So...there was a small disaster. ;)
I haven't been on in awhile, life got crazy busy, and I'm pretty much just here for a quick question...but anyway. ;)
So, I have an NPT 20g long tank. There is a small HOB filter in it to provide water circulation, but the plants are doing all the work. Everything was going along nicely, two large CT bettas and a bunch of snails, all different types, life is good. And then...I dropped an almost full container of NLS pellets into the tank. Oh dear goodness....SUCH a huge mess. :P I scooped out the boys, they've been in 5 gallon holding tanks for a couple of months now until I can get all this garbage fixed.
I tried vacuuming out the food...it's a no go. It's down there into the gravel, around the plants, floating in the water...it's everywhere. :P Even allowing it to settle didn't help, it just got further into the gravel.
So, I've been letting it sit, most of the plants died off because I just let it go until I could figure out what to do, but I've got a TON of hair algae in there that's picked up the slack. Basically, my question is...do I need to clean out the entire tank, substrate (dirt) and all and start again? Or can I fudge this, put down a new layer of small gravel and allow the uneaten food to just sit there as an extra fertz layer?
I'm wondering that since that algae has been going nuts in there, that it may have eaten up all the nitrates/nitrites (similar to how eventually a soil layer is depleted of nutrients and no longer really feeds the plants), and if I give it a good surface scrub, new gravel, new water, that maybe the tank would be habitable again without having to take EVERYTHING out?
I know when I first took the fish out, the ammonia spiked WAY high, (which is why the boys came out, to keep them safe, certainly not going to make them live in those conditions!!) but it's taken me longer to get around to setting the tank back up than anticipated...and now I'm starting to wonder if this unintentional fertz may have been consumed, or at least consumed enough to start again without having to strip the tank?
Comments, suggestions, experience, all are welcome! I'd like to get them back into their tank, but I'm REALLY hoping that I don't have to strip the thing. :P It's a hope, lol! :)