So, there is just a tiny bit of algae at this point, but I'd like to do everything possible to stay ahead of it.
First off, I knew this scape would be a challenge because of the need to get light all the way to the bottom of a 24" deep tank, but also with a mid-height carpet and a rock peak high and dead-center under the light. So, I planned on some algae on the main Ohko stone in particular, which I don't mind and will hopefully give some aesthetic "age" to the focal point. But, the stringy slimy stuff is not welcome.
The algae that showed up is of two different types. One, not pictured, is green dust/spots on the part of the middle rock that gets the most light. Its the kind I am used to seeing, just kind of a discoloration of the rock in spots. Wipes off easily in a little cloud of dust. The other one in the attached photo is stringy and kinda slimy, and it catches bubbles and holds on to them. There were just two filaments that I removed, but the one grew almost 1/2" in a day.
Water parameters as of last night:
Ammonia - 1.0 ppm
Nitrite - 0.5 ppm
Nitrate - 5.0 ppm
KH - 4.0
GH - 3.0
PH - 6.5
This was after a 60% water change the night before that was 70% reconstituted RO/DI water and 30% conditioned tap (I have been using tap for all water changes until this week). The tap is pretty hard -- PH 8.5, GH 12, KH13. For the RO/DI I am using Seachem Equilibrium and Alkaline Buffer.
The Radion is running an 8 hour cycle that is now at 90% after a two week ramp-up in intensity, but with the diffuser it's effectively at 67% or so.
The HC is doing really well -- even the parts of the tank that get marginal light and flow are pearling and putting out runners. My plan is to just focus on the HC carpet and stabilizing the tank, so no animals yet. I have been struggling to keep ammonia in check since the beginning (July 1) -- I have a lot of ADA Aqua Soil in there and it's still leaching ammonia. I added some bacteria starter over the last week or so and am finally starting to get a little movement on the cycle. Still doing 50% water changes every other day, sometimes every third day until I can keep the ammonia under 0.5 ppm.
I started dosing ADA Brightly K Neutral about 10 days ago, but no other fertz. I figured since the HC is sending down roots over 3/4" long and getting nutrients from the Aqua Soil, I'd wait for a couple months before Dosing 1/5 EI into the water column. I am running CO2 pretty aggressively and 24 hrs a day (which I think is also inhibiting my bio filter). I use a drop checker in the lowest flow spot and it generally stays in the lime green range.
My initial instinct was to keep the same lighting intensity, but drop photoperiod to 6 hrs a day with a 1 hr break. Also, stay with the WC schedule, but run CO2 only in conjunction with the lighting. But then I thought, maybe I should keep things stable since the HC is doing so well and try to let it out compete.
Any ID on the algae and/or advice is welcome.