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Finding the balance in my 40 gallon breeder.


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I am having some algae or possible Cyanobacteria issues in my 40 Gallon breeder I am hoping some of you are able to give me some advice on.


   For the full story on the tank. It has been running for about 2 years now with an almost complete tear down to move it about 6 months ago. Before I moved the tank it was looking almost perfect for what I was trying to achieve.  On the left had side are all crypts and on the right is a sword plant. Before moving the tank the plants were almost reaching the surface. When resetting up the tank I thinned the plants out and they have not come back fully where I want them yet. 

   Two weeks ago the algae was looking pretty good. There was a decent amount on the rocks in the centre and on the back wall but the sand and plants were completely clear. By last weekend the Algae or Cyanobacteria all the sudden got dramatically worse the rocks are now an unpleasant brown colour and the sand has a thick layer of the stuff anywhere the light hits. So last weekend I cleaned as much of the algae off of the rocks and sifted the clumps off of the bottom as much as I could and now over 1 week it came back extra thick.


   For the tanks specs it is a 40 Breeder with a 36" Fluval plant 3.0 on it turned down to 55% and only on for 8 hours. It gets 4 pumps of easy green a week and before this algae a 25% water change ever 3 weeks. The Ammonia tests at 0, Nitrite at 0 and Nitrate between 20-40.

   The stocking is 2 Bolivian Rams, 2 Red Lizard catfish, 6 Otocinclus, 11 green kubotai rasboras, 1 Guppy and 1 Ember Tetra.


   I would love any advice you can give me on how to clean this up and get it back to stable. The next step I know of would be a complete tear down and cleaning to start from scratch but I would really like to avoid that if I can since I have seen how much uprooting the plants set them back last time. As an extra note if it is cyanobacteria I know I have read that people use Erythromycin to treat it but I live in Canada and Erythromycin is not available here.


Thank you


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I don't recommend a tear down, that'll just get you to this point again. Fighting cyano bacteria is going to be much harder for you than someone in the usa. Can you get Chemiclean up there? I believe it'll treat the cyano for you. 

If not I'd try to beat it with manual removal of the large rocks, scrub down with a tooth brush, spray hydrogen peroxide on them, let em sit for 5 mins rinse and put em back in. During a water change you could spray the cyano on the back wall. You could do this method to the heater as well. Over time you should be able to find balance, but it'll take a bit without a med. 

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Thank you Cory for your suggestion.

- I have cleaned as much of the bacteria out of the sand as possible

-Trimmed the plant leaves that were thickly covered.

-Cleaned the external parts of the filter snd heater with hydrogen peroxide

-Cleaned the rocks with hydrogen peroxide

-Manually cleaned glass as well as used peroxide above the waterline during a water change.

Also I have chemiclean and have tried it but it did not seem to help.

Every weekend since this started I have cleaned it as best I can and by the next weekend there is some amount of it back. Not quite as bad but still there.

since Erythromycin is not available here I took a gamble and ordered some Maracyn off of eBay that just arrived so this weekend I will do another good manual removal and try dosing Maracyn at the same time.


Thank You


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