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salvaging 40B vs. setting up 75


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I've pretty much accepted that my 40B is infested with hair algae, and was just going to live with it until/unless I budget for setting up a new tank, with no shared equipment and no borrowed plants, but then one of my friends pointed out that my lighting is actually less than low level. It's a 36" Finnex Fugeray, on a timer for 6 hours a day. Because the 40 breeder is 18" wide, a single LED strip is (I'm told) inadequate coverage for the whole tank. The plants that die off lend support to that theory: I only get good growth out of a very weedy Ludwigia repens x arcuata (and duckweed, which is harvested weekly). I have several species of crypts, and they could probably grow a lot better. I also have downoi, which is holding its own despite battling said hair algae tooth and nail.

The substrate is a layer of a mixture of coconut coir, montmorillionite clay (brand Oil Dri - I felt it was too light and crumbled too easily to use on its own), and a little aragonite (crushed coral), topped with a layer of FloraMax. I use rabbit poop as macronutrient root tabs every few months. I bought some micronutrient root tabs, but keep misplacing them, so they were only used when setting up the tank. The water column is fertilized with potassium sulfate (3-4x week) and trace elements (Miller microplex 1-2x week). Both are dosed at PPS-Pro levels. I try to remember to add API CO2 booster (cheap verson of Excel) daily but probably don't manage more than every other day. I don't inject carbon dioxide. I don't add nitrates to the tank as it has a pretty full roster of inhabitants, and even with the plant growth (which can be explosive even when I get sick for a week and don't fertilize) I need to do water changes to keep the nitrates in check.

Anyway, so that was a long-winded way of getting to: I'm thinking of getting a second LED fixture to increase the light. I only want low or medium-low light, but I'd really like happy plants and less of this epic, tenacious hair algae. It really sounds like more light is the way to go. I am not planning anything drastic like bombing the tank, but if some simple changes can nudge things in the right direction so that in 12 months I have less algae instead of more, I could do it. (It is way, way too late for manual removal.)

I don't want to tear down and rebuild - it's growing throughout the foam of my hmf, which is *great* for water quality and not so great for my morale. If I rebuild, it's going to be from scratch in another tank. I've been thinking about doing that anyway. But I don't quite want to do it *just* because the algae has defeated me.

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