Re: APD v1 #219

I currently have a 29 gal. heavily planted tank and some experiences
related to questions others have asked recently (suggestions for 29
gal. and Peat/algae topics). I also have a few questions :)..

 I have had this tank in its current configuation for about 18 months.
I have a Fluval 303 filter with the output connected to the spray bar
that comes with it and to a tube that runs down to the RUGF.  I have no
idea how the flow is split between the two outlets.  The water level is
about what it would be in a 20L tank, so there is quite a bit of room
above the water.  The spray bar water splashes onto plantss mounted on
cork, originally Java fern and Bolbitus, now the Bolbitus is completely
submerged.  I originally had two 20W Tritons as the only light and was
able to grow low light plants like Anubias nana and some crypts.  This
was kind of boring, so this spring I decided to get more goodies and
ordered a second strip light. I thought I ordered fluorescent but got
an incandescent unit instead.  Trying to make the best of this, I went
to the grocery store and bought 2 25W compact fluorescent bulbs (color
temperature 4500K from GE).  I also added yeast CO2 through an airstone
near the intake to the canister filter (I tried  INTO the intake at
first but soon got tired of burping the filter).  I adjust the CO2
level by moving the spray bar up and down when needed. This made the
immediately noticeable 

streams of bubbles and significant growth I had hoped for.
    Prior to this I had quite a bit of blue-green algae -- I think this
 was affecting my plants more than other limitations. I had been making
progress against this by making sure that I removed as much of this as
I could when cleaning the tank (rather than haphazardly stripping it
off the plants and only catching what was easy).  Within the next month
the tank produced a sequential display a one kind of algae after
another as the conditions improved.  The quantities were more limited
than before and the growths seemed much less damaging to the plants.  I
now have some green dot algae on broad leaves and occasional outbreaks
of a soft branched algae that is easy to remove. Towards the end of the
second month after the new lights (when I could afford it) it also
started adding Dupla drops and tablets.
  Through all of this time I have had one section of the Fluval filter
full of peat (changed about once amonth). (Hagen peat is much easier to
use than Eheim by the way).  The point of this is you can have both
good and bad algae situations with peat.  I use the peat to keep a
limit on the KH which goes way up here in late summer (river water
source).  The peat keeps my KH around 3 (which is actually lower than I
would wish).  The tap water KH ranges from 5-9 at this time of year I
found it takes a significant amount of peat to be effective, an earlier
attempt using much smaller internal filter had no effect.  I tried this
after using PH down (contains phospates) and an iron supplement to
create the worst Hair algae mess imagineable, the peat works much
    Anyhow I have noticed a few negatives that go along with the
increased lighting and nutrients and hence my questions.  My cardinals
spend most of the time now hiding under the Java fern because they
clearly do not like the bright light.  Are there any other small tetra
kind of fish that like soft, slightly acid water and tolerate a little
more light??
    Secondly, some of the cryptocorynes (supposedly C. walkeri and C.
petchi) which are planted in the front of the tank under the compact
fluorescents are now 10-11 inches tall whereas they were about 4" when
I planted them (makes great foreground :( ). Is this their "normal"
size or some strange response to too much light?  Terrestial plants
always get leggy for too _little_ light so what gives?
    Thirdly I recently got brave and bought some Cabomba (prob.
    carolinus) and some Rotala macranda-- any hints on growing these?

    And finally, when I started adding Dupla drops it took 10 drops a day 
for a week before any iron registered on the Dupla test. Is is possible
the peat was chelating it or doing something so it wasn't measured, or 
could starved plants acutally use it up that quickly?.