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Old 02-12-2023, 04:35 PM   #1
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Green Aquarium Water

Hi again everyone,

I'm here with a very silly issue that is very common so I do apologize for the basic questions.

I have a 20gal tall planted aquarium and it is so green I can't see through it. It has been like this for a little more than a month I believe but it may be more than that.
I know for certain it is an algae bloom, as I've experienced this before and it looks super familiar.
I have been able to get rid of it in the past but I used chemical solutions and I really do want to try and avoid those if possible.

I use Aquarium Co-op's "Easy Green" All-in one fertilizer and gave around four pumps per week. I have been using it forever and it hasn't been causing me any problems (yet).

Could it being outdated be an issue? I dont have this issue in my other aquariums and I use the exact same fertilizer.

Maintenace and caring for my plants has been difficult as I need to empty out the tank halfway to even see from the top.

At first I thought I was overdosing on fertilizer, as I had probably been adding too much of it because my aquarium had high light and I wanted to be sure my plants wouldn't die due to lack of nutrients.

This seems like the obvious issue but I've been doing that for over a year and this has not brought up any problems, although it is fully possible that it is one now.

My aquariums had 10 hours of light a day and they're on a timer. Then I reduced it to 9 a few weeks ago and I just put it to 8 today and would love to not have to go under that but will if it is the solution.

My first course of action was to take the lights off for 3 days or so, and it did very little. For reference my aquariums are in a very dark room that never has natural light coming through except once a week when I do water changes and I need to see better. I highly doubt that is the issue however as I never do it with direct light and its only for max 2hrs.

I have done countless consistent water changes and it is a perfect fix if i want it gone for guests, but it sprouts back in two days.

My aquariums thus far have 0 animals in them. No shrimp, no snails, no fish, just plants and gravel.

With that in mind I didn't worry much as algae blooms don't really hurt plants as far as I know.

Then, I got motivated again because it was just ugly. I have an amazon sword growing in the back and I can't even see it. So, I got a bit impulsive and stopped fertilizing it altogether for about a week and a half. The water definitely slowly got clearer, but then my scarlet temples melted and died in the last two days. They were relatively new to the tank (maybe three weeks old) and had literally just started growing new leaves before melting.

I was sad of course and I also noticed slower growth in my other plants as well; my tiger lotus grew a new leaf, but it was a little yellower than the rest of the leaves. My previously fast-growing banana plant has yet to grow any more leaves and it's been a week since I removed the fertilizer. (Might write more on that later)

Now I potentially have a bigger issue.

Have I bombarded my plants with too much fertilizer? Are they so used to an excess of nutrients that they rely on it too much? In that case what should I do? Is that even possible for aquarium plants? I would love to be able to diagnose them better, but I can't see anything. I thought previously that my plants were growing at a normal rate, and the leaves weren't unusually big either.

Back when I first added my plants the aquarium gravel was new, and my dosage of fertilizer was the same. If anything, I was anticipating algae bloom back then, but it has been months since then and only now am I having issues. What puzzles me is what happened. I haven't changed a single parameter since the beginning, and the plants have gotten so much bigger since then that I figured they'd suck up all the excess nutrients.
If I knew the source I wouldn't be here but I know there's always something I'm missing.

I plan to slowly decrease the amount of fertilizer I'm adding in case that is the issue. Maybe I just did the wrong things at the wrong time? I am fully willing to redo anything I did listed above again if that is the solution and I simply didn't do it right.

Anyways this isn't a pressing matter but I also would love for my aquarium to be visible sometime soon.

Thank you to anyone who can help, let me know if you have any question

Note: For Images below, the visibility on camera is a LOT better than irl for some reason.
(The thing at the top is a banana plant leaf)
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Old 02-12-2023, 07:01 PM   #2
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Hello. A UV filter would be the quickest fix. The light will zap away the algae.

Iím curious to know of your tap water contains ammonia.

Small pale new leaves on plants is due to iron deficiency usually. Iron is an immobile nutrient which means the plant cannot move it to knew leaves like magnesium and nitrogen which are both mobile. In these deficiencies the yellow leaves appear in the older leaves as the plant has moved them to the new.

Iron is a problem even if you dose lots of fertiliser because it is highly reactive with other elements such as phosphate. Once these elements combine them become insoluble and fall out of solution. They are then rendered useless to the plants. Unfortunately, the more you dose the worse the problem gets.

The other issue with Iron is the chelate that has been used in the fertiliser. A chelate holds in to the iron so that it stays in solution and the plants can take in the iron. The issue is that some chelates are weaker than others depending on the pH. So if easy green uses a particular chelate that is not optimal for your pH, the chelate breaks down faster and leaves the iron free to react with phosphate. The more phosphate in the fertiliser the more iron will precipitate out of solution.

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The third problem with iron (and most other micro-elements) is that they naturally become more available at low pH. This is why I like to run tanks with low buffering capacity and dose the nutrients directly to the substrate. It keeps them out of the water column where they can react and makes them more available.

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Back to the algae. It is believed that high light + ammonia triggers this. Iíve no evidence to say it does or doesnít but it does make sense to me. Since there are no fish or shrimp you could continue to cease with water changes if you noted an improvement doing so try to allow some stability so that the tank can correct itself. Alternatively buy a cheap filter with UV light built in. It will clear it up in hours. Then you can take it out and see if you can find the trigger.
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Old 02-12-2023, 07:13 PM   #3
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Green Aquarium Water

Actually. Kudos to Aquarium coop. I went to look on their website to see which chelate they use and they do acknowledge many of the issues with iron. They also say their easy iron contains a blend of iron with three different chelates. EDTA, DPTA and gluconate so that should cover most issues. Gluconate is especially weak but is taken up quite rapidly by plants.

I think Seachem iron is gluconate.

I used to use a company called Easylife for my ferts. Easylife Ferro (iron) Iím certain was iron sulphate. This reacted almost immediately with the phosphate in my water and would look like milk.

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Old 02-12-2023, 07:53 PM   #4
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Green water is caused by an excess of light and or nutrients, and not enough live plants to use the light and or nutrients.

Your tank does not appear to have many plants in it and most look like Cryptocorynes, which are slow growing. If you are adding fertiliser 3-4 times a week, you are probably overdosing the fertiliser and algae is the response.

Ideally you want to monitor iron levels in the water and keep the level around 1ppm. You should also do a huge (75-80%) water change before adding more fertiliser. This helps dilute any remaining fertiliser in the tank and reduces the risk of you overdosing the tank and killing the fish (when you get some fish).
Make sure any new water is free of chlorine/ chloramine before it's added to the tank.

Your tank probably only needs to be fertilised once a week.

Floating plants will reduce the light and nutrients and can be used if you like. Water Sprite is a good floating plant for this purpose.

Reduce fertiliser and do big water changes.
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Old 03-02-2023, 02:42 PM   #5
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Thank you!

Thank you to all of you who have replied!!
You all have helped me greatly in understanding the issue at hand and how to solve it!

In terms of the iron issue, I have bought root tabs and aquarium coop's easy iron, I'll keep you all posted on the results!

In response to the green water, thank you! I will definitely lower the dosage! For water sprite I used to have baby ones floating, but they just ended up very slowly dying at the top of the tank, there is a very slight current at the top of the aquarium, is that why they didn't grow?
As well as that I have two small water sprites growing in the gravel of that tank and they have been very slow to grow whereas I have other water sprites in another tank, and they are growing super fast, wouldn't they be doing better with more nutrients since they're "nutrient suckers?"
I will buy one because I have an empty spot in another tank and will let you know how it ends up!

Thanks again for all the help! Apologies for the late reply, I had a familial emergency and had to leave my computer behind.
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Old 03-02-2023, 05:43 PM   #6
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A slight current in the tank should not affect floating plants like Water Sprite.

If you have Water Sprite doing well in other tank but not this tank, there might be a water chemistry difference (pH, GH, KH) or something in the tank that is affecting the plant. It could be the substrate, ornaments, rocks, etc.

One of the things about Water Sprite is it grows under most conditions. If it's struggling in a tank where it gets light and fertiliser, there is something wrong with the tank.
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