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The Bleach Method

Contents:

  1. [F]: Red algae - Experience with bleach method
    by papakostas-at-gmd.de (Panagiotis Papakostas) (17 Jun 1994)
  2. [F]: Red algae - Experience with bleach method
    by papakostas-at-gmd.de (Panagiotis Papakostas) (18 Jun 1994)
  3. [F]: Red algae, bleach method (Repost and update)
    by papakostas-at-gmd.de (Panagiotis Papakostas) (12 Jul 1994)
  4. bleach and Vallisneria
    by Stephen.Pushak-at-saudan.HAC.COM (Mon, 28 Oct 1996)
  5. In defense of the bleach treatment.
    by krombhol/teclink.net (Paul Krombholz) (Thu, 9 Oct 1997)
  6. Bleach
    by "Dixon, Steven T. (Exchange)" <stdixon/ben.bechtel.com> (Tue, 5 Jan 1999)
  7. Bleach
    by Neil Frank <nfrank/mindspring.com> (Tue, 05 Jan 1999)
  8. Re:snails carrying algae
    by krombhol/teclink.net (Paul Krombholz) (Thu, 7 Jan 1999)
  9. Algae/bio/bleach/Cladophora
    by krombhol/teclink.net (Paul Krombholz) (Sun, 14 May 2000)

[F]: Red algae - Experience with bleach method

by papakostas-at-gmd.de (Panagiotis Papakostas)
Date: 17 Jun 1994
Newsgroup: rec.aquaria,alt.aquaria



Hi all,

in my 30gal freshwater tank I had a problem with red algae. I was able
to keep them under control, but I had to remove the affected leaves
every week. 

So I decided to try to apply the bleach method to the entire aquarium
(i.e. plants, equipment, tank and gravel). In addition I would add some
REAL Epalzeorinchus Siamensis after the treatment and additional
lighting (I had only 2 * 18 Watt fluorescent tubes).

As described in a previous posting (I can't recall the author) I put
the plants in a solution of 1:19 (bleach:water) for 2.5 minutes. Then I
rinsed them thoroughly under the faucet. After that I put them in tap
water, that had been treated with 3 times the recommended dose of
dechlorinator. I left them there for 2 hours.

During this time I removed the fish and put them in a 3 gal. bucket
filled with aquarium water and having the canister filter running in
the bucket.
(The canister filter was the only part of the equipment that I didn't
treat).

The thermometer and the heater had been put in the same solution with
the plants but left there for 2 hours.

During this time I also treated the tank, that was now empty except
from the gravel inside. I added a solution of 1:25 bleach and left it
there for 2 hours while I periodically stirred the gravel. After that I
emptied the bleach solution, put fresh water with 4 times the
recommended dose of dechlorinator and left it there for an hour. Then I
removed this water again, rinsed the gravel with tapwater in a bucket,
put it back into the tank (after mixing a part of it with bottom
fertilizer) and added new water with 1.5 the recommended dose of
dechlorinator.

Now I added the plants and then the fish WITHOUT the old tank water
(because I was afraid of introducing again spores of red algae). After
that I added the filter and the remaining equipment. I put also some
pH-minus to decrease the pH of the tapwater, which was 8.3, added
fertilizer and started the CO2 injection to provide the plants with the
nutrients they need. I also added an additional fluorescent tube, so
that there are three 18Watt tubes in total now (2 warm white (Philips
82) and 1 GroLux (Sylvania)).

Then I was curious about what would happen to fish and plants.

There are now 3 weeks gone after this treatment and the following has
happened:

0. All red algae disappeared first :-)

1. One week after the treatment 2 out of 5 added Epalzeorynchus
Siamensis died. I don't know why. They were the smaller ones. All other
fish (6 neon tetras, 6 guppies, 2 anchistrus, 5 corydoras) are ok,
including the guppies-fry.

2. The effects on the plants are more interesting:
 Egeria ??? didn't make it. But it had been weak due to the red algae
before the treatment. 
 Vallisneria suffered also very much. Prior to the treatment they have
been very dense and up to 30 inches long, growing and reproducing very
fast. Now only the bottom parts (about 10 inches) are left BUT they
slowly recover. A new leaf I can see is already 3 inches long. I think
they will grow again.
 Hygrophila Polysperma and Gymnocorrinis Spilanthoides have lost many
leaves (only a few leaves on the top were left) but on the day after
the treatment the first new leaves have begun to grow. Currently they
have regained many leaves and new ones are still growing.
 Echinodorus Parviflorus and Lobelia cardinalis haven't lost any leaves
but some of them became yellowish and they remain so until now. But on
both of them new leaves are growing.
 Alternathera Reineckii and Rotala ??? have lost only few leaves and
with the additional light I provided them after the treatment they are
growing faster than before: in the three weeks they gained 2-3 inches
in height and new leaves.
 Cabomba Caroliana and Sagittaria Subulata remained totaly unaffected
and are growing as fast as before.
 
3. One noticeable effect was an increase in nitrates. Before the
treatment there had been 0 nitrates in the tank. After the treatment
the nitrate level increased to 40 ppm within a week (tapwater 5 ppm). I
think there are two reasons for that: first, the suffering of the
plants, which have lost many leaves and so they cannot utilize as much
nitrates as before. The second reason might be the dead snails in the
treated gravel.

4. I was hoping that red algae wouldn't appear again. Unfortunately I
was wrong. Last week (i.e. 2 weeks after the tretment) I saw some of
the older leaves of Hygrophila Polysperma having very small (1 mm) hair
algae on them :-(. I didn't remove them, because I wanted to know if
the 3 Epalzeorynchus Siamensis would eat them. And indeed the next day
they were all gone :-))). 
I don't know why they appeared again. The reason could be the spores in
the filter together with the high nitrates. I don't know. But I am
hopeful that the algae eaters will help to keep them under control,
without having to remove leaves each week. 


I'll wait for a month and post again how things will develop.

Bye,
Panagiotis



********************************************************************
Panagiotis Papakostas                   * German National Research *
GMD, Schloss Birlinghoven               * Centre for Information   *
53757 St. Augustin                      * Technology               *
Germany                                 *                          *
e-mail: papakostas-at-gmd.de               *                          *
********************************************************************

[F]: Red algae - Experience with bleach method

by papakostas-at-gmd.de (Panagiotis Papakostas)
Date: 18 Jun 1994
Newsgroup: rec.aquaria,alt.aquaria


Hi again,

I am posting again to add another useful observation:

 I tested the nitrates a couple of hours ago and found them decreasing.
The nitrate level has fallen by about 10 ppm (from 20 to 10) since the
last water change, which was 5 days ago. I think that's a sign of
general recovering of the plants. 

Bye, 
Panagiotis

********************************************************************
Panagiotis Papakostas                   * German National Research *
GMD, Schloss Birlinghoven               * Centre for Information   *
53757 St. Augustin                      * Technology               *
Germany                                 *                          *
e-mail: papakostas-at-gmd.de               *                          *
********************************************************************


[F]: Red algae, bleach method (Repost and update)

by papakostas-at-gmd.de (Panagiotis Papakostas)
Date: 12 Jul 1994
Newsgroup: rec.aquaria,alt.aquaria

Hello everyone,

here is a repost of my 1 month old posting about the results of
applying the bleach method to get rid of red algae in freshwater tank. 
After the original posting an update follows.


*******  PREVIOUS REPORT  *******

Hi all,

in my 30gal freshwater tank I had a problem with red algae. I was able
to keep them under control, but I had to remove the affected leaves
every week. 

So I decided to try to apply the bleach method to the entire aquarium
(i.e. plants, equipment, tank and gravel). In addition I would add some
REAL Epalzeorinchus Siamensis after the treatment and additional
lighting (I had only 2 * 18 Watt fluorescent tubes).

As described in a previous posting (I can't recall the author) I put
the plants in a solution of 1:19 (bleach:water) for 2.5 minutes. Then I
rinsed them thoroughly under the faucet. After that I put them in tap
water, that had been treated with 3 times the recommended dose of
dechlorinator. I left them there for 2 hours.

During this time I removed the fish and put them in a 3 gal. bucket
filled with aquarium water and having the canister filter running in
the bucket.
(The canister filter was the only part of the equipment that I didn't
treat).

The thermometer and the heater had been put in the same solution with
the plants but left there for 2 hours.

During this time I also treated the tank, that was now empty except
from the gravel inside. I added a solution of 1:25 bleach and left it
there for 2 hours while I periodically stirred the gravel. After that I
emptied the bleach solution, put fresh water with 4 times the
recommended dose of dechlorinator and left it there for an hour. Then I
removed this water again, rinsed the gravel with tapwater in a bucket,
put it back into the tank (after mixing a part of it with bottom
fertilizer) and added new water with 1.5 the recommended dose of
dechlorinator.

Now I added the plants and then the fish WITHOUT the old tank water
(because I was afraid of introducing again spores of red algae). After
that I added the filter and the remaining equipment. I put also some
pH-minus to decrease the pH of the tapwater, which was 8.3, added
fertilizer and started the CO2 injection to provide the plants with the
nutrients they need. I also added an additional fluorescent tube, so
that there are three 18Watt tubes in total now (2 warm white (Philips
82) and 1 GroLux (Sylvania)).

Then I was curious about what would happen to fish and plants.

There are now 3 weeks gone after this treatment and the following has
happened:

0. All red algae disappeared first :-)

1. One week after the treatment 2 out of 5 added Epalzeorynchus
Siamensis died. I don't know why. They were the smaller ones. All other
fish (6 neon tetras, 6 guppies, 2 anchistrus, 5 corydoras) are ok,
including the guppies-fry.

2. The effects on the plants are more interesting:
 Egeria ??? didn't make it. But it had been weak due to the red algae
before the treatment. 
 Vallisneria suffered also very much. Prior to the treatment they have
been very dense and up to 30 inches long, growing and reproducing very
fast. Now only the bottom parts (about 10 inches) are left BUT they
slowly recover. A new leaf I can see is already 3 inches long. I think
they will grow again.
 Hygrophila Polysperma and Gymnocorrinis Spilanthoides have lost many
leaves (only a few leaves on the top were left) but on the day after
the treatment the first new leaves have begun to grow. Currently they
have regained many leaves and new ones are still growing.
 Echinodorus Parviflorus and Lobelia cardinalis haven't lost any leaves
but some of them became yellowish and they remain so until now. But on
both of them new leaves are growing.
 Alternathera Reineckii and Rotala ??? have lost only few leaves and
with the additional light I provided them after the treatment they are
growing faster than before: in the three weeks they gained 2-3 inches
in height and new leaves.
 Cabomba Caroliana and Sagittaria Subulata remained totaly unaffected
and are growing as fast as before.
 
3. One noticeable effect was an increase in nitrates. Before the
treatment there had been 0 nitrates in the tank. After the treatment
the nitrate level increased to 40 ppm within a week (tapwater 5 ppm). I
think there are two reasons for that: first, the suffering of the
plants, which have lost many leaves and so they cannot utilize as much
nitrates as before. The second reason might be the dead snails in the
treated gravel.

4. I was hoping that red algae wouldn't appear again. Unfortunately I
was wrong. Last week (i.e. 2 weeks after the tretment) I saw some of
the older leaves of Hygrophila Polysperma having very small (1 mm) hair
algae on them :-(. I didn't remove them, because I wanted to know if
the 3 Epalzeorynchus Siamensis would eat them. And indeed the next day
they were all gone :-))). 
I don't know why they appeared again. The reason could be the spores in
the filter together with the high nitrates. I don't know. But I am
hopeful that the algae eaters will help to keep them under control,
without having to remove leaves each week. 


I'll wait for a month and post again how things will develop.

******** END OF PREVIOUS REPORT **********


Following has happened in the meantime:

1. Vallisneria has totally recovered. Many new leaves have appeared and
some of them have already reached the surface.

Hygrophila Polysperma and Gymnocoronis Spilanthoides have also
recovered and have grown to a jungle.

Some of the yellow leaves of Echinodorus Parviflorus turned green again
but some of them had to be removed because they were rotting.

Lobelia Cardinalis had to be taken out of the tank because some NEW
kind of red (?) algae began to grow on his leaves and the 3
Crossochilus Siamensis didn't seem to be interested in eating them. The
plants looked healthy despite of the algae but I didn't want to take
the risk. If I had another tank I would put them in there just to see
how they would develop.

The Rotala grew also to a small jungle. I am very happy about this
because it's red color gives a nice contrast in front of the green
plants.

Alternathera Reineckii still grows but only slowly.

Sagittaria Subulata is a major success. Prior to the treatment and the
addition of one fl. tube it was growing moderately. It was never higher
than the middle of the tank. Now some leaves have reached the surface
and 2 new plants have grown near the "mother" plant.

Cabomba Caroliana stopped growing and turned yellow. I added some
additional iron 10 days ago and it turned green again. But it's still
not growing. I don't know why.

2. Nitrates are 0 again.


That was all I had to report. 

I would recommend the bleach method together with the addition of
Crossochilus Siamensis to anyone who has a problem with red algae.


Finally I would like to ask:  Could somebody recommend to me a dwarf
plant that is growing fast or at least not slowly ?

Thanks in advance for any response.


Bye,
Panagiotis


********************************************************************
Panagiotis Papakostas                   * German National Research *
GMD, Schloss Birlinghoven               * Centre for Information   *
53757 St. Augustin                      * Technology               *
Germany                                 *                          *
e-mail: papakostas-at-gmd.de               *                          *
********************************************************************


bleach and Vallisneria

by Stephen.Pushak-at-saudan.HAC.COM
Date: Mon, 28 Oct 1996

Scott Corbeil used a three minute bleach dip on 100 corkscrew val plants
and got "a mass of residual plant goo". That's pretty normal.

Vals, Sagittaria, Elodea and similar fast growing plants are badly
affected by bleach. I'd limit the dip to two minutes for the first
two but it's very probable that you're going to loose all the existing
leaves. It doesn't matter because they both have a thickened (what
do you call that part?) at the base where the roots come out and
new leaves will quickly sproute from this in a day or two. So don't
despair; remove the goo and plant the root apex as shallowly as
possible. If you get only one to revive, you can rapidly propagate
it (with a little patience). I guess in aquaria when we say things
happen rapidly, we mean in time frames of weeks and months. ;-)

I bleached some Elodea recently in a 2 minute dip and I thought
that the growing tip might survive. It did not. I took the end
of a healthy growing tip and rinsed it as thoroughly as I could
in tap water and introduced it without bleaching. Hopefully, 
no filament algaes were able to attach to the tip of this plant 
in the short time it took to grow in the non-sterile tank.

I also took the top off a piece of Ceratopteris which grows
emersed from one of my fry tanks and tossed it into the sterile
tank. Since this has grown entirely emersed, there should be no
algae on it at all and it should rapidly revert to submersed life
by growing new leaves from the hard emergent part. I like 
Ceratopteris as it grows rapidly and seems to be well suited
to capturing phosphates. Later on, I remove it because it doesn't
fit in well since it grows too fast and the old parts look very
draggly and it can't be pruned to look nice.

I expected trouble with Myriophyllum however this plant was able
to survive a 2 minute dip. The old structures lost their chlorophyl
but the growing tips survived and are growing slowly. Once it's
large enough, I can reroute it.

The unfortunate thing is that when one is setting up a new aquarium
with the bleach method, you'd like to have plenty of fast growing
plants but these are often the ones least able to handle a quick
dousing with bleach. Hygrophila species tolerate bleach very well
as do Ludwigias. Crypts will often melt after a bleaching but the
rhizomes are quite tough and in good conditions, will rapidly send
out new leaves. (a few days)

Interesting developments in my 50 gal which got the new substrate
and full bleach regime:

Cryptocoryne balansae has sent out a daughter plant about 6"
away. Once the rhizome gets large enough, it should be easy for
folks to propagate this large Crypt by dividing the rhizome.

Aponogeton crispus (hybrid) has sent out a flower stalk.

Mexican oak leaf wins the race for the most rapidly growing plant
although Salvinia and Frogbit are working hard to double their
population size every 4-5 days or so from initial small colonies.

Two soft forms of algae have colonized the tank. I have purposefully
only introduced one adult snail into this tank but some small ones
which I had propagated from eggs in a nearly algae free environment
are making tracks in the algae. Had I prepared 3 months in advance,
I could have had large sized snails ready. I believe its time
to bring in the otocinclus crew! I think these algaes came from
either airborne spores or were present in my soil. These are the
easy to fight algaes unlike the nasty brush algae or the dreaded
thread or hair algaes.

Steve P

In defense of the bleach treatment.

by krombhol/teclink.net (Paul Krombholz)
Date: Thu, 9 Oct 1997

Olga wrote:

>.....Blair, I don't recommend that you bleach your plants. It only wreaks 
havoc
>on the plants and won't prevent algae in the long run.....

>...Steve, it's true that tearing down a tank and thoughly sterilizing it etc.
>etc. (which is VERY drastic) will get rid of the algae to start with but I
>am of the opinion that that is a waste of time. It will be impossible to
>NEVER allow one drop of foreign water that just may contain an algae spore
>to get in your tank. What if you get a new fish? Are you going to bleach it
>to make sure that every drip of water on its body is algae free? And even
>bleaching plants to the point of death is not a guaranteed way to kill
>algae. I've had red algae on a rock recover after many minutes in bleach.


I feel the need to reiterate that I got all my plants free of hair algae
using the bleach treatment back in the late '60s and I have had remarkably
few problems with reinfestation.  I have looked up many of the bad hair
algae species in botany books, and I havn't found any that have resistant
spores that withstand drying.  I can recall only two reinfestations that I
have had.  The first was when I got some plants in trade and didn't see
that Cladophora was attached.  It survived my routine, two minute treatment
and I soon noticed it in the 15 gallon tank where I had put the plants.  I
treated the plants again, this time for four minutes, and I also treated
the tank and gravel.  The plants survived, and this time the Cladophora was
gone for good.

By the way, I have not seen any big problem in getting the bleach rinsed
out of the gravel.  I rinse a couple of times, let the gravel drain and let
it sit overnight.  The next day the bleach smell has changed to a kind of
oxidized sulfur or burning kitchen match smell.  One more rinse, and the
gravel is ready to go.  Alternatively, it can be allowed to dry, and it
will also be ready for use.  In bleaching tanks I fill them up with
tapwater, put on a tight-fitting glass cover, pour in about a cup of bleach
per 10 gallons, and let it sit for a couple of days. I would also bleach
rocks and other things like that just as long.   Then I rinse several times
and things are ready to go.

The second reinfestation is one that I am in the process of eliminating
now.  A student came in with a Chinese algae-eater that was the sole
survivor of his aquarium, and I unwisely dumped it directly in a planted
tank.  "Fur" algae (Oedogonium) showed up a few weeks later.  What I should
have done is put the fish in a quarantine tank for a few days and then move
it to my planted tank. The quarantine tank has coarse gravel in the bottom
and is lit only by room light.  Pieces of the algae that might come in with
the fish fall down in the gravel.  After several days, any algae that might
be in the fish's digestive system should have gone through and also fallen
down in the gravel.  I have acquired fish from tanks heavily infested with
various kinds of hair algae, and the quarantine tank method has always
stopped the hair algae from getting in my tanks.

 At present, I have removed samples of all the plant species I have in the
infected tank, bleached them and succesfully established them in gallon
jars on the windowsill.  They still appear, after two months, to be free of
the fur algae upon examination with a magnifying glass.  I have moved about
half the fish into a quarantine tank for a several weeks, and then on to a
tank free of hair algae.  It is time now for me to move the remaining fish
to the quarantine tank and then throw out the remaining plants, since I
have hair algae free examples of every species, and bleach the tank and
gravel.

It is a fair amount of work, but my interest is in pushing nutrients and
growing plants rapidly.  With optimum amounts of nutrients, light, and CO2,
any species of hair algae will rapidly become an unbearable nuisance.
There are some forms of hair algae, such as Cladophora, that simply won't
go away if you try to starve them.  If anyone has had Cladophora (the green
bushy one that sticks to the gravel and plant stems) and actually had it
disappear by starving it, I would like to hear about it.

The bleach treatment will not get rid of green water algae, bluegreen algae
(Cyanobacteria), or many other soft, attached types of algae.  But it
really does get rid of a big variety of the tough hair algaes that ramshorn
snails are unable to eat.  There may be some kind of hair algae somewhere
that the bleach treatment can't eliminate, but I havn't run across it yet.
I have eliminated a branching, coarse red alga, black beard algae,
Cladophora, Oedogonium,  Rhizoclonium, and other unbranched hair algae.
Given the way I want to fertilize my plants, I have to eliminate hair
algae.  I use snails and Daphnia to keep the other kinds of algae under
control.

Paul Krombholz in Jackson, Mississippi where clouds and moisture are
increasing.  Could there be some rain on the way?


Bleach

by "Dixon, Steven T. (Exchange)" <stdixon/ben.bechtel.com>
Date: Tue, 5 Jan 1999

I want to comment on the recent bleach discussion, particularly the
person who asked why Olga was capping on the bleach method of
eliminating filamentous algae.  I think the reason many of us resist
this approach is that we think extensive hair algae infestation (and
significant black brush algae for that matter) is the result of poor
aquatic gardening practices in the first instance.  Many of us have
learned how to have beautiful, vibrant, fast or slow growing planted
aquariums without the presence of significant filamentous algae (or
black brush for that matter).  We suspect bleaching is 'wrong headed' in
the sense that it's treating symptom rather than cause.

Steve P. says that's all well and good but the algae is still in our
tanks.  I won't argue the point and if the theoretical annihilation of
filamentous algae is your goal, by all means carry on and battle the
last strand to the death.  I would put it this way:  If I can't see any
filamentous algae in my tank (and I look at my tanks quite closely) I
don't have a filamentous algae problem.  If someone with a microscope
can find some in my tank, well, I'm interested in that, but it won't
keep me up nights strategizing how to eliminate it.

A couple of caveats:  I am blessed with wonderful clean soft water from
the Sierras.  I don't start out with any water problems that are not of
my own making.  And I have one tank that has had a mild green
filamentous algae problem for about 2 years.  I am able to see this
algae and pull out a small ball at water changes.   I suspect that
extremely bright light (110 watts of CF lighting on a 40 gallon 16 inch
deep tank) and keeping many plants very close to the surface of the
water is the cause of the problem.  I continue to goof around with
various ideas, but the problem isn't nearly bad enough to uproot
everything and bleach my plants.  

Regards, Steve Dixon


Bleach

by Neil Frank <nfrank/mindspring.com>
Date: Tue, 05 Jan 1999

>From: "Dixon, Steven T. (Exchange)" <stdixon@ben.bechtel.com>
>Subject: Bleach
I think the reason many of us resist
>this approach is that we think extensive hair algae infestation (and
>significant black brush algae for that matter) is the result of poor
>aquatic gardening practices in the first instance. 

...
> I continue to goof around with
>various ideas, but the problem isn't nearly bad enough to uproot
>everything and bleach my plants. 


  People should remember that bleach is intended as a prophylactic, NOT a
cure. I beleive it is a useful chemical for aquatic gardening, but
definitely not a required one. 

  This is why I recommend it:
  Sometimes I acquire a new plant on my wish list covered all over with
attached filamentous algae (BBA or green fur). For a hard to find plant, I
take them as they come. My aquarium and aquatic gardening practice are
usually pretty good, but off and on, I will slip for a month or two. I
might miss a few water changes, or not notice that the powerheads for
circulation are not working, or I run out of my usual fertilizer and
temporarily switch to something else. The tank conditions have changed,
despite my usual (best?) efforts. If BBA was once introduced into a tank,
it may always be there... lurking in the shadows <g>.
  If a small tuft of BBA apears on the edge of one plant leaf, I supposed I
could snip it off (if I notice it that is <g>). This is what many people
do. However, I definitely don't want to take a good look at the tank one
morning (say after the 2 month lull) and see that there is more than one
spot on more than one leaf. Of course, I could introduce some SAEs, _if_
they are available at the shops, or I could put in a zillion numa-ebis. I
could also crank up the CO2/light/Nitrogen and hope to drive P or some
trace element out of the water column to help starve out the algae. Or, I
could just wait it out and hope that I did not let the tank get too bad,
and that my familiar fertilizer will soon arrive in the mail. I prefer to
keep things simple if I can. I prefer not to have to trim algae off my
plant's leaves and definitely don't want to change the whole apple cart if
I don't have to.  So, I don't take any chances, I usually bleach my _new_
plants. This way, I am reasonably certain that BBA algae or other nasty fur
algae doesn't get into my display tanks. This allows me to sleep better at
night. <g> 

Neil


Re:snails carrying algae

by krombhol/teclink.net (Paul Krombholz)
Date: Thu, 7 Jan 1999

>From: BlackNet Runner <br@ldl.net>

>
>Here's my $0.02 on snails and algae.  Get some SAE's and don't worry
>about it anymore :) they are simple, great and very effective removers
>of algae.  After you clean everything in bleach, grow mts in the dark
>and the like what will be next?  How about a clean room for the tank,
>sterilize your hands, the water you use, and how about the fish? I would
>be willing to be that fish will carry the spores as well.  Simply put
>there is nothing you can do to prevent algae from comming into contact
>w/ the aquarium.  This is what make the difference in an person that
>keeps aquariums and an aquarist.  The aquarist will strive to keep
>everything in check.
>
>Wasn't it Takashi Amano (correct me if I am wrong) that stated there
>will be all forms of algae in the tank at any given time, if conditions
>become right for growth then it will explode.
>
>Ed
>

There seems to be a certain amount of misunderstanding about the bleach
treatment, and what the reasons are for employing it.  The bleach treatment
is designed to free plants of various types of hair algae.  There is an
assumption that hair algae spreads by airborne spores that will quickly
reinfect a tank.  This is just not true!  I have gotten over 40 species of
aquatic plants free of hair algae over the last 30 years, and I have never
seen a reinfection of a tank except once when I dumped in a fish somebody
gave me along with several cups of water from this person's tank.  On one
other occasion I got some Cladophora that survived a too-light bleach
treatment.  I got rid of it on the second try.  I have read up on the life
cycles of the families containing the common species of hair algae, and
they do not include the production of resistant spores.  In summary, if you
have gotten rid of hair algae with the bleach treatment, you don't have to
worry about its return except by the introduction of new, untreated plants
carrying in the hair algae or the introduction of fish from somewhere else
along with water carrying fragments of hair algae. Another possible way is
via the shells of snails from an infected tank.  I regularly use rain water
collected from my roof, and I have never seen any hair algae show up.  I
have bought plants covered with black beard algae, treated them, and have
never had any of the algae survive the treatment.  I have never found a
species of aquatic plant that I couldn't successfully treat.  While it
works for hair algae, the bleach treatment does not get rid of green water
types, soft attached types that snails can eat, and Cyanobacteria.

The value of having a tank of plants free of hair algae is that you do not
have to constantly try to control it.  You do not have to worry about your
phosphorus or other nutrients getting too high. Since I like to experiment
with nutrient dosing, and I like to try to give my plants the best
conditions for growth, I can't afford to have hair algae threatening to
take over all the time.  It has certainly been worth it to me to have my
tanks free of hair algae, and it hasn't been any trouble for me to keep
them that way.  Others may like to play all the games to keep it in check,
but they shouldn't reserve the title, "aquarist" for themselves.  Does the
"aquarist" tolerate ick, velvet, and other fish diseases in his or her tank
and merely try to keep them in check?


Paul Krombholz, in rainy Central Mississippi.     


Algae/bio/bleach/Cladophora

by krombhol/teclink.net (Paul Krombholz)
Date: Sun, 14 May 2000

Sylvia wrote:
>....Maybe this is why algae doesn't get algae. So maybe it would be easier to
>just grow a green hair algae tank. One wouldn't have to worry about getting
>other algae. It doesn't look half bad either--but would be rather monotonous.
>Maybe the black thread algae and the green fur algae for color variation,
>though I didn't try to see if these worked out together, as I'd already
>eliminated the black thread plague.
>
>Sylvia
>Sick of bba
>
Ohe horror that I can imagine is a tank infected with both Cladophora and
Oedogonium.  The Kind of Cladophora I have fought is not the kind that
stays in balls, but grows all over the place.  Oegogonium covers everything
with tough, 1/4 inch hairs.  Probably black beard algae wouldn't have much
of a chance in that tank, but, neither would the plants.

Let me try to correct a few misconceptions about the bleach treatment.

(1) you shouldn't use the bleach treatment to get the hair algae off of the
plants and then put the treated plants back in a tank where the hair algae
still lurks. It will just climb back on your plants.  You should only use
the treatment when you want to eliminate the hair algae from the tank.

(2) You do not have to worry about spores of hair algae.  All the kinds of
bad hair algae I know of do not produce resistant spores.  If you get rid
of it, it does not come back except through introduction of new plants that
havn't been bleached or through new fish as fragments in the water you pour
in along with the new fish, or through new snails carrying the hair algae
attached to their shells.  Once you get a tank of plants free of hair
algae, it is very little effort to keep that tank free.

(3) The bleach treatment is not as much work as people think.  It only adds
a small amount to the time of setting up a new tank.

(4) Rinsing the bleach away is relatively easy.  You don't have to worry
about residual bleach on plants or gravel.  Three or four thorough rinses
is all you need.  Any residual bleach after this much rinsing will quickly
be consumed by just a little bit of organiic matter.

Paul Krombholz, in dry central Mississippi


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This page was last updated 30 July 2000