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  1. [F] Solved algae problems, thanks George Booth and Ottocinlus
    by (Scott Schaeffer) (19 Mar 93)

[F] Solved algae problems, thanks George Booth and Ottocinlus

by (Scott Schaeffer)
Date: 19 Mar 93

I have recently setup a 150 gal planted tank. The tank has
lots of light 4 halides and I expected algae problems. I had
sterilized all rocks and driftwood and alum sterilized the plants
but a short hairy substance began growing on plant leaves after
about 2 weeks. It wasn't very noticable but it caught dust and
generally made the plants look bad. Seeing the recent post by
George Booth which is a great synopsis on freshwater algae and
solutions, I immediately bought 6 Ottocinlus and added them to
the tank. In 2 days the plants are completely clean even of dust
from the gravel. The fish are small enough to clean my Aponogeton
Ulvaceus (sp?) which are very brittle and cause no damage. I strongly
suggest some of these guys for any plant tank. It has been 4 weeks
and the plants are doing fine without a spot of algae. 
For anyone interested the substrate for the plants is relatively
rich so I can use water fertilizer with potash and trace elements
only. I use RO water with baking soda and discus buffer added to up gm
to 4dH and dKH to 6 . Ph is 6.9-7. No bottom heat, trickle filter, CO2
will be added soon but the plants are happy without it. The crypts
are growing a leaf every 4 days. Fish load is 20 neons, 6 Ottocinlus,
2 lg green corys. Discus will be added later. Plants are double
potted (a pot in a pot so when I remove the pot the gravel won't
cave in the hole). Substrate is as follows

        fine gravel     4 parts
        coarse gravel   4 parts
        peat            1 part
        sand            1 part
        dehydrated manure (varied for plant requirements) from 
                        1/4 part to none
        charcoal        1 part (to absorb any hydrogen sulphide)
        laterite        layer over the mix and cover with 1/4" gravel
                        to retain dirt.

I in no way claim this to be optimum but it works for me. I have
read many books which say absolutely nothing but gravel as a substrate
and others which use potting soil in high percentages. This is a
compromise with great efforts to provide enough gravel so when mixed
the substrate is very light (in terms of organics) and anaerobic conditions
should be minimized. My main goal is to keep water born fertilizers low
so the algae is kept low. Of coarse floating or rootless plants will not
do well or at least will grow slowly.

        Hope the info is of some help. If anyone is interested I'll
        post updates on the progress.

        Scott Schaeffer

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