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re: phosphates off the scale
I had the same problem with brown algae when I started to pay attention to my tank and get it back in to shape. I did everything "right" and ended up with everything covered in brown algae. What I did was give all my non-algae eating fish (including a beautiful 9 in Black Ghost) to the LFS, then added 4 Chinese Algae Eaters and 6 Ottocinculus'. I added no food what-so-ever and periodically siphoned off whatever algae would come loose on it's own. The CAEs did a fantastic job, it was fun watching the mow their way through the stuff. Once the brown algae was gone there was a rash of green hair algae, but that was short lived. After a couple of months nothing of significance appeared, and I began adding some ornamental fish.
My suggestion is to do the same thing, and, like others have said, be sure you are not adding phosphates on your own. Above all be patient. Things change slowly, especially with a tank that size, and it's going to take time.
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