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A disastrous algae outbreak.

I have been "lurking" around here for a while now, and being quite the novice 
I am hesitant to share my experience as a model for others, however, I (or 
rather my 38 gallon tank) seems to have survived a major algae outbreak 
recently, so I thought I would offer a description of my experience:  I 
recently set up a 38 gallon tank, hoping to combine an "Amano" type aesthetic 
with as many dwarf cichlids as I could cram in.  I bought a nice selection of 
plants from Arizona Aquatic Gardens (bolbitis, java fern, anubias, various 
crypts, cabomba, e. tennelus, saggitaria,etc), planted them in flourite, and 
started adding fish.  BTW, the tank was lit with a (rather expensive) "Phazer 
IV" light I bought from That Pet Place which holds 4-30 watt Triton bulbs.  

After about a month, disaster struck in the form of spreading masses of what 
Peter at my LFS called "filamentous hair algae." This was essentially 
stringlike blue-green-gray algae, between 1/4"-1 1/2" long that rapidly 
covered most of the (previously healthy) leaves of virtually all of the 
plants in the tank (the cabomba was spared for some reason). The algae clung 
tenaciously to the plant leaves, and was therefore essentially impossible to 
remove manually. And it was apparently of no interest to the algae eating 
fish I had in the tank at the time (ottos, plecos, and several false 
siamensis). Needless to say, my version of a "Nature Aquarium" looked more 
like an abandoned algae pool than one of Amano's tanks. 

Having been on the verge of giving up and tearing down the tank completely 
several weeks ago, I am  happy to report that (to cut to the end of the 
story) the tank is now essentially completely free of that awful hair algae 
and the plants are growing nicely.  Following is a list of the various 
tactics I used which (probably in combination) solved my problem:
1) Sera Algopur (a copper based algicide); 2) Aggressive water changes 
(20-40% 3 times per week); 3) (Lots and lots of) Sera Phosvec, to reduce the 
(insanely high) phosphate levels in my tank from >3 down to about 1 (I 
suspect this was the major cause of my flourishing algae);4) Reducing light 
duration from 11 hours per day to 9; 5) Adding a CO2 system, which may have 
helped the plants compete more effectively with the algae; 6) Aggressive 
trimming of the most severely affected leaves; and (the coup de grace), 
adding 4 (which, unfortunately soon became 2) true siamensis. Within a day or 
so after the true siamensis had been added the remaining algae looked like it 
had magically been vacuumed away, and my tank was rescued.

Well, hope this is interesting to someone out there...Linc Duffy, Pleasant 
Valley NY