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Old 12-28-2012, 06:35 AM   #7
DarkCobra
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Originally Posted by n00dl3 View Post
But from your description above, it is totally opposite. You must have super staghorn or something different. Have you tried or have someone take a look of your staghorn under a microscope to see if it is the real McCoy?
I don't doubt your differing experience at all. That's why I nicknamed it "Staghorn on Steroids", as per my sig.

It's also a bit of a shapeshifter. At initial appearance, it's darker and can be mistaken for BBA. That soon passes, and it looks identical to Skywhitney's photo - long, slender, and pale, with the characteristic branching if viewed closely. If allowed to grow unmolested for a longer time, it takes on a more peculiar and distinctive appearance. I couldn't get a decent closeup with my camera, but this picture from Christian Rubilar's MCI guide captures this final appearance perfectly:



He refers to it as Rhodophytas Sp. 3, one of the red algae family (which also includes BBA). Still, I do not discount the possibility that there are one or more lookalikes. Or perhaps even that mine is a mutant strain.

Sewingalot suggested microscopic examination as well. Of course, that was just after I'd managed to kill it every visible bit of it for the first time, and had none to send. If I recall right, shortly after that she took a forum vacation or something; at any rate, the microscopic examination never happened, and since then I lost motivation for the prospect.

Why? Her microscope work did provide some true revelations showing certain types of BGA can mimic and/or form symbiotic colonies with algae. That's valuable since we now know that treatment with antibiotics can be effective, contrary to what one would expect with "algae". But staghorn is clearly neither a bacteria or a symbiotic colony. Even if it could be demonstrated microscopically that there are two types of staghorn, it would have little benefit to the average aquarist without microscope access, if they look identical to the naked eye. More valuable is the simple knowledge that it can respond positively to *reduced* flow, since this is also contrary to what one would expect.

But by all means, if a particular staghorn infestation doesn't respond to decreased flow, try increased flow. Or vica versa. Hopefully the growth patterns in Sky's tank will give an easily readable hint on which to try first, and if that staghorn behaves more like yours, then double-checking and increasing CO2 should also be tried.
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