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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I've been battling algae since I re-set up my tank in November. I think my main problem is that I did a "test" and put 1/4 inch soil under my substrate, and then tried to adjust normal EI dosing on top of that.

I went through BBA and staghorn for a little while, then cyanobacteria, and GSA all over the glass. I tweaked here and there (dosing less micros, higher phosphates, no ferts at all for a week...) each resulting in a different algae.

Currently I am back to GSA showing up on the glass along with a green film on the glass, and green water. This happened abruptly after dosing full Phospahtes, 2/3 KNO3, and no micros (refering to EI). Pressurized CO2 is set to max that fish can handle. Lighting is moderate-high and 9 hr photoperiod.

I've concluded that a soil-substrate is best when used according to El Natural and Mineralized methods. Mixing a little of that with water column dosing involves more than I care to deal with. I'm very close to ripping it all up and starting over with my normal substrate, HOWEVER, my plants are still growing fabulously.

Any comments or suggestions before I go in for a re-do?

-Dave
 

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I think what you are experiencing is a break-in period.

I have 1 " of soil under 1 inch of fluorite in my 125g tank (not el-natural style because I have CO2 and high lights and water dose :D). The initial month and a half or so was quite nasty with algae troubles, but then no algae in 3 years since it was set up (not even a spot).

I recommend you wait a few more weeks and do some water changes. It will settle down. Then you can start dosing EI in the water column if your plants need it, but until then I am sure there are plenty of nutrients leaching out from the substrate.

As far as water column dosing goes, your really don't need to dose any unless you notice problems. The only plants I've had trouble with are the anubias since their roots don't really penetrate the substrate, so they have become nitrogen deficient. Unless you have plants that are not rooted in the substrate you should be fine (I think moss would be ok too, since it doesn't need much to get by).

Also, as a point of interest, isn't it interesting how all your plants are doing great, but there are still terrible algae problems? Seems like it relates to the other thread:
http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/algae/59607-not-so-simple-question.html

:D
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, Zapins. Yes, once I posted that I got to thinking, it took 6 months in my first tank before all the algae problems went away, so this tankis still relatively new.

As to the other post, I think every algae issue (new set-ups and old) ties into that. I found your information in the new thread VERY interesting. I'm gonna keep my eye on that one for awhile now.

-Dave
 

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I agree, there is a break in period for soiled substrate, but I would not go any other route because it's cheap, natural, and proven. One thing you can do next time is speed up the break in process by mineralizing the soil substrate. The main point is the drying process allow oxygen to get to bacteria to break down the soil quickly. Creating a thin layer of soil and wetting and drying the layer several time mineralizes the soil. Then when you put it in the tank, the soil has gone through a good deal of the break in period.
 
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