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>Has anyone else had problems with high nitrates in their city water supply?

I noticed a few years ago that the Chicago water supply had fluctuating
levels of nitrates and phosphates depending on the season. The only way I
have been successful in fighting algae growth has been to run any water
destined for the tank through a Tap Water Purifier first. It does a pretty
good job of stripping out most of the junk that comes along with the water.
I only have a 35 gallon tank so this has worked well without having to
invest in other purification equipment. Keep in mind that I have chosen to
go as low-tech with this tank as I can get away with. I keep my water at a
pH of 6.8. I do 30-50 percent water changes bi-weekly and use home-brew CO2,
also replenished bi-weekly. I have discovered that re-charging my
yeast/sugar supply for the CO2 on the non-water change weeks works well.  

A change of lighting always seems to affect algae growth anyway, and it
sounds like you fertilized and added lighting. I recently moved from 60
watts of flourescent to 110 watts, using Hamilton Lighting compact
flourescents, and there was a definite adjustment period. But a 50 percent
water change really helped there. The tank is populated with several pounds
of driftwood, java moss, java fern and some crypts.

In short, I didn't have much luck when using tap water. The TWP deionizer
has made a big difference.

Hope this helps some...

Rod Piechowski