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Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V3 #1421

>Subject: backgrounds, substrates, hair algae DIY. help!
>Hi all,
>This may be a bit off topic but I am sure its relevant to many aquariasts
>I am re building some of my aquariums (all eventually) and I would like to
>have a nicer back ground then simple black fabric behind the glass.
>Firstly for a 48x24x24 to be a low-tech discus/plant tank. I would like to
>glue a thin layer of black/natural gravel with silicone to the rear and
>sides of the tank and then allow java moss to grow over it. Has anyone
>tried this? Would Java moss grow well on these walls 1.3 watts/g fluros and
>82f pH 7

Check out archives first. There's several blurbs on this. Your idea will
work fine.
Cork will work also.
>Secondly I want to build my first African cichlid tank (48x18x18) which
>will include a rocky environment and some tough low light plants. Ideas!?!?
>anubias, ferns etc. i suppose. Has anyone built a fiber glass background or
>one of polystyrene and carved/shaped/painted it to appear as solid rocks.

Pots or coconut half shells with a good mix of soil,sand and peat are good
to consider.
These can hidden by java moss and rocks etc to make it look very nice. 
For a rocky background, try siliconing some slate pieces to a piece of glass
or thin flat rock slate back and add this to your tank rather than trying to
reproduce a natural environment out of synthetic stuff. It's cheaper and
easier but does weigh more. Looks much better IMO too! You can add wood to
it etc also. Painted (non-toxic paint)styrofoam blocks can achieve a cool
backdrop but float well so they need to be secured down.

>Another problem is that of using fine sand for the discus/cichlid tanks.
>Does the fine sand tend to go anaerobic due to the high nutrient levels and
>fine substrate texture, what about with only a fine layer?

Are you planning to plant the plants in it? Very small sand does have that
issue attached to it(anaerobic). The 2-3mm stuff is great for both types of
fish. AF sand dwellers did great in it for me years ago. Discus don't care.
If your goal is breeding you might consider no sand and plant things in pots
and use java moss as a "gravel".

>Is there a total cure for hair algae, what's the name of the fish that eats
>it (flag tetra?) I am sick of trying to starve it of P and N and Fe etc. My
>tank was doing much better when there was more of each nutrient (before I
>got hair algae a few months back!) My SAE's do not touch the stuff!

Rosy barbs are good for it IMO. Keep CO2 in a good range. Pick it out
Often it just goes away after awhile after your tank stabilizes. Annoying
though. Starving the plants is hurting them and helping the algae get a good
hold. There's a good article on it in the KRIB on this balance between
algae/plants and nutrients. Read it! It won't hurt you. I promise<g>.    

>Please could someone point me to relevant resources or give me their
>personal opinions on the topics!

Archives , archives, archives and the Krib. Look there if you need some
help. The answer is almost always there.

>Thanks all
>Daniel Green.
>Enjoying his long awaited end of school summer holiday by the beach in
>Perth, West Australia.
>bevgreen at cygnus_uwa.edu.au