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Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V3 #298

Hi All,

I am about to tear down my tank in order to lay down a new substrate. 
(I'm replacing my 1" of plain gravel with a 3" depth of gravel with
Terralit.)  However, I've encountered a couple of issues with which I
hope you can help.  I have a feeling I may need to deal with them while
the tank is torn down...

My first problem relates to a black growth on leaves.  My plants keep
the nitrate levels low in the tank, and my fleet of algae eaters (4
SAEs, 3 Chinese Algae Eaters, 5 Otos, and 4 Black Mollies) keep the tank
devoid of algae, except for this yet-to-be-identified black stuff.  This
black stuff is in the form of small black spots. 
They only seem to form on older leaves, and start out as very small
dots, only on the leaf margin.  If left for some time, more seem to
accumulate into small, thin patches, and proceed inward on the leaf
surface, although the highest concentration by far remains on the leaf

It does spread quite slowly, but it does strike the older leaves of
virtually everything in the tank eventually.  It's not a huge problem,
but it is a shame, and I hope it doesn't worsen.

Is it possible that this is black brush algae, that my SAEs are keeping
'mowed' short?  Is it some relative?  Is it something else entirely? 
How would I best deal with it?

My second problem may be related, but I'm not certain.  I have Water
Sprite growing both floating, and rooted.  For some time, it grew like
mad, and all of the growth was green and healthy.  However, during the
last several weeks, it has changed somewhat.  First, growth has slowed
somewhat.  Second, my submersed water sprite is developing many holes in
the leaves, leaving a lace-like effect.  Third, my floating water sprite
is behaving strangely:  Any leaves which float directly on the surface
are fine, but any leaves on the same plants which are actually BELOW the
surface go a sickly looking yellow/brown/black color.

Are these problems the result of a deficiency?  (No other plants exhibit
any symptoms like this.)  Is it a further manifestation of the black
stuff mentioned above?  Are my algae eaters causing the holes by
removing the material off of the extremely tender leaves?

Any information you can give would be appreciated.  In addition, do you
have any advice on method?  If anything drastic is required, it would be
nice to do it during tear down.

Tank Parameters:
	70 Gallon
	82 Degrees F (I can't seem to get it lower in this weather)
	Fluval 203 Filter
	160W fluorescent lighting (mixture of full spectrum, plant, and cool
	Plain gravel (at present)
	Yeast-Method CO2
	Kent Freshwater Plant Supplement
	Running for 5 months
	Lake Ontario tap water (7 degrees total hardness, 4 degrees carbonate

Thanks in advance for your help!