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Cleaning fish tank and restarting? - Help needed

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Hi fish people,

I am going to rescape/clean my fish tank and start again.I am battling algae issues at the moment and have decided just to pull it down and start again.

My current tank is a standard 3ft tank and is low tech with double T8 lighting (only 1 switch is on). I still don't understand how i managed to get algae with a simple low light tank. I only have 6 white cloud mountain minnows in my tank and a bunch of water wisteria plants, java moss and anubias.

But i need to know can i wash my eco complete substrate and put it back in the tank again or is that a big no no? The reason i ask is the eco complete has algae growing on it .. brown algae by the looks of it.

Please advise me how to go about the cleaning process (esp the eco complete).

Thanks.

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No the tank was setup around 8 months ago and the algae has gradually gotten worse over the past 2 months.

I have reduced light period to 4 hours a day and feed fish every 2 days. I have done this for a while now and now decided to just start again.

So if clean the substrate will this kill off any beneficial bacteria? Bad idea? Or go for it and get rid of any algae on the substrate?

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I had this same damn problem and still do only in one tank oddly enough. And I can tell you I took out all the eco complete, washed it, put it back about three times over. The diatoms keep coming back. It probably will kill your bacteria though. You would have to start the cycle all over again. This didn't work for me at least anyway; I did it so many times and I still have diatoms.

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Cleaning your substrate with a gravel vac will work sounds like your media may need cleaning or changing if you have a canister filter

Yes i will thoroughly clean the tank now (not the substrate) including removing algae off the plants. I have a cheap canister filter that needs to be cleaned and filter pads replaced.

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Brown diamtomeous algae blooms are usually a sign that the tank is being kept too clean.

How are you cleaning the filter?

Any chance of a picture?

Yes you can clean eco complete easily using boiling water, or even chlorine (unscented bleach BUT it must be nuetralized using dechlorinator BEFORE you add it back to the aquarium)

Diamtomeous algae is usually the most easily defeated algae though.

Step 1 ~ more light!

Whats the fert regime?

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I had this same damn problem and still do only in one tank oddly enough. And I can tell you I took out all the eco complete, washed it, put it back about three times over. The diatoms keep coming back. It probably will kill your bacteria though. You would have to start the cycle all over again. This didn't work for me at least anyway; I did it so many times and I still have diatoms.

Ah someone with the same problem. No matter what i have tried to get rid of this algae it doesn't seem to want to go away.

This is why i want to pull the tank down and start again.

I think what i'll do is leave the eco complete alone and remove any algae by hand or areas that have large amounts of algae. I don't want to kill the bacteria though by cleaning the whole eco complete.

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Brown diamtomeous algae blooms are usually a sign that the tank is being kept too clean.

How are you cleaning the filter?

Any chance of a picture?

Yes you can clean eco complete easily using boiling water, or even chlorine (unscented bleach BUT it must be nuetralized using dechlorinator BEFORE you add it back to the aquarium)

Diamtomeous algae is usually the most easily defeated algae though.

Step 1 ~ more light!

Whats the fert regime?

Thanks for the reply Donny.

I always thought my tank was dirty; not clean. But that maybe cause of the algae all over it .. lol

I have a cheap SunSun canister from ebay which i clean once a month. Just rinse the filter pads and seachem matrix in aquarium water.

I can turn on the extra light switch on my double T8 light or add even more light but i only have a handful of plants in there. They are growing well - to the top of the tank .. just some of them are covered in algae.

I just use root tabs under the plants that's all.

I can post a picture tomorrow morning when the light is on.

Thanks.

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Ok well we need MORE PLANTS!

When plants are growing, algae isnt :D

Remember algae cleans the water, yes it looks ugly, but it is removing crap from the water.

Do you have anything to eat the algae?

A bristlenose catfish or even a CAE would be a good start.

Are you able to post some water test data?

Curious about your ammonia, nitrite, nitrate results.

Are you gravel vaccuming the eco complete?

I find it best to let it build up some mulm. Disturbing it with constant vaccuming doesnt let it really kick in.

Also what is the fish stocking?

If the aquarium is heavily stocked with fish........ and doesnt have many plants, another gravel would be more suitable.

Looking forward to a picture.

Its much more effort to totally strip down a tank and cycle it again.

So if we can avoid that, thats awesome!

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This gives me some insight to my version of this problem. Maybe my tank was too clean, I could never even get it to register ammonia to start cycling (one betta in a 34L tank with some crypts, got 0/0/0 ammonia/nitrite/nitrate for 6 weeks straight before I kept stripping it down). Maybe that's just because the diatoms were like OMNOMNOM-AMMONIA. Furthermore, the plants grow very, very slow. I bought those tissue cultured seedling plants probably 4-5 months ago and they are alive and growing, but haven't got all that much bigger...

One things for sure is that stripping it all down and starting again doesn't seem to be effective at all.

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Ok well we need MORE PLANTS!

When plants are growing, algae isnt :D

Remember algae cleans the water, yes it looks ugly, but it is removing crap from the water.

Do you have anything to eat the algae?

A bristlenose catfish or even a CAE would be a good start.

Are you able to post some water test data?

Curious about your ammonia, nitrite, nitrate results.

Are you gravel vaccuming the eco complete?

I find it best to let it build up some mulm. Disturbing it with constant vaccuming doesnt let it really kick in.

Also what is the fish stocking?

If the aquarium is heavily stocked with fish........ and doesnt have many plants, another gravel would be more suitable.

Looking forward to a picture.

Its much more effort to totally strip down a tank and cycle it again.

So if we can avoid that, thats awesome!

Have a look at pics and see that many plants is enough?

I don't have any fish that eats algae only white cloud mountain minnows.

My water parameters are good. 0 ammonia and nitrite and 0 nitrate. P.H is 7.4

Also i only stir up the eco complete a little bit and then vacuum above the surface. Since the eco complete is the fine version .. my gravel vac easily sucks up the eco complete into the bucket. So i have to be careful using the gravel vac.

See my pics below. I have algae over some plants but mainly the eco complete and lava rock. This is the main reason why i want to start again. A mix of green and brown algae by the looks of it.

Also did i mention i have a snail infestation now. I don't know how they came but no matter i do they won't go away.

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Snails most likely came in on the plants. They are actually helping eat the algae.

Get your self some bristle nose they will smash half the algae in the tank in a week. If you can get them around the 3cm mark.

The problem your having is soooooo much nutrient in the water that the plants can't keep up so the algae starts.

What is your water change schedule like?

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Adding a liquid carbon product, (eg easycarbo or co2 booster) will let the plants grow faster and will kick the crap outta that algae.

The water wysteria plant is doing a great job, but the java moss/fern are a bit slow to make much of an impact.

Not sure what your plan for the scape is, but I would go nuts with plants lol

Maybe try some carpets like HM or chain swords.

Get a heap of stems in there like ludwigia or hygro.

Maybe plant out the back with some swords or even crypts.

As to adding fish, consider some puny siamese flying foxes.

Little ones are ALWAYS hungry and will keep the algae down on the substrate.

Eco complete is made to grow plants, and if there aint plants there, algae will try take advantage.

Get some plants and a flying fox or 2 in there.

And yea consider dosing something like easycarbo.

Tank looks healthy, just a bit of algae soaking up unused nutrients.

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Thanks for the carbon suggestions. I will check it out as i'm not currently running any CO2 in this tank.

Yes the water wisteria grows very rapidly. I usually have to trim it. As you can see in the picture the wisteria has grown to the top of the tank. Just the other plants aren't doing so well.

In terms of the scape i'm not really sure but def add more plants. I like Hygro Polysperma and Rotala Rotundifolia which may work for this tank.

I also want to add fish that may eat the snails as well as fish that eat algae. That should sort out most of my problems :)

I do agree the tank does look bare with a lot of eco complete unused which is causing the algae issues. I now want to add a whole bunch plants to the left of the scape as well as a few mid ground plants .. mainly crypts (wendtii or pygmy)

Cheers for the help thus far :esmile:

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Well thought i'd update my thread.

I wasn't going to start the tank again but couldn't stand the algae so i cleaned the tank over the weekend. I kept the eco complete in the tank but removed the algae from the substrate, glass and lava rock.

I also added an AquaClear 70 HOB to my tank since the canister broke when cleaning it (impeller shaft i believe).

Here are a few pics of it now:

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All i need to do now is get some fish as well as add a bunch more plants on the right side of the tank.

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please tell me you loaded the new filter with some of the mature filter media from the broken filter?

Not such a big deal if you didnt...... but sure would have helped battle the diatomeous algae lol

Yes Donny i did :esmile:

I put majority of the seachem matrix in mesh bags as well as other filter media i had into the AQ70. The AQ70 is a big HOB so i was able to fit a lot of the bio media.

Now only time will tell if the algae stays away or not.

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Keeping plants is a tricky proposition, as the key is balancing fertiliser, light and CO2.... if the balance is wrong you get algae.

Once I know I have the three components I like to have a good clean up crew. My default setting is true Siamese Algae eaters - Google for ID, and whiptail catfish. I reject Plecos and bristlenose as too hard on plants.

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