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Discussion Starter #1
My 40g breeder is just overrun with hair/thread algae to the point I'm done fighting it. I pull literally a handful out each day.

What are the steps to basically restarting a tank? The only plants I'm going to save are ones that survive a H2O2 dip (Excel/bleach if needed) and are algae free.

Does the substrate need to be completely rewashed, dried, or left alone?

What about the canister filter?

It's odd because that is the only tank I have an algae issue with. I only have 100w of shop light T-8's over it, not like I'm pushing a crap load of light.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
This may be a dumb question but have you tried cutting down your lighting to about 5 hours a day? Doing this has solved my hair algae problems in the past.
Yup. Even tried a 4 day blackout period. The blackout worked for about a week and then it was back just like before.
 

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Changed your bulbs lately? Got CO2?

Just rinse the gravel really well and it should be fine to reuse right away.

Same thing with your filter.

On a restart do it right. If you repeat what you were doing well....it'll be DejaVu all over again.

Add as much Hygro as you possibly can. It can be removed and tossed once the tank settles. You'll know your on the right track when it grows an inch or two day.
 

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That's a big job- a full disinfection and restart- and it may not solve the problem, it still might come right back.

The substrate will need more than a rinsing, it will have hair algae in it too, like everything else (filter included), and will need a bleach treatment also- which will kill the nitrifying bacteria in your filter. Not only that, its probably also in the intestines of your livestock, which could also reintroduce it.

I don't know if this will help your tank, but IME, hair algae only showed up when Macros were low. Have you tested your Phosphates and nitrates? what about K dosing?

If I were you I would try one more time before I give up. Take out your daily handful, as much as you can. Cut photo period in half, stop dosing micros, test macros and add accordingly to get them up. Give it a week and see what happens. Amano and cherry shrimp will also do a number on the stuff, so if they could survive the other livestock in the tank you should try it. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Changed your bulbs lately? Got CO2?

Add as much Hygro as you possibly can. It can be removed and tossed once the tank settles. You'll know your on the right track when it grows an inch or two day.
Nope. Same bulbs for a couple months now.

I have two 2L CO2 bottles going full blast. Plants pearl quite nicely. Started adding 4mL of Excel every day directly on the worst parts of the hair algae. Zero help. H2O2 is worthless as well.

I did have nearly 1/2 the tank full of Hygrophila polysperma and the top half full of floating Wisteria.

There would be RCS in the tank if it weren't for my GBR's. I tried 5 of them and they were all hunted down within hours. Amanos are just tough to come by here. Every time the LFS gets them in they are sold off within hours.

Guess I'll try upping the macros. I'll retest the nitrates here in a few moments. Never tested my phosphates but I bet they might be high (damn tap water), plus I don't have a phosphate test kit.

It'd be nice to have a tank I don't need to rip apart every day...

Edit: Nitrate tested out to 10ppm using the API kit.

Should my dosing look more like this:
1/2 tsp KN03 3x a week
1/8 tsp KH2P04 3x a week

That's doubling what I use now. Double everything since I have a lot of fast growers?
 

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Sometimes a re-start is in order. Like cutting losses. But pressurized CO2 is preferred. Its not that hard to do a full restart. There is a thread on bleach amounts etc. I'm not saying you should, but its not as bad as some say. Just a lot of work. I've done it once and glad I did. Like a clean slate. Have the ferts, CO2 in order, plenty of plants etc. Can make having a planted tank a real joy again, once its balanced out. :thumbsup:

I see you only have a 100 watts with shoplights over it. Do they have decent reflectors. I wonder if you are getting enough light? I suppose that depends how high they are. You may be overdosing if the light is a bit week. Because algae is usually there because of too much light or too much ferts. (or if not enough light with too many ferts - another possibility).
 

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If your nitrate is at 10ppm, I would try increasing nitrate - I don't know if I would DOUBLE it, maybe increase by 1/2.
If you think there is phosphates in the tap, then I wouldn't add more. Low phosphates usually leads to green spot IME, so I don't think that's your problem, I would not change that dosing.
What about potassium? are you dosing K2SO4?

Try it for a week or two, and if you don't see improvement, then go with Betowess suggestion on the re-do. I think he recently did his own, if I am not mistaken he has a tread here on how he did it.
 

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My suggestion would be NOT to restart unless you don't like the layout and substrate that's currently in the tank. Most of the time an algae ridden tank can be turned around into a clean one, and vice versa, restarting a tank can lead to exactly the same situation that you were in before. There is no way you can prevent algae 100%, you can only create an environment in which they are suppressed.

I would suggest to verify the basic things first. Do you have enough and stable CO2 in that tank. Measure kH and pH reliably. IME low or nonexistent CO2 helps hair alga.

I would not increase the P... it is a great way to feed algae. :icon_mrgr Note that I am not saying it is causing algae... but if you have them, P makes them grow like crazy.

Sounds like you have sufficient NO3 there, provided the test kit is correct. Sometimes they are hard to read, and you think they are orange when it is really just yellow.

Regular water changes always help plants to outgrow algae...
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I see you only have a 100 watts with shoplights over it. Do they have decent reflectors. I wonder if you are getting enough light? I suppose that depends how high they are.
Reflectors are pretty darn poor. It's just the regular shop lights you can buy at Home Depot. 1/4-1/2 the bulb isn't even covered. The bulb is about 6" off the water line. At one point I did have a 2x96w JBJ kit above the tank but took it down. One bulb had the thing way off balance and it was a pain to work around.

I thought that was enough light especially at the rate my plants grow. I'm constantly throwing out my stems because they grow too quickly.

I'll cut out the P completely, keep the KNO3 at 1/2 tsp, and do 1/8 tsp of K2SO4. I really don't trust this API test kit, I get just about the same reading for nitrAtes in all my tanks.

I try to do a 25% water change every week. More than that and my plecos/GBR's start going nuts.
 

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FWIW, I calibrated my API Nitrate tests not too long ago and they were reading quite a bit low, like over 150%. Meaning my nitrates were way higher than I thought. YMMV. But I don't test anymore, except KH or GH.
 
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