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Re: Bleach wielding aquarists

>From: krandall at world_std.com
>Subject: Bleach wielding aquarists
>Paul wrote:
>>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?
Karen wrote:

>...._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

Karen, I did not intend to suggest that those who try to control hair algae
rather than eliminate it should NOT be considered aquarists.  I said that
those who work at controlling hair algae shouldn't RESERVE the title,
"aquarist" for themselves.  When I used, the verb, 'reserve', I meant to
set this title aside only for their own use.  That means that they
shouldn't EXCLUDE someone like me who got rid of hair algae, and call him
or her "a person that keeps aquariums".  I was reacting to what Ed said,
quoted below.  It seems to me that he was trying to say that I am not
deserving of the title, aquarist, but should only be considered an aquarium

>........"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."

From what I have seen in a protozoology text and in several parasitology
texts, the cysts of Ich are quite large and are attached.  It doesn't seem
likely that these cysts could be in anyone's drinking water.  It would take
a lot more confidence than I have to put a new fish, visibly infected with
Ich in a previously uninfected tank of fish.  My point is that both
diseases and hair algae are unwelcome.  The accepted strategy used by most
aquarists for treating Ick and many other diseases is to isolate and treat
the infected fish and return them, when cured, to an aquarium that is free
of the parasite. I am advocating the same approach for hair algae, and this
is a viable strategy because hair algae has several vulnerable points or
Achilles' heels, the first being a greater sensitivity to bleach compared
to the sensitivity of aquatic plants, and the second being the lack of
resistant spores or any other forms that can reinfect a tank during normal
tank mantenence procedures.

Some of the hair algae species can be pretty tough on aquatic plants, in
particular, Oedogonium, which coats everything with a dense layer of short,
tough hairs.  This coating collects debris, and blocks a lot of light,
causing light starvation for the plant and premature death of older leaves.
If the coating is less dense, it still is unsightly.  I tolerated various
hair algae species and kept them more or less under control until
Oedogonium showed up in my tanks.  The strain of Oedogonium I had did not
seem amenable to control, and I developed the bleach treatment out of
necessity.  Black beard algae also appears to be a species that causes a
lot of grief poignantly expressed on the pages of APD.  I havn't had an
infestation of BBA myself, but it doesn't sound easy to control from what I
have read.  Life is easier if you keep it out of your tanks!

Paul Krombholz, in rainy Central Mississippi.