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scrubb my plants?

Bron wrote:

> I have a huge problem with algae. 
---- [snip] ----
> So far I have been able to combat it enough to allow my plants to survive 
> by doing fairly frequent water changes.  I have a 29 gallon tank and I 
> exchange 5 gallons/week with RO water.  

Changing 15% - 20% of your water weekly is probably fine for normal
maintenance, but under stress 40% - 50% is not uncommon.  I change 15 - 20
gallons weekly (50 gallon tank).

> The problem is slowly getting better since I stopped using tapwater
> I used to mix the tapwater with RO 50/50.  Until I can do something to
turn the
> tide to the advantage of the plants I have resorted to physically
> removing the stuff from the broader leaves of my wendtii and java fern.
> Unfortunately, I can't seem to get all of it off.  Could I use a peice of
> cloth or polyester filter fiber to remove it? 

It sounds likely that your tapwater has phosphates in it.  I usually remove
effected leaves,  You can try rubbing or scrubbing algae off, but it's often
very tough to remove.  A leaf will often tear before the algae comes off.
I've tried the buffing pad I use for cleaning the green spot algae off of my
tank's glass, and even that doesn't work well.

> I plan to get a good phosphate test kit and possibly some type of filter
> resin to lower the levels.

Kent's Phosphate Sponge works, but that before you go dumping stuff into
your aquarium look into building a cheap DIY CO2 reactor (see the Krib) -
for less than the cost of a Red Sea phosphate test kit.  At your high light
level the added CO2 will give your plants the edge in out-competing the
algae for nutrients.  Plants need phosphates, and if you provide enough of
everything else they need they'll suck those phosphates up too.  If you're
successful with that, you might even revisit the need for RO water, which
would save you both time and money!  CO2 makes a BIG difference at higher
light levels.

Lastly, I've had it proven to me recently that you've got to physically
remove ALL visible algae from the tank by any means available when fighting
this battle.  Sacrificing the infested older leaves may seem harsh, but they
do grow back.

michael rubin 
mrubin at visa_com
1(650) 432-4685