I have a question about how to deal with my cloudy water in light of the fact that my plants are not especially happy right now.
I recently set up a 55g with 130w of lighting and SMS substrate. I let it run for about a month without any dosing other than putting Seachem root tabs into the substrate. This is my first planted tank so I wanted to see how everything went and slowly introduce the ferts and CO2 once things settled (plus I have read the possibly unreliable info that you don't really need to dose anything in the first month anyway). It's only lightly planted, with some swords, java fern, and anubias for now. (Had some other stringier stuff but none of that made it; I'm not ready for that stuff yet.)
Predictably, with that much light, I got some pretty heavy brown algae growth. No big deal, easy to clean off, doesn't bother the fish (there are 15 tetras right now). I took this as a sign that there are nutrients in the water and that I needed more plants to outcompete it, so I added some. I'd still call it lightly planted though.
Friday, just like that, the brown algae was gone and hasn't returned. I left for two days saturday morning and sunday night when I returned the water was cloudy.
I did a 50% water change, and about an hour later it looked great. Then this morning it was cloudy again. I suppose this is green water, though it's really not all that green in my opinion. It's definitely not white or milky, anyway.
So the question: I've got my ferts and the plants are starting to look a bit unhappy. I'm all set with a dosing regimen and want to start - but now it looks like I'll need to black the tank out for 5 days. Should I wait a couple of weeks, give the plants some ferts and time, live with the cloudiness, and black it out later? Or just go ahead and black it out now?
(Or, and I know this is a long shot, is this just a common post startup step that'll pass, like the brown algae, that I should just wait out?)