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You may have problems from the peat with the soil. The high tech guys who don't use soil only dust peat on the bottom, and it needs to be Canadian Peat specifically. But with the soil, it makes a bacterial bloom as it rots. (likely your jelly and gels)
Also, layerite isn't needed with soil substrate. It can be too much iron. I got algae using EcoCompolete as a topper (because I already had it). I think it contributed. Too much iron can also be bad for plants and animals.
You are way high on the light. Usually 2-3 watts per gallon for a NPT. You may need a little higher if you want to add CO2. But I think all the light is a big factor in your algae. If the plants aren't doing well they can't starve it off.
It's hard to assimilate what goes with high tech planted tanks and what should be with low-tech NPTs. Those ADA tanks sure are tempting. Some people conservatively mix in one or two elements.
You were right to change water for nitrates. Could the soil have had fertilizer in it? You'll want to have no ammonia or nitrates for the fish. The creatures likely came in as eggs on the plants. Most are grown outside. Some are carnivorous and could eat small fish/fry. If they are small enough to be eaten by fish and your parameters are ok for fish, they might be a bonus. GL.
 

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gravy9, Definitely just topsoil next time. I don't know if you'll be able to resolve the nitrates if it's coming from fertilizer. Ditto with the algae. I guess you can wait it out and see if the plants seem ok. You're right to wait and see for the fish. Maybe someone else can give you an idea what to expect with the fertilized soil. If you decide to redo, check out this neat summery by Data Guru. If you can get your hands on D Walstad's book that would help most. Best wishes
 

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'Water Conditioner' is mainly sold for dechlorinating tap water. It also has some ammonia binding property. Not enough for the ammonia from fish waste, but enough to catch the ammonia that is given off from the dechlorination process. It also has binders to reduce heavy metal toxicity in water.

On my last set up (Oct 5). I topped the dirt with gravel and filled the tank to about 4 inches of water. The stem plants lay down, but they all stayed wet. I also used forceps for the first time. It made such a difference! Almost no dirt escaped into the water in three hours of planting.
 
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