Final attempt before I pack it in and start again

Sacha

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Have you always had the same level of flow in the tank?

No, I added the additional powerhead in response to green hair algae problems that I could only attribute to dead spots. I think I will remove it since it hasn't helped with the algae.

Some of the fish look to be in poor body condition - perhaps they were like this when purchased?
Most of the fish are actually really healthy, there are a couple of old ones that I captured in this clip. But they get a healthy serving of frozen (brine shrimp, daphnia, bloodworm etc.) usually four times a week.

Perhaps I missed this, but what are the lighting details?
2 x 29W Juwel LED tubes = 58w total (it's a 240L tank).

That’s a lot of fertilizer going into a closed system with minimal uptake in terms of plant growth
I discontinued all fertiliser dosing about a month ago because the plants were all dying and algae was going mad... But the problems have only got worse since then.

(I’m guessing 50% weekly water change?)
70-80%

I’d suggest a mix of RO and tap - you might check with London/nearby shops with NICE plant display tanks - what are they doing?
Yes I think I'll go with 80/20 RO/Tap. I just checked my tap water and it's 480 TDS! I know this is London but surely there's something wrong with my supply?!?!
 

Sacha

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This guy has the same tank as me (& same lights) and has managed to get stunning results with low-tech:


I am going to do my best to just replicate this when I re-build the tank... I reckon I'm going to end up spending over £100 on plants!
 

SRP3006

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I discontinued all fertiliser dosing about a month ago because the plants were all dying and algae was going mad... But the problems have only got worse since then.

I'm still very much learning, however my understanding is that removing ferts will only promote not reduce algae, as algae will thrive on much less than plants. So basically removing your ferts has starved your plants, which you have seen in the deteriorating growth since you removed the ferts. As I have read on this forum many times, healthy plants are the best weapon against algae.
Like I say this is my understanding of it, but I would start adding ferts again and watch your plants for signs of growth. I'm sure someone more knowledgeable will chime in and confirm or deny.
 

Tim Harrison

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This guy has the same tank as me (& same lights) and has managed to get stunning results with low-tech:


I am going to do my best to just replicate this when I re-build the tank... I reckon I'm going to end up spending over £100 on plants!
Nice jungle type scape. It's pretty much what I had in mind too. And, like I mentioned they are particularly well suited to low-energy. Perhaps you could start a journal so we could follow your journey on this one :)
 

sparkyweasel

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I'm inclined to agree with SRP3006.
As all went wel for the first year, I wonder if the problems started when the JI compost became depleted of nutrients, in which case increasing your water column dosing might have been the way to go.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
I just checked my tap water and it's 480 TDS! I know this is London but surely there's something wrong with my supply?
<"London water"> is pretty horrible, but nearly all of that TDS value will be Ca++ and HCO3- ions from the chalk aquifer. Our tap water would be <"similar in TDS value">. If the value is normally lower? It may have a small Na+ Cl- addition from road salting (assuming some proportion of the tap water is from surface, rather than ground, water sources).
Out of the tap, my water is over 400 TDS, pH 8.2, GH over 15 (West London liquid rock).
That makes an iron (or magnesium) deficiency more likely. I'm going to assume you were adding Epsom Salts with your EI mix?

Before I did anything else I'd give FeEDDHA a whirl, and see what happens.

cheers Darrel
 

Sacha

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Thanks for the replies. I am 99% the problems aren't caused by lack of nutrients. I was dosing a half EI dose every day until just a few weeks ago. I cut the ferts after all the algae problems started. I had played around with lighting duration, flow etc. but the algae still persisted so the only thing that was left to do was reduce the ferts.

I am still unsure whether I want to be putting a layer of aquatic soil under the sand when I re-scape. All of the algae in my tank originates in / on the substrate (the top half of the tank is relatively healthy and the plants are actually in pretty good shape), which leads me to believe the root cause of the algae must be the substrate itself.

Is this actually reasonable? If so, obviously I do not want to be in the same situation in another year's time if I dirt the tank and the soil begins to rot and cause me algae trouble again. Perhaps root tabs would be preferable just to give the plants a bit of a head start? And then a weekly dose of EI once things are established?
 

alto

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If you use a manufactured aquarium soil such as Tropica etc, this won’t “rot” - the structure of the particles prevents dense packing and anoxia is unlikely

My tanks with Sera Floredepot ran for 3 years before being broken down for a move (note the upper gravel I used was much finer than yours (judging by photo)), growth was consistent and minimal algae, limited water column nutrients, ~70% weekly water change, significant fish population and hundreds of shrimp

When you break down the tank, note how much debris is in the gravel, varying odours etc

The standard MultiLux LED tubes are relatively low light for a 55cm tall aquarium, I don’t believe that “too much” light was ever an issue
 

Tim Harrison

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I am still unsure whether I want to be putting a layer of aquatic soil under the sand when I re-scape. All of the algae in my tank originates in / on the substrate (the top half of the tank is relatively healthy and the plants are actually in pretty good shape), which leads me to believe the root cause of the algae must be the substrate itself. Is this actually reasonable?
Regardless of whether this is the cause or not, it's often good to do things differently anyway. So I'd go ahead and use an alternative... sand on it's own with root tabs, AS, or capped Tropica Growth Substrate etc, and see how you fare ;)
 

Sacha

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Well that was one of the most traumatic experiences of my life.

The full tank nuke / rebirth is now complete. Around 8 hours work in total and miraculously all fish are alive and well.

The tank is now spotlessly clean and has an inert sand substrate with lots of easy plants (swords, crypts, fast-growing stem plants, anubias and java fern attached to wood & rock). I'm going to pick up a few more plants this morning because it could do with some more packing out, but I'll get some photos this afternoon once all of the plants are in there.

I'm going to make a new tank log thread to track this tank's progress. Just one last question here on nutrient dosing before I move over to the new thread.

I'm planning to stick a few JBL Kugeln ferrous clay root balls (https://www.jbl.de/en/products/detail/2345/jbl-proflora-7-balls) underneath the swords and crypts. This will be the only source of substrate enrichment. In terms of nutrient dosing, what shall I be aiming for? Based on everything I've read here I'm guessing around a 1/4 dose of EI weekly? (E.g. Macro on Sunday & Micro on Monday). I read this article from Tom Barr (http://sfbaaps.org/articles/barr_02.html) and now I'm wondering whether I should be regularly testing and aiming for those specific target doses to ensure everything is in balance. Any advice greatly appreciated regarding the simplest dosing regime which will ensure no deficiencies.

Bear in mind I am going to do a few water changes with pure RO to bring the TDS down to around 150-200, but long-term I intend to carry out monthly water changes on this tank, so I need a dosing regime which allows me to achieve this.
 

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