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Mark Pan wrote:

>Thanks for your thoughts Karen, but i was meaning *too much* phosphorus
>being added to the tank via feeding. After all we get phosphorus (eventually
>phosphate) through all sorts of sources (including water for some
>unfortunate ppl) so I reckon we should try to limit it through feeding.

Or better yet, through proper stocking levels.

>The bulk of fish are the really small Parachereidon Simulans, most
>of which are no more than half and inch long.

That's the size they come in at.  That's _not_ the size they have to stay,
if cared for properly.
>That sounds just about right to me, the number of fish you have that is, and
>their size.

I didn't tell you the number of fish, but I'm glad you agree. ;-)

> I think what's important to note too is the type of plants being
>kept. I assume with 6 4' tubes, you must be keeping a fair number of stem
>plants and other high-light loving, fast-metabolising plants? Hehe, I used
>to keep these too, until my back gave in cos of the weekly trimmings. I also
>had 6 4' tubes. Now my entire tank is mostly java and x'mas moss and crypts
>with a large stand of cyperus helferi some microsorium pteropus and one
>large A. Rigidofilius. I've since cut down on lighting, running only 4 4'
>tubes. I'm glad to hear that you have no algae problems. But running a
>slow-growing setup like mine, if I were to feed everyday, I'm sure I'd be
>done for. 

Nope.  The tank is dominated on one end but a chunk of driftwood covered
with Java Ferns, and on the other by a large mass of Bolbitis.  There are
also several large old Anubias, and a big stand of Crypt wendtii 'Mioya'.
I use the higher light level because I also keep a nice bunch of R.
macrandra in the tank for color, and a Lillaeopsis lawn in the foreground.
Without those two plants, I could definitely reduce the lighting, but I
like the look, and, as I've said, have no problem with algae or phosphate

>hehe, yes I really hate that part of tank maintenance. However, I am very
>strict with the water changes, with a third being changed every week.

Good for you.  But if you really _need_ to change that much water that
often to avoid algae problems, again it points to the tank being over stocked.

>Yes, but in the wild, they have nature as a giant filter :-)

And in the tank they have the plants as a giant filter.

>Hehe, but yes, I get your point. I suppose there's quite a bit to graze on
>in my tank too, although nowhere as much as in the wild. The idea of live
>foo feeding continually from a refugium sounds interesting though. 

Dr. Adey at the Smithsonian has worked with a number of these systems.

>Have you set up something like this before? 

No, I hate over-complicating something that is quite simple... Grow the
plants well, don't over stock and feed the fish well, (but don't over feed)
and you'll have good sized full colored fish in a beautiful, lush, algae
free tank.

>How would you ascertain the "right" amount to be released at any one time?

With FW live food, it doesn't really matter how much you release at once.
What the fish don't eat now, they'll eat later.  The only limit would be
water clarity (unless it's mosquito larva, in which case _you_ probably
want to make sure the fish eat every last one, but it won't hurt the tank
at all when they hatch ;-)

>I was referring to their ability to forage for food. The runts normally
>die-off. Natural selection.

Not a bad thing, natural selection.  I don't really want runts in my tank

>I don't think that goldfish is in good shape. I know where you're headed
>Karen, and I assure you it isn't like that in my tanks :) 

I'm glad to hear it.  And it may be that enough microscopic life is growing
on your plants to supplemetn what you feed.  But it _really_ is not
necessary to feed _that_ lightly in order to avoid algae problems if you
are doing it right.