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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I haven't been taking very good care of my 5.5g - dosing inconsistently, skipping feedings, letting it go for weeks without any water changes, etc. About two weeks ago I decided to get back on top of things. I did a large water change, cleaned out the filter, did a heavy trim, and got rid of a ton of algae and dying leaves. I'm now doing 20-50% water changes twice a week in an attempt to get things under control.

I think I might have overdone it. The water is cloudy, so I think the bacteria colony in the filter got hit hard by all my cleaning and can't keep up with the bioload. The hair algae I tried to remove is spreading and in general the tank doesn't seem healthy.

The light is a Finnex Stingray (about 30 PAR). After every water change I dose a pinch of dry iron and CSM+B, about 3ml of a solution of about .25 tsp KH2PO4 in 100ml and 3ml of a solution of about 1.5 tsp K2SO4 / 100ml. I don't know exactly how much that puts in the water column, but I think it should be about 1/3-1/2 of EI. Every morning I dose 1-2ml of Excel, which is a double dose, but it's hard to measure any less.

I'm thinking about getting some cherry shrimp and amanos to help with the algae, but money is tight, so I'd rather not if I don't have to. I could trim the plants again, but I've already removed 2/3rds of the plant mass and would have to remove half of what's left. Should I try a blackout? H2O2? Or have I done enough already and anything more will just cause harm?
 

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I suggest getting Macro Micro Nutrient Mix which will provide the necessary nutrients for your plants. Start with a low dose and increase slowly as the plants show you what they need. Keep with the same dose for about 2-3 weeks before increasing. Your tank probably does not need iron in addition to the iron provided by the CSM unless you have several red leafed plants. You can also try light deprivation to get rid of the algae.
 

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Agree, skip the added iron. I'd cut back even more on the dosing as the tank is in shock right now. Find another bottle so you can make a solution of the CSM. It's more important to be careful with that than the phosphate.

You can dim the Stingray by either raising up a few inches or putting a layer of window screen material down between tank and light and also if it isn't already put the light on a timer for about 8 hours a day.

If the bottle of Excel is half gone you could dump it into a measuring cup and add an equal amount of water so you could dose more accurately. Has to be easier to see if it is 2ml rather than 1. I use a dosing syringe used for dog medicine, maybe you can look around for something like that?

I wouldn't do a blackout. Sure it will kill the algae but the plants are very weak right now. Blackouts weaken plants but won't kill healthy ones. Some plants will grow stronger floating than planted, pennywort, hornwort, wisteria and water sprite are a few I know do, you could float those that grow better that way until you get some healthy growth then replant.

Snails do a great clean up job. If there aren't any in your tank maybe you could ask around for ramshorn or pond snails. If your tank is as big as mess as you say they will quickly overpopulate the tank eating all the dying stuff and then die back once all that is gone. Ask for a couple guppy or platy fry, they pick at algae as much as Amano shrimp do.

Also get in there and wipe down the tank, keep the filter intake cleared off, get debris out when you clean, scrub rocks and wood.

It's really rewarding bringing back a tank from the dead. Treasure any plants that survive this, I treasure the Anubias and crypt that have been with me through good times and bad.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The plants aren't too bad in terms of health, they are just covered in algae. Most of what I pruned were old leaves and the bottoms of stems. It was a lot of plant mass, but none of the remaining plants are on the brink of death. I'm just afraid that if I do any more fiddling it might crash the tank, but if I do nothing, the algae might smother the plants.

FTS:


Instead of runners, my sword has been putting out stems with flowers that eventually grow into little plants:


I pruned most of them because the leaves were in bad shape. What is causing this?


This algae is what's really annoying me. These stems were clean when I planted them:




These petites really need to be thinned, but when I do that I always clean off the leaves. I want to take care of the algae first so they don't just get covered in it again:


My ludwigia red has grown about an inch per week, but the algae is starting to catch up with the new growth:



Is this the kind of algae that will go away on its own if I restabilize the tank or does this always need to be removed somehow (shrimp, H2O2, pruning, etc.)?
 

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It won't go away on its own.
A 2 phase approach is best.
1) Find some way to kill and remove it. At least remove it, if killing it is not possible.
2) Adjust the ferts to suit the light and CO2 and this ought to minimize the algae. At least make it grow slow enough that something ought to eat it. I do not know what eats that, though.

Shrimp are a pretty good clean up crew and fun to watch. If you start with just a few Red Cherries they often multiply in the tank.

What are the current test results for all the tests you have?

Do I see a fish in there? What is it?
 

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5-10 Amano shrimp will sort that mess out for you ;)

Just recently started up my 110L(30G), had same issues with algae. Decided to follow the usual recommendation with 1 amano shrimp per 5L of water (1.32G) since it was more affordable with this size of a tank. I have 50-70 shrimp in my 120G and having only minor algae in that tank.
Anyway threw them in 2 days (put them in gently really) ago and the work they have done in just 2 days are really amazing. They are like small combine harvesters, algae in at the front and small cylinder poops coming out the other end. Looks kinda fun really :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
So the general consensus is that I should go ahead and try to remove the algae while balancing my ferts and excel.

Today I'm doing a water change. I'm planning to thin out the Anubias, wipe the algae off the broadest plants, and add some Safestart to the filter. When the water clears up, if the algae is still spreading, I'll spot-treat the stems with H2O2. In the mean time, I'll keep up the high excel, keep up the macro dosing, back off on the micros, and keep doing large water changes 2x/week.

Anyone see any problems with this plan?


***Update***

As I started the water change, I noticed a guppy fry hiding in the anubias. So I left the anubias alone and focused on cleaning off the other plants. Wiping off the broadleaf plants didn't remove any algae, but it did get some mulm off the wendtii. I uprooted all my HM and stauro and gently wiped the mulm off of them, then trimmed and replanted the HM. I replanted the stauro without a trim.

I also swapped the positions of the filter and powerhead so there will be more flow around the anubias. All in all I changed 60-70% of the water. Afterwards, I dosed P and K but skipped the micros. I added some Safestart to the filter and currently am letting it sit there for a while. I'll try to get some pics later.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
In spite of my water change, the algae seems to be growing:


FTS:


Replanted foreground:



I'll be doing another water change tomorrow. I haven't seen any fry, so I think I'll go ahead and take care of the anubias. I might also trim and replant the red ludwigia.

I'm debating whether or not to do anything with the swords. I love them, but the flower stems are getting a bit out of hand. Part of me wants to hold onto them until I can sell them in the spring, but another part wants to just chuck the mother plant and let one of the smaller ones take its place.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks! They're from a strain by ATFG, but I got them from Prontodelivery. They've taken over the tank (as expected) and I plan to sell most of them soon.
 
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