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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone! I’m a newbie. I’ve been doing my fishless cycle for a few weeks now, but I do have some plants in there. I ordered everything online and they arrived at different times so I was adding 1 or 2 new plants every few days.

Anyway I got these 2 plants from Buce Plant (Baby Dwarf Tears culture and Green Wavy on driftwood) about 4 days ago and 2 days ago I noticed this webby stuff on a couple of the BDT patches. Then yesterday I noticed the white dot fuzzy stuff on the driftwood. (Also while writing this post I noticed some other questionable things on the roots of one of my floaters).

I’ve been trying to look it up and I’ve seen stuff like biofilm or a bloom of some kind and they may resolve themselves. But the stuff is definitely killing my BDT. There is a patch without the stuff right next to the affected patches and it is visibly healthier and brighter green. So that kinda sucks. I’m assuming I should just take out the affected plants?
Any idea what this is and how to fix it? Should I just be doing more frequent and small water changes? My parameters were already kinda stressing me out so I’m sad about this lol. This tank will be for a single Betta.

Parameters:

10 gallon with fluval substrate, plants, no fish

Temp: 78℉

Ph: 6.4 (has been steadily decreasing :( my tap is like 8)

Ammonia: 1.0 ppm (seems to swing between 0.25ppm and 2.0ppm every couple of days)

Nitrite: 0.50ppm (has been rising slowly)

Nitrate: 0.40ppm (has just started to rise)

Kh: 1 dKh

Gh: 3 dGH (trying to find out how to fix these two...)
Thank you!
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The wavy stuff is almost certainly some kind of algae and is less likely the cause of plants not doing well so much as a consequence of them not already adjusting to your water. This is within the realm of normalcy. Anyway in the short term you can take a tooth brush you never again intend to use for anything else, and just brush off any algae you see. In the longer term you can make sure your doing appropriate water changes, balancing fertilizer and light, and use clean up crews once the cycle is complete like amano shrimp and snails.

Fluval stratum is an active aquasoil type substrate and as such you should be doing 50% water changes every day for the first week, every other day for the second week, 3 times in week 3, and twice in week 4. Thereafter most likely you will be doing at least one 50% water change per week. This is all to keep excess nutrients out of the water which in turn helps dramatically to control algae. If you haven't been doing these big water changes now is a good time to start.

Your PH is likely falling because your substrate is doing a lot of absorbing right now since its new. This is also normal and frankly your betta will likely appreciate it, unless you end up with certain wild species, bettas tend to prefer soft water. Your GH/KH seem fine to me. If you need to add more calcium to the water down the road for say snail/shrimp health you can add in some seachem equilibrium but honestly I wouldn't do that yet. Frankly your water sounds extremely similar to my own water which has (depending on the season) identical parameters.

Hopefully this is helpful, good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
This was very helpful!! I definitely have not been doing the appropriate water changes. I had no idea they had to be that dramatic so frequently. I’m probably overly worried about every little thing because it’s my first time cycling and keeping live plants but as long as I do my part and keep up with water changes it should sort itself out. Thank you for all of the help and advice it is much appreciated!
 

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This was very helpful!! I definitely have not been doing the appropriate water changes. I had no idea they had to be that dramatic so frequently. I’m probably overly worried about every little thing because it’s my first time cycling and keeping live plants but as long as I do my part and keep up with water changes it should sort itself out. Thank you for all of the help and advice it is much appreciated!
Glad to help. Just do a big water change today, and another big one tomorrow then pickup where you should be in the schedule.
 

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The ingredient that I find the hardest to come up with for a new tank is patients! I agree with minorhero that your plants are going to wilt off the leaves they came with while growing new leaves that are better suited to the parameters of your tank. To me the algae seems to be inevitable in a new tank. Water changes do help. Personally I prefer to farm out the algae removal duties to snails: Snails for algae control, yeah or nay?
Ramshorn snails have done wonders keeping the algae in my month old 180g tank controlled very well!

I have found that I have a tendency to make a bunch of changes to react to things like an algae outbreak. My recommendation is to control this urge and make slow methodical changes and wait several days to evaluate the outcome before making additional changes.

Kudo's for having the patients to not add fish until your new tank is completely cycled! Too many beginners want to add fish within a week of setting up a new tank. I waited 5 weeks for my new 180g to cycle before adding fish and I had considerable media from another cycled tank to jump start the cycling process.

P.S. I think you will find that snails are your friends! :)
 

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I recently started up a tank that got brown algae and biofilm and staghorn algae about a month after cycling was complete. I tried turning the lights on for only two hours a day. I did 40% water changes every day and things got a little better, but not enough. There was so much algae it was competing with my plants. I

i decided to do a three day blackout. Not only did I turn off the CO2, but I wrapped dark fabric around the aquarium to keep out all light. After three days, things looked a lot better, but there was still room for improvement. The fish were okay—dwarf neons and dwarf corydoras don’t freak easily—so I decided to try another two days total blackout. When I unwrapped it the second time, it was perfect! I did a big water change (60-70%) and I have not had trouble since.

There are a couple of things I recommend if you try this: don’t feed your fish during the blackout if it isn’t absolutely necessary, use Seachem Purigen in your filter basket to absorb all of the extra ammonia and nitrates that are being produced the algae dying. Lastly, leave some Seachem Phosguard in your filter basket all the time. Many algae types and diatoms love silicates, which are present especially in a new glass aquarium regardless of the substrate you’re using, and algae love phosphates, Phosguard removes both silicates and phosphates, essentially removing a large part of the diet of diatoms especially. The brown algae/film were diatoms.

A Nerite snail can eat an amazing amount of algae off the glass and hardscape. With the active substrate you have, make sure you have a high enough GH and can maintain it before adding a Nerite.
 
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