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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Another algae question! (sorrysorry)

I turn to you here in PlantedTank because I am not sure how to fix my problem. My low tech tank has been set up for about 1.5 years, in various forms. I am currently dealing with some algae issues that I cannot figure out.

5 gallon single betta tank, heated, sponge filter (cycled), recently added in a small in-tank filter to up water flow

Lighting is Finnex Stingray 16", at various heights, currently at at ~6 inches above tank, runs for 6 hours then late afternoon ambient room light

Params are 0/0/~5, pH 7.5-7.7 buffered with cuttlebone, kH ~65 (test strips?), GH 90 (?)

The algae I have now is black and flat. Not like BBA, which is hairy/bushy. It is extremely difficult to manually remove and seems resistant to shots of Excel.

I also seem to have a nutrient deficiency, but I'm not sure how. My nitrates are ~5ppm, and I dose N, K, Fe, Flourish, and daily Excel.

I've been fussing with finding a balance between light, ferts, and Excel for months now, and have gone through staghorn algae (too much light), currently diatoms (low flow?), a small patch of BBA that I killed, and now this horrible black stuff! Research hasn't helped much as it all suggests BBA when I type' black algae' or suggests I have pool mold? ...Rather at a loss at this point. Help?
 

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I'm thinking about keeping a 5 gallon or less planted too. Everything I've read on these pico tanks has been confusing so I want to see for myself. It seems to me fertilizing a tank of that size is going to be very tricky. I would just make frequent (every 5 days at least) water changes, and let the fish food be the only fertilizer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Seems to be tricky so far, yes! I've spent months fiddling around with levels of light and fert.

I hand feed my betta, so unfortunately no food as fertilizer. Cutting back on ferts generally may be in the cards though; it's a combination I haven't tried yet!
 

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Seems to be tricky so far, yes! I've spent months fiddling around with levels of light and fert.

I hand feed my betta, so unfortunately no food as fertilizer. Cutting back on ferts generally may be in the cards though; it's a combination I haven't tried yet!
But it's the Betta's poop that is the fertilizer. Potassium, phosphorus and many other nutrients are coming back out of that fish. I don't know if it is enough by itself, but it certainly counts as plant fertilizer of the best kind. Maybe using something like aqueon plant food once a month would be good, instead of your daily/weekly ferts.

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Seems to be tricky so far, yes! I've spent months fiddling around with levels of light and fert.

I hand feed my betta, so unfortunately no food as fertilizer. Cutting back on ferts generally may be in the cards though; it's a combination I haven't tried yet!
But it's the Betta's poop that is the fertilizer. Potassium, phosphorus and many other nutrients are coming back out of that fish. I don't know if it is enough by itself, but it certainly counts as plant fertilizer of the best kind. Maybe using something like aqueon plant food once a month would be good, instead of your daily/weekly ferts.
 
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