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Big job ahead i think! :-(

1273 Views 21 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Colin Wrexham
Tried everything i can think of to cut down on deaths in my tank and stop this horrible algae growing. So with sad face i think i only have one option left.
I am giving serious thoughts of stripping the tank bare, cleaning every inch and starting a fresh. New subtrate, gravel etc. The hardscape i am going to boil and spray with hydrogen peroxide and scrub the damn stuff off. The plants are going to get dipped and trimmed. The filter is getting stripped and cleaned out too. Big job??? Oh yesss!!!

Not happy but as everything else has been done, guessing something bad is in my subtrate as nothing left to check or test. The fish will have a holiday in another tank for a few days until its done. I am a bit torn on ideas for what gravel/ sand to try next? Tempted to try aquasoil but not keen on the waiting time for it to settle down.
Will be posting as i go if it helps anyone else with ideas. Watch this space!
Suggestions on a postcard please lol

Plant Water Pet supply Organism Terrestrial plant


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Have you tried light breaks? What's your light cycle, is its co2? Do you add Excel as it acts as an algaecide? Are your fish dying because of what you're using to try to get rid of the algae?, you know you can spot treat algae with peroxide while still in the tank, I wouldn't go that far as starting over you just need to find your balance to much light to many nutrients etc etc im totally new to plants but I do alot of research https://youtu.be/geFDaOhCphA

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I've tried the lot buddy and nothing has worked seriously. Been on this issue for some time now.

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I've tried the lot buddy and nothing has worked seriously. Been on this issue for some time now.

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UV-Sterilizer?


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Lol except that. All water tests are fine, regular changes, lighting & co2 are ok. In a way i am looking forward to a redesign but it will give me the chance to change subtrate and get the algae off. It wont be that different to what it is now.

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You can buy a 9w sun sun for $45 and do a 70% water change just before you stick it in. It may kill it? Like a one time deal?


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P.s. Don't let your pride get in the way. I'd let you use mine if you were close.


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Have you tried light breaks? What's your light cycle, is its co2? Do you add Excel as it acts as an algaecide? Are your fish dying because of what you're using to try to get rid of the algae?, you know you can spot treat algae with peroxide while still in the tank, I wouldn't go that far as starting over you just need to find your balance to much light to many nutrients etc etc im totally new to plants but I do alot of research https://youtu.be/geFDaOhCphA

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This tank looks so nice. It's a good one for sure!


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Got 4 days off work so just going to strip it. Will post as i go but just planning when i can start it. Tomorrow is possible if i can get some hired help

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Sounded like you were going to that. Haha. Have fun. Going to Journal it?


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Yeah i'll be posting a step by step. Will go and look for some fresh subtrate today. Will give me a good chance to clear the algae too. Replanting and cleaning will be the time consuming bit.

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Your tank actually doesn't look that bad. True, at this point it's not going to make the 10 greatest planted tanks of all time list, but it actually is far from a disaster.

Also, before you do this massive tear down and rebuild, your going to need to find out what your doing wrong. If you fail to do this, you'll end up with the same sort of algae problems down the road.

Before you take such drastic action, tell us more about your system. How big is it? What livestock and plants do you have in it? What kind of lighting do you have? what kind of filtration system do you have? What have you previously done to try to resolve the issue?

Many people here have had far worse algae problems, and fought them, without tearing the tank down, and now have excellent tanks.
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Hi dave. Feel free to have a look at my previous posts in algae issues. I've put pics and a full list of treatments, my system, fish, lighting etc and what i have done so far. The strip dpwn is so i can change my subtrate, blitz the algae (staghorn) and do a bit of rearranging. All tests came back fine but something is killing my fish at a fast pace. But like you said my planting isnt great i know so i'm looking forward to a move around of those too.
I think the algae arrived from infected java moss i put in from a pet store. They now have the same problem but on a much bigger scale than me. Tons of dead fish and this huge algae outbreak. Nothing is standing out but thinking a full clean may solve it. I removed the moss but if there is a toxin in there i want it out. At most it will be a day or two to do it all. Fresh start, same design (ish). Plus i enjoy doing new setups. Really appreciate your help and advice

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I feel your pain, but agree sometimes a complete strip and re-do is the best option. Actually, I guess I'm more inclined to do this than most... lol.

That being said, I still do/have done my fair share of algae treatments and spot treatments, but sometimes doing a full reset gives a fresh start and alleviates weeks of frustration. Add in fish deaths and I'm willing to even expedite things. (Not saying it's the best thing to do given tank sizes... just my feelings).

What are you thinking in regards to substrate? Blasting/pool sand? I've had good luck with pool sand and a quick stir or agitation refreshes any areas that might hold some algae down the road. Controsoil is back on Amazon again... probably the best "advanced" substrate I've ever used and doesn't have the issues that most of the others do at startup.

Good luck!
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Hi matey.
I just got some more tropica plant soil/ subtrate and my fave zambezi gravel again. I love the stuff and its so easy to use. Natural look to it too. Just bought 40kg of the stuff. Hope its enough as they are closed until Tuesday lol

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I feel your pain, but agree sometimes a complete strip and re-do is the best option. Actually, I guess I'm more inclined to do this than most... lol.

That being said, I still do/have done my fair share of algae treatments and spot treatments, but sometimes doing a full reset gives a fresh start and alleviates weeks of frustration. Add in fish deaths and I'm willing to even expedite things. (Not saying it's the best thing to do given tank sizes... just my feelings).

What are you thinking in regards to the substrate? Blasting/pool sand? I've had good luck with pool sand and a quick stir or agitation refreshes any areas that might hold some algae down the road. Controsoil is back on Amazon again... probably the best "advanced" substrate I've ever used and doesn't have the issues that most of the others do at startup.

Good luck!
I agree with Aqua99, in this case, with so much work and time invested, you may never truly find the culprit and albeit you could possibly kill it with a UV-Sterilizer and move on, like I said before, it sounds to me like someone "wants" to do a tear down. If you have the time and can afford it, heck...why not!
Well i dropped the water down to 25% the other week and scrubbed the algae off. The remainder is still there and if i dropped it down to the subtrate that could be infected too. So even after a 75% scrub my fish are still dying. "All" my tests are showing fine so there has to be something toxic in there thats not showing up. Would be good if i didnt have to do it but i see no other solution

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I had have way worse and though a tear down can restart it without issue (assuming you correct any issues causing the problem). If you have a dimmable light, dim it in half. If you can't do that, raise the light, and maybe up to 12 inches or more. Manually remove as much algae, and organic material if that is a problem. Clean your filter out. Do waterchanges as often as reasonable. Clean your filter again, much sooner than you normally would, especially if you are disturbing your substrate. Any plants that are too far gone, just toss them, and then replace once you see algae subside. Even though you are injecting CO2, use Excel daily as well. Now, this is a lot of work, but less work than a total tear down, especially if you would recreate the same scape (or don't have a strong want to rescape), and if you have fish.

I have done this successfully a few times and I am sure my tank was way worse than yours, judging by your pictures. Now, sometimes it doesn't work out because I don't follow up with water changes, Excel dosing, etc. I also have gone to low tech, then back to high tech after algae subsides. When you first go to low tech, the algae may increase, or not have any noticeable decrease, but assuming your light is low enough, and no CO2, it will clear up too. This route can work better for me, because I am simply much better with low tech. For some, they struggle with getting the light down to reasonable, especially if they don't have adjustability in output or cannot raise the light, then it isn't possible. The first way takes a few weeks to get back to reasonable, then a bit more to become optimal, this way takes months, but it's easier day to day.
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Hi talon
I've tried most of that and its not worked sadly. I dont think its the algae killing the fish but doing a full strip down will hopefully solve my problem. Starting to think i have some kind of toxin thats not showing up. However i can sort the algae at the same time.
Going to dip any infected plants or maybe even just bin them depending on how bad they are. The hydrogen peroxide worked really well but hoping a clean scape will be easier to keep on top of. Cheers for the advice though.

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It's probably not the algae killing the fish, have you checked the ph with your co2 as I read to turn it off when it hits 7.02, u know nothing about this stuff just something I read, could be something with the co2 levels

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I have 2 bags of carbon in my external filter JR. The water is crystal clear but something is still killing them. I'm thinking there is some kind of toxin in there yes hence the change. Interesting read on carbon...thanks

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