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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently started my first planted tank a little over 2 months ago and have been having some recent hair algae issues. It is a 125g tank with tetra, swordtails, mollies, and large gouramis, probably 30 fish total. Lighting is 2 160w vho's that stay on from about 7 to 6:30 (its a work place tank so cutting this down isn't much of an option). Filtration consists of 2 magnum 350 canister filters full of carbon. We currently have 3 types of plants (don't ask me what kind, I take care of the tank but don't do the purchasing). But 1 is a grass, one is a leafy plant, and the other is a stringy plant with small protrusions along its length. All of the plants are growing like crazy. I was initially dosing about 5 ml of seachem flourish once a week. Then we had a green water tank so we bought a pressurized co2 system and a uv sterilizer. I hooked up the uv and within 24 hours our tank was crystal clear and free of algae. About a week later I hooked up the co2 system which is controlled by a pH controller. I had it set to maintain the pH at 6.5, but the pH never dropped below about 7.8 and so the co2 was on constantly at about 3 bubbles per second. After a few days the hair algae took off and covered everything. I waited a few days then decided to turn off the co2 and stopped dosing the seachem and did a 50% water change. All the plants are still growing well but the algae is covering everything. The substrate is a mix of eco-complete and large rock "gravel". Ammonia and nitrite are 0, nitrate is about 10. We also had a lot of fish die as we were stocking. The tetra all did fine, but we couldn't get the swordtails or mollies to survive, the gouramis were fine however. We also couldn't keep a pleco alive. We also have pretty hard water in our area. Temperature stays around 81 without a heater ever turning on (it is set at 76). I'm not sure what other info is pertinent? I have read a lot about hair algae on these forums about adding more co2 and fertilizers, cutting down the lighting, etc, but am at a loss. Any and all information is greatly appreciated.

Thank you
 

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with 2 vho's, you're entering into high light. As a result, unless you balance CO2 and ferts, you will likely never solve your problems. It seems like ferts are your major problem - not nearly enough. I would suggest looking into EI dosing. Just to give you an idea, until my EI ferts come in, I am dosing 5 mL of fluorish per day on my 20 gallon!

The problem with hair algae is that it thrives in much the same conditions as plants, so the only way to beat it is to have your plants growing faster than your algae. But now that the hair algae is established, you'll likely have to do a 3 day black out to kill it off. That means turning off the CO2 and completely covering all sides of the tank from light for 3 whole days.

Also, magnum filters filled with carbon would definitely not be the recommended choice in filter. As I have seen, magnum's are used as 'polishing' filters. Also, carbon is generally regarded to remove important nutrients. Since there isnt really much biological filtration, it is possible that an ammonia spike was the culprit of your initial stocking deaths.

Cutting down the lighting would help a lot. Maybe just running 1 vho and decreasing the lighting down to ~8 hours. Since you would like to maintain the lighting in the tank, perhaps you should look into strips of blue leds or "moonlights" as they are known in the saltwater hobby. This would allow for viewing when the main lights are off. Never seen it done on a FW tank before, so hopefully it wouldnt look too tacky. Better than algae though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Why won't my co2 stabilize? It seems incredibly wasteful to have 3 bubbles a second 24/7. And what filter media would you suggest? This tank was set-up for cichlids for 3 years, then we got rid of them, added the new substrate, and changed the water.
 

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With 125g you will need more than 3bps. And you will need a good way to diffuse it, either with a powerhead or inline reactors. That is likely why you never saw the pH drop low enough. How are you diffusing the CO2?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I have the Dr's. Foster and Smith full automatic system, so it is diffusing through an aqua medic co2 reactor 1000. How many bubbles per second should I be shooting for?
 

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bps is a crude measurement, really. I would look into getting a drop checker and shoot for 30 ppm CO2.

How many plants are in the tank btw? Because the advice you'll receive here will be for a large plant mass. If there is only a few spot plantings, I would probably suggest a different approach.

For a good filter media, I would look at the biological media made by eheim. Also some filter sponges... but I have no idea how much media a magnum can hold.

Also, do you have and kH or GH measurments of your water?
 

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I had the aquamedic 1000 on my 125g and it just could not dissolve enough CO2 into my tank. I ended up with a DYI diffuser that was at least 2 times the size. I just traded that out for a needle wheel impeller and venturi. It's the best so far. I think CO2 is your issue.
 
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