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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
As the title asks. Now for a little back ground on the question from my perspective.

I've been battling the 55 for several months now and ready to tear it down and start over. But I wonder if this could be avoided with a little more elbow grease on my part in the first place...

I have had all types of algae in the last few months except for Staghorn and hair algae... BBA, GSA, GDA and the black sludge in the substrate (can't remember the acronym).

So I'm wondering if I cleaned house more often would the tank be in this situation. In clean house mean tearing out all the plants in a section of the tank (or the whole thing) and give the substrate a good vacuum then replant.

How often are you doing this for your tanks? Suggested keeping methods from our members here may help many in the future enjoy better over all tank health.

As always there are thousands of factors involved so I'm just trying to understand a basic rule of thumb of cleaning that has worked for you.
 

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My last tank in Minnesota went about 3 years, with minor replanting, but no gravel vacuuming. I never had any serious issues with algae. Often I had a little GSA on the glass, and BBA on the wood, but they never crossed onto the plants, so it wasn't really a big deal for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
My 55 setup is a few months older than my daughter who is 2 years and eight months.

I'm looking for folks that have long term tanks going and what their general replant strategies are. Come to think of it I was not having these issues till 6 months ago. But I have not been as vacuum crazed like in the old days with gravel substrate.

With the last two water changes I have hit a different section with the vacuum and it's not helping much. Course time will tell.
 

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I battled with algea all over the tank for a few months before I decided to accept my defeat:hihi: . I tore it down and started completely over(I used nothing but the heater and tank in the new setup). I even threw out the 2 plants that were in there since they were covered in algea too. I put the biogrid from the old filter into the new one so I wouldn't have to cycle it and I just started over. Only took me a couple hours and the worst part was rinsing the Flourite before putting it in the tank. Haven't had an algea problem since(and all inhabitants are alive and well).
If I had an algea problem in the future and was tired of fighting it, I'd tear it down and restart again in a heartbeat.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
That is about where I'm at. But I'm leaning toward replacing my substrate an going with AS. But as a general rule how often a year did you tear out the plants in the tank?
 

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My last algae battle was 9 Months ago.
Back then I bleach dipped all my plants,
all plastic parts in my tank and throughly
washed out my gravel and filter media.
Since then all I get are some Diatoms on
slow growth plants, and green spot algae
on my glass, which still sucks, but it's
a lot better than the hell my tank was.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yeah I just did the same a couple of months ago. Not much has changed except upping my CO2 and trimming the BBA infested leaves. BBA has diminished but all the others are still present. Just seems to me the substrate is totally anaerobic and causing the rest of the tank to suffer.

So that's why I wonder if the plants were ripped out and replanted more often this would not be an issue... Hence the question at hand.
 

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I'd probably say that if your tank's doing fine and you don't have horrible algea(some is ok), then I see no problem leaving the plants in there indefinitely,except to rearrange. I've heard that all algea can be "cured" by altering water parameters, but I've not had any experience that proves this. It really just depends on how much work you want to put into it.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
UV is not making a dent in this case.
 

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I have had my 20 gallon up and running for 10+ years. 130 watts of light, EI method fertalization, 50% weekly water changes. I had some issues w/ algae over this past winter. A combination of not enough attention, I had a brief flirtation with a saltwater nano cube, and a heat storm last summer which whch generated a power outage that got the tanks out of balance.

I cured the hair algae problem with a 3 day blackout followed by the addition of many stem plants, spot treatment w/ Excel for the BBA and increasing the dosage of K2SO4. The stem plants, at least some of them, will be removed shortly and donated to our local group's plant swap.

Good luck.
 

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I'm a sloppy hobbiest and frequently get neglect my tanks. When the algae fairy pays a visit, this is the order I use to try and fix it.

1. Big water change with the removal of as much detritus and bad leaves as is convenient. Followed by dosing ferts.

2. It the tank still isn't looking good, the next thing I check is my filter.

3. Then I start looking at water circulation. When plants get really thick, they can block water flow and may need thinning.

4. Blackout is usually next on the list.

5. Next I'll just pull the plants and try rescaping with just the best of what's left.

5. If none of this works, then I start taking the tank apart looking for something that's gone bad. In the tanks where it's practical, I'll pull the plants and swirl up the substrate looking for a large clump of decaying roots or a decaying bulb. I also start looking at wood to make sure it isn't breaking down. I've even found sometimes that my rock choice was the source of my problems. Be sure to clean the filter again if you have to go this far.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
My main thought in this is turning the substrate by uprooting as opposed to a monthly tank vacuum my help at times keep the substrate from going anaerobic. As of last night I chucked a piece of wood that has been in and out of my tanks for the last 25 years.

Today I'm going to try and tear down and replant after the baby goes down for a nap.

What I should expect of course is an ammonia spike. So a couple of more water changes to keep it at a minimum will be in order.

But the main question here is how often do you all take this route. My substrate being a mix is probably one factor. But there are probably plenty of others.
 

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I think it varies by tank. If you uproot a plant and the roots are black, that area has a problem and needs attention. I also usually stab the substrate in several places with my planting tongs and wiggle. If bad smelling gas comes up, that area has a problem.

If the whole tank is on a downward trend and the easy fixes don't work, then reset it.

If you've noticed lots of little, brown pieces when you gravel vac (looks kinda like snail droppings) and you can't seem to keep the tank clean, it may be your wood breaking down. I've got 2 tanks in the process of snapping back after months of looking like yuck because I finally took the wood out.
 

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For me I used to hardly ever need a complete re-start. But I got some Clado in a HC swap once, didn't know it was that, and of course a little bladderwort algae and now Hydra, so my two newer small tanks are going to get a re-start. At least they are small tanks. Clado can be controled/killed with Excel spot treatments if it hasn't spread to far, but bladderwort. Well, get the tweasers out and say a pray. But the only way to get rid of Bladderwort is a complete re-start. Even then, I noticed the LFS now has it growing in their plant for sale tanks. Great - for spreading around to folks who don't even know what it is.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Funny you mention bladderwort cause I had won the battle a while back.

Well I just uprooted everything. Roots were all healthy but the crypts were a huge mass. The only sludge that came up was at the front of the tank where it gets some during the day at times...

Tank clouded like crazy. Seemed mostly the florabase dust. I'm in reset mode for the last time on this substrate it seems. Well see how it works out, silt is pretty prevalent. I'll get to the filter and replant probably in a min if I can stay up any longer. :)

There's a five gallon bucket in the back yard stuffed with plants so there is plenty for a restart.

The crypts are going to be spread out and take over the back well see how it turns out. :)

For sure I'd still like to keep this question open at this point.
A general routine has to happen from time to time with any substrate.

I have not cleaned this tank as diligently as others in the past. Mostly cause it seemed most of the silt getting taken out was my substrate was getting flushed onto the lawn. Mostly vacuuming the surface and not digging a bunch.

Replanting seemed to be a common trigger when we all stir thing up. So I'm fishing for a common pattern. Plant selection is going to play a big part here too. The crypt stand for example has been up for more than six months... Is that excessive? I more than tripled the bio mass from a couple of wendtii bronze.

Thanks for the data points so far.
 

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Sean, I don't know what your water is like. But the one nice thing about Flourite, is you never have to replace it. I tried AS, and it grows well, but so does Flourite. Its a one time investment where as AS might eventually give you the same dust issue as florabase.

I'm also wanting to try some (edit) Tahitian Moon Sand for a black look tank - after checking out Yoink's tank with it and some black obsidion rock which would look really cool with red cherry shrimp. The shrimp would like the harder water of sand. Sorry if this is OT.
 

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bladderwort's a plant, not an algae so it shouldn't be surprising that it responds well to anything that makes your other plants happy (we cultivate utricularia gramminifolia as a foreground too, neh?) I actually think it can be pretty (and have it in my 60cm now, never thought of it as a battle), and some have said bladderwort's help prevent green water (aside from being a fast growing nutrient sponge of course).

Anyway, I tear my tank down at the end of every semester. Resetting a tank is rarely a bad idea imo-- but then, I like making new scapes, and don't really think of my fish as pets.
 
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