Plants dying and green hairy algae during fishless cycle

heihaci

Newbie here and generally clueless when I decided we should get some fish for the kids. So I've got a 54L tetra starter line tank and followed their video. Put in their active substrate and planted some rosaefolia(randomly picked from ebay) and placed javafern on bogwood.

After reading about fishless cycling and nitrogen cycle (I have no access to established media), I started adding ammonia using the Mr Tim's method and products the rosaefolia keep dying. It's nearly been two weeks since I've started cycling not there yet my Ammonia goes down to 0.2ppm but nitrites will go just under 1 and nitrates about 30ppm.

However, I've started noticing hairy green algae starting to develop on plastic internal filter casing and on the rosaefolia leaves and on a bit on the bogwood.
I've now stopped putting on the led lights on.

I feel that i need to get rid of the hairy algae before it gets worse. should i start doing water changes and take out the dying rosaefolia and javafern on bogwood?
Would scraping the algae off the filter casing disrupt the beneficial bacteria that converts nitrites and ammonia? I read that this bacteria develops on surfaces and shouldn't be disturbed? I dont want to stall the fishless cycle

Also read somewhere fishless cycle shouldn't be done in a planted aquarium so i assume I should add plants after cycle is complete?

I have to say this is a really frustrating process and my patience being tested so have now newfound respect for fish keepers....

dying plants

20220118_222300.jpg
 

Azedenkae

I feel that i need to get rid of the hairy algae before it gets worse. should i start doing water changes and take out the dying rosaefolia and javafern on bogwood?
Water changes are not necessary, but yes you can and should take out the dying plants.
Would scraping the algae off the filter casing disrupt the beneficial bacteria that converts nitrites and ammonia? I read that this bacteria develops on surfaces and shouldn't be disturbed? I dont want to stall the fishless cycle
You should really be doing all manners of maintenance you would do post-cycle during the cycle, including scraping algae off of surfaces. Yes nitrifiers grow on all surfaces, but it should not matter if they grow on surfaces that you may often disturb anyways. In fact, it's better if you regularly disturb these surfaces, to force nitrifiers to reproduce and establish at highest levels on surfaces you would not disturb, i.e. biomedia in the filter. So yes, scrub away at the algae.
Also read somewhere fishless cycle shouldn't be done in a planted aquarium so i assume I should add plants after cycle is complete?
It is preferable, yes. Plants can cause a few issues. They soak up nitrate, and thus it is harder to track your cycle and if nitrification is really going on. They can just die and result in ammonia produced, again thus harder for you to track the cycle. Some plants can utilize ammonia directly, and may compete with the nitrifiers significantly and yes, inhibit the cycling process.

To clarify, this is based on a very technical definition of the cycling process where it is all about establishing robust nitrification. Realistically, so long as the aquarium environment is safe for the live stock, it does not matter how it is safe. So if ammonia is handled not all by nitrifiers but also by plants or by other microorganisms, technically that is fine.
 

heihaci

Thanks for the helpful reply. I've taken out the dead plants now and tried to scrape off the algae this morning. Hopefully less algae going forward and tank is cycled soon
 

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