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re: Algae help


I think you answered the questions well, but I have a couple of ideas.

If the present nitrate level is undectectible and there is a lot of algae,
then it's because whatever nitrate is present in the water is being used up
by the algae.   My cousin's 65 gallon tank had the same problem.  Lots of
algae on the glass and on leaves, but nitrate was low.  This is a tank that
has no CO2.  He bought a couple of gold nugget plecs and they've eaten all
the algae.  The plants are now growing well and as an indicator of better
nutrient availability, the watersprite is also doing very well. It's not
being starved from below.  Sometimes just getting rid of the algae in this
way, allows the higher plants to take advantage of the available nutrients .
Unfortunately with only a 29 gallon tank, any serious rasping algae eating
fish is going to outgrow the tank.  It's almost like you need to borrow
someone's fish for a few days to do the work and then give the fish back.:)

When the bioload is so low, why do 50 percent weekly water changes?  I've
got a 30 gallon tank with 55 watts compact fluorescent.  The tank is not in
a basement so it gets plenty of light through a west facing window.  There
are Beckford's pencilfish (numbers are growing slowly due to spawning) -
over 12 of them, 6 pygmy corys, 1 oto, 1 neon tetra.  The plants are growing
well but I only perform a 30 percent water change on this tank once every
three weeks.  The tank gets topped up once a week due to evaporation and
PMDD is added at that time, but basically the bioload is so small and the
plant load so large that there isn't a problem with accumulation of DOAs or
calcium.  Half of the surface is covered with Ludwigia repens which has sent
roots down to the substrate.  Crypts, Echinodorus bleheri, Aponogetons, Java
moss and Nymphea lotus are doing fine, albeit not growing at a tremendous
rate. There's some salvinia on top as well mixed in with the Ludwigia.  The
perfect low maintenance tank and the fish are happy, else why are they
Yes, there is a bit of hair algae which I remove every few months in among
the floating plants, but I view this as good because the fry have someplace
to hide.

I think the algae infested tank written of is over-complicated.  At 110
watts compact fluorescent, that's high light for a tank that is not chockful
of stem plants.  Adding CO2 just makes the need for more plants.  If the
lighting could be put on a timer such that even with let's say 12 hours of
lighting, there is an intensity variation such that one light starts 3 hours
before the other goes on, then both are on for 6 hours and then one only for
the remaining 3 hours, the tank should be alright without CO2 and without
adding tons of stem plants.  Using a liquid fertilizer should give the
plants a boost but the lower light levels should also prevent the algae from
consuming all the nutrients (nitrate and phosphate) coming from the fish.

Just thoughts.....

Gabriella Kadar