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Old 01-04-2013, 04:23 PM   #1
christian_cowgirlGSR
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Default Need advice - algae and nitrate problem in planted tank

Hello all!
I have a 55gallon aquarium that's been set up for over a year now. Recently, I have had quite a problem with algae, and my nitrates have been reading high. I've been having to do 20% water changes every 2-3 days. I know I've got something wrong (i.e. out of balance) with this tank, but I'm not really sure what, as I don't think it's overpopulated. I could really use some advice on what I could do to correct the problems with this tank as it is becoming a big chore to have to change the water so regularly.

Inhabitants in the tank:
  • 5 pearl gourami (1M, 4F). The male is about 4.5" long, the females range between 3-3.5" long.
  • 10 cardinal tetras
  • 2 otocinclus afinis
  • 1 red wag platy
  • 3 bolivian rams (roughly 2-2.5" long)
  • lots of malaysian trumpet snails

For plants, I have:
  • 1 amazon sword
  • 1 crinum calamistratum
  • 1 crinum aquatica
  • 1 anubias
  • 1 moss ball
  • several pieces of trident java fern
  • a piece or two of java fern windelov
  • a piece or two of java fern needle leaf
  • lots of italian val - all of which are under 3" tall, which I find to be very frustrating because I wanted to use them as a background plant
  • Amazon frogbit
Tank specs:
  • 55 gallons
  • 1 4' T5HO light that is on from 9am-11:30am and 4:30pm-8pm. This bulb has been on the tank since the tank was set up in November of 2011.
  • ph: ~8.0
  • Ammonia:0ppm
  • Nitrite:0ppm
  • Nitrate:20-80, depending on how often I clean the tank.
  • Temp: 80*F
  • black diamond blasting sand substrate with seachem root tabs for plants that need it.
  • I dose with seachem flourish 2x weekly, as directed on the bottle
  • I have but do NOT use, seachem flourish excel, thanks to the vals in the tank.

Problems with the tank I need opinions on:
  • Algae!!!!! And, therefore, an overabundance of MTS.
  • Java Fern Trident dying while the other two varieties seem to be doing okay... At one time, I had a tank full of trident, and it has slowly been wilting away. The other two varieties in the tank, I only had one or two pieces of to start off with, but I haven't lost very much from them.
  • Italian Vals don't get any taller than 3", even though I've read that they're supposed to be 12+.
  • High nitrates - This is the most pressing issue
I would appreciate any input I can get on this issue!
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