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Re:snails carrying algae

>From: BlackNet Runner <br at ldl_net>

>Here's my $0.02 on snails and algae.  Get some SAE's and don't worry
>about it anymore :) they are simple, great and very effective removers
>of algae.  After you clean everything in bleach, grow mts in the dark
>and the like what will be next?  How about a clean room for the tank,
>sterilize your hands, the water you use, and how about the fish? I would
>be willing to be that fish will carry the spores as well.  Simply put
>there is nothing you can do to prevent algae from comming into contact
>w/ the aquarium.  This is what make the difference in an person that
>keeps aquariums and an aquarist.  The aquarist will strive to keep
>everything in check.
>Wasn't it Takashi Amano (correct me if I am wrong) that stated there
>will be all forms of algae in the tank at any given time, if conditions
>become right for growth then it will explode.

There seems to be a certain amount of misunderstanding about the bleach
treatment, and what the reasons are for employing it.  The bleach treatment
is designed to free plants of various types of hair algae.  There is an
assumption that hair algae spreads by airborne spores that will quickly
reinfect a tank.  This is just not true!  I have gotten over 40 species of
aquatic plants free of hair algae over the last 30 years, and I have never
seen a reinfection of a tank except once when I dumped in a fish somebody
gave me along with several cups of water from this person's tank.  On one
other occasion I got some Cladophora that survived a too-light bleach
treatment.  I got rid of it on the second try.  I have read up on the life
cycles of the families containing the common species of hair algae, and
they do not include the production of resistant spores.  In summary, if you
have gotten rid of hair algae with the bleach treatment, you don't have to
worry about its return except by the introduction of new, untreated plants
carrying in the hair algae or the introduction of fish from somewhere else
along with water carrying fragments of hair algae. Another possible way is
via the shells of snails from an infected tank.  I regularly use rain water
collected from my roof, and I have never seen any hair algae show up.  I
have bought plants covered with black beard algae, treated them, and have
never had any of the algae survive the treatment.  I have never found a
species of aquatic plant that I couldn't successfully treat.  While it
works for hair algae, the bleach treatment does not get rid of green water
types, soft attached types that snails can eat, and Cyanobacteria.

The value of having a tank of plants free of hair algae is that you do not
have to constantly try to control it.  You do not have to worry about your
phosphorus or other nutrients getting too high. Since I like to experiment
with nutrient dosing, and I like to try to give my plants the best
conditions for growth, I can't afford to have hair algae threatening to
take over all the time.  It has certainly been worth it to me to have my
tanks free of hair algae, and it hasn't been any trouble for me to keep
them that way.  Others may like to play all the games to keep it in check,
but they shouldn't reserve the title, "aquarist" for themselves.  Does the
"aquarist" tolerate ick, velvet, and other fish diseases in his or her tank
and merely try to keep them in check?

Paul Krombholz, in rainy Central Mississippi.