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RE: Green Water

I know that we've covered the green water topic to death only recently but I
just noticed something in two of my tanks that some might find interesting.

I have a tendancy to buy plants whenever I visit a petshop, and sometimes
end up with more than I have room for. On occassion, I will also come across
something which is really nice and I want to try it out to see how it grows
for me. I have two 20 US Gallon tanks sitting on a table next to my computer
desk (under a measly 80 W or Chroma 50 light, which is really suspended way
too high to be properly effective). Whenever I'm overstocked on plants, I'll
pot them up in individual clay pots (from the garden centre), with a small
foam plug in the drainage hole, a couple of inches of topsoil in each pot,
and a good inch of clean quartz gravel over top. And into one of these
holding tanks they go.

Until earlier this week, both of these tanks have been run without fish. I
just added some fertilizer every week. One has always been crystal clear,
and the other has always been pea soup green. It didn't matter that I
regularly change out about 60% of the water in each tank and replace it with
tap water - one tank is clear and the other tank is green.

About a month ago, I noticed severe signs of nutrient deficiency in a tray
of Dwarf Sag which was in the crystal clear tank. Older leaves were going
translucent in spots and new growth was spindly and pale green, almost

I tried adding Flourish Iron at 2X the recommended dose for a week and just
ended up with some green algae on the glass. I then made some "clay pellets"
with extra fertilizer in them and injected them into the substrate (not an
easy job, due to the density of root growth in the tray, caused no doubt by
the plants loving the topsoil. I can see excellent root growth through the
transparent sides of the container.) A week went by with no improvement.

In desparation, I added about a spoonful of KNO3 to both tanks. Within a
week, the pale green of the Dwarf Sag was history, and they are now looking
great once again.

But still, one tank was crystal clear and the other tank was pea soup green.
I don't really do much testing of the water in either tank (I've got too
many other tanks to test). Early this week, I bought a group of really nice
Hi-Fin Lyretail Swords (am I the only one who still loves really nice
livebearers???), and not having any place else to put them, decided that
they would have to go into the plant holding tanks. I did run an Ammonia
test which showed no ammonia in either tank, so I put the females in one
tank and the males in the other. Since they are fry, I have been feeding
frequently. In the past day or two, the pea soup green tank seemd to be
clearing up. It was still murky this morning, but now is almost as clear as
the other tank. Not crystal clear yet, but definately better than it has
ever been.

Question: Is the change due to the KNO3 I added two weeks ago, or due to the
presence of fish (however small) and the fish food and wate products which
go along with them?

James Purchase