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That's too bad. What's the light schedule like? Have you fully analyzed how much light you have, PAR wise? Also the tank looks to be 3/4 hairgrass so you might think you have tons of plant mass, but you might not for that size tank/light.

Also how healthy are the stem plants on the left. If they aren't growing 'clean and healthy' then there probably not doing enough in terms of uptake. Not dosing ferts can only hurt you in a hi-tech setup. Ferts are not the cause of your algae. The answer is in the lighting/co2/uptake equation. More light more uptake and co2 is needed. What is your PH drop with the co2?
 

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Direct Sunlight and inconsistent fertilizing could possibly be the main 2 algae culprits.

I would seriously consider some large daily doses of Excel / Met14, reduce as much ambient and direct sunlight as possible, ensure CO2 is getting a drop checker very lime green / dropping pH a full 1.0, limit the photo period to 5 hours per day max and then perform a few very large water changes .... or prep for a massive water change, does an algaecide then perform the massive water change.

These should help reset the tank without having to tear it down.

Also, 3/4" thick substrate isn't all that much, I wouldn't want it any shallower than that. Lots of us run it 3+ inches deep without issue.

Grab an army of oto cats to help clean the wood, maybe a few dwarf pleco's as well.

You can spot treat the wood with 3% H2O2 too.

When I get bad algae, I don't freak out. I open up the algae control tool box and get to work. Just ride out the algae wave, eventually you'll get it under control if you throw a little more work and be a little more precise with a few things.

What is your fertilizer schedule like?
What is your photoperiod like?
What is the pH drop from degassed tank water - CO2 enriched water?
How much sunlight is getting to the tank?
How much ambient room light is getting to the tank?
 

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When I get bad algae, I don't freak out. I open up the algae control tool box and get to work. Just ride out the algae wave, eventually you'll get it under control if you throw a little more work and be a little more precise with a few things.

What is your fertilizer schedule like?
What is your photoperiod like?
What is the pH drop from degassed tank water - CO2 enriched water?
How much sunlight is getting to the tank?
How much ambient room light is getting to the tank?
I love that. Don't freak out. Open up the algae control tool box. Very good words of wisdom.

And those are the same questions I was going to ask. It's probably a combination of a few things that needs to be addressed.
 

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Discussion Starter #324
That's too bad. What's the light schedule like? Have you fully analyzed how much light you have, PAR wise? Also the tank looks to be 3/4 hairgrass so you might think you have tons of plant mass, but you might not for that size tank/light.

Also how healthy are the stem plants on the left. If they aren't growing 'clean and healthy' then there probably not doing enough in terms of uptake. Not dosing ferts can only hurt you in a hi-tech setup. Ferts are not the cause of your algae. The answer is in the lighting/co2/uptake equation. More light more uptake and co2 is needed. What is your PH drop with the co2?
Post #228 (300 Gallon Planted Tank) describes my current lighting.

Here is the post on my CO2 drop - Question on Measuring CO2 . Looking at the CO2 post I got my PH down to about 6.6 when I was running CO2 on and off. I am not if I have a reason for changing to a maximum low of 7.05. Perhaps I could should return to adding more CO2.

Direct Sunlight and inconsistent fertilizing could possibly be the main 2 algae culprits.

I would seriously consider some large daily doses of Excel / Met14, reduce as much ambient and direct sunlight as possible, ensure CO2 is getting a drop checker very lime green / dropping pH a full 1.0, limit the photo period to 5 hours per day max and then perform a few very large water changes .... or prep for a massive water change, does an algaecide then perform the massive water change.

These should help reset the tank without having to tear it down.

Also, 3/4" thick substrate isn't all that much, I wouldn't want it any shallower than that. Lots of us run it 3+ inches deep without issue.

Grab an army of oto cats to help clean the wood, maybe a few dwarf pleco's as well.

You can spot treat the wood with 3% H2O2 too.

When I get bad algae, I don't freak out. I open up the algae control tool box and get to work. Just ride out the algae wave, eventually you'll get it under control if you throw a little more work and be a little more precise with a few things.

What is your fertilizer schedule like?
What is your photoperiod like?
What is the pH drop from degassed tank water - CO2 enriched water?
How much sunlight is getting to the tank?
How much ambient room light is getting to the tank?
My bad - I didn't mean 3/4" substrate. I meant 3 - 4" of substrate. Fertilizers are off for now.

This describes my photo-period and light intensity. ((300 Gallon Planted Tank). Lights are on for 9 hours total. Maximum intensity (50%) is for 5 hours.

My initial pH drop is described here (Question on Measuring CO2 ). I switched from having a large pH drop to keeping my pH more steady at 7.05.

All of our windows in the house have solar 55% window tint film on them with 99% reduction of UV light. This was done not so much for the tank as to protect fading of hardwood floors and furniture. Within the constraints of the window tint - I do get some excess sunlight in the morning. There is a photo a few weeks ago showing the direct sunlight. We have ordered a shade for the window that is providing direct sunlight. The room gets a decent amount of ambient light due to the house being a fairly modern design with large panel windows.
 

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Thanks for the quick links to answer my questions.

Looks like you are running a combination of ramp up / ramp down. It's good to have CO2 at or close to your peak drop for the entirety of the photoperiod. This way plants can use the light as soon as it is turned on with access to lots of CO2.

Now, I would personally run the lights at a reduced intensity (such as your 50%) for 5 hours, no ram up / ramp down. I constantly see algae threads that all share a ramp up / ramp down photo period, I think it allows algae to grow then the lights are dim while the plants struggle to compete in lower lighting.

My personal tank at the moment, regardless of how well the plants are growing, regardless of how much CO2 I inject, always has thread algae like yours because of direct sunlight. I blocked off my window in that room with black poster board, and the algae went away. I then used the poster board as a background on another tank, and the algae came back within a week.

Hopefully the shades can help out with the direct sunlight.

Keep at it! Like I said, ride it out. Algae is annoying but it will come and go.
 

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Agree with Quag.

Less intensity of light for less duration.

Would also add more CO2 and like @Asteroid said above begin dosing ferts again. There is a mind set that if one stops dosing algae will subside. You can't starve algae. But you can starve plants which leads to more algae.
 

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With that much algae something is way off and the two biggest influencers are light and organics. You need to think clean, really clean and adjust light and make sure co2 is sufficient.

You want to be redundant in ways to get rid of organics and the effect they have on algae so I would do the following:
  • If your confident you have enough Par (70-80) then reduce your peak to 3 hrs and the rest much dimmer.
  • Go back to getting 1 - 1.2 PH drop.
  • Remove dead/damaged stem plants if not healthy.
  • Change 50% of your media out for carbon. Trust me on this, you won't be sorry. I run my lights 18 hrs a day and have no real algae and I have a light plant load.
  • If you can increase water changs to 50%+.
In a tank that size again you need redundant ways to keep the water clean of organics.
We all don't have crazy hungry stems like @Greggz so you need to purify the water in other ways.
 

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I know it's controversial but it might be best for a one-two punch before getting back on track with CO2 and fertilization.

If you can't vacuum your substrate without pulling up the hairgrass, maybe it's time to pull up the hairgrass and go for something like monte carlo that has tenacious roots. Getting dirt out of the substrate is instrumental to keeping a tank clean IMO.
 

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Great ideas already offered. I would like to add two more. I have had much better success with preventing algae once I started feeding less. I now just feed 4 days a week M\W\F\Sun. I am also more careful how much I feed and where is goes. The other thing that I have done is to introduce some anthurium and pothos as immersed "nitrate sponges", bare roots dangling in the tank.

Hang in there. You have a great tank and you will succeed!
 

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Discussion Starter #330
Some quick updates...I am forgoing the moving bed (for now) as I just can’t figure out a reliable way of keeping the K1 in the sump contained. It just keeps plugging up the 5 mm holes drain holes and causing the water to overflow the top. Because of the center brace in the tank and location of pipes I wasn’t able to fashion anything that could fit into the tank to use as a roof to the moving bed filter. I tried drilling a cutting board and the angles just didn’t work to get it in. I tried wrapping plastic screen around egg crate and still had the same issue. I have captured all the K1 and put them in bags and added porter sponge 10, 20, and 30 PPI) to the sump to provide more bacteria and help polish the water.


The K1 isn’t in bags yet but same idea. A bonus is that the sump is much quieter.

The house was supposed to be built with a dedicated 20 amp circuit. When putting this together realized the original electrician added 20 amp upstairs for the tank but forgot one in the basement. To make matters worse the fish room was on the same circuit as the ejector pit. I had two 20’s added.



I had an electrician do this. I will mess with outlets and switches by there is no way I’m opening the fuse box to add whole circuits. Two 20’s are overkill but wasn’t much extra as they were already running the wire and doing the conduit.

Finally, some people asked condensation issues and were right...I was having some in the tank. I added some computer exhaust fans to help. I currently have them blowing out of the tank but can easily change them if blowing in would be better.


I’m not happy with my sump room. It is just too janky looking as is not up the same standard as the main display. Maybe not soon but some updates to the fish room will be happening.

I still can routinely find 8 of the 9 corries. I think one may not have survived. They have been in the tank for a week now and seem to doing well. The one thing that is very annoying is that they are not aggressive about eating. I drop food in and they don’t seem to make any effort to got get it! I assume they are eating it at some point but have yet to witness it.

I realized when changing socks that I think I have lost a lot of shrimp to the overflow and filter socks. I found five shrimp in the socks when chAnging then yesterday. I saved the 5 but have no idea about how many were lost to the washing machine not realizing they were in There.

Finally - yesterday I noticed a snail explosion in the tank. Tons of baby snails. I know they will be self limiting so not worried yet. Plus - can always get some loaches or assassin snails to take care of them if there get to be too many. (I kind of like the assassin snail idea...I watched some YouTube videos of them and they are really interesting. My biggest concern is scratching the tank with all of them when cleaning it.


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So I think I might have figured out what is feeding/causing the the algae. This is such a simple/beginner thing I’m embarrassed it didn’t occur to me earlier. I read up on the one-two punch above and bought the supplies to try it out this weekend.

If you recall (post quoted above) I was initially planning on a fluidized bed filter. I was having a hard time getting it to work properly so switched to sponges and K1 in bags. I set this all up and there they have sat...until today. In pulling them out and watching the pitch black water drain out of them I realized how absolutely filthy they were...they must have just been functioning as a giant nutrient sink.

I’ve changed water/siphoned about 50 gallons of water so far today. Siphoned out about half a 5 gallon buck of algae and there is still a ton in the tank. My plan is to continue with the 1/2 punch as soon as I get enough water to do a full water change. At most, I can change about 50 gallons every 2 hours (using filtered water not straight from the tap). Given this I think I will use about about 50% of the H2O called for in the plan (1 tablespoon per 10 gallons) followed by by 50 gallon water change, wait 2 hours, 50 gallon change, wait 2 hours, and a final 50 gallon change (for a total of 150 gallons) followed by the excel.

Plus I’m going to rinse the crap out of the sponges and K1 before adding them back to tank after the water changes.


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So I think I might have figured out what is feeding/causing the the algae. This is such a simple/beginner thing I’m embarrassed it didn’t occur to me earlier. I read up on the one-two punch above and bought the supplies to try it out this weekend.

If you recall (post quoted above) I was initially planning on a fluidized bed filter. I was having a hard time getting it to work properly so switched to sponges and K1 in bags. I set this all up and there they have sat...until today. In pulling them out and watching the pitch black water drain out of them I realized how absolutely filthy they were...they must have just been functioning as a giant nutrient sink.

I’ve changed water/siphoned about 50 gallons of water so far today. Siphoned out about half a 5 gallon buck of algae and there is still a ton in the tank. My plan is to continue with the 1/2 punch as soon as I get enough water to do a full water change. At most, I can change about 50 gallons every 2 hours (using filtered water not straight from the tap). Given this I think I will use about about 50% of the H2O called for in the plan (1 tablespoon per 10 gallons) followed by by 50 gallon water change, wait 2 hours, 50 gallon change, wait 2 hours, and a final 50 gallon change (for a total of 150 gallons) followed by the excel.

Plus I’m going to rinse the crap out of the sponges and K1 before adding them back to tank after the water changes.


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I have read about the 1-2 punch before, but I have never gone that route.

The worst persistent algae problem I ever had was back when I was not cleaning my tanks as diligently as I do now. It was actually cyanobacteria, and I eventually treated that chemically with "Ultralife Blue-Green Slime Stain Remover" that I read about somewhere on TPT. It's great, used as directed on the package, if BGA is your problem.

More recently, I have been recovering from a months-long battle with the green stringy Rhizoclonium, along with some persistent black brush algae, in one of my three tanks. The magic bullet for me was adding more filtration with some sponges and loads of small pumice for bio-filtration.

The bottom line is that ammonia, even in small spikes, leads to algae. You're on the right track by cleaning your filter media. Not only is it a nutrient sink, but all that decaying muck is contributing ammonia to your water. Rinse that mess out with dechlorinated water or "clean-ish" drained tank water -- the point is to get all the dissolved organics off that stuff, not to actually clean the lovely bacteria off it. At least every 6-8 weeks.

I love your tank in its entirety, and I look forward to a beautiful recovery!
 

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Looks like you are using poret foam there. I'm using it too, each time I pull them out it's dark and nasty too. I went with a 40ppi leading 1" thick pad as a catch all vs going with the white poly filter first. I try to clean that every other week. The other pads I'll pull them every month or two. The 30ppi is always the darkest. If I ever redo my foam I'm going to get rid of the first 10ppi pad and put a second 30ppi one in or a 40 at the end. Sometimes when the sump is really funky I'll vacuum all the nasty water out of the sump before filling it again.

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