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Old 04-13-2013, 08:37 AM   #1 
Fin Fancier
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Floramax and sand

I set up my ten gallon tank with sand for a substrate to make it easier to plant, and to try out a new look. While I love it. I'm kind of regretting not finding some soil and making a naturally planted tank. I've started having some algae problems, and I'm wondering if its because I don't have the right nutrients. It could also be that my photoperiod is too long (usually 9 - 11 hours).
I tried dosing aqueon plant food, but it caused my water sprite to melt horribly so I've stopped. I've since moved the water sprite to a different tank so I could go back to dosing the 10 gallon. My other thought was I could skip adding fertilizer and add some floramax in the sand under the roots of my plants to see if it helps them.

For general info:
Tank: 10 gallons
lighting: 1 6500k 15 watt bulb rated for plants, and 1 incandescent I haven't upgraded
Filtration: sponge filter
fertilizers: none for now
photoperiod: 9 - 11 hours
plants: 5 -6 stems wisteria, 1 banana plant, 1 clump of cryptocerne, 5-6 stalks of anacharis, 10 - 15 stems of possibly pennywort?

Any suggestions as to what I should do to help get rid of the algae? I don't mind cleaning it off during water changes, but since its a new set up I'm not opposed to some change to help balance it out. I'm thinking of one of the following options or none of them if anyone has a better idea:
1. get a timer to reduce photoperiod
2. dose fertilizers (open to switching from the plant food, maybe flourish?)
3. try floramax under the sand... somehow.
4. forget balance and just getting one very happy cleaner snail...

Thanks for your time and opinions.
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Old 04-13-2013, 09:44 AM   #2 
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What kind of algae do you have? there are many types of algae that snails wont touch...
floramax is an inert substrate, and will not provide your plants nutrition.... it will also sit on top of the sand as the granules are larger. Smaller grains always settle at the bottom. it does however promote a better roots system...
flourish is a pretty good fertiliser~ I've never used API fertilizers, so I can't comment on that.
If you think your photo period is causing algae, definitely bribg it down to 8 hours. personally I think you need more plants.
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Old 04-13-2013, 09:34 PM   #3 
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While more plants sounds great my main source is, sadly, petsmart tube plants.
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Old 04-13-2013, 10:27 PM   #4 
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I've heard a lot about the wonders that oto cats can do.
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Old 04-14-2013, 11:03 AM   #5 
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http://www.bettafish.com/picture.php...ictureid=44793

Well my temporary solution is this guy, meet Nemo. For my own piece of mind he was sold to me as a zebra nerite, but he looks nothing like the picture on petco's website.
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Old 04-14-2013, 11:37 AM   #6 
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nice patterns ^_^
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Old 04-14-2013, 06:13 PM   #7 
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Yup, that's a nerite. Very helpful little guys.

If you are up to taking everything out of the tanks, miracle Gro with a sand cap is pretty great. Plants really like it, no need to fertilizer most things (leading to algae blooms), and couldn't be cheaper.
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Old 04-14-2013, 06:19 PM   #8 
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Yeah, staring at him since last night I realized he was indeed a nerite. Every time I look over he's cleaning another wall of the tank. Quite active for a snail, he's growing on me. :)

I had originally wanted to do a dirted tank, but the only store nearby that sells dirt of any sort is home depot. I checked, but I couldn't find the right brand. They might have more mixes out now that its around spring planting time. Is there a certain soil that's best. All I know is that you should aim for organic.
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Old 04-14-2013, 08:06 PM   #9 
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Miracle Gro organic Potting Mix. Often abbreviated as MGOPM. Be careful, because there is also MGOP soil, which is not the right stuff.

Home Depot definitely carries it; it is where I got mine.
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Old 04-15-2013, 07:01 PM   #10 
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Not sure how much difference a snail will actually make, especially depending on how much algae we're talking here. Personally, before taking apart your entire tank to set it up with a new substrate, especially since you're happy with the sand otherwise (I have plain play sand as substrate in 2 of my planted tanks and like it, although I really want to try Eco-Complete in my next planted tank if I can swing the price), I'd recommend getting some Flourish Excel, doing a partial water change and removing any algae you can, then dose with the recommended amount for inititial startup/>40% water changes (they're the same), then dosing with the recommended daily maintenance amount (very little required for a 10g) every morning when the lights first come on for at least a week to see if that makes a difference with the algae issue. I can guarantee you'll see a difference in your plants in less time than that lol, so regardless there'll be at least some benefit from it lol. I rarely dose my tanks every day, but I do usually remember to do it at least several mornings a week and the improvement in the appearance, growth, health, etc. since I started using it has been way more dramatic than what I was expecting.
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