Saturday, May 18, 2013


 
 
 
 
My Aquarium has reached it's minimum 36 day cycle period.  I am starting to introduce some of my first fish but I still have an Algae issue.  I've gone through this pretty much throughout the Aquariums development.  Within days of starting it algae began to coat the glass and the leaves of the plants.  Every evening I came home and scraped the glass and used a siphon to try and suck up as much algae as I could get.  This went on for 2-3 weeks and I decided to bring in some help.  First Nerite Snails

Even though I had lots of hitchhiking pond snails I read that these were very good for Algae control and would not reproduce in fresh water.  In their natural environment the adults live in fresh water but lay their eggs in salt water and the young eventually migrate back to fresh water.  They are very good at cleaning algae off plants but could not control the hair algae.  So I heard that theSiamese Algae Eater was the only fish that would eat hair algae.  So I brought them in.
 
This was not a good idea.  They eat some algae but prefer fish food.  They also grow to six inches and are aggressive towards other inhabitants when it comes to chasing them away from a food source.  They can't do any damage with their little sucker mouths but they can intimidate smaller fish. There is also the issue of my very heavily planted tank which once I put fish in are going to be very difficult to remove.   Then I read a really great book.  The Ecology of the Planted Aquarium.  I wish I had read this before I started an Aquarium.  It is excellent, a bit on the academic side but still full of practical advice on setting up and maintaining the ecology of the Planted Aquarium backed up by the Science which she explains and cites the literature.  I noticed after about three weeks that the Algae I was having an issue with was starting to die back being controlled by the plants dominating the Aquatic environment.  I have though one mass that has taken up a large area of the surface.  Removing it is difficult.  I found away of taking a chop stick and swirling it through the algae mass I could tangle up the algae and then turning the chopstick I could wrap it up and pull it out one mass of slime at a time.  I 've decided to try a tact based on the science behind this wonderful book.  I am taking specimens of Water Lettuce, Pistia stratiodes, and planting it right in the Algae mass.  Water Lettuce has leaves that float on top of the water being able to take advantage of the greater volume of dissolved CO2 in the atmosphere.  In the case of my Aquarium with CO2 injection they will be getting a rich environment of CO2 that will be bubbling up from the water and trapped under the glass cover.  The roots going down in to the Algae mass will be taking up the nutrients and hopefully starving the Algae, the leaves of the Water Lettuce will shade the Algae from the light.  Should be interesting to see how this works and if I can ever catch those two pesky Siamese Algae Eaters that have already increased in size after two weeks.

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