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Algae issue, Lean, EI, CO2 injected... I want to change substrate.

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Hi guys,

I'm struggling to keep a clean tank, this week I did 2 water changes 50% BUT still, algae are here remembering to me "who's the boss".


After months of okaish result with lean dosing (apt 3 Complete) I have removed salvinia minima from the tank, after that in the tank, I had an explosion of GSA, GDA and Filamentous. After a month of water changes and manual remove I decided to try EI route, and only after 4 days I noticed and explosion in plants growth but at the same time, in algae growth (and all my red plants became green). 2 days ago I did a 50% water change, trimmed all affected plants, and now I'm not using any ferts (but I think there still residue of EI).


My tank is full of stems plants.

I'm thinking in change substrate (it is inert) to tropica aqua soil, and use apt 3 (or apt zero) due the "leaner" approach. What do you think?

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I think you should pick any method you want and then stick with it. All of these methods work well and usually problems occur when the tank is under filtered, low CO2 or a combination of both.

Here’s my tank 


30ppm NO3

10ppm PO4

35ppm k

.45ppm Fe as proxy 



1.5pH drop

Inert pool filter sand

Every time you change the tank parameters, plants must adjust and will suffer temporarily usually leading to algae. Know your source water so you can adjust nutrients properly. Don’t make drastic changes. There’s no secret recipe in nutrient methods. Just get in there, trim when needed and keep the tank well maintained.



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On 7/7/2023 at 11:49 PM, Mmiller2001 said:

All of these methods work well and usually problems occur when the tank is under filtered, low CO2 or a combination of both.

As filtration I have Oase Biomaster Thermo 600 (suitable for aquarium 600 litres, while mine is 85), the drop checker is light green).


On 7/8/2023 at 1:50 AM, Pepere said:

Older leaves can be abandoned by the plant and the abandoned leaf can start leaching waste organics from the margins that Algae loves.

That's true, I have algae on older leaves, but after 1-2 week algae start to appear on top too. This week I did a very intensive trim session, and I didn't fertilize after and cut light 50%, the tank seems "clean" of algae. 


So you are suggesting to me, that is a waste of time and money change the substrate with an aquasoil? A lot of red plant grower use it, and seems widely suggested ( I didn't have this knowledge when I established the tank)

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On 7/8/2023 at 10:40 AM, Mmiller2001 said:

It should be yellow green

I'll adjust it now and check closely fish and drop checker. Thanks.


On 7/8/2023 at 10:49 AM, Pepere said:

No. Not a waste of time and money, but it will be another change that the plants will need to adjust to. It will not likely be an instantaneous game changer.

No, I know that it will take some time, even months.


On 7/8/2023 at 10:49 AM, Pepere said:

If you undertake this change  afterwards work at keeping conditions stable and continue with manual removal of algae, trimming removing dying algae covered leaves etc topping replanting new growth etc and not making new changes… in essence, give plants time to optimize to new conditions and start to thrive in them. Healthy thriving plants are the best defense against algae growth.

The idea is: next week I'll buy Tropica Aquarium Soil (around 12-15 litres, the tank is 80x30x40, 5cm substrate should be good or more?), I'll put it in a big container with aquarium water, and do water changes every other day for a week or so. Then I'll move fish out in a 30L tank for a few hours, and syphon the gravel out of the tank. Then I remove every plant that I have, and dip them in a solution with hydrogen peroxide for 15-30m (I don't know if is too much time or not), then I do a deep clean of tank, place the new gravel back in (after it leeches initial ammonia), place the plants, add water, wait an hour or two, put the fish back in. But there are some things that I don't like, how can I acclimate the fish? I use tap water, will the fish be affected about the "new tank water" even if I use Seachem Prime? About colonial bacterial, shouldn't be a problem, inside the filter I have 4 litres of Seachem matrix and 3-4 sponges very large.


About dosing excel... I never had any effect, even spot dosing. 0 effects all the time.

Edited by riioKen
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