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When we talk about algae and how to prevent it, we always talk about balancing light, nutrients, and CO2. If we have a substrate with a high CEC value, compared to an inert substrate, do you think that there is absorption of nutrients from the water column to the substrate, and that it has some effect on available nutrients for algal growth?

The reason that I'm asking is because I have a tank with a sand substrate that has algae issues, and a (smaller) tank with eco complete, that has a higher CEC value than sand, that has no algae growth at all. Granted, there are other factors involved, but I've been battling (unsuccessfully, I might add) in the larger tank, but have not done anything for algae, in the smaller tank. It's to the point where I'm thinking about changing the substrate in the larger tank just to see if that would make a difference.

What are your thoughts? Am I just way off base here?
 

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I'm going to say no. Putting a nutrient rich substrate in there isn't going to help combat an algae issue. The sand could be your issue though. I've found its harder to clean then a coarser substrate and its possible it could be retaining a lot of the detritus and that's what's promoting your algae growth. But like you said there dozens of other factors.
I had eco-complete in a tank a few years back that thing would get algae so thick on the glass, It literally looked painted on. I always assumed I had too much light, but looking back it was probably more likely not enough plants and too rich a substrate.
I have a 10 gallon setup now. Its been up for maybe a little over a year. No plants what so ever and very low light. Low bio load just 2 adult guppies 3 adolescent guppies and 3 ottos. I am very regular with water changes, its like going to church for me. It has the same eco-complete that I had in that old tank. It was sitting dried out for years, and was very thoughly washed before I put it in the 10. With in 2 months I started having alge issues. I am convinced the only thing that keeps that tank alge free are the ottos. They had that tank cleand up in a few days and have done a real bang up job ever since.
 

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This probably anecdotes more than anything.

I have sand bank and eco complete in my tank. When I was having a BGA outbreak, it covered the sand so thick that you can scoop up chunk like cake. but there was barely anything on the eco complete soil.

I also have added some root tab (osmocotes) into my eco complete. At the sites where the soil is thin (~1.5"), there were green hair algae covering my carpet plant 2" diameter around where the tab is inserted.

Not sure if anything can be concluded but those are my experience.
 
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