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Thread: Algae growth/ microwave questions

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    CPlantaholic's Avatar
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    Algae growth/ microwave questions

    ALGAE ?
    does anyone know if algae growth can harm drosera seedlings? They have finally sprouted after 2 weeks but are still very tiny. I have heard algae is bad, but I don't have any way to get rid of it. It is on the surface of my milled sphagnum peat moss (the sphag i used looks like fluffy dirt).

    MICROWAVE ?s
    White fibery fungus has also been developing in the peat i bought from Earl May (they bagged it themselves). It mostly develops when the peat gets too moist.

    I have heard you can microwave it to kill fungus but my questions are:
    1. How long?
    2. What method?- should I soak some first and then microwave it in a bowl of distilled water so that the water will boil and do this for a few minutes?

    I have seen it posted that some people just wet it a little and place it in the microwave, but I wasn't sure how long they did this for---fire hazzard.

    Thank you for any help you can offer!

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    Hello, I must be going... Not a Number's Avatar
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    Algae - not much to be done once you get it. Algae is generally harmless but could indicate too much water and mineral content in your water. Algae and live Sphagnum don't mix well, the algae usually wins. If you get algae growth in your trays, it's time to clean the trays out. Algae growth on peat moss and LFS seems inevitable.

    Microwave treatment of peat moss - the general consensus is that this is useless for fungus:
    http://www.terraforums.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=111493
    http://www.terraforums.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=111595

    I've taken very wet peat moss and in a covered Pyrex container microwaved it for 10 minutes (5 minutes high - cool down two minutes - another 5 minutes on high). I've only done this a few times. Whether it makes a difference or not I couldn't say. I've only had a damping off problem twice - regardless of microwave cooking - both times with Drosera filiformis var tracyi. More due to overwatering than anything else - these do not like a lot of water.

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    CPlantaholic's Avatar
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    Thanks for the links. I guess it can't hurt to microwave it for a while...

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    agentrdy's Avatar
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    The thing about fungi is that at any given time their spores are so tiny and great at floating in air that they're almost ALWAYS in the air. Microwaving probably does kill the spores in the peat originally, but once you take it out and leave it in a pot or terrarium, spores will just get right back in it again and take off with the right (stale air, humid, moist, etc.) conditions. Peat has a ton of carbon and is a great source for fungi to decompose.

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    I have a ton of algae in my D.Capensis pots which I can't stand. None in my VFT or S. pitcher plants

    I'm watering them with just rain water yet they keep growing

    Is there anyway to remove it and kill them?

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    agentrdy's Avatar
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    Algae need nutrients for growth--it's a sign your soil has either (a) some fertilizer or something you didn't realize was in there, which your other plants don't have in theirs, or (b) your peat is old and decayed--microbial activity over time breaks the peat into nutrients. Oh, also, rain can contain trace amounts of things like sulfur, nitrogen, and other things (mainly because of pollution). Perhaps your plant has just been in the same medium too long.

    Try washing the plant off really well and then repotting into fresh medium.

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    Is there anything that can be added that will kill the algae but not harm the plants?

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    Hello, I must be going... Not a Number's Avatar
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    Rainwater isn't as clean as people think it is:

    http://www.wired.com/science/planete...acteria_clouds

    Just scrape off the algae and put a top mulch (0.25-0.5 inch) of sand. Or better yet live Sphagnum moss. The moss sucks up Calcium and Magnesium ions like a magnet and leaves the water acidic.

    Not top watering helps too.

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