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Old 11-17-2003, 02:56 PM   #1
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Bacterial bloom

I am getting my but kicked by an apparent bacterial bloom in a FW 55g tank. The tank has been up and running for several years with an Emp 400 filter. It has 2 gouramis, 2 large rosy barbs, 3 giant danios, and a pleco. This tank has been the definition of stable for as long as I've been taking care of it. Water always crystal clear, no algae, pH rock steady, nitrates about 10 at water change time. A couple of weeks ago, I serviced the tank as usual. The people called the next day and said it was all cloudy. I went that day to check on it and it looks like someone poured a gallon milk in there! Instant diagnosis-bacterial bloom, ugly but it'll go away in a few days. Not! I tried a large water change, new filter carts, and refilled the media containers with Black Diamond AC. Got worse. They added some Pro Clear to the tank which, of course, did nothing. I tried some potassium permangante...that made it look like pink milk...no better. I thought about trying an antibiotic, but really didn't want to do that. Today, I put "big daddy" on there...a 57 watt UV sterilizer and changed the carts and AC again. If this doesn't do it, I'm at a total loss. I've never had a tank that kept a bacterial bloom going for this long. All the fish are fine and water parameters, as of today, are as follows:
Ammonia = 0
Nitrite = 0
Nitrate = 5
pH = 6.8
Temp = 76* F
Anyone got any ideas? I really don't want to tear this tank down and sterilize the whole thing if I can get out of it. The tank is serviced every two weeks with about a 20% water change, gravel vacuumed, and new filter carts about once a month.
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Old 11-17-2003, 03:25 PM   #2
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I had a simular experience in the big tank before the SW conversion. I shouldn't say simular, more like excactly. It was stable for at least a year. I ended up having to use a broad spectrum anti-biotic. I hated to do that but i worked.
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Old 11-17-2003, 03:36 PM   #3
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Yeah, it may come to that. I've tried starving them, now I'm attempting to nuke them...if all else fails, I guess I can poison them.
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Old 11-17-2003, 04:04 PM   #4
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Have you thought about using a diatom filter (Vortex brand)? I'm not entirely sure how small bacteria are, so that *might* now do it. However, I'm pretty sure that it will, as the tanks at my LFS look very bacterial-bloomy, and they always clean them up with a diatom filter.

A Vortex D-1 would be big enough to handle the bloom (I used one on the algae in my 55 a few weeks back and it did a stunning job--see the gallery).

HTH
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Old 11-17-2003, 04:28 PM   #5
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I've never used one of those. I probably need to add one to my arsenal though...I'll look into that...thanks.
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Old 11-17-2003, 04:51 PM   #6
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No prob. Bigals will sell you a D-1 for a really good price--$67, I think. That's very cheap... It also has the XL, the larger model (duh ), for just shy of $100. Again, a good deal. I think my LFS sells the D-1 for about $90. So, I'd advise buying from Bigals if you can afford it!

Oh, and it's in my "arsenal" now, and I use it quite often--it also helps get rid of ich and other free-swimming-stage parasites!

P.S. If you service a lot of tanks over 70 gallons, I'd advise getting the XL--that'll do the job much more quickly and efficiently. However, if you service mostly small tanks, the D-1 will be just fine.
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Old 11-17-2003, 08:24 PM   #7
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Well, this is the only tank I've had any trouble with. I take care of a 150g cichlid tank and a few SW tanks, but all of them are looking good. It would be handy to have though...I think I'll check with some of my wholesalers though before I go with Big Al's. Thanks for the info.
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Old 11-25-2003, 05:43 PM   #8
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Update on the cloudy tank. 12 hours of running the big UV sterilizer and the tank is crystal clear. Although I wouldn't want to run one all the time, they sure are handy to have when something like this happens.
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Old 11-25-2003, 09:02 PM   #9
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How does that work? Where do all the dead algae end up, then? Do they fall to the tank's bottom when dead? Are they somehow filtered out?

Sorry for the apparently stupid questions...
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Old 11-25-2003, 11:41 PM   #10
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Actually, I don't think I had an algae problem in this case. I believe it was a bacterial bloom. A diatom filter was suggested earlier in this post and, although I've never used one, I'm sure it would trap all the leftovers from the UV unit. In this case, it seems that the carts in the Emp 400 were sufficient, along with the media containers full of good AC, to trap all the gunk.
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