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New Setup, New Algae

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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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· Registered
67 Posts
Nitrite .5, Hardness 200, Chlorine .5, Alkalinity 80, PH 7.2...?

You should have 0 nitrite. And chlorine .5? Where is that coming from? You don't want any chlorine at all, either. If that's a correct result, that's not a livable environment.

Regarding the BBA, I dont think Algae Fix is very effective against it, nor do I think a blackout is going to work either. You can try Excel, spot treating or doing the largest recommended safe dose to your water. But first you need to fix the nitrites and chlorine situation, stat

· Registered
67 Posts
Sorry Moke, Didn't see your note on the 50% water changes. It's really safe to do that? It seems like so much haha, what about all these beneficial bacteria that I hear people are concerned about getting rid of?
Beneficial bacteria (nitrifying) dont live in your water column, they live in your filter/sponge/biomedia, on your substrate, decorations, etc.

Which is why you dont want to replace your filter sponge very often. Rinse with tank water only if youre cleaning (dont get tap water/chlorine anywhere near your filter or anything inside your filter).
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