I'm not sure what area of the forum I'm supposed to put this, sorry! ^^;
It's long, bear with me please.
Anyways, I'm having an algae problem in my ten gallon tank. I'll explain about that:
The tank is, oh, four years old or so now, been well established for a while. I use it as a planted nursery tank for my livebearer fry. Currently there are ten endlers livebearer fry and three one week old molly fry in there. Lot's of plants, a little java moss(mostly stem plants, one small anubias and an umbrella plant), and also several young pink ramshorn snails. About the size of a small sweet pea. Several meaning eight.
So first, tank stats: Haven't had any changes with them, they've stayed stable...is that normal during such a bloom? They have been PH: 7.3 GH is around 10-11, Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate have been zero since the last time I cycled it about...maybe two years ago when I re-did it.
Anyways, because it has babies in there often, I usually suck out all uneaten food and poo I see daily with a turkey baster so I don't do too much drastic water changes, and the normal 30-35% change each week, I also do very small ones every two days or so(about 5%) since babies like clean water and grow faster with it, and also because they need more to eat and so poop more. I also wipe down the glass, heater and filter intake tube, I vacuum about...not quite half the substrate, which is sand, in a different spot each week and use my turkey baster to get in and around the plants...
So what I THINK happened, was, I went a bit skimpy on my care for a few days there. My grandpa was just diagnosed with cancer and the lighting schedule, which is manual, was off by about six hours for four-five days in a row. Usually I keep the lights on 8-9 hours a day, it was on for closer to 15+ for several days in a row while I wasn't home as much and I wasn't keeping up with the normal cleaning.
I went to do some extra cleaning, moved a plant which was likely a factor here...did a normal 35% change, and the next day the water was green. And I mean green. I'm thinking there may have been an algae build under the plant, and with the extra light it bloomed. The plant was a huge umbrella and it got too big to be in there so I moved it to the bigger tank.
So what I've done: I've been doing extra cleaning, about ten percent per day and wiping down everything, getting around the edges and really under the plants with the vacuum. I rinsed my sponge in tank water in case some grew in there. I moved the babies to a different tank and kept the lights out with tank covered for four days first after a large 50% change and good vacuum. When I went to do a change after that it looked better, almost gone kind of better, did another 50% change and good vacuum and wipe down, looked great but still a tad green...So, then the small changes and maintenance started...it's worse. It bloomed two days later and is...well...heh, green. Saint Patrick's Day Green.
So that's the tanks story, how do I get rid of this? I've never had such a nasty bloom before. I had one in my grandma's five gallon betta tank but it cleared right up with a change and good wipe down(she likes to leave the lights on too long). I don't want any algae killing stuff, I do have critters that like it and I don't trust the stuff. Should I just keep doing what I have been, or is there something better to do?