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Discussion Starter #1
Looking for some help before I give up planted tanks all together. I am not in particularly "new" to planted tanks but my 75G planted tank journey has been a roller coaster of a ride or better known as the nightmare that never ends. When I first set up the tank I followed some fellow users advice to use Safe T sorb and HTH pool filter sand with ferts, Fluval FX4 filter and a Fluval 3.0 on for 8 hours. Everything was going well but slow and then the tank became infested with BBA ultimately leading to complete tear down. The next form of life for this tank came in the form of same filter and light but with Dustin's dirt mix capped with HTH PFS. This has produced my best results but ultimately after 4 months leading to dying plants, black hair algae and now a miserable sight to see. I am planning ANOTHER tear down and redo but looking for advice/recommendations for the tank. New light? switch to sump? and substrate recommendations. I will yet again only be keeping amazon based plants in the aquarium as the amazon is my whole theme for it.

A little backstory for my other planted tanks I currently have
29G currently with stratum finnex light, amazon HOB filter. Plants: crypts, java fern, anubias hosting 8 lemon tetra 2 otocinclus 1 nerite snail 2 Honeycomb catfish ALGAE: small amount of BBA which was eradicated
10G currently with stratum standard aqueon light marineland penguin HOB. Plants: java moss, amazon sword, crypts, anubias hosting 1 Betta ALGAE: NONE
 

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I think those in forum that can help you will want to know more about your water parameters: KH, GH, PH,TDS ( if known). Also, do your fertilize? With what and how often?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I think those in forum that can help you will want to know more about your water parameters: KH, GH, PH,TDS ( if known). Also, do your fertilize? With what and how often?
PH is 7.4
TDS 176 from faucet
KH 4
GH 9
I did not fertilize this time around due to the dirted substrate.
 

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PH is 7.4
TDS 176 from faucet
KH 4
GH 9
I did not fertilize this time around due to the dirted substrate.
Well thars your problem. Dirt is just another active substrate, like aqua soil but more annoying to deal with in my opinion. You also need to do really big water changes when setting it up, and consistent large water changes thereafter or things get out of control. You should be using a fertilizer system of your choice on a regimen.

When setting up an active substrate tank whether it be dirt or aqua soil, you need to do a 50% water change every day for the first week, every other day for the second week, three times in week three, and twice in week four. Thereafter I do a large 50% or more (preferably 70 to 80%) every single week. Doing this has given me by far the best results and keeps my tanks very clean. When I slack is when the algae shows up. Manual removal of any algae spots etc during water change also helps a lot.
 

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PH is 7.4 TDS 176 from faucet KH 4 GH 9 I did not fertilize this time around due to the dirted substrate.
Well thars your problem. Dirt is just another active substrate, like aqua soil but more annoying to deal with in my opinion. You also need to do really big water changes when setting it up, and consistent large water changes thereafter or things get out of control. You should be using a fertilizer system of your choice on a regimen.

When setting up an active substrate tank whether it be dirt or aqua soil, you need to do a 50% water change every day for the first week, every other day for the second week, three times in week three, and twice in week four. Thereafter I do a large 50% or more (preferably 70 to 80%) every single week. Doing this has given me by far the best results and keeps my tanks very clean. When I slack is when the algae shows up. Manual removal of any algae spots etc during water change also helps a lot.
Ditto. It took four months, but your substrate became exhausted of fertilizer.
 

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BBA usually takes over from lack of flow or adequate co2 for plants. It usually affects slower growing leaves or areas with stagnant flow and then spreads all over.

You potentially have a nutrient deficiency or an excess of a nutrients that allows algae to outcompete your plants for access to nutrients.

Couple questions to clarify:

How bright are those lights? Do you have enough plants to keep them on for 8 hours a day?
When you did fertilize, what did you dose and how often?
How do you do water changes? Full detail please
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Well thars your problem. Dirt is just another active substrate, like aqua soil but more annoying to deal with in my opinion. You also need to do really big water changes when setting it up, and consistent large water changes thereafter or things get out of control. You should be using a fertilizer system of your choice on a regimen.

When setting up an active substrate tank whether it be dirt or aqua soil, you need to do a 50% water change every day for the first week, every other day for the second week, three times in week three, and twice in week four. Thereafter I do a large 50% or more (preferably 70 to 80%) every single week. Doing this has given me by far the best results and keeps my tanks very clean. When I slack is when the algae shows up. Manual removal of any algae spots etc during water change also helps a lot.
I did do the water changes at the beginning and removed the wood/leaves every time I seen the BBA. I actually got the BBA under control but then got a black hair algae to best describe it that will not go away.
 

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I have a 55g low tech tank that's done fine with safe-t-sorb and HTH pool filter sand, and osmocote + pellets in the substrate. I also have a fluval 3.0, as well as a canister filter (Penn Plax Cascade 1000). I have a little bit of BBA and a little GHA, but nothing that's not too tough to keep up with by trimming leaves now and then. Not to say that this is the best setup, but it's very low maintenance, was inexpensive to setup, and I'm happy with it. My tap water parameters sound similar to yours as well. Just to say that it should be possible to keep a tank like so without a ton of BBA, so there's got to be an issue that can hopefully be identified and addressed.

Can you post an image of your tank as well as a screenshot of your light schedule from the fluval app? What's your stocking? How often do you do water changes, and what amount of water? Have you tested your tap water for ammonia or nitrates? Are you on a well or municipal water supply? Do you treat or condition your water with anything before doing a water change?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
BBA usually takes over from lack of flow or adequate co2 for plants. It usually affects slower growing leaves or areas with stagnant flow and then spreads all over.

You potentially have a nutrient deficiency or an excess of a nutrients that allows algae to outcompete your plants for access to nutrients.

Couple questions to clarify:

How bright are those lights? Do you have enough plants to keep them on for 8 hours a day?
When you did fertilize, what did you dose and how often?
How do you do water changes? Full detail please
As far as the Watts or PAR on the fluval lights I'm not quite sure off the top of my head. I had the custom parameters set to 75% on the whites 50% on red and 25% on blue. I fertilized Easy green on the recommendation off the bottle. Plant load was 6 medium to full size amazon swords, 2 rubin reds, 2 ozelot, 3 small crypt wendtii, and a solid 1x1 square of american jungle val. As far as water changes after the initial first weeks where its non stop every day and I noticed everything "seemed to be stable" I went to 25G water changes via python every Sunday. My water source is from a spring so I can't particularly say it is steady of what it contains from week to week.

I have a 55g low tech tank that's done fine with safe-t-sorb and HTH pool filter sand, and osmocote + pellets in the substrate. I also have a fluval 3.0, as well as a canister filter (Penn Plax Cascade 1000). I have a little bit of BBA and a little GHA, but nothing that's not too tough to keep up with by trimming leaves now and then. Not to say that this is the best setup, but it's very low maintenance, was inexpensive to setup, and I'm happy with it. My tap water parameters sound similar to yours as well. Just to say that it should be possible to keep a tank like so without a ton of BBA, so there's got to be an issue that can hopefully be identified and addressed.

Can you post an image of your tank as well as a screenshot of your light schedule from the fluval app? What's your stocking? How often do you do water changes, and what amount of water? Have you tested your tap water for ammonia or nitrates? Are you on a well or municipal water supply? Do you treat or condition your water with anything before doing a water change?
LIGHTS: all whites were 75% Red 50% blue 25% now changed to all whites 40% Red 30% and blue 15% to see if it would help.
Stocking is 5 Peppered corys, 7 Rio flame tetra, 1 Angelfish, 1 bolivian Ram.
Water is from a spring and Ammonia 0ppm nitrate .25ppm from API test kit.
And I do not treat the water at all.
Water changes were done per "standard" for dirt tanks at the beginning and then to 25G every Sunday.

Also does anyone feel that the FX4 might be underpowered for a 75G? I ended up adding a hydor corolia pump to help with flow and at one point had the surface agitation the whole way across. I was considering the switch to a sump after starting my first saltwater tank with a sump and realized the ease compared to a canister filter that to me feels like an issue now.
 

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So the FX4 is close. looks like it will pump out 250 GPH and usually they say you want 4x tank per hour which would mean you are 50 GPH short. However that's probably close enough as long as it's kept pretty clean. (all this is assuming you're using that 75 gal again)

I run a Fluval 3.0 on my 75 gallon because I need more light that the basic $50 amazon light bar. Basically, are you sure your lights are up high enough? I am running 90% right now accross the board on my 3.0. This is because I had low light and want to be sure it's high enough now. Only this week have I begun adjusting. But check out this chart, these I believe were taken at 100% light settings.
1026404

So in the corners you're gonna be way low at like 40 PAR or something. But that's a shot in the dark. so when running at 50% you have way lower numbers.
 

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Isn't Black Beard Algae the same as Black Hair Algae? It starts as small clumps and ends up as massive threadlike puffballs

You should test the water for phosphates. Sometimes water companies will add up to 0.25ppm phosphates into the water supply. That often is the cause of unexplained algae.

Your plants are slow growing rooted plants so I can see how algae outcompetes them in the water column. I would cut down slightly on the column dosing and supplement with some root tabs.

Do you supplement co2 in any form?
 

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Isn't Black Beard Algae the same as Black Hair Algae? It starts as small clumps and ends up as massive threadlike puffballs

You should test the water for phosphates. Sometimes water companies will add up to 0.25ppm phosphates into the water supply. That often is the cause of unexplained algae.

Your plants are slow growing rooted plants so I can see how algae outcompetes them in the water column. I would cut down slightly on the column dosing and supplement with some root tabs.

Do you supplement co2 in any form?
Isn't Black Beard Algae the same as Black Hair Algae? It starts as small clumps and ends up as massive threadlike puffballs

You should test the water for phosphates. Sometimes water companies will add up to 0.25ppm phosphates into the water supply. That often is the cause of unexplained algae.

Your plants are slow growing rooted plants so I can see how algae outcompetes them in the water column. I would cut down slightly on the column dosing and supplement with some root tabs.

Do you supplement co2 in any form?
The BBA I had before was small puffy tuffs on the wood and leaf tips. The newest algae has reached out to almost 3 inches in length running up and down the leaves and wood. Also my water comes from a spring and is not touched by anyone coming in to the house. I have barely dosed anything do to the new presence of algae.

So the FX4 is close. looks like it will pump out 250 GPH and usually they say you want 4x tank per hour which would mean you are 50 GPH short. However that's probably close enough as long as it's kept pretty clean. (all this is assuming you're using that 75 gal again)

I run a Fluval 3.0 on my 75 gallon because I need more light that the basic $50 amazon light bar. Basically, are you sure your lights are up high enough? I am running 90% right now accross the board on my 3.0. This is because I had low light and want to be sure it's high enough now. Only this week have I begun adjusting. But check out this chart, these I believe were taken at 100% light settings.
View attachment 1026404
So in the corners you're gonna be way low at like 40 PAR or something. But that's a shot in the dark. so when running at 50% you have way lower numbers.
What are you running on your 75G for filtration? I know when I started my first saltwater tank with a sump it was an eye opener. I regret everytime I clean the FX4 that I didn't get the tank drilled and used a sump the first time around.

In conclusion after reading the responses today and doing some investigating I think I have come up with a solution and would like some responses. I watched a few videos from SerpaDesign and MD Fish Tanks on how they set up low tech tanks and it struck my curiosity. I am planning to completely rip down the tank and discard all plants to a QT system to try and save some from the algae after pruning infected leaves. As far as substrate goes I will use either Tropica or Fluval Stratum mixed with some Flourite as my base layer with crushed lava rock to get my desired height in some places and cap with Caribsea Peace river and then Sunset Gold sand thinly in the front for aesthetics. I will fertilize via column and root tabs.
 

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the FX4 should be fine for a 75G, assuming you're not also using it to drive a reactor (and even then it might be okay). It's rated at 700G/hour. This was taken from the fluval website.

1026407


I use one on a 68G and it's also powering a reactor.
 

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Oh, i read that wrong for the FX4. you're good. hahaha. use that at like half power. I am using Fluval 406 on my 75 gal.

I also wish I did sump. overall seems easier. the GF probably wouldn't think so if she were to watch me clean it. But i didn't want drill my tank. So no sump... Plus I got this 75 gal and the Fluval 406 used and together.
 

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A clean restart might help you get a better foothold against the algae but it will come back down the line if the imbalance isn't addressed. Tanner sets up mostly terrariums and the list of plants he uses is limited to low maintenance plants. Plants that tend to not need any kind of trimming or extra fertilizers. You're trying to build an Amazon biotope with fish, some of the plants you listed will not thrive without supplemental nutrients.

You said you were dosing the recommended dose of Easy-Green. Not to be controversial, but that's too much. Especially if your water changes aren't big or frequent. What you'll do is eventually build an excess of NPK and a deficiency of trace elements if you don't dose anything else.

I would still test for phosphates in your tank. An abundance of phosphates tends to be the cause of unexplained algae.

Do you supplement co2 in any form? Low co2 also contributes to algae growth
 

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A clean restart might help you get a better foothold against the algae but it will come back down the line if the imbalance isn't addressed. Tanner sets up mostly terrariums and the list of plants he uses is limited to low maintenance plants. Plants that tend to not need any kind of trimming or extra fertilizers. You're trying to build an Amazon biotope with fish, some of the plants you listed will not thrive without supplemental nutrients.

You said you were dosing the recommended dose of Easy-Green. Not to be controversial, but that's too much. Especially if your water changes aren't big or frequent. What you'll do is eventually build an excess of NPK and a deficiency of trace elements if you don't dose anything else.

I would still test for phosphates in your tank. An abundance of phosphates tends to be the cause of unexplained algae.

Do you supplement co2 in any form? Low co2 also contributes to algae growth
Phosphates were on the lower side of things the last time I tested. Also I do not supplement co2 in anyway. And just from my experience the plants I like to keep are nothing high end ie swords, crypts, val, ferns, anubias, buce, red tiger lotus.

Before you tear everything down I would remove any fish then hammer the tank with Metricide.

My experience with overdosing Metricide 28 (Fluorish...

My hunch is the biggest change you need to make to your tank is the water change frequency. Light, filter, even substrate isn't going to make a big difference but I would bet that frequent large water changes will.
Won't the flourish melt the val? I have usually used hydrogen peroxide in the past with a 50/50 result. Also the reason in removing the dirt even though at first the initial growth I got was tremendous is when the substrate is disturbed or even at random I have seen gas bubbles coming out. Water changes I have experimented between 10-50% water changes weekly.
 
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