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Re: Starting over

Jon Wilson wrote:

>My tank has finally deteriorated to the point that I am willing to start
>over. Here are the basics:

>225 gallon
>Icecap with 2 160 watt VHO Actinic Sun
>2 wet/drys with 2 Hydrothrusters
>30 watt UV sterilizer
>Sandpoint CO2 w/ controller
>programmable controller that runs all of the above

225 gallons! That'll be a real beauty when it's done.


>So now I have a large tank full of algae and two clown plecos,
>nitrates at 40 ppm and phosphates at 5 ppm. I want to start over,
>but I'm afraid the algae is so firmly entrenched into the system that
>I may not be able to get plants going again.

How did the NO3 and PO4 levels get so high and what kind of water
do you plan to use?  If you will be using tap water, be sure to ask
your local water department for an analysis sheet.

>I would rather not try to bleach the tank, but I don't know of any
>other ways to kill all of the algae.

Sorry, but you may not have any choice.  You could try draining the
tank and using a dilute bleach solution on a clean rag to wipe down
the glass, then scrape the algae off with a brand new single edge
razor blade (never use an old blade or the same blade twice, as the
iron oxide will scratch the glass).  Painstaking work for a tank that
size, but it will be very clean afterward.  When you've finished, you
will undoubtedly have to rinse the tank thoroughly and add
thiosulfate drops to neutralize any excess chlorine.

>I thought about doing a huge water change and just leaving it sit as
>is, with lights, and wait until the algae consumes all the nutrients
>and finally dies. Has this actually worked for anyone? Maybe if
>Simizine was added after the algae starting starving off?

Sounds like this may take a while, and I'm sure that something will
survive anyway.  You'll probably still have those ugly green deposits
on the glass, too.  What do you plan to do about the substrate?  It's
probably disgusting, huh?  Make sure you use laterite in the bottom
third of the new substrate.  Are you considering undergravel


>I'm thinking about just putting in plants, and the cleaning crew
>(SAEs, ottos, clown plecos, etc), before I worry about schooling
>fish. Anyone want to point out anything I should look at?

Don't forget to plant _heavily_ from the beginning or you'll just be
giving the algae an opportunity to get re-established.  For an
aquarium of that size this will require a substantial investment, so
you'll want to do it right from the beginning.  Monitor your iron and
nitrate levels.  If your nitrate levels are too low (yes, this can happen
in a heavily planted tank), you may have to increase the fish load
quickly.  Floating plants are good at soaking up excess nutrients.
Platys are good at controlling green filamentous algae (caused
by adding too much iron fertilizer), but when they've eaten all of that
they'll start in on your fine-leaved plants (they ate all of my Java
moss and Riccia!).  I've never owned any, but I understand that the
pl*cos can play havoc with the plants.  If you have phosphate in your
tap water you'll want to know about that, as this can cause major
algae problems.

This sounds like a great project that should be well worth the effort
when it's done.

>Feeling poorly informed,

That's why most of us joined the list!

Best of luck,

Jonathan in Maryland, where the mercury hit 96 F yesterday!

P.S. I found another one of my otos, so it appears that I've only lost
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