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Re: info about the browned plants

MarsalaSix at aol_com at MarsalaSix at aol_com wrote:

> My plants tend to last for a few months before they are covered with a brown
> layer that is unappealing and can't be wiped off.  I think it inhibits their
> photosynthesis, too, because they lose health, and I am forced to uproot
> them.
> The pH of the tank (29g) is 6.8, GH 9deg., KH 4deg., 26-27deg. temp, about 1
> 1/2" layer of gravel (not colored or anything) with Root Tab iron fertilizers
> put into gravel around monthly, plus water fertilizer (FloraPride) and
> Flourish conditioner for plants.  Water changes are 10 to 14 days, seriously,
> no nitrite/ammonia probs, never tested for nitrate, filter is a Whisper
> Power, model 3, biobag changed regularly.  The tank top only has room for one
> standard flourescent so lighting is limited, it's a 20 watt "vitalight," on
> almost 12 hours a day.  Fish include 8 Tiger Barbs and 3 3" Clown Loaches
> plus the 2 Foxes.  Plants have included a variety, bacopa, cabomba (never
> again, need too much light for my tank to stay bushy), hygrophilia.  The fish
> are fed twice a day, flake on top, a couple tabs on the bottom, occasionally
> dry food treats like water fleas.  No CO2 devices.  Those are all the stats.
> Now that they're all together, I think I'll save them for my own files!
> - --Rachel

I suspect you have brown (diatomic) algae, which does well in low light
where the water is nutrient-rich. Probably the cheapest solution is to get
some otocinclus in there--about five or six should do it. They'll eat it.
You don't say how many plants you have, but if they are not densely planted,
increase the quantity until they are. Instead of cabomba, try ambulia, which
looks similar but doesn't need nearly as much light. Grows very fast as
well, so it should help in out competing the algae. You could also increase
your lighting by retrofitting your fixture with a compact flourescent kit
from A H Supply (www.ahsupply.com) for about $40, or build your own hood
with T8s. Get the ottos and dense plantings in place first before adding
more light, or you'll just trade brown algae for green algae. Maybe try
thinning the feedings down a bit. While you're at it, add more gravel; 3 to
6 inches would be better.


Dan Dixon