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Bleach wielding aquarists

Paul wrote:

>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.  

I agree with what you have said so far, and understand the reasons that you
manage your tanks the way you do.  I have no quarrel with it, and
considering your goals it seems completely reasonable.

>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?

_THIS_ I have a problem with.  Do you really mean that I, or any of the
_many_ other people who don't have any visible signs of filamentous algae
in our tanks unless we neglect them should tear them apart and and bleach
everything if we want to consider ourselves "aquarists".  I'm not sure what
you mean about "playing games" to keep it in check.  I do regular water
changes - about 25% every two weeks, although I know I can go longer
without getting into trouble.  I prune my plants at least often enough that
the fish don't have to hop on top of them to get fed.<g>  I change my
filters when they slow down.  I dose with trace elements regularly, and N&K
as needed.  I don't worry about algae one way or the other, as I have very
little. (no filamentous algae without gross neglect)  Is this playing
games?  (BTW, just so you don't come back with a comment that the reason I
don't have problems is because of my old tap water copper problems, this
includes thanks which are run strictly on bottled water, so are completely
free of excess copper)

As far as Ich is concerned, it is my understanding that the cysts are even
present in tap water,  and that if fish are stressed or unhealthy, it is
able to take hold and reach "problem" levels within the system.  (I'm not
sure about Velvet, as I've never had to deal with it) So it seems to me
that this is very similar to the presence (or lack thereof) of filamentous
algae in my tanks.  As long as I take proper care of my fish, they are
healthy, not stressed, and don't get sick.  As long as I take proper care
of my higher plants, they are healthy, grow well, and I don't worry about
algae one way or the other.  I don't _worry_ about high nutrient levels in
my tanks because they don't exist.  I don't "work" at keeping them low... I
have to raise them to acceptable levels as needed for good growth in my
higher plants.

While I understand the reasons you do it, I don't think this approach is
necessary for all or even most aquarists.  I think Neil's approach of
bleaching new plants from questionable sources is a good middle-of-the-road
approach, and one I might use if I _had_ to add a new specimen out of a
tank that was clearly infested with some nasty algae.  So far this hasn't
happened to me.  The  most I've done is to quarantine wild collected plants
for about a month before introducing them to established tanks.  This gives
me a chance to see whether any "wild" algae they are harboring like
aquarium conditions. (most of the time, the answer is, "no")

I think that to suggest that you're not deserving of the title "aquarist"
if you don't bleach your plants is right up there with Dupla's anti-SAE
drops. (that's a joke, in case some newbie might be tempted to take it