NANFA-- The Algae Wars

John Bongiovanni (
Sun, 02 Mar 2003 15:30:13 -0600

Today begins my second battle of the Algae War. Approximately a year
ago I fought a battle against a similar opponent soundly defeating it.
But today, I begin the second great battle of the Algae wars.

A little backround: Back during Christmas, on my trip up to Ohio to
visit the folks, I left the care of my native planted tank in the hands
of a trusted neighbor. She fed the fish and they survived without
issue. The plants were another story. In the space of 12 days I came
back to an absolute jungle; Rotalla, Riccia, Bacopa, Ludwigia were
entwined in a network that confounded all my attempts to untangle. I
also fixed a bank of flourescents (the rear pair of 40Ws) that had had
not been starting with the fronts. It was a grounding issue which was
fixed. My madtoms had tunneled underneath the java moss thus dislodging
the strands causing half the bundle of moss to float towards the surface
of the tank resembling a huge green wall. I removed the driftwood that
the java moss was attached wrap a hairnet around it and rearrange it it
the tank. This of course unsettled alot of organic matter that had
settled on the bottom. I did a 20% water change with DI.

The madtoms were not finished. Seeing the driftwood java moss secured
they moved to the moss on a rock and did the same. I repeated my
efforts on the rock to get control. Almost immediately a nasty looking
green algae took over the tank.. Fine 1cm hairs are drifting all over
tank like snow, attaching themselves to the plants like persistant green
cobwebs. Photos are here

I checked the nutrient levels in the tank. Phosphate, Nitrate, Fe,
ammonia, nitite is not detectable chelated and non; pH is 6.8, GH is
20dGH and KH is 70dKH. All the time I had been injecting CO2 to
maintain ph and plants. Seeing no measurable nutrients i began adding
fertilizer (flourish micronutrient suppliment). Thing just got worse.
Now it is early Feb and my folks are coming to visit Texas from Ohioand
I wanted to make sure that the tank looked presentable. I reduced the
light to 8-hours and just one bank of lights and stopped CO2 injection.
The algae nearly disappeared just as my folks arrived but now the stems
are stretching with the innernode length getting long making the plants
look somewhat stringy. I cut them back increased the light and whamo,
the algae takes off again.

So now I've decided to turn on the lights on fullblast, CO2 inject,
fertilize like crazy and just sit back and watch the battle and see who
comes out on top.

Anyone know what kind of algae that I'm battling?

/"Unless stated otherwise, comments made on this list do not necessarily
/ reflect the beliefs or goals of the North American Native Fishes
/ Association"
/ This is the discussion list of the North American Native Fishes Association
/ To subscribe, unsubscribe, or get help, send the word
/ subscribe, unsubscribe, or help in the body (not subject) of an email to
/ For a digest version, send the command to
/ instead.
/ For more information about NANFA, visit our web page,