New Tank, daphnia reactor, and Name that algae!

Hi all.  Been pretty busy lately & haven't had a lot of time to post for a
while.  To catch up:

In the last month I've finally torn down my 45 gallon med-tech planted
tank (which you could read about on the Krib except that it's still down
for another 3 or so weeks while we wait for a replacement disk drive) and
replaced with a 75 gallon glass tank (Wow!  What a difference in
front-to-back depth.  I love it!).  For lighting, I'm using six T-8 5000K
bulbs in a custom suspended hood (thanks Karen for bringing this knowledge
to the group).  I've moved up from Lake Shasta pseudo-laterite to red art
clay, but stuck with my old 50 watt Duplaflex cable as JP Burleson was
back-ordered for 8 weeks for 100W ones (and I set it up only days before
George announced his used cable for sale... grr).  Upgraded plumbing from
a single 802 powerhead to a Quiet One pump (including the world's most
overbuilt acrylic sump in order to avoid drilling holes in glass).  I'm
splitting the pump output between a return to the tank and a low-flow quad
manifold (you can find them in the drip irrigation section of your local
hardware store), both controlled by ball valves.  One low-flow output runs
into my CO2 reactor (your basic tube filled with mini-balls, CO2 and water
both entering from the TOP, CO2-laden water exiting back to the sump
through the BOTTOM). 

One extremely cool feature of having four low-flow lines is that I can add
in other "reactors" to the system, the first of which I call my "daphnia
reactor".  This is based on an idea by Paul Krombholz in an old TAG. 
During the end of the 45 gallon tank & the start of my 75, as I began
experimenting with higher light level, I had a terrible green water
problem (unicellular algae).  Daphnia (water fleas)  are notorious for
being able to clear green water, but the trick is keeping the colony from
being eaten by the fish.  I trickle a low-flow output into a 5-gallon
pickle bucket which has been seeded with Daphnia.  A hole is drilled in
the side of the bucket near the top & tapped with some PVC bulkhead
fittings which overflow the water back into the sump.  The overflow is
plugged with filter floss to keep even the smallest of creatures in the
bucket.  It took about 3 weeks for the Daphnia to multiply to the point of
clearing the tank... at this point, they are switching to reproduction by
eggs, so I'm guessing their work is mostly done.  The neat part is that I
got to harvest the daphnia in small quantities as a great live food.  And
when the "reactor" has served its purpose, I can take out the daphnia and
use it as a refugium for beaten-up fish and the like.  Anyway, perhaps
this info will prove helpful to someone with a similar problem.

Today I finally got to cleaning the tank, and found in addition to
amazing plant growth, I'm also seeing a new algae.  At least I THINK it's
a new algae; maybe it's a weird green worm that attaches itself to leaves
extremely close to the top of the tank.  It shows up as single filaments
of width ~0.5 mm, length ranging from 0.5 cm to a couple centimeters (the
latter specimens have root-like branches).  Is this the famed Staghorn
algae?  I'm just so excited to see something new for a change!

Finally, I'm so proud!  The higher level of CO2 is paying off...  my
Dicrossus filamentosum (checkerboard cichlids) spawned! Those guys are
spunky -- the little female is even beating up on my Kribs.

     - Erik

Erik D. Olson					         amazingly, at home
eriko at wrq_com