Thank you for your reply. I just read through your article on the how to on planted tanks and learned a lot. It sounds like all the issues in my tanks were just waiting to happen due to all of the imbalances.
The CO2 issue is one that I will consider although at 55 gallons you mentioned that the DIY way starts to lose its efficiency, and my knowledge of regulators is nil.
My budget is super slim and it would probably take at least 6-8 months to save up the money for the Direct Injection method.
I am going to get some Flourish Excel and at least start that process to help. It has to be better than nothing. Also is there a way to measure the amount of CO2 in the water?
You stated that a tank needs 30 ppm and without injecting it is typically 4ppm.
I would like to give you some additional information about my tank so that you might advise any other ideas that would help my current situation.
I have a 55 gallon tank with Eco-complete, medium light 2.36 WPG the 2 bulbs are 65w Compact Fl. (and I did read your statements about how this is just an estimate) Tanks has fish and shrimp and a few snails.
There are some areas that are more densely planted than others so overall probably medium density planted.
From the algae guides I have seen it appears that I have Blue Green Algae although it apparently is not an actual algae but a cyanobacteria. I know that you know that, I am just double checking because I am hearing folks say they have BBA and I am not sure what kind of algae that is.
The algae is a dark hunter green with an odd blue tint that is slimy and stringy at the same time. I have also read that it is toxic so I have been hesitant to just wipe it off the glass and now it is on some plants.
That is why I was considering the black out.
I did read the part about spot treating with Excel and I am going to try that.
The one part about having a tank that I have not been able to find a lot of information on is actually how to maintain a tank. How to get algae off glass and plants, when/why you should actually vacuum the substrate when doing water changes, and all the different ways you can/should feed the different types of fish in a community tank.
If you know where I can find the maintenance info and point me to it that would be wonderful.
I certainly hope this is not too much to ask, obviously you really know your stuff!
Are you a chem professor by chance?