Help :( cycling and blue green algae
back story: After my last betta passed, i restarted my 5.5gal tank (organic soiled topped with gravel, 1 anubias and a few small java fern) but still felt a bit discouraged so i left it to sit for a couple months (heated and filtered). Id misplaced my test kit but honestly couldnt be bothered and only touched the tank when it needed to be topped off, which was maybe 2-3x a week since the water evaporated so quickly (lidless)
Was in a bit of a rut during that time and i regret neglecting it when i couldve been properly cycling my tank that whole time.
Couple weeks ago i got motivated and decided id try again with that tank, id meant to get tools, a new api test kit and some more plants but id ended up walking out with a new betta as well as everything else. i know, it wasnt smart at all to impulse buy a betta but he is STUNNING (atleast to me)
I got home, i replaced 50% of the water, sanitized the plants, dumped them in and got Buddy (the betta) settled.
The Problem: i assumed id crashed the cycle since i wasnt actively feeding the beneficial bacteria and there wasnt a high enough population to deal with the new bioload
Ive been pretty much doing a fish-in cycle since my tests always read .25/0/0
The past week itself has been .25/0/0
Ive been doing daily 15% partial water changes with 30% once a week
the results were the same before and directly after the water changes. I felt dumb for not realizing it could be my tap water, so i tested it and yep: .25/0/0
Ive been dosing seachem prime each PWC, but will i be seeing nitrates anytime soon?
Another issue: sunlight hits one face of the tank, only for a couple hours in the morning usually but with summer i guess it was enough light for blue-green algae to grow. It was only a bit pressed up against the glass under the substrate so i wasnt too bothered, but since the daily PWCs it seems to be growing more rapidly??
A couple days ago I added some leftover fluorite black to keep my plants in place as well as giving the BB more area, and already the bluegreen algae has grown over it.
(just between the new layer of substrate and glass)
Ive since blacked it out with a small strip of cardboard blocking the light but why is it growing so fast now? i read somewhere that ammonium is more readily available to cyanobacteria and it will out-compete other bacteria for it, is this true?
Or is it from the fluorite black?
Filter: aquaclear 20, stuffed with a floss-sponge-biomax sandwich (and some moss hanging off the outflow as a baffle)
Temperature: 79-80 (ive got saran wrap as a lid til i figure something out)
Substrate: Organic vegetable soil, assorted gravel, fluorite black,
Deco: various pebbles and rocks, mopani and pear wood
Plants: (excuse my latin i forget how to spell most of these)
Assorted anubias of which i forget the variety, got a tiny one, spade leaf, and 2 regular(??) ones
Java fern: 1 big, 3 small
Pothos with stems submerged
some type of moss, i want to say christmas?
One of the “assorted” petsmart plants. No clue what it is, but it looks like a java fern with thinner crinkled leaves and thick roots
Parameters: .25/0/0 (i am so very sick of looking at these numbers)
Fauna: 1 betta, and who knows how many pest snails? (Ive been taking them out whenever i see them and putting them in my 1gal snail sanctuary)