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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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you need a dimmer/timer. check this out. i have a 24" da fspec on my 20h and would characterize it as med-high. have it running at 85% for 7hrs. your 30" model probably has higher par output. anubias are lowlight plants, swords don't need high light. 3-5 plants are too few. 3-4 months is still young, biologically speaking.

i've used the initial dose excel combined with a 3 day blackout to eliminate bba. it turns pink, then white. but returns if same tank conditions exist.

i highly suggest you get the dimmer/timer. start at 75% for 6 hours.
 

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regarding using excel to kill bba, i used to do a 3 day black out and use 5ml per 10 gallons daily. keep an eye out for your loach. beware excel will severely damage some plants (anacharis, vals, and hemianthus glomeratus/baby tears). you could spot treat, using a syringe or eye dropper (look in baby section at drug store), but in severe cases bba will be on other plants, hardscape, filter outputs, etc that whole tank approach is warranted. don't use excel as a carbon source despite the marketing claims. it's an aquatic herbicide. i add it to my fert solutions to prevent mold.

get the beamswork rise, dim, timer. order it, do your 3 day blackout, start at 75% for 6 hours. do weekly 50% water changes. get several bunches of cheap stem plants. seriously consider dosing ferts.
 

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Moke
Thank you very much for the regimen! These kinda precise solutions are exactly what I was hoping for. When dosing with Excel, would there be any benefit to spot treat one day and dosing the whole tank the other? I guess its kinda lucky that all of our anacharis previously died off during the tank revamp, hopefully, the other plants will do okay. With the added stress though maybe we should start using some sort of ferts, are they any in particular that have worked well for you? Also, I'm guessing to take one thing at a time and get rid of the BBA with excel before starting a fert routine?
just do whole tank tx. after the 3rd day do as large a water change that you can manage. clean you filter like fermentedfunk suggested. hope you were able to get a bunch of cheap stems, this is really the key. start lights at 75% for 6 hours. slowly up output and duration as your tank stabilizes (if you want). as to ferts, you can try one of those all-in-one products. i'm not sure now if you need ferts. unless you have a bunch of plants, your existing plants can probably get by from fish waste. stop dosing the algaefix. good luck.
 
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