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Old 04-14-2003, 10:52 PM   #1
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green water. need help

Hey! I'm new here. Hoping for some advice and help...

I have searched and searched and asked and tried all types of things, but am still having a problem with my son's tank....Here's the story...

TEN gallon tank set up beginning of January. Cycled without problems with 3 zebra danios, adding new fish every week or so until now we have 3 zebra danios, 3 harleqin raspboras, 2 neon tetras (had three, one just died) and two otocinclus.

I've got a Aquaclear mini running 24/7. And an air pump to an airstone.

At about the 4 week mark the tank became covered in green algae. It then turned to pea green soup colored water.
This is what I've tried:
live plants
no outside lights (tank is in a room with a room darkening shade)
dropping the tank lights to 4-5 hours a day.
50% water changes every couple of days.
Changed to some $$$ bulb called a Power Glo.
feeding the fish very very little every other day.
ammonia, nitrItes, nitrAtes have always been zero with every test (home and LFS)

I've toyed with getting a UV sterilizer but everyone says it's WAY OVERKILL on a ten gallon tank.

Someone has now suggested a Bio-wheel filter and some clarifing chemical. I just need you experts to chime in and help me decide what to do. On one hand, I'd like to try the Bio wheel as it's cheaper and easier to set up than a UV sterilizer, but on the other hand, I'll spend $ on a Bio Wheel and then may have to go out and get a UV sterilizer anyway, thus making it MORE expensive in the long run.

I'm really hoping someone can help. I've got $15 worth of fish in this tank that I have barely been able to see and enjoy! The only time the tank clears a little is when I do a 50% water change and then that's only temporary.

Thanks in advance,
Karen
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Old 04-14-2003, 10:57 PM   #2
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I was in the same boat, the good news is, the green water wont hurt the fish! I would get a bio-wheel, and if there is room, put CARBON in the aquaclear, take out the filter. You can buy carbon at the LFS. This will clear up a lot of nasties. I hate to say but you really just have to wait it out. More help please.
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Old 04-14-2003, 10:59 PM   #3
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I have carbon on the aquaclear. Sponge and carbon. Are you saying remove the sponge?

How is your water now??

Any particular size Biowheel? 125 gph?

Thanks for the ultra-speedy reply!
Karen
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Old 04-15-2003, 12:07 AM   #4
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try getting some filter floss. i did and it helped get rid of the tiny free floating algae that youmight be having. they just bloom rapidly.
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Old 04-15-2003, 12:21 AM   #5
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I'm not sure a bio wheel will help you any with this. Although I think the bio wheel is the best bio filter currently available for FW, it's only purpose is to convert ammonia/nitrite to nitrate. Since your ammonia/nitrite/nitrate is 0, I'd say your filter is doing the job.
As Barney said, you might try a fine filter floss in the filter. Don't remove the sponge as this is your bio filter. I'd try packing some floss in the filter and change it regularly. It might help. Have you checked your water for phosphates? This is also great algae fuel. As a last resort, you might have to try some of the chemicals that will kill the algae...an absolute last resort though.
Logan J
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Old 04-15-2003, 07:21 AM   #6
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Blackout.

I had bad greenwater. Very bad. first 50% water change. then immediately, 5 days with a dark blanket over the tank, leave filter running. No feeding, no nothing, no peeking. Uncovered and tank was clear. No fish or plants died.

If you can pack the filer with floss as mentioed above without disturbing the blackout, I think that would be a good idea also.
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Old 04-15-2003, 07:37 AM   #7
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Wow. Thanks for the replies!

Barney, I'll get some filter floss at my next trip to the LFS.

loganj, I have not had phosphates tested. Last time to LFS they did mention that they test phosphates for a price. I didn't realize that as everytime I've had water tested they just did their base panel and never mentioned phosphates. I did try the algicide chemicals, but it didn't touch the algae.

corvuscorax, do you just cover the tank with towels? black paper? No feeding for 5 days?? seriously? And it went away and didn't come back?

Thanks!
Karen
p.s. what does the Kudos stand for near my name and info on the left?
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Old 04-15-2003, 08:27 AM   #8
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corvuscorax, do you just cover the tank with towels? black paper? No feeding for 5 days?? seriously? And it went away and didn't come back?

Yup, a big thick, light blocking blanket, covered tight. (I did peek now and again to see if the fishies were alive, but did not feed). No fish or plants died or even got sick. no food = no additional nutrients = nothing for algae to eat. add in total darkness for zero photosynthesis, and it worked for me. Doesn't work for everyone, sorry.

Logan's suggestion regarding phosphates is worth following up on also.

Filter floss, go to a fabric/craft store, buy 100% polyesther quilt batting. WAAAAY cheaper than floss at the lfs.

You get kudos for every post, see the FAQ for more info. link at top of page.
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Old 04-15-2003, 08:41 AM   #9
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Here is some info on kudos

http://www.aquariumadvice.com/viewtopic.php?t=121
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Old 04-15-2003, 09:32 AM   #10
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Quote:
Logan's suggestion regarding phosphates is worth following up on also.

Filter floss, go to a fabric/craft store, buy 100% polyesther quilt batting. WAAAAY cheaper than floss at the lfs.
Will follow up on the phosphate thing.

Hopefully the last stupid question......I probably have quilt batting already. I've got an aquaclear, sponge on the bottom, then carbon on top of that. Where would I put the batting? bottom? between? on top?

I've given the fish their last supper so to speak....and I'll cover them up a bit later. Worth a shot!

btw, once I get it under control is is just a matter of no-sunlight, don't overfeed, etc to keep it away or is going to rear it's ugly head again? a friend mentioned spored in your air get in the tank and it'll come back.

THANKS!
Karen
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Old 04-15-2003, 09:33 AM   #11
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Oops, did the quote thing wrong
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Old 04-15-2003, 10:08 AM   #12
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No worries about the quote thing, we understand. As for it coming back, well, you have to get rid of it first. Also, the algae live on ammonia, which comes from fish waste and uneaten food. It also lives on sunlight. The procedure corvus told you, eliminates all of those risks!
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Old 04-15-2003, 10:20 AM   #13
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Not positive on the floss thing, dont have an aquaclear, or anything similar. Probably less carbon, and floss between sponge and carbon. Input from others appreciated!!!

In so far as it coming back, nothing is 100% secure on this, a few of those algae cells are bound to survive, it's amatter of controlling the conditions that allow the population to Explode. That can be hard to do.

No overfeeding, control nutrients, lights on a timer, I go 10 hours a day, but others do less.
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Old 04-15-2003, 10:24 AM   #14
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the first few days, you might try 6 hour lights on, then the next week, 7 hours, and so on. I would not do more than 10. I agree with the less carbon more floss, the sponge needs to stay.
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Old 04-15-2003, 10:51 AM   #15
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First, let me say "kudos" to all of you!! You are all so helpful.

Here's what I've got. I fed the fish their last supper (so to speak)
I unplugged the light.
Added a handful of floss to the filter--sponge, handfull of floss, then carbon bag--it all fits in there and I don't have any smaller carbon bags, so that much carbon needs to stay.

I actually bought, long ago, this special material to make room darkening shades. It has a cloth layer, then batting, then a mylar layer, then batting. I cut it so it fits around 3 sides of my tank....the back has the "aquarium scene" thing already. I also cut a piece to cover the top and tuck in.

I wish ya'll could see the tank now....we took markers and drew and colored an aquarium scene on it so it doesn't look so stark white. Can I post pictures on this site?? It's a blast!

I SO hope this works. This is my son's birthday present tank and I really really don't want to scrap it. We've thought of getting a bigger tank and moving his fish to our family room, but again...this is his present and I hate the thought of "taking it away."

That's about why I'll try anything!

Thanks again!
Karen
p.s. if anyone thinks of anything else, feel free to keep posting. I'm loving the fish talk!
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Old 04-15-2003, 11:10 AM   #16
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I fixed your quote

How old is your son? Do you keep the food in his room?

Honestly, no offense intended, but kids often overfeed, and might not admit it

I don't know you, or your son, so i don't want to come acrss the wrong way, just searching for possible reasons for the green water.

Also, when you change water, do you vacuum the gravel? You need to do that to get up the mulm (fish poop). If it builds up, nitrates galore, another algae bloom.
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Old 04-15-2003, 11:52 AM   #17
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My son is 6. The fish and fish food are in his room. But right from the beginning it was explained to him that he is not to feed the fish without help. And even then I dole out the food to him (and his sister) so they aren't overfed.

Sure, sure, some would say, but how do you KNOW they aren't feeding them. They aren't. I would bet $100 on it. We explained the ramifications of overfeeding and they are very concerned about that. They've also been given a brief overview of the nitrogen cycle and understand that too much food=too much poo=bad chemicals in the tank=sick fish.

I do vacuum the gravel when I do water changes, although, admittedly it's hard to do in the back because I can't see a THING back there! Whenever I do a good job in the back I end up uprooting all of my plants and breaking the roots and stems!

I totally do not take any offense to your post! I appreciate your concern and willingness to dig deeper and help!
Thanks!
Karen
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Old 04-15-2003, 12:02 PM   #18
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OK, glad we cool on the kid thing! And you get 25 kudos for explaining nitro cycle to your kids in terms they can understand. Never too early to learn science/nature!

Quote:
Whenever I do a good job in the back I end up uprooting all of my plants and breaking the roots and stems!
OK, here's the 1 exception: Try not to vacuum too much near your plants. Live plants LIKE the mulm around the roots, as fertilizer. near the plants just skim the surface of the gravel, just pull up gunk on the top of gravel, gently. Also, start vacuuming near the plants, so the tank isn't all clouded up when its time to do that area. If left alone, they will help reduce nutrients. don't break the roots especially!
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Old 04-15-2003, 12:16 PM   #19
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You can post pictures, just click on post reply, then look near the bottom, there will be an area to add an attachment.
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Old 04-15-2003, 04:27 PM   #20
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You can put them in between, what i did was let water fall into the floss/ quilt batting. (make sure the quilt batting has no know chemicals, like it had been washed with soap)

like corvus said total blackout, will see a speed up result.

Let us know how it is progressing...

BTW, Welcome to the wonderful site here filled with information.
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