well, i have sent some of my algae out to a few hobbiests now. i have already determined that it has done wonderful things for me, but i wanted some feedback, so i started a ROAK and sent it out to some people that i felt would be able to test the algaes abilities as a fry saver. this is a place for those experiences. i would love to hear from you all once you have a chance to test it! in the mean time, i will be putting my experiences into this thread for all to read.
so far, i have tested the algae on the fry of three species, and am currently testing it on a fourth.
i have tested it on bluefin killifish(lucania goodie) rainwater killifish(lucania parva) and gulf coast pygmy sunfish(elassoma gilberti). all three of these fish were successfully raised with very few, if any, losses. the algae provided cover and enough food for them to get them to a size large enough to feed them grindal worms. also, it kept the water clean enough for them, as i never have done a single water change in any of my fry tanks.
the fourth species is betta mahachai, which is currently being tested. as far as i can tell they are doing pretty well, as they always have full bellies. they have tripled in size since they hatched, which was about a week ago.
i keep the algae under 24/7 lighting and for the most part try to provide it with a decent amount of circulation. from what i can tell, it does a good enough job of keeping the water free of ammonia that i can forgo water changes. i understand the purpose behind water changes, but i feel that the constant changes of water quality stresses fry out, and this method prevents the primary need for water changes, that being the buildup of ammonia due to waste and decaying food. it grows enough infusoria to feed them, which is a better food source than prepared foods since uneaten portions will not contribute to ammonia buildup. i believe this method provides a more stable environment for fry, which is what i believe to be the primary reason that it has proven so successful for me.
i have determined that the algae changes its growth patterns depending on the conditions provided for it. here are my observations to date:
lighting: the brighter the light, the thicker the individual strands of the hair algae are. the type of light seems to have a difference as well. blue light, as which is produced by blue LED grow panels(455nm) produces the fastest growth but leads to thin strands. light high in UV, as produced by 10 UVB reptile bulbs, produces thicker strands that are of a much deeper, darker color.
current: current seems to have the most dramatic affect on the algae. if it is placed in a tank and given very little current, it will usually begin to pearl and will float, eventually forming a floating mat of thin strands, which sometimes forms a thin layer of cyano on top. if it is given very light current, as is produced by an air stone, it will not be able to pearl and will tumble around, forming a large fluffy ball of algae consisting of soft, long, thin strands. if it is anchored and exposed to very strong current, as from a powerhead aimed directly at it, it will form a very dense mat consisting of very thick strands. in this instance, it produces a consistency not unlike that of coarse wool fabric.
if the algae is given very strong light high in UV, very strong current, and is anchored to a piece of driftwood or another suitable object, it produces the most attractive visual affect. in this case it grows like a dense moss with very fine leaves.
anyway, here are some pictures: