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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I have had quite a bit of problems with my tank over the last few months, since I moved. I think I can adequately describe it as an algae bloom caused by a laterite bomb. It had all started when a ton of algae just began forming throughout the tank. I had asked for help a few times, but I don't think anyone on here had any advice.

So needless to say, I am breaking the tank down and setting it back up. Here is what I have currently:

A few pieces of large driftwood, most of my plants are dead, a full grown bristlenose pleco, one blue ram, two remaining cardinal tetras, three julii corydoras, and maybe two Otocinclus.

The tank is the standard 45gal, 36" x 12" x 24". I have a Rena XP3 Filstar with a layer of 30ppi filterpads, one layer of enough carbon for a 75gal, a pack of ClearMax, and a final layer of Biochem stars and a micro filter pad that I change far too irregularly. I also have a Beamworks 36" LED light, made for plant growth, so it says.

I would like to switch to a flourite base, with sand on top. I still really like the way the sand looks, but I used laterite and it would just pop up through the sand and cause problems.

Do you guys and gals have any suggestions for me? I would like to continue with my current load of fish, adding some of the lost cardinals and maybe another blue ram, and as always, a ton of plants.
 

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If you haven't already I might suggest dumping whatever filter pads you have and starting fresh. I'm not sure if any of the algae could hang around/thrive in those pads. If so you would probably be setting yourself up for failure again by having it present at the outset.
 

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I use a prefilter on everything. Cuts down on mechanical media replacement and filter maintenance. If you like sand and want a nutrient rich substrate have you considered using dirt with a sand cap?
 

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I've looked over your previous threads, it looks to me that the algae problem stems from high light, low nutrients and low CO2. Before you reset your tank, clarify all your questions regarding CO2 injection and fertilization. Perhaps look into EI, The Estimative Index of Dosing, or No Need for Test Kits - Aquarium Plants - Barr Report

If you are set on restarting, I would first find a large container to hold the fish for a few days with the filter connected.

Do not clean the filter after you remove it from the current setup, it will serve as a source of beneficial bacteria to reduce the risk of an ammonia and nitrite spike. Algae spores are everywhere, if plants are not growing algae will. Contamination is very hard to avoid.

In my experience a mix between a fine and a large grain size is more likely to go anaerobic than just sand alone. Since you had problems with the substrate this time maybe it is worth to invest some time into making a good decision so as not to reset the tank again. Some type of soil based substrate, such as ADA Aquasoil, Tropica Plant Growth Substrate or Fluval Stratum is nutrient rich from the beginning and can help plants go over some nutrient limitations.

Buy some fast growers in the beginning such as watersprite, Hygrophila polysperma or corymbosa, Egeria , Juncus repens, Hydrocortyle and floating plants. Even if you do not want them in your final setup, they will help keep the algae away from the start.
Your light should be on for around 6, just for the start. And all the nutrients should be high enough.

After you setup the aquarium, seed it with bacteria from your filter. Once ammonia is converted to nitrate fast with no ammonia and nitritre spikes, you can put your fish back in.

Fighting algae can be discouraging. Concentrate on growing healthy plants and things will be easier.
 

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Algae will be around. There is no such algae free tank. I have every kind of algae in my tank (bba, hair, bga, etc). But they are all under control and mostly not visible. Elements that help:

Flow - I'm running 300+ gph on 22g tank
Co2 dosing
Clean up crew - i have load of shrimps which are very effective of eating left over food and some algae
 

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You can reset the tank however you want, just make sure there is enough bacteria to take care of the fish.
Here is how I would do this:
1) assemble all you need (read through this and make your list)
2) separate container for the fish. A 10 gallon or so tank would be great, then keep it as a hospital/quarantine tank. Filter, heater, cover.
3) new substrate, plants, other (driftwood, stones...) ready to use. To use stuff from the 45 you could bleach most things to remove algae, then rinse and air it out. Chlorine evaporates.
4) source of Nitrospira species of bacteria. Read the labels and do not waste money on anything else.

5) fill the 10 gallon with clean water from the 45. (Before you start removing stuff and stirring the substrate). Add half the Nitrospira to the filter.
6) do whatever you need to do to the 45, including bleaching whatever goes back into the system.
a) substrate, hardscape, plant (misting often), then fill. Put a plate or plastic bag over the substrate and run the water in slowly so it seeps into the substrate. Run the equipment when there is enough water in the tank.
b) run this tank for a few days to make sure there is no ammonia spike. Some substrates produce ammonia when they are first submerged.
7) meanwhile, take care of the fish in the small tank. Do several water changes to get rid of algae spores in their water. Won't get rid of them all, of course, but greatly reduce the quantity.
8) when the 45 is ready, add the other half of the Nitrospira and net the fish out of the 10 gallon.
 

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I generally agree with the advice given.

I will add something else. Since you are tearing the tank down anyway, you could also consider getting a larger tank and setting that up. Not everyone wants to do that, but it is an option.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for all of the advice, and I appreciate you guys looking at some of my older posts. As of currently, most of the algae on the bottom, shown in pictures attached to previous posts, is gone, for some reason that you guys may be able to explain, when the water turned green that algae at the bottom died and disintegrated. I put my UV filter back on and over the next few days, the green water has cleared up. Its still a little cloudy, and there is still a little bit of that algae on the bottom, but over all its looking like it will survive the next three weeks until I can set a day aside for it (teacher=summer off!)

Is my lighting enough? It seems to be a pretty good kit, I bought it on a steal deal with Amazon.

Bump: Thanks for all of the advice, and I appreciate you guys looking at some of my older posts. As of currently, most of the algae on the bottom, shown in pictures attached to previous posts, is gone, for some reason that you guys may be able to explain, when the water turned green that algae at the bottom died and disintegrated. I put my UV filter back on and over the next few days, the green water has cleared up. Its still a little cloudy, and there is still a little bit of that algae on the bottom, but over all its looking like it will survive the next three weeks until I can set a day aside for it (teacher=summer off!)

Is my lighting enough? It seems to be a pretty good kit, I bought it on a steal deal with Amazon.
 

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I do not have first hand experience with this light fixture, however from what you describe I would say low light is not the problem here, maybe too much light. Can you raise the fixture from the water surface ? Whether you have enough light or not is a function of what plants you want to grow.

As for the green water, I had a similar experience. The reason why other algae die during a green water bloom may be that green water consumes all the nutrient from the water so the other algae are limited... However what I find more powerful, green water lowers the light levels, even more so the photosynthetically usable radiation. Lower light with a green tint does not benefit the other algae. Algae will return, if the aquarium still has problems with not enough nutrients, high light, low CO2.

Enjoy the summer(holiday for you)
 
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