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Re: what to look for in a petshop

I know this is asking way too much, but I would really like to see aquatic
plants guaranteed free of hair algae, specifically, Cladophora,
Rhizoclonium, Oedogonium, black beard algae, staghorn algae, and perhaps a
few others that can't be eaten by ramshorn snails.  Retailers could charge
quite a bit more for hair algae-free plants, in my humble opinion!

Perhaps sometime in the future it will be possible for wholesailers to
supply clean plants.  Retailers would have set up clean tanks, but that
involves only a cup or two of bleach and just a little extra effort.  Many
wholesale plants now are reared emersed in small pots and they should be
free of hair algae, especially if they came from tissue cultures.  It is
the plants that are reared submersed that bring in the hair algae, which
quickly gets on all those potted plants that originally were clean.  Once
the retailer's tank is infested with the hair algae, it gets on every plant
that is put in it.

For the wholesailer, it would be a considerable amount of work to get their
submersed plants clean.  It would also be more expensive to grow them
because they could no longer be grown in outdoor ponds.  Perhaps there
could be "middlemen" who undertake the task of cleaning plants if cleaned
species are not available already, and growing them in tanks where they can
be kept clean.

Probably more than three quarters of the plants that are often available
for aquarists are grown emersed, and it would very little extra work for
wholesailers and retailers to keep them free of hair algae.  The remaining
obligate submersed ones like Vallisneria, Ceratophyllum, Najas, Eigeria,
etc. are generally easy to grow, and, once they have been freed of hair
algae, they can be propagated relatively easily and quickly.  With the
exception of Eigeria and Ceratophyllum, how often do you see these in pet
stores anyway?  The mail order plant suppliers are just about the only
source for many of these plants.

Hair algae does not come out of the soil. It does not come from spores in
the air, and it also does not come in on rainwater collected from my roof.
It gets in tanks usually from infested plants, or sometimes from fragments
floating in water that is introduced along with a new fish.

Paul Krombholz in seriously dry central Mississippi, where a strong cold
front came through yesterday morning, but with only 0.12 inches of rain.