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Why would algae quickly leave a tank full of nutrients in the water, never vacuumed substrate, tons of light and CO2?

We'll you mentioned earlier that the plants covered the surface. I think this makes a big difference, a lot less light gets through. The plants take C02 from the atmosphere, giving them the advantage to take up nutrients quickly.

What is the difference between and established and a new tank?

Same as before, ammonia is sucked up so fast that algae can't grow. There was a really good article I read that described how much a difference in plant density makes. If you think about it, every leaf on your stem plants is a spot that bacteria can use to grow on and absorb ammonia. The amount of surface area from an established tank compared to a new tank is completely different. Your established tank becomes one big filter that starves out the algae.
 
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