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RE: Branch Algae/Ameca Splendens in Southern Calif

Tom Brennan wrote a response to my long missive regarding an attack of Branch 

In response to his request I am updating my situation:

I did receive several responses from APDers from my original posting 
recommending that I buy some Rosy Barbs.  On that advice I did buy five male 
Rosy Barbs.  Yes, Rosy Barbs do eat Branch Algae, but only if they are very 
hungry.  If there is any other food available, they will eat that rather than 
the Branch Algae.  I am afraid my new SAEs have also discovered flake food 
and prefer that to algae as well.  Fortunately, they eradicated the Fur Algae 
from my tank before they switched over to flake food.

In addition to adding the Rosy Barbs, I have cut back even further on 
fertilizer.  PMDD is added only when the Seachem Fe test shows no hint of 
purple.  One ml of PMDD is then added which will give just a hint of purple 
when the water is tested the next day.  I add KNO3 separately.  I only add 
the KNO3 after my LaMotte N-NO3 kit reads zero.  I add only enough so that 
the next day the water shows N=.25 to .5 which corresponds to 1.1 to 2.2 ppm 
NO3.  I just tested my phosphates again with my Seachem kit and P=.05.  This 
is up from the usual zero amount and is probably due to the increased amount 
of flake food I am giving the fish.  Still, P=.05 ppm should not be a 
problem, should it?

Using this reduced fertilizer program, the growth of the Branch Algae has 
slowed considerably.  It is still a nuisance, but it no longer threatens to 
take over the tank.  Spending an hour once a week pulling it out of the tank 
keeps it under control.  Most of my plants are doing great under this 
program.  Lots of bubbles every afternoon.  My Anubias nana and coffeefolia 
are putting out lots of new leaves.  Every other week I have to cutback the 
Mayaca, Egeria najas , Ludwigia sp. and Hygrophila Rosanervis.  One of my 
Ludwigia species and my Bacopa monnieri keep growing out of the tank so I 
have to keep cutting them down.  The only plant that is not thriving is my H. 
difformis which is in the back corner where it does not get too much light.  
It looks fine, it just does not grow.  The Myriophyllum matogrossense in 
front of it grows like a weed.

As I see my problem right now, I am adding too much flake food to the tank.  
Therefore, what I should do is remove the dwarf gouramis and neon tetras from 
the tank and only feed the remaining inhabitants (Bristlenose Plecoes, Otos, 
SAEs, Rosy Barbs, American Flagfish, and ghost shrimp) twice a week.  Note, 
that I say should, rather than will.  The male dwarf gouramis and the neons 
look absolutely gorgeous in the tank.  Removing them will be heartbreaking.  
Maybe, as an experiment, if I just cut down on the flake food for a week.  
Putting the neons and gouramis on a diet for a week won't kill them.

Tom, I will keep you posted.  Please do likewise.

Roger Gordon
San Diego, California