Cleaning Plant Tanks

Hello Everyone,

I have been lurking and reading the list for quite a few months, and I have
posted a couple of times. My name is Carol and I am a technician in a
crystallography lab. I have 3 tanks, a 55g, a 37g, and a 30g. The 55 houses a
large Oscar and other South American cichlids, so it contains no plants. The 37
is a high tank and it's my Discus tank. The 30 is a long tank, and used to be
the Angel tank, till I got frustated after killing the 5th angel and bought 6
baby gold Severums. There is one angel left in that tank who will have to go
when the Severums get big, I suppose.  I have been obsessed with fish and
aquatic plants for a little over two years now.  When I first set up my tanks I
used Goldfish to cycle them, and it took apx. 1-1.5 months.

When I set up my tanks I had no algae problems at all. I have lately begun to
get algae in the Discus tank, and a little in the Severum tank. It is green
slime algae and some sort of hair or brush algae, and the kind that groes on
the glass but comes off easily ( 3 types of algae in all). In fact it's all
easily removed. I did have a brush algae that was very difficult to remove, on
an anubias (nana) but I removed the plant, did the bleach soak procedure, and
that type of algae seems to be gone.

I think I created the algae problem when I started to mess with the pH and
water hardness in the Discus and Angel tanks. The water here in Columbia MO is
EXTREMELY hard. And my pH w/o CO2 is up around 8.0. What I did was use Kent
Neutral regulator and ph reducer, before they came out with the ones w/o
phosphates.  I quit using them and went to the manual CO2 (Yeast) production. I
made reactors out of an old fashioned box filter and the end of a gravel vac.
Both reactors are very simple and primitive. I think they work better than just
bubbling the CO2 into (and back out of) the tanks.

I hope I am not totally boring people, but I never tell any personal stuff so I
thought maybe some of the newbies (more than me!) might be interested.

Now I would like to ask the plant Gurus if when you are doing maintenance, do
you take the plants out of the tank; uproot them, to prune, clean algae off
etc.? Do you clean up dead leaves and stuff or let it form a natural
fertilizer? I don't mean a lot of leaf debris, but some? Do you stick the
vacuum nozel (sp?) into the substrate at all?

Also, in the process of getting the tanks to stabilize and plants to grow,
finding which ones would grow ect., I have ended up with a tank (Discus) that
looks as tho it was landscaped by a psychotic landscaping student or something.
:-) So, would you uproot and rearrange? It doesn't really displease me
actually, and especially if stuff ever really started to grow, it wouldn't look

Boy. I just looked at how long this is so I will shut up now.  I really enjoy
this list and appreciate everything I have learned. Thanks everyone.