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Old 05-18-2011, 01:08 PM   #1
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Bacterial bloom turned into algae bloom?

I'm at a loss. After returning home on Sunday I thought my 48 gallon tank was experiencing a bacterial bloom. The water appeared quite milky, and I assumed it was due to the fact I had just added a fish and removed some filter media to donate to a friend and the BB was adjusting.

My parameters have remained the same- O ammo, 0 no2, 5-10 no3

As the days have passed the water appears to be getting greener. At first I thought it was just the reflections of all the plants in the tank giving me the appearance of green water, but now I believe it may actually be green. If I look from different angles it will still appear milky, but other angles are obviously green. I tried putting the water in a white plastic cup and still can't draw a definitive conclusion (kind of like the API ammo test, lol). It almost seems the milkiness is giving way to green...but it still may just be reflection.

I've done a couple 20% pwc's over the last few days but the problem appears to be getting worse instead of better.

Here are the changes that have been made to the tank recently-

Last couple weeks-
Slowly replacing fake plants with real ones and started weekly doses of Aqueon Plant Food (leaning towards this being the problem)

Last Wednesday-
Weekly pwc, light gravel vac and routine maintenance and cleaning of filter (Fluval 405)

Thursday-
Added a Bolivian Ram

Friday-
Removed a small portion of filter media to donate to a friend when I left town

Sunday-
Came home to cloudy water and added a few more real plants, performed 20% pwc to see if it helped with cloudiness

Tuesday-
Another 20% pwc

If this is an algae bloom, are there any steps to take or just wait it out? I obviously want to avoid chemicals.

Is there any danger to fish in a bacterial bloom? I just cranked up the air stones full blast in case in interferes with oxygen levels. Good move? Bad move?

BTW, my lighting is duel T-5 HO, 1 Ultra Sun and 1 actinic...both 39 watts each

Thanks!

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Old 05-18-2011, 02:06 PM   #2
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After further consideration (aka staring deeply into the tank for 20 minutes, lol), I'm 90% sure this is pea soup. Any algae bloom experts?
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Old 05-18-2011, 02:10 PM   #3
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I have had it. I upped my CO2, tweaked my ferts, did massive water changes every few days, limited feeding to every other day, reduced my photo period and after 3 weeks the tank went back to crystal clear.

Reduced lighting and water changes should clear it up after a time. You could try a three day black out as well.
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Old 05-18-2011, 02:17 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rich311k
I have had it. I upped my CO2, tweaked my ferts, did massive water changes every few days, limited feeding to every other day, reduced my photo period and after 3 weeks the tank went back to crystal clear.

Reduced lighting and water changes should clear it up after a time. You could try a three day black out as well.
Do you really think I'd need co2 with the lighting I have? If one bulb is actinic, I'd think it's basically only the other 39 watt one really giving the light.
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Old 05-18-2011, 02:17 PM   #5
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I had this once when I first started my Oscar tank ended up doing a 90% water change three times every other day and if there is ANY sun light hitting it at any time of the day it will come back trust me I learned like u the hard way
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Old 05-18-2011, 02:18 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thras
I had this once when I first started my Oscar tank ended up doing a 90% water change three times every other day and if there is ANY sun light hitting it at any time of the day it will come back trust me I learned like u the hard way
First, welcome to AA! Thanks for the info. There's no sunlight hitting the tank though.
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Old 05-18-2011, 02:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eco23 View Post
Do you really think I'd need co2 with the lighting I have? If one bulb is actinic, I'd think it's basically only the other 39 watt one really giving the light.
No I just gave you all I did. I think cutting your lighting period a bit and upping water changes will get the job done.
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Old 05-18-2011, 02:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rich311k

No I just gave you all I did. I think cutting your lighting period a bit and upping water changes will get the job done.
I'll give the lighting reduction a try and do a few more pwc's. Do you have any info on the algae bloom in relation to the fishes health? Do you think keeping the air stones cranked is the way to go, or could that lead to the problem by bubbling out any co2 the fish are giving off?
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Old 05-18-2011, 02:27 PM   #9
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I'm normally 100% against using chems if at all possible...but are there any members who have used any that are proven to be safe and not affect the bio-filter?
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Old 05-18-2011, 02:30 PM   #10
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This will not hurt your fish, if anything it is better for them, the green slop is sucking all the nitrogen compounds out of you water. Think how green water can be out in the wild, where fish do ok.

I have never used an algaecide, I figure if it kills something alive it cant be all that good for other living things. I can tell you that Green Water is a pain and it will take some time to rid yourself of it.
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Old 05-18-2011, 02:47 PM   #11
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By the way, I only have one fake plant in there now...the rest are all real. I've got Java Moss, a Morimo ball, Vals, Water Sprite and something else that I can't remember what it's called. The Water Sprite and mystery plant are the only recent additions (from Sunday).
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Old 05-18-2011, 04:58 PM   #12
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Algaecide in a planted tank is not a good idea.

I agree with all the advice that Rich gave -- most importantly I think is reducing your photo period significantly.

Another option would be to a complete blackout of the tank... wrap it in black plastic so no light is getting in... leave it like that for 3-4 days. It will help significantly in reducing an algae bloom. Frequent PWCs will help as well.
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Old 05-18-2011, 05:02 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fort384
Algaecide in a planted tank is not a good idea.

I agree with all the advice that Rich gave -- most importantly I think is reducing your photo period significantly.

Another option would be to a complete blackout of the tank... wrap it in black plastic so no light is getting in... leave it like that for 3-4 days. It will help significantly in reducing an algae bloom. Frequent PWCs will help as well.
Thanks for the advice. I just did a 50% pwc and will continue them for the next few day in addition to reducing lighting time. If I don't start seeing improvement...I'll consider the black out method. I don't have a second tank, but would it be a reasonable idea to put the plants in another container near a window or something during a black out?
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Old 05-18-2011, 05:04 PM   #14
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I suppose you could, but it won't hurt the fish at all, and it won't significantly effect the plants (both fish and plants endure shipping in the dark all over the world for days at a time... a blackout is far less stressful).
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Old 05-18-2011, 05:25 PM   #15
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what are your tank dimensions? Just curious.

I'd keep the lights off for a few days and see how it goes. You don't have any really demanding plants in there so they'll be fine, plus if they keep getting blocked by the green water they won't be getting much light anyway.

It really doesn't take a lot to have too much lighting. I see it happen a lot with people that are newly into planted tanks. Higher output lighting is more tricky to balance. The light output could be fine for a certain photoperiod but any more can throw it off.

One thing I do to intentionally grow green water algae for my fry is to leave the CFLs on a small tank of water with a root tab in it for about 2 days straight. Works every time.
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Old 05-18-2011, 05:46 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jetajockey
what are your tank dimensions? Just curious.

I'd keep the lights off for a few days and see how it goes. You don't have any really demanding plants in there so they'll be fine, plus if they keep getting blocked by the green water they won't be getting much light anyway.

It really doesn't take a lot to have too much lighting. I see it happen a lot with people that are newly into planted tanks. Higher output lighting is more tricky to balance. The light output could be fine for a certain photoperiod but any more can throw it off.

One thing I do to intentionally grow green water algae for my fry is to leave the CFLs on a small tank of water with a root tab in it for about 2 days straight. Works every time.
My tank is a 48 gallon bow front...approx 36 x 15 x 20 tall.

I turn both the Ultra Sun and actinic lights (39 watts each) on around 11am, and around 7pm I turn off the daylight bulb and only leave the actinic on until around 11pm. I was under the impression the actinic didn't really count towards anything.

When this clears up, are there steps I should take to prevent it from happening again? I find it odd the bloom didn't happen until my tank became planted. I assumed having a planted tank would actually help prevent algae. Possibly my brand of ferts (Aqueon Plant Food) is contributing to the problem?
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Old 05-18-2011, 05:49 PM   #17
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The fertilizer could very well be contributing. Planted tanks generally have more algae issues... not less. What is good for plants is good for algae, so if the balance isn't right, it makes it very easy to algae to take hold.

I think you should get a timer for the lights to make sure your photoperiod is strict.

What is in the aqueon plant food? How much are you dosing? You really don't have enough usable light to probably have a requirement to dose anything, so adding it probably created a lot of excess nutrients, and the algae capitalized on it.

The actinic will not cause an algae issue. I would put it on a timer as well though.
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Old 05-18-2011, 06:03 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fort384
The fertilizer could very well be contributing. Planted tanks generally have more algae issues... not less. What is good for plants is good for algae, so if the balance isn't right, it makes it very easy to algae to take hold.

I think you should get a timer for the lights to make sure your photoperiod is strict.

What is in the aqueon plant food? How much are you dosing? You really don't have enough usable light to probably have a requirement to dose anything, so adding it probably created a lot of excess nutrients, and the algae capitalized on it.

The actinic will not cause an algae issue. I would put it on a timer as well though.
For some reason I believed the plants outcompeted the algae...guess I can't believe everything I hear, lol.

Sorry if I'm about to list too much unneeded info...planted tanks are new to me.

The Aqueon Plant Food is...
Macro and micro nutrients
Soluble potash k2o- 1%
calcium- .2%
magnesium- .03% (also says water soluble MG .03
Sulfur- .036% (also .036 combined sulfur)
Boron- .0006%
iron- .12% (.12 chelated iron)
Manganese- ..00008% (same chelated)
Molybdenum- .0035%
zinc- .00012% (same chelated)
Kelp extract- .03

I've been dosing once a week...the amount recommended for ~40 gallons, not my whole 48
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Old 05-18-2011, 06:07 PM   #19
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Perhaps some back to back pwc's might remove the excess nutrients and shut this bloom down?
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Old 05-18-2011, 06:17 PM   #20
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doing big WC's will definitely reduce the green water issue, but you are still left with figuring out what caused it to begin with.

I know people say actinics are useless but I've also seen people say that algae can use it.

I've yet to see any real data going either direction, so if I was battling this problem it would be something i'd keep on the table. I've not tested it in any serious fashion so I cannot say either way.

I don't know if the fert dosing once a week is going to make or break the issue, I'd stick with the lighting solutions first.
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