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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I have setup m tank and now I'm in week 5. I used H.E.L.P. soil for planted tank. The last 3 weeks I was fighting brown algae and also I moved the substrate and the water became too dark at the beginning of those 3 weeks. I assume the tank was cycling and it has stopped cycling now.

Water is clear now, I am getting some algae on the walls beginning 4 days after water changes which I was doing at 50% and now 20% weekly.

Should I start adding ferts? Plants don't exhibit anything lacking though, the problem is just brown algae especially in the substrate.

Another question: I'm using bottled water, will install an RO unit in the future, is using any phosguard at the moment useful or detrimental?
 

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What type of brown algae are you fighting? Is it tufty? A film?

If the plants don't seem be showing any signs of deficits, it would seem that your tank has everything under control except nutrients. Consider buying some faster growing plants or floating plants to help with uptake of nutrients to starve out the algaes.

I'm confused on why you're using bottled water, since that's expensive. You can buy RO water from most stores that sell saltwater stuff to tide you over.

The tank is still young, give it some time to start balancing itself out before dosing here and removing stuff there.
 

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I would recommend fertilizers Your tank is not established just yet so a little algae is normal. When I start a new tank I do a few things to combat the new tank algae symptoms. Firstly, I have it heavily planted, secondly, I add about 10 ghost shrimp, thirdly, I fertilize as normal, and lastly I use a biological booster.

The goal is simple, to expedite the tanks establishment to a balanced state. You want fertilizer and here's why: Algae are fantastic opportunists. It will take advantage of any imbalance and thrive. This is the reason why it shows up in new tanks. As you know plants need more than a dozen nutrients to grow.
N-P-K-Mg-Ca-S and so on.

Fertilizing your tank ensures the plants have all nutrients available with all nutrients available your plants can photosynthesize and uptake those nutrients. But, if your tank is missing phosphorus but has N, K and the micros that's a problem. It is a problem because your plants will stop uptaking N and K and those micros. Plants require all to photosynthesize. So, those nutrients will sit in the tank. With those plants not competing for those major nutrients they are a free dinner for algae.

Give the plants what they need so they will "suck up" (uptake) the nutrients that would go to algae instead.

I use ghost shrimp because they do a good job of consuming some of the new tank growths (algae, bacterial blooms etc) that occur in a new tank.
My strategy is what you may not expect, I dose well, I give my tank plenty of light and lots and lots of plants, that combined with my ghost shrimp cleaning crew and a biological booster my tank cycles twice as fast with little to no algae.

The plants are growing so quickly and uptaking so many nutrients the algae has a really hard time competing against them.
As a side note that brown algae is normal, they are diatoms and should clear up on their own.

For the reasons above DO NOT use a product that removes a macro nutrient for the plants. In fact, NEVER use it in a planted tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hello. I must say that +1 on using ferts. This is what happened:

My staurogynes and AR mini started to suffer an evident nutrient deficiency, namely, holes and rotting/dying leafs. At the time, I discarded ferts because this happened after I added a plastic cover to the top due to the introduction of ghost shrimp. I left for 4 days and when I came back I found these in that state plus covered in algae. Also the plastic wrap had algae which was blocking the light, so I blamed this as the cause instead of the nute deficiency.

A few days ago, my Nesaea Golden started with necrosis on the old leafs. On top of that, it never grew.

Tank is 5 weeks now, so I will start adding nutes.

About the water: I'm in Mexico. They don't sell RO water, I would have to buy my unit and I'm in the process of that. Meanwhile, I am adding a specific brand people swear is the same as RO. But I'm thinking of buying another brand that does not have this reputation since it is 1/2 the price. Would that be a problem? I am in the process of buying a NO3 and PO3 test, would that help? Not thinking on buying a TDS monitor for the moment. I do now that my tank's PH is 6 and the brand Im gonna buy has a PH of 7.
 
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