Bluegreen Algae & The Grool

---------- Forwarded message ----------
To: Aquatic-Plants at ActWin_com
From: krombhol at felix_TECLink.Net (Paul Krombholz)
Subject: Re: Bluegreen algae and the Grool

My five-year old daughter has discovered Goosebumps books, written by R.I.
Stine, who is currently monopolizing the kiddie horror book market.  I have
read four Goosebumps books to her, and one of them had a monster in it that
reminds me of bluegreen algae (Cyanobacteria).  The monster was called the
Grool, and it was sort of like a sponge, but when somebody found it, it
started bringing that person bad luck.  That unfortunate person was then
forced to keep it, because, if it were given away, its former owner would
die in one day, Now, I am not saying that bluegreen algae is like that, but
it does have some properties in common with the Grool.  The Grool could not
be destroyed by physical means.  It always reconstituted itself.
Furthermore, it thrived on the misfortune and hatred of its owner and any
others who were nearby, who also had bad luck.  The more strenuous the
efforts to get rid of it, the happier it was.  Are you starting to see some
similarities with bluegreen algae?

Our heroine tried various ways to destroy the Grool, none successful.
She even tried putting it through the garbage disposal grinder, but it
popped back, cackling with glee. When all seemd to be lost, she came up
with the idea of  witholding the hate and dislike that it thrived on.  She
held it, sang little love songs to it, and kissed it.  It soon stopped
breathing and withered away to some brownish fluff that blew away.

I have a fifteen gallon tank that recently had a bad bluegreen algae growth
covering a lot of my plants. There are no fish in the tank, only Daphnia
and some snails.  The ramshorn snails didn't want to eat the bluegreen
algae and were dying out.  Pond snails didn't like it either.  I had not
given the tank any nutrients for a long time, except some potassium.  The
plants or portions of them that were not covered with the bluegreen algae
looked yellow-green and nitrogen deficient.  So, like our heroine, I
started loving the algae.  I gave it more nutrients by adding some small
dried liver pieces.  As the liver pieces decayed, the snails started to
perk up and move around some more.  I took a half-teaspoon full of dried
liver, scattered it on some damp sand in a shoe box and let it get moldy
for about five days.  Then I rinsed the whole mess into the tank with
water.  The snails definitely were starting to grow.  The bluegreen algae
began to turn a dull brown and break up into clumps.  I added another bunch
of dried liver pieces composted on sand for a week.  Along with this, I
added iron DTPA, 0.5 mg Fe per liter.  Now the algae really looks sick and
there is less of it each day.  The snails are laying eggs and there are a
bunch of baby ramshorns cleaning off the glass.  The plants have turned a
nice green, and nearly all the algae has fallen off them.

The message is clear:  Don't try to get rid of bluegreen algae by starving
it.  Instead, pamper it to death.

Paul Krombholz                  Tougaloo College, Tougaloo, MS  39174
In cool, pleasant, Mississippi where it is cool if the high temp is below
90 and pleasant if the dew point is below 70.