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New Setup, New Algae

1184 Views 13 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Opalescent_Depths
My wife and I have maintained a planted freshwater tank for a couple of years now. Nothing extravagant but it survived with little to no algae attacks. After doing a bit of researching and watching youtube vlogs about tank design and maintenance we decided to upgrade our aquarium to a larger size, try out a new substrate, use more driftwood and introduce a new filter, water heater, and light, keeping the original live plants. The result is a tank that has been running for roughly 3/4 months, started out very well but in the last month or so has seen a rise in BBA. We're hoping to correct this issue and in general, get our tank performing as well as it can be.

We've invested a fair amount already in the redesign so our budget for solutions isn't huge but we want to do what's best for our fish and their environment.

Here's the details of our setup:
- Tank size: 20 Gallon Tall
- Heater: Fluval 300w heater, set to 79F
- Light: 30" Beamworks DA 6500K, no dimmer, had it running for four hours a day. Currently, no light to starve algae for the last few days, to no avail.
- Filter: Aquaclear 50, Original media, has been lightly rinsed during cleanings but not replaced.
- Fish: 10 Fish: Two Catfish Coreys, one Black Kuhlii Loach, one Bristlenose Pleco, four Black Long Skirt Tetras, one Betta, One Clown Placo
- Plants: Nana Petite (Close to the surface mounted on driftwood, seeing the biggest hit of BBA), Ozelot (planted on the bottom also seeing BBA), Amazon Sword (has a bit of green slime-like algae).
- No CO2
- Test Strip Reading: Nitrate 40, Nitrite .5, Hardness 200, Chlorine .5, Alkalinity 80, PH 7.2 (We know hardness is high and have tried water softeners, but no improvement)
- Dosing: Algae fix using bottle recommended dosing.
- Substrate: Activ-flora planted aquarium substrate, has been in the setup for 3/4 months.
- Cleaning regimen: Once a week, rinse sponge filter & top-up water. Every 3/4 weeks a 25% water change is made while cleaning.
- Circulation: No heavy current in the tank due to the Betta, but water is kept moving fairly well from the filter.
- Water source: City water, dose with Seachem Prime as recommended to reduce chlorine.
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Thought I would weigh in on this topic, as I just finally recovered from a bba outbreak. I normally only purchase tissue culture plants, however a couple months ago I introduced potted plant & didn't sterilize it before planting. Bba is one of those algaes that hitchhikes into your tank on something. Sometimes it's on a plant,but can hide in a snail shell,or come in a bag with new fish. In the 40 + years I have been doing this hobby, I have never met a nastier algae than bba. It is really difficult to eradicate if it gains an upper hand imo. When I first noticed it in my 34 gallon, I removed any visible patches,& spot treated with hydrogen peroxide. Then it started to aggressively take over an entire grouping of Pogostemon helferi, so I had to rip all that out ! Everything I have read, seen, heard about this particular algae is clean, clean & clean everything, and often ! Now I do 25 % water change every other day. My tds went from 288 to 100 over the course of a week. I am also a lot better keeping my canister filter really clean, but like others have said, rinse filter media in aquarium water only. I also bumped my c02 up, as fluctuating may contribute to the outbreak. I am happy to report that my bba is finally under control, and I hope you can get rid of your bba soon. It's a beast !!
Oh and lastly, get rid of the test strips. Brands like API and Salifert are very accurate & way more cost effective. I bought the API master kit 3 years ago & it is still valid, and I over test everything!!
Good luck.
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