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Old 10-17-2003, 04:59 AM   #1
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Persistent Green Water in Small Tank

I have come here to post a question as a last resort after reading other posts. It's about my baby 10 Gallon (details in profile). About 4 weeks ago my tank started developing some brown gunk on the decor. I thought it would clear like it did in my 30G. However, instead of clearing the water started turning green-cloudy. Little spots of green were showing up on parts of the glass. I took out most of the decor and cleaned it, leaving it out. I did some water changes over the next week. Also, I know my nitrates are high at about 70 ppm.. my phosphates are high as well. So, I used Phos-guard for 3 days. I also reduced feeding dramatically. I also added 2 Otos and some snails. OH! And I have been keeping the lights off for the past week. However.... the water is still icky green cloudy like. My nitrates are still high and I'm not sure about phosphates. Folks at my LFS said our water may have phosphates in it making water changes not necessarily beneficial. I don't know what else to do.
Since I had this tank I have had no fish losses... In fact, I have had 3 live births. My 3 original cycling Platys are still in there too. I'm attached to these guys and I don't want to lose any! I know algae isn't "dangerous" for my fish, but I would like to get the tank orgnaized again. I don't want to *** chemicals that could potentially hurt the fish.

I'm needing some suggestions at this point. Right now I have a dark, sad 10 Gal in the corner of my room. I am currently setting up another 10 G to move some of the fish over. Does anyone think the tank could be too crowded? Also, -- and very important to me - what are peoples general feelings about fish attachment to each other? Having other animals with more human-like familial/friend attachment, I am concerned about dividing my fish.

Let me know guys! I am eager to try something new here.
Also... And this is the last one (Promise!) - What would be any advantage of adding plants to this aquarium NOW? I had some in there for about 2 days before deciding I wanted lots of bubbles over plants. I think they introduced the intiial brown gunk.

Thanks for reading all my blah blah blah.


Anne
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Old 10-17-2003, 08:18 PM   #2
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Sorry to hear your plants caused you such problems!!

For the short term, I've heard that activated carbon can clear green water. Cleaning the algae off the tank walls and the decor will also help.

For the long term, appropriate feeding and water changes to keep the nitrate levels down will help prevent algae blooms. Planting your tank will also help to keep nitrate and phosphate levels down, but it would have to be fairly heavily planted with some fast growing plants to really help. You can't completely prevent algae, but you can slow it down enough so that your oto and snails can take care of it.

Be careful with killing the algae by turning off the lights. That much dead organic matter can foul the water pretty quickly which will be harmful or fatal to your fish. It might be more prudent to limit lighting rather than cut it off completely, but keep up with testing the ammonia and nitrite levels regardless, just in case you get a spike from the dead algae. You probably won't get one, but there is the possibility.

I wouldn't move your fish into a new tank until after it's cycled. They'll be fine with the algae, while a cycling tank could be harmful.

I hope this helps!!
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Old 10-17-2003, 08:30 PM   #3
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A diatomic filter will clear up algae blooms. read up!

http://www.aquariumadvice.com/viewtopic.php?t=3250

Also, how often are you gravel-vaccuming? your nitrates seem awfully high...most people around here do a water change when their nitrates hit 20ppm or so.
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Old 10-17-2003, 09:06 PM   #4
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Hey. Thanks for the posts so far. Before I read your post I through two stems of Elodea (Anarchis). But you say if I am going to do that that I should put in a lot? I can go to the pet store and get more, certainly. In my other tank I found Elodea to grow the fastest. What do other people feel is a hardly plant to compete with algae?

Also, I don't have a canister filter to use Diatom Powder. Is there a way that could work with one of those cheap filter things? Let me know.

Thanks again.

Anne
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Old 10-18-2003, 08:59 AM   #5
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Anacharis, Green Hygro, Millfoil, Hornwort, Rotala indica... Plenty more these just come to mind.

Unfortunately, you cannot use diatom powder with another type filter.

since thats not an option, maybe 5-day blackout. I've done this twice before learing of diatom filtration.

50% water change, to get rid of much of the algae,
cover tank with blanket or black plastic. The goal is to let in ZERO light.
wait 5 days. All adult fish can go that long in the dark with no food. Trust me.
NO PEEKING!!! Seriously, you must keep all light out.

After 5 days, this most likely will work, but no guarantee.
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Old 10-18-2003, 03:08 PM   #6
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I know someone said something about that much dead organic matter. What about it? Do you think that will be a problem?
Also, I shouldnt put plants in there if I am about to turn the lights off for 5 days, right? That seems kinda weird to do.

Should I just go ahead and take all my baby fish out? I'm concerned about those little buggers.
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Old 10-18-2003, 04:10 PM   #7
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I know someone said something about that much dead organic matter. What about it? Do you think that will be a problem?
Thats why you do 50% water change right be fore the blackout.
Quote:
Also, I shouldnt put plants in there if I am about to turn the lights off for 5 days, right? That seems kinda weird to do.
No new plants during blackout, no. Leave existing plants in there. 5 days will NOT kill them.
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Should I just go ahead and take all my baby fish out? I'm concerned about those little buggers.
Yes, remove fry/baby fish. I don't know if they can go 5 days in the dark with no food.
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Old 10-18-2003, 05:11 PM   #8
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Hi,

Not sure if this helps at all but heres what I did.

I went away to uni and left my fish tank with my folks. Whenever I came back I'd always have to clean the glass with a sponge because the algae was so bad, but it would always grow back.

When I finished uni the tank was that bad I couldn't see my fish - though they appeared to be quite happy. I got really annoyed one day and decided to dismantle my tank to get rid of the algae. I transferred my fish to a bucket with an air pump attached, emptied the tank water, took the tank out to the garden and gave it a good wash. I used fairy liquid and a sponge on the glass then rinsed it well. I ran the hose over the gravel and put it back in the tank, rinsed the ornaments and plants and put those back in, filled up the tank, added some cycle bacteria stuff and put the fish back in. A couple of weeks later I went to the LFS and bought a Plecostomus and I've not had a problem since.

Ok so I get the odd bit of brown algae on the glass but my Plecostomus usually finds it within a few days. But no green algae so far.

I'm sure most would say this was a bad idea because of the potential bacteria population problems but at the time I was so annoyed I'd have done anything to see my fish again.

Hope this helps and good luck .

Liz
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Old 10-18-2003, 05:15 PM   #9
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P.s don't bother with any of the liquid meds you can buy at LFSs to get rid of algae in tanks - its a waste of money in my opinion.
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Old 10-18-2003, 11:07 PM   #10
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Quote:
Before I read your post I through two stems of Elodea (Anarchis). But you say if I am going to do that that I should put in a lot? I can go to the pet store and get more, certainly. In my other tank I found Elodea to grow the fastest. What do other people feel is a hardly plant to compete with algae?
The more the better, but it's more of an art than a science. A few plants will help, alot of plants will help alot. Regular water changes help alot.

Basically, it was the 70ppm nitrate level that caused your algae bloom. Plants can help slow the build-up of nitrates, but the best thing to do to prevent another bloom is to adjust your water change schedule to keep your nitrate levels below at least 40ppm. Adding plants will be a factor in that schedule, along with # and nature of fish, the nature of your tap water, feeding regimen, etc.

Plants will help with the phosophates too. And water changes can only help the phosophate levels also. At worst they'll remain constant, at best it will still dilute any phosophates that have built up in the tank from other sources. My water has 20 ppm nitrates, but I still have to use it to dilute the nitrate levels that have built up in my tank.

Corvuscorax' suggestion, of course, sounds great. But one thing to consider is that the green water is a natural fry food. People grow it in jars, call it infusoria, and feed it to the fry. So long as you get the nitrate levels down, your fry should love it in there. It could be a good grow out tank for them since you're already cycling another "show tank". I have little experience with breeding fry though, I'm raising my first batch now, just an idea.

Good Luck!
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