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Specific questions are -

  • Is CO2 my problem? I would bite the bullet and get a system if I thought it would solve the problem.
  • Does aquasoil make the issue worse? Would tearing everything down and restarting with sand or gravel help?
  • Could I add a Siamese algae eater orb would that tip the bio load too high?
  • Is the tank under filtered? There is definitely room to upgrade the filter since its just the stock one now, but the parameters all being fine make me wonder if that's an issue
Yes, CO2 is a big part of your problem. Plants need CO2 in order to photosynthesize. When you don’t supply what they need then they start to decline and the algae will become more prolific.

When you say testing has always been normal…I don’t know what that means exactly. If you are using tap water, then it‘s a good idea to find out what is in that water. I’m seeing hair algae, diatoms and green spot algae (the last indicating the light is too bright for your anubias). Do you know what your nitrate levels are…or phosphates??

Aquasoil leaches ammonia for a few months if I remember correctly. This helps to give new tanks that are fully planted a nutrient boost but the leaching will eventually stop. How often and how much are you feeding your fish btw? Organic waste can build up fast from over feeding and can accelerate your algae issues.

Don’t get a Siamese algae eater for that tank. They will get big and are not the solution.

Yes, you can upgrade your filter for sure. I’m not familiar with the filter you have on your tank, but the more filtration you can provide, the better.

And I’m also not familiar with the intensity of that light. But it is sitting right on top of the tank so it’s right on top of the plants and driving the algae. Again, the GSA on your anubias is a clue that you are providing too much intensity. The more light, the more need for co2 and nutrients. And Seachem Flourish and Excel are not going to be doing the job on their own. Flourish is just micros I believe and not a source of any N or P correct? Your plants need macro nutrients as well. Also, the majority of those plants grow in low light conditions, like the majority of plants in this hobby.

I’d invest in a co2 system first. You can do a DIY but honestly, IME, you will end up with a pressurized system down the road so you may as well start now.

And in the meantime I’d turn your light down or raise it up in order to slow the demand for co2 and nutrients. Learn what’s in your tap water by looking at your water quality reports. Up your filtration etc. which will help to provide more beneficial bacteria. Keep up with your water changes And be patient. I think it is very easy in this hobby to want things to flourish immediately and to over complicate things for good reason. But focus on the fundamentals of what it takes to grow plants and adjust as you go. So many issues are because of excessive light and lack of co2 or lack of established bacteria or over feeding etc. You will know that you are moving in the right direction when you start to grow more healthy plants and less algae. Just take you time and give your plants what they need and don’t push them beyond their limits. There will always be algae to keep you in check…and even when things are going great in the tank…there will always be algae.

Good luck.
 

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The goal is getting to grow healthy plants. (Sorry for paraphrasing what one member here advised) but the keep waiting for your tank to balance itself by the-keep-doing-what-you-are-doing method IME is a bad idea here. And as you had said you have had the tank setup since July and it is now October…why would your issues simply go away with time as they have only gotten worse? Your tank is also not heavily planted. adding co2 is not going to create some crazy new bio load or set your tank out of whack. It’s going to provide an essential element of photosynthesis. I have never scene an indoor “hi-tech” tank with artificial lighting that doesn’t use co2. Your tank is not hi-tech but that was also mentioned somewhere above by a member and I’d ask for more info or supported facts to back that up.

It looks like you are going to get a ton of conflicting info. I suggest digging deeper and looking at the tanks of those who are giving you advice in order to help you decide what route to go down. You can’t fake healthy plant growth and you need to adjust when things go south. There are also a gazillion articles out there about hair algae and ways to treat it. Algae like yours is simply a result of a number of things including poor maintenance, nutrient imbalance including available co2 and light. Stepping away from this one. The truth is out there. There will always be algae…
 
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