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Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V3 #1120

>From: "Jeff Malmquist" <jmalm at uclink4_berkeley.edu>
>Subject: Brown Algae out of control!
>I seem to be having a problem in my tank.  It is a 20 gallon tank that I set
>up about a month ago.  I planted several plants, including Ludwigia, Bacopa,
>and some Hair Grass.  I added a DIY yeast system, and built my own hood,
>with three 15W lights (a Triton, a Grow-Lux, and a Power-Glow, 45W total).
>I even started adding Kent's Freshwater Plant micronutrients.  The pH is
>7.0-7.2 with CO2.
>Still the plants refuse to grow.  They grow, but very very slowly.  And I
>don't get the bubbling on the leaves that I hear about.  Even worse, in the
>past week or so, I have gotten a brown algae invasion on my tank.  It is
>creating a thick layer on the sides.  I cleaned the front glass on Friday,
>and its already starting to regrow by Monday.
>My fish are:  8 cardinals tetras, 5 rummy-nose tetras, 3 GreenGold Cory's, 3
>Cory punctatus, 2 Algae eating Shrimp, a Singapore Shrimp, and three
>swordtails (added a day or two ago).  Im thinking of getting some
>algae-eating fish to combat the algae.
>My first question is why aren't the plants growing?  Am I doing something
>wrong?  Is the bacteria sucking up the CO2 and nutrients?  I thought I was
>getting plenty of light with 45W, but I've read that brown algae means I
>need more light.  Second, why so much algae?  Too many nutrients?  Will
>Hillstream Loaches or Flying Fox SAE's get rid of the brown algae?  I prefer
>to avoid Oto's or Pleco's.
>Thank you all.
>Jeff Malmquist


Your 45 W still may be on the low side.  However, I think your biggest 
problem is that you let the algae have the first start.  Are the algae 
covering the plant leaves also?  If so, the plants will have a hard time 
growing now.  You need to scrub and vacuum off as much of the algae as you 
can, from the tank walls as well as the leaf surfaces.  Then get a lot of 
algae eaters.  Why don't you like Otos?  I think they would be great for 
your situation.  Add about 10 Otos, one dwarf pleco (Peckoltia vittata), 
and a couple of Farlowellas--and make sure you have some driftwood for 
them.  SAE's won't do anything for your type of algae, but you may want to 
start looking for a couple as preventative measures.

Also, you may want to add more plants.  Check your kH to see if you have 
enough CO2.  And try another fertilizer, like Seachem Flourish.  But do 
those things after you take care of the existing algae first.

Good luck,

Hoa G. Nguyen
Freshwater Planted Aquarium: http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Hills/2637/