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The short and quick answer: Change your waterflow!

The long story:
Hello, I'm not very active on this site, but I figured that I'd go ahead and post a Green Dust Algae remedy that worked for me. Please understand that even though this solution worked for me, everyone has a different type of tank, with different parameters; therefore this solution may not work for you. Initially I spent a significant amount of time scouring the internet looking for a solution to curing my reoccurring GDA outbreaks. Especially since the far too common approach of leaving it alone for a month, then wiping it off after lowering the water never worked for me after repeated attempts. In my research however, I did find a great deal of suggestions which helped increase the period by which GDA kept showing back up; the suggestions on the internet allowed the GDA to go from me needing to scrape it off once a week, to once every 3 weeks. Among those implementations were increasing CO2 injection, incorporating a UV sterilizer, adding Seachem Excel once a week, as well as a cleaning and scraping regiment that included sucking up the GDA into my gravel vac (python) as I was scraping it off. However, implementing all those suggestions never really solved the problem. About every 3rd week, it got to the point that I needed to scrape again. Therefore I ended up accepting the realization that GDA is just something that I will have to continue dealing with.
Then, a little over 5 months ago I decided that I wanted to increase the flow of CO2 over my newly plugged carpet grass (Monte Carlo), as I lost hope in trying to carpet Lilaeopsis Mauritania. I was injecting pressurized CO2 through a CO2 reactor, then returned to the tank through a pair of standard return tubes. Since I have a 150 gallon long tank, its still about 22 inches from the return tube to the carpet grass. In an effort to get the returning water and CO2 closer to the carpet grass, I decided to take up a project of changing how the returning water flow is returned and dispersed throughout the tank. First, I bought a pair of marineland long intake tubes, and converted them into return tubes that extend halfway down the tank before the returned water is dispersed throughout the tank. At the end of the intake tube, I modified the strainer by applying aquarium safe silicone to the back half of the strainer so that water is dispersed in a forward arc where the carpet grass is. This all worked pretty well, and the return jet was alot closer to the bottom of the tank.
The Realization and solution
After about 5 months of improved carpet grass growth, I can say that the new return tubes have worked out quite nicely. Then today while I was studying for a Calculus 2 test, I look up at my tank and realize "Damn, I've really neglected my tank since class started". Then came the most startling realization of all, "I haven't had any GDA in like 5 months"! What the hell happened!"
Previously my waterflow consisted of a pair of return tubes on both ends of the tank. Since the tank is only 18 inches deep, the return jets couldn't be directed towards the aquarium floor, and instead were angled down as far as it could go. This resulted in the return water ricocheting off the aquarium glass and onto the carpet grass. From there the whole flow of the aquarium would make it up to an overflow skimmer at the top back of the aquarium, aligned right at the middle of the aquarium. Then, upon recollection I realized that the GDA was always worst along the sections of glass by which the return jets were ricocheting off of; which was high on the sides, and right in the middle of the left and right front sections. From those areas, it must have quickly spread. Since I've now changed the returns and overall flow of water, I no longer get GDA. My final conclusion, change the returns and flow of water in your tank so that the strong return jets aren't being projected right on the glass. For a better and much more comprehensive approach, try using all or a combination of the methods mentioned above as well as changing your waterflow to at the very least see some improvement.

Tank Specs
Now, undoubtedly everyone will want to know what the parameters of my tank are. I cant help but notice that when anything is posted about a tank, whether it be a question or solution; everyone wants to know the specs of the tank in overwhelming detail. Therefore they are as follows:
Lighting: I have a pair of LED Fenex Fugeray Planted+, and a pair of Aqueon modular LED's; each with a daylight bulb, and 1 color max bulb, and moonlight mod.
Lighting Regiment: A year ago I became really interested in recreating different light intensities to mimic a full day via timers. From 10am-11am my moonlights are turned on from the Aqueon Modular moonlight mods. From 11am-12pm, both the bulbs in my Aqueon modulars, and the moonlight mods are on to represent noon. From 12pm to 8pm both Fenex Fugerays and their moonlights are on, both Aqueon bulbs and their moonlights are on. From 8pm to 11pm, just the Aqueon moonlight mods are on.
CO2 Regiment: Pressurized CO2 at 2bps via CO2 reactor being fed by a Cobalt MJ1200.
Fertilizer Regiment: Over the course of about 9-10 days my fertilator (Resun automatic fish feeder) dispenses powdered ferts totalling 3/4 Tsp KH2PO4, 3 Tsp KNO3, 2 Tsp K2SO4, 2 Tsp Plantex CSMB, 1 Tsp PMDD, until empty. Also 25ml of Seachem excel every other Sunday. I've used this regiment for 18 months.
Water Parameters: Tested at 11pm on a day in which no ferts were added for 35 hours (I am reloading my fertilator).
PH=8.0-8.1 Always. Ammonia=0, Nitrite=0, Nitrate=0, KH hardness =107 ppm (6 drops via API test). 40% Water change monthly.
Filtration: Overflow skimmer into porous sponge, then into filter floss within a wet dry filter. Within wet dry filter are bio balls, UV sterilizer fed from Cobalt MJ1200, then fed into CO2 reactor, then fed into a Quiet One 3000 return pump which is also fed from wet dry filter tank. No carbon. Purigen is used under filter floss.
Livestock: 8 Amano Shrimp, 7 Bleeding Heart Tetras, 7 Candy Cane Tetras, 7 Kerry Blue Emperor Tetras, 7 Blue Columbian Tetras, 6 Harlequin Rasboras, 2 Cherry Barbs, 5 SAE's, 2 Otto's, 1 albino bushynose, and amphipod infused CaribSea Complete substrate.
Plants Heavily Planted, far too many to list. Just look at the pic.

Final Thoughts
Since I am by no means an expert at planted tanks, I may not possess the knowledge to answer any follow up questions. All I can do is offer to the masses a solution that cured my constant reoccurring bout with GDA in a hope that I can help someone who is stuck in the hopeless situation that I was once in. Therefore, interpret my findings and parameters as you see fit; and good luck to you.

First Pic is of a similar return tube that I had before (actual one had a skinny nozzle). The intake tube on the left is what I modified with the strainer to create the new return tube.

The 2nd pic is the side view of tank so that you can see a close up of the modified strainer which I used aquarium safe silicone to cover up the back half of the strainer so that the return jets can be disbursed forward.

3rd pic is of the whole tank so that you can see how far down the sides they go.

The 4th, 5th, and 6th pics are close ups of the middle and sides so that you can see which plants I have and the accompanying livestock so that I don't have to list them in my post.
 

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In 5 days this has had no responses! That bothers me a bit, but I think the reason is that it goes against all of our experiences, against all that we think are the causes of this algae. My response has to be that I don't believe this will work for even a small percentage of us. I hope someone else has tried this and will tell us how it worked for them, or explain why it might work.
 

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am not sure how you have Nitrate=0 when using EI?

IME GDA has nothing to do with flow, it will grow even in the highest flow, doesn't matter where you point the outlet or inlet. i use to get GDA soon as i dose higher amount of KNO3, but since i reduced the KNO3 dose, GDA is hardly any issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I am well aware that many have different experiences with GDA; I've spent many an hour researching online how to get rid of it and how others have gotten rid of it. I can also understand why many may doubt the method by which I finally achieved success with my reoccurring bouts with GDA. It's one of the reasons I was so specific in outlining my dry ferts regimen, as well as so many other parameters of my tank. I don't dose EI as I consider my amounts to be below EI, but yes my nitrates frequently drop to zero in between fertile God refills. However, to be completely honest, my bouts with GDA started before I ever even decided to start using ferts. I started dosing because everyone stated that having just the right fert regimen was the key to never getting any kind of algae ever again. However I quickly found that that using ferts is an overwhelming undertaking in itself. That, and for a short while that using EI actually made the problem a little worse until I dialed it back a little bit. Eventually, my final assessment led me to believe that a proper fert regimen only really solved my GSA problem.
My first problem with algae was brown algae; but I solved that by upgrading my lights. Then came the GDA and GSA. So I decided to start dosing, but with dosing there is a constant tug of war with trying to get it just right. It never really ends to be honest; which is when I settled for a happy medium in my regiment, and then just automated it to remove the headache of it. At some point in the middle I experimented with increasing light by using my old and new lights since I upped my game with CO2 and EI; but I ran into BBA. So I dialed the light back to a happy medium as well. But again, GDA was never cured. Until now; until i ascertained what change I made to my tank that finally rid the problem. Also, it's not some fluke remedy that I posted, I have monitored my tank for many months after the change.
At the end of the day though, I expect that this remedy may not work for everyone. Especially since I have not been able to find a clear and definitive reason, or cause and effect factor that creates GDA. It was my intent from the beginning of this article to state my remedy with the hope that one day someone who was in the same hopeless position that I was in can find this solution, and solve their problem in the same manner that I did. Regardless, I don't expect to alter the opinion or mindset of anyone that has cured their GDA by other methods; which is why I close with the statement that I encourage you interpret my findings and parameters as you see fit.
 

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The short and quick answer: Change your waterflow!

The long story:
I decided that I wanted to increase the flow of CO2 over my newly plugged carpet grass (Monte Carlo). I was injecting pressurized CO2 through a CO2 reactor, then returned to the tank through a pair of standard return tubes. Since I have a 150 gallon long tank, its still about 22 inches from the return tube to the carpet grass. In an effort to get the returning water and CO2 closer to the carpet grass, I decided to take up a project of changing how the returning water flow is returned and dispersed throughout the tank. First, I bought a pair of marineland long intake tubes, and converted them into return tubes that extend halfway down the tank before the returned water is dispersed throughout the tank. At the end of the intake tube, I modified the strainer by applying aquarium safe silicone to the back half of the strainer so that water is dispersed in a forward arc where the carpet grass is. This all worked pretty well, and the return jet was alot closer to the bottom of the tank.
I don't quite understand this. Did you basically add another return tube? You basically increased the flow of the Co2?
 

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I don't quite understand this. Did you basically add another return tube? You basically increased the flow of the Co2?
My interpretation isn't that he didn't actually increase the amount of CO2 being injected, but rather that he extended and angled his return tubes so that they flowed over his carpet first. Thus, the carpet gets first crack at the freshly injected CO2.
 
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