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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I had carbon in my filter a while ago, and once I figured it was expired and the tank was cycled, I pulled it out.

Months later... My plants have dark fuzzy algae growing on them. The pleco is probably keeping the glass, slate, wood very clean - but this just looks bad on the plants. My nitrates have been a little high and I try to do a 30% change every week to control this.

Should I just go back to using carbon? Could the lack of be what is causing the algae and the nitrates? I was under the impression that you didn't use carbon unless you absolutely needed it.

Will the carbon pull out the nutrients from the Flourish Excel that I add every once in a while?

Thanks!!
Eric
 

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Queen Platy
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What does the algae look like? Different kinds of algae result from different reasons. What are your water parameters and the lighting? Some algae burst from high ammonia, some burst from high nitrates, some burst from low lights including high lights. I dont think its the Flourish Excel that is causing the algae.
 

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Pleco n bn breeder n BOSS
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You have a nutrient imbalance and that is what causes algae. You can dose excel everyday and dose ferts. That will make your plants healthy and compete with the algae for nutrients.

What size of tank, and what kind of lighting do you have on the tank?

Carbon is basically only good for removing certain things from the water and will only last about 14 days then would be needing replaced. It doesn't help prevent algae, but it would remove any benefits of using excel or ferts. I haven't used carbon in I don't know how many years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I have (2) 40 watt flora glo lights and (2) power glo lights. It is a 75 gallon tank. Ammonia and nitrite test zero usually (I really haven't tested those in a while) and NitrAte tests 5-10 lately. (I'm using the drops test kit). I'm running a Marineland c 360 canister filter.

I put Flourish Tabs in a few months ago, they're probably ready to be replaced. I put in a capful of Excel once a week usually.

The algae is like thick, soft, fluffy and stringy - like dark soft hair or something. I'm color blind... it's either dark green or brown. It's not new, and it didn't just show up one week, it's been consistent for a while. The snails/pleco eat it off of some of the plants, but there are other small leaved plants that they just can't get to, and those look unappealing.

So... so far we're thinking that I need to put in *more* ferts for the plants? Is that correct? Thanks for your help all.
 

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I have (2) 40 watt flora glo lights and (2) power glo lights. It is a 75 gallon tank. Ammonia and nitrite test zero usually (I really haven't tested those in a while) and NitrAte tests 5-10 lately. (I'm using the drops test kit). I'm running a Marineland c 360 canister filter.

I put Flourish Tabs in a few months ago, they're probably ready to be replaced. I put in a capful of Excel once a week usually.

The algae is like thick, soft, fluffy and stringy - like dark soft hair or something. I'm color blind... it's either dark green or brown. It's not new, and it didn't just show up one week, it's been consistent for a while. The snails/pleco eat it off of some of the plants, but there are other small leaved plants that they just can't get to, and those look unappealing.

So... so far we're thinking that I need to put in *more* ferts for the plants? Is that correct? Thanks for your help all.
Yes, seems to me that you don't have enough ferts for that much light. I'm not 100% sure on the dosing of excel, I don't use it, but I think that you'll need far more than one cap full a week. You'll also need to dose macro (N, P, K) and micro nutrients with that much light. Maybe I read it wrong but is that 160 watts of lighting you are using? I take it you aren't adding co2 at all? Unfortunately there isn't a quick fix for the algae, you have get your nutrients/lighting in balance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Okay I will try adding more ferts! I don't know that it matters for what you were describing to me but as it turns out I am using Flourish, not Flourish Excel.

Can you recommend a specific brand / product of macro nutrients? I'm not sure if the aquarium store in town carries any other Seachem products. :(

I am not using CO2. I would like too, but I really just don't have the funds for it. I've read some good DIY systems here and there, but then I've also read stories of people overflowing the mixture into their tanks. So.... I decided to keep things low tech. Maybe it's time to move forward? I dunno....

Thanks so much
 

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Pleco n bn breeder n BOSS
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A diy co2 won't do much good for the size of the tank. Unless your ready to do pressurized co2 I would go with less light. With the flourish I would dose a couple of times a week, lower the light some. Pull out and clean out as much algae as possible. Put a lot of faster growing stems in your tank to help compete with the algae for the nutrients.
If you can get hold of some excel you can spot dose it on the algae directly with your filter off and it will help kill most algae, but can get expensive. It also needs to be dosed everyday in order to do any good for plants.

Make sure your doing weekly water changes to help set the parameters.

Most places that sell the flourish will usually have a smaller kit of 3 bottles for the other ferts.
 

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As susan said, you are really going to have to consider removing some of those light bulbs if you don't want to add CO2. Otherwise you'll be in a constant fight against algae.

How long are your lights on a day?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The lights are on for 8 hours. So I'll try less wattage more ferts. So we think the nitrate problem is just need more water changes? Thanks!
 

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First you should check out this link, there s a ton of info. Chuck's Planted Aquaria Articles

I used AquaiumFertilizers.com for getting some dry fertilizers some time ago, but it s certainly not the only place, nor the only brand. You can even use the flourish line if you want, but it can get expensive. Especially excel which has to be dosed a lot. But if you are more comfortable with liquid ferts, they should work fine too. Keep in mind that all dosing instructions are just a baseline. To some extent, you'll learn how much and what you need to dose by doing water tests and observing your plants reactions.

As your plants start to grow more quickly they will probably solve the nitrate problem for you. However in the short term it may be a good idea to get some cheap bunch plants like Anacharis, Hornwort or even just a bunch of vals, to eat some of those nitrates for you. When your tank comes back into balance, you can begin removing some of those if you don't want them in your finished tank, they are always good plants to have for other aquariums you may have. Acting like extra filters that can be moved around.

Edit: I forgot to mention, you'll definitely want to stick to a water change schedule of at least 25% (50% is better) a week especially once you start dosing. Water changes will always reduce nitrate levels by however much volume you change. Oh and make sure you aren't running carbon as it absorbs fertilizers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for this info! I have noticed that my Anarcharis is growing wildly lately. I think the hornwort is too, but I've been phasing it out. I just throw a bunch away every time I change water lol.

I guess I just get confused about which ferts to use because it seems like every bottle you see at the store says "contains micro and macro nutrients..." but I read the ingredients and they seem quite similar to what is in Flourish. I really don't like to rely on staff at stores, I usually try to do all my research online before going in or on my phone while I'm at the store... so I really appreciate the tips you give.
 
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