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My 50 gallon aquarium is about 2 years old and I am constantly battling algae on a never ending basis. Unfortunately the algae is slowly taking over, spreading to more items in the tank and I can't seem to eliminate it. I can scrub the glass clean with no issues however I am unable to scrub off the algae on the rocks or plants. This stuff clings like crazy. Also I am noticing a film of oil kinda like a soup appearing at the top of the water each day. I am able to skim it completely clean with a cup but it comes back within one day. This is sorta frustrating cause my lily pipes are providing water movement. Please let me know if you have any ideas for what could be going wrong, tips, or improvements for my setup. Thank you!

Age: 2 years
Cycled: 2 months at setup
Size: 50 Gallon Tank
50% water changes weekly.
Filtration: (2) filters,
- Oase Biomaster Thermal 350 and added 250ML Seachem Matrix
- Eheim Classic 350 - 2215.
Tap Water: 7.4PH
Water Temperature: 76.5F
Lighting: Twinstar LED with timer and light schedule
- 9 hours a day (2 hours at 70% intensity) other hours at 50% intensity with a ramp
CO2: about 1 drop released per second
Substrate: Amazonia normal type
About 5 root tabs

Ammonia: 0
Nitrites: 0
Nitrates: 10ppm
Phosphates: 0 - .25 range
KH: 14 drops or 214.8ppm
GH: 18 drops or 322.2ppm

Liquid fertilizer schedule:
-Monday: Seachem Nitrogen (1) cap, Seachem Phosphorus (1) cap, Seachem Potassium (2) caps
-Tuesday: Seachem Iron (1) cap, Seachem Trace (2) + (1/2) caps
-Wednesday: Seachem Nitrogen (1) cap, Seachem Phosphorus (1) cap, Seachem Potassium (2) caps
-Thursday: Seachem Iron (1) cap, Seachem Trace (2) + (1/2) caps
-Friday: Seachem Nitrogen (1) cap, Seachem Phosphorus (1) cap, Seachem Potassium (2) caps
-Saturday: Flourish (1/2) cap
-Sunday: no ferts

Fish:
- 7 red nose rummy
- 9 neon tetras
- 1 butterfly pleco
- 4 ottos
- 5 cherry shimp
- 1 SAE (Just jumped out this week and died)
 

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75g, 40g, 20g
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A couple of things stand out as I look at your 1st post;
Phosphates: 0 - .25 range - This seems low to me. Would expect 2-4ppm range. Granted, you have an active substrate so that could be more like 1-2 range.
KH: 14 drops or 214.8ppm - I assume you are using the API test. If so, this seems like very high KH. Not all plants will like growing in that high of KH.
GH: 18 drops or 322.2ppm - Again, assuming you are using API. 18dGH is pretty high but there are some on here that have been able to make it work.
Nitrates: 10ppm - This seems about right to me, even with the active substrate.
CO2: about 1 drop released per second - This seems REALLY LOW to me. I have a 75g tank and I had an uncountable stream at 20psi to a reactor. Now use a flow meter to measure my CO2.
What are you using to add your CO2 to your tank? Reactor?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hi Immortal 1,

First off, thanks for taking the time to respond to my post, this is truly appreciated.

You are correct! I used the API test to check the KH and GH. Do you have any recommendations for any products that I could pickup to help lower these? What KH and GH level would you recommend?

I am currently using the Aquario Neo Co2 Diffuser size large to inject the C02 into the tank. I am not familiar with the c02 reactor but I will take a look. Please let me know if you have any recommendations for models. I will also look into flow meters and see if I can bump up my C02 output.

I can also work on getting my phosphate levels bumped up since you think this is too low.

Thank you!
 

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You have more light then you need. The tank is lightly planted so algae is winning at 9 hours a day of a Twinstar. Cut back to six and /or stock more plants asap.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hi Stan510,

Thanks for the feedback! This is great, it gives me something to work with. I was clueless with where to go but I think this makes sense. I will also cut down the lighting in my tank and see what happens from there.

Thank you!
 

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A surface skimmer can help with the surface film. Check to see if you have insane tds. I'm working on reducing my tds now. I didn't know it was 590 ppm.
 

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Also I am noticing a film of oil kinda like a soup appearing at the top of the water each day. I am able to skim it completely clean with a cup but it comes back within one day.
I recommend a surface skimmer....I have 2 of these on a 220 gallon....there's other models to choose from....they help oxygenate the thank water, too

Eheim 350

CO2: about 1 drop released per second
This is too low for a 50 gallon tank - 1 bps CO2 may have been adequate initially but with any increase in plant mass you need more CO2. You want to achieve a minimum of a 1.0 pH drop over the course of a day via the addition of CO2. To do so requires a means of measuring pH - API also makes a pH test kit but I prefer a pH meter like this

pH meter

Let a glass of your tank's water sit out for a night or 2 to fully degas then measure the pH - this is your starting point. Run your CO2 as you normally would and measure after about 2-3 hours - if the tank's pH is less than 1.0 lower than the pH of your degassed water then slowly increase the CO2 and measure again, repeating until you achieve a 1.0 pH drop. Based on experience this should not harm your livestock but look for signs of stress as you increase CO2

Liquid fertilizer schedule:
-Monday: Seachem Nitrogen (1) cap, Seachem Phosphorus (1) cap, Seachem Potassium (2) caps
-Tuesday: Seachem Iron (1) cap, Seachem Trace (2) + (1/2) caps
-Wednesday: Seachem Nitrogen (1) cap, Seachem Phosphorus (1) cap, Seachem Potassium (2) caps
-Thursday: Seachem Iron (1) cap, Seachem Trace (2) + (1/2) caps
-Friday: Seachem Nitrogen (1) cap, Seachem Phosphorus (1) cap, Seachem Potassium (2) caps
-Saturday: Flourish (1/2) cap
-Sunday: no ferts
You can save a lot of $$s by buying your own salts and using a dosing calculator such as rotalabutterfly
 

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Not many know this but the Lisbon aquarium done by Amano? When it was set up had a terrific algae problem despite thousands of dollars worth of plants put in on day one. In fact if you ever wondered why no mosses?..they tried but hair algae made it unworkable. They actually had to reduce the number of Twinstar lights.
Cycling aquariums is one rough period.
 

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I would recommend getting some snails soldiers to fight the algae war for you. I have just common ramshorn snails (a couple dozen in my 180) and they do a magnificent job of keeping the tank clear of algae!
 

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You will have to manually remove dead leaves, detritus and Algae. Use a turkey baster blow up debris and suction while doing it, Husbandry is the most important thing in fighting algae. I would also look up Excel Bomb @Deanna to get you on the right path. I agree with the above dim lights to 50% and decrease duration for a while.
 

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Another tip for cleaning Anubias...Citric acid sprayed on or dunked. You can look up on youtube how its done in Russia. It will remove black algae from leaves they say. I haven't tried it. I think its that unlike Hydrogen peroxide,residue wont kill sensitive co-plants in the tank like mosses and ferns.
One more plus for Erythromycin?..it does in even slightest gray water bacteria. Now,they sell things that also can do that..but just one more bonus to antibiotics used when needed.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I would recommend getting some snails soldiers to fight the algae war for you. I have just common ramshorn snails (a couple dozen in my 180) and they do a magnificent job of keeping the tank clear of algae!
Wow this is kind of embarrassing. I have about 60 snails in my tank and I always though they were there to clean up the algae. I did a little research and it turns out assassin snails don't eat algae, what a waste! Not even sure what they are eating since I barely feed my fish any food but just enough to get by.

I ill try pulling all these out and swapping them for the algae eating type.

Thank you for the guidance!
 

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I 've never noticed snails doing much on algae. They won't eat hair algae or bluegreen. They might eat the soft furry green algae..but any Ancistrus will do many times better on that. Snails add to the ecosystem look,but don't make much difference overall.
 

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The ramshorn snails (common pond snails) do an incredible job on the algae in my tanks. I have never seen them eat long string algae... but I have never had long string algae form in my tanks when I have a good snail population. The snails seem to get to the algae before it starts to grow a significant amount. I am sure there are great fish for eating algae too... that doesn't mean that snails are not effective though... at least mine are! The little soldiers meticulously polish every last pebble of gravel in my tank to a remarkable level of clean!
 
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