Newbie warning goes here.
I've been running the suggested EI dosing schedule in the sticky in my 10 gallon aquarium for about three weeks now. I've had an outbreak of hair algae, so I suspected that I didn't have my nitrates in line. I did a test to see where I was at, and the thing turned fire engine red! At least 40 ppm!
I'm about to do an emergency water change to protect my fish, but I'm wondering how I messed this up. I know we're supposed to be overloading the water column a bit, but I didn't think I'd get things high enough to put my fish in danger.
Is my tank not heavily enough planted? Do I need to increase light or CO2? I'm reluctant to increase light as my hair algae problem is pretty aggressive. My current plan is to half my current dosing schedule, but I thought I should post my tank specs, dosing schedule, and a picture of the tank to see if anyone else could suggest where I've gone astray. I'd like to learn from my mistake.
Tank: 10 gallons
Light: 20" Finnex Fugeray, 10 hour photoperiod with the light right on the tank
Substrate: Eco-complete with root tabs
CO2: Paintball set up at 1 bubble per second. Drop checker is green.
Stock: 1 betta male, 4 oto catfish, 2 nerite snails
Plants: Pennywort, crypts (spiralis and wendtii), bacopa, dwarf hairgrass, Christmas moss, java moss, anubias
Everything is growing back from a trim in this picture, but should give you an idea of how densely planted the tank is.
Weekly dosing schedule:
KNO3 - 10 mL x3
KH2PO4 - 2.5 mL x3
Trace - 2.5 mL x3
GH Booster - 1/4 tsp x1
50% Water change
Solution made by adding 1 tablespoon to 250 mL of water. Unless I messed up my math, this should be the same as the dosing on the sticky for a 10-20 gallon tank.
Half the dosing? Turn up the CO2 to encourage growth and uptake? Any help is appreciated! Please let me know if I left any information out. I'm just going to go do an emergency water change now.