me earlier in another post.. should
>I buy a fish that will specifically eat this crap? :)

Hi Adam:

I had such a bad coating of the brown stuff (diatoms) that although
I could remove it by just lightly rubbing the leaves in the water, that
created a mess in the filter system, so I decided to remove the
worst coated plants, rinsed them off outside the tank and replanted
them.  I'm not sure that your "brown spots" are necessarily diatoms,
so I don't know if that is something you want to do.  If it's diatoms,
the stuff should just wipe off if you lightly rub the leaves between
your fingers (correct me, somebody if I'm wrong) - it feels a little
bit slimy, and will look a bit like a cloudy dust - rust color in the
water.  Once the conditions in the tank settled down, all the brown
stuff went away - haven't seen any of it (knock on wood).  I now use
a phosphate removing media (Phos-Zorb) which reduced my
phosphates in the water - last reading was around .05 ppm - it
could have been phosphates, or silicates - which might help
diatoms to grow (and Phos-Zorb is supposed to also remove
silicates from the water).

- Lori