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Re: [AGA-Member] the step back

I'll offer a couple of thoughts.

Once the tank stabilize and your routine is settled, it's
not hard to keep ahead of algae. Once an infestation is
established, cleanup and water changes can be very helpful
to beating back the algae, that and being sure that your
plants have all the nutrients they can use. It's best to do
a big water change right after a big algae cleanup -- I
think this helps to remove the material that is set afloat
as well as the algae spores in the water. If the algae
outbreak is bad, try to remove as many items as you can
(rocks, driftwood) so that you can thouroughly clean them
before puting them back in the tank.

I generally aim for ortho-phosphate, nitrates, and K at 1,
10, and 20 ppm, respectively. I think the exact K level is
the least important so long as it's above about 10. I
actually add potassium sulfate in addition to potassium
nitrate and potassium phosphate to almost all of my
aquaria, including most of those without high levels of
lighting and no added CO2.

Adding CO2 can be helpful in that it speeds plant growth,
especially for fast growing plants like the more common
swords and lots of stem plants, for example. Keep those
plants as happy as you can. Don't think of nutrients as a
way to control algae, think of them as plant food.

Adding some siamese algae eaters
(see http://www.aquatic-gardeners.org/cyprinid.html )
can be helpful keeping hair and the so-called black beard
algae (bba) at bay. Some folks think otocynclus fish are
helpful too but I favor the ancistrus plecos. I find they
do a much better job of scrubbing surfaces pretty clean.
But you don't want too many of these, one per tank up to
about 30 gal.s is enough and they should have some
driftwood to graze on.

It seems to me that a neglected tank (few water changes,
lots of fish food and irregular or imbalanced dosing of
plant nutrients) seems to develop algae problems while a
tank with robust plant growth and regular dosing, even if
the nutrients are at the "high" levels I suggested above,
tend to stay free of algae problems. My point in saying
this is that stout nutrient levels don't seem to encourage
algae but to actually help avoid or discourage it. I
suspect that this is because wide imbalances in plant
nutrients and the build up of organic compounds tends to
encourage one alga or another while not doing so much for
the plants -- if the plants don't have enough of one or the
other the macronutrients, then they are limited in how much
they can make use of the others. But under those
conditions, some species of algae will find the conditions
favorable. As your tank becomes established, it might go
throw stages of diff types of algae being dominant -- diff
ones favoring diff niche conditions. But the tank reaches a
point where the plants are favored much more than any algae
-- and the plant become robust. At that point, the tank
will probably be less finicky about waterchanges so long as
the nutrient levels are maintained.

You don't need to maintain 1, 10, 20 every moment or
everyday. But dose targeting those levels, and do so every
other day or every third day if the levels decline


--- Nickeydundee@aol.com wrote:

> Dear Terry,
>     Sounds like a good idea sometimes you get many  ideas
> all at once and 
> want to try it all. Basically what I want out of this
> tank  is to learn how to 
> grow plants correctly and then turn the tank into a 
> reasonable work of art. 
> This isn't my first tank I have been doing fish 
> fresh/salt for years (about 15 
> years) and saltwater reef tanks for about (10  years) so
> I am not new to the 
> hobby just new into planted tank area. Damn it  seems to
> be the most challenging 
> part of the hobby yet for me. What I am looking  for is
> sound advice from 
> people who know and to incorporate it into this tank  and
> make it successful. I 
> am tried of doing my weekly water changes just pulling 
> out hair algae scraping 
> blue/green algae off the glass brushing off the diatom 
> algae by hand from 
> leaves of plants I want to do water changes weekly but 
> instead of dealing with 
> algae I want to be cutting plants and really start the 
> aquascaping part. 
> Finally, what is really wanted with this tank is to look
> into  a beautiful garden 
> after a long day of work and be happy with it and enjoy
> what  I have created.
>                                                     AZ
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