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Old 08-24-2007, 07:38 AM   #1
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Green water in established tank - again!

I've had green water now for the third time this summer in my heavily planted, well-established tank. 3-day blackout gets rid of it, but it comes back in 2-3 weeks. Any ideas? I probably have excess organics due to overpopulation and should reduce the fish count a bit.

Here's the setup:

29 gallon. 2 x T-5 double bulbs (4 x 18 watts - medium light)
lights on about 10 hrs/day
CO2 injection DIY yeast method, CO2 ranges from 8 to 18 usually
Many happy plants
weekly 25% water change/gravel vac/plant pruning, 1/2 cap Flourish
PH range 6.7-7.1, KH 45-70, No2 is 0, Phosphate about 1

Fish:
pleco; 2 cory cats; 1 Kuhli loach
4 big snails (1.5 inch)
3 small ottos
1 Chinese algae eater, 1 Siamese, both big now
1 betta
2 silver tetras, 4 neon tetras
2 platys
2 glass cats

I'd appreciate any ideas. Before first blackout, I tried various treatments, although I have not tried "Algone".
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Old 08-24-2007, 10:25 AM   #2
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I'll post my thoughts until more experienced folks come along.

I don't do CO2, but I know those who do aim for a minimum of 30ppm.
At your light level, I would think you would need pretty much the full fertilizer routine (try looking up Estimative Index in the articles for planted tanks here). I don't know if either of these would be responsible for green water.

Is the pleco a common? If so, it gets way big.

Oh, and I thought I had high KH. 45 is the highest I've heard!
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Old 08-24-2007, 11:27 AM   #3
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I would cut back your lighting by 1-2 hours, would do 50% PWC's per week, and would add another bottle to your DIY CO2.
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Old 08-24-2007, 12:16 PM   #4
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Trust me from someone that has had Green Water a number of times on both city and well water the only thing that fixes it is a UV Sterilizer.

Do a search on the forums and you will find the same conclusion.
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Old 08-24-2007, 12:53 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sayuncle
Trust me from someone that has had Green Water a number of times on both city and well water the only thing that fixes it is a UV Sterilizer.

Do a search on the forums and you will find the same conclusion.
GW is caused by free ammonia and light. There is no special formula for it. You need to either reduce the lighting, reduce the bioload, or suppliment with a constant higher level of CO2 and ferts (to allow for the plants to use the ammonia). UV sterilizers and diatom filters are not required. They make removing GW easy but do nothing to prevent the underlying cause.
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Old 08-24-2007, 01:09 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 7Enigma
Quote:
Originally Posted by sayuncle
Trust me from someone that has had Green Water a number of times on both city and well water the only thing that fixes it is a UV Sterilizer.

Do a search on the forums and you will find the same conclusion.
GW is caused by free ammonia and light. There is no special formula for it. You need to either reduce the lighting, reduce the bioload, or suppliment with a constant higher level of CO2 and ferts (to allow for the plants to use the ammonia). UV sterilizers and diatom filters are not required. They make removing GW easy but do nothing to prevent the underlying cause.
You do not have any exp. with green water, your comments state that!...
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Old 08-24-2007, 01:16 PM   #7
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I have had it. Water changes, good fert regimen, steady, 30ppm levels of CO2 and regular water changes and filter maintenance will cure the problem. I got my tank over it several times that way. Takes a little time and patience but it does work and it cures the problem as well.
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Old 08-24-2007, 01:49 PM   #8
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I have had it. Water changes, good fert regimen, steady, 30ppm levels of CO2 and regular water changes and filter maintenance will cure the problem. I got my tank over it several times that way. Takes a little time and patience but it does work and it cures the problem as well.
It kept coming back...? I have worked on many tanks with green water that had your regimen in place...very advanced keepers and they turned to UV for help in solving it...
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Old 08-24-2007, 02:10 PM   #9
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It has not returned. Once you have balance it will stay away. Just be sure to change water after anykind of replanting. Releasing all that gunk in the substrate without changing water is a great way to enduce GW.

I agrree UV will kill it I just dont think it is a necessity. I would rather get a diatom, comes in handy at other times for a good water polishong before a photo session etc.
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Old 08-24-2007, 02:24 PM   #10
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I agree with Rich on this one. While UV will work, it is not a necessity if the tank is kept balanced. I learned that because I wasn't willing to shell out for a UV at first, and I haven't had to get one since I got things balanced.
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Old 08-24-2007, 04:48 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sayuncle
Quote:
Originally Posted by 7Enigma
Quote:
Originally Posted by sayuncle
Trust me from someone that has had Green Water a number of times on both city and well water the only thing that fixes it is a UV Sterilizer.

Do a search on the forums and you will find the same conclusion.
GW is caused by free ammonia and light. There is no special formula for it. You need to either reduce the lighting, reduce the bioload, or suppliment with a constant higher level of CO2 and ferts (to allow for the plants to use the ammonia). UV sterilizers and diatom filters are not required. They make removing GW easy but do nothing to prevent the underlying cause.
You do not have any exp. with green water, your comments state that!...
You may want to search through his posts, because I know he has had many problems with green water in the past. Including droping his Diatom filter and breaking it.

Most people who run planted tanks with higher levels of light run into GW some time or another.

I have had it before on my high tech tank and it has never came back after fixing the problem that caused it. (NH3)

Like 7Enigma and Rich have pointed out, getting the plants to consume the NH3 is your first defense in solving the issue. If it is a non-planted tank, then getting the bacteria up to speed would be the next step.

I have a Diatom filter to clean up the green water, but have only used it once. I do not and will not run a UV light.

(BTW, please do not attack peoples opinons/posts. We are all here to help one another.)
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Old 08-24-2007, 06:05 PM   #12
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Thank you rkilling1. My comments made no mention of my previous GW bouts, that was YOUR assumption sayuncle. As stated I have battled GW on several occasions. Once when I first started my planted tank and had no set fert schedule (I was using my test kits as opposed to EI dosing), and again when I came home from a week vacation to find a dead fish rotting (releasing large amounts of ammonia into the water).

I am a HUGE proponent of diatom filters for those times (and for deep substrate cleaning to keep your tank from building up a lot of gunk). They allow you to quickly remove the GW from the tank, but you need to FIX the underlying cause. In the former it was caused by me not dosing phosphate even though my test kit said I had ample amounts, in the latter it was the excess ammonia from the dead fish. In both cases the diatom was used as a quick method to get me back to a pristine tank, but changes HAD to be made to keep the GW away.

A UV sterilizer (in the context of GW) is a band-aid method that will end with other more serious problems (BBA, BGA, staghorn, etc.). GW is my favorite algae to get. It is easily fixed, doesn't damage plants or decorations, and the fish seem to like the murky-colored water. I wish I could have that instead of my occasional staghorn and hair algae.
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Old 08-24-2007, 07:00 PM   #13
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From the originator again:

Thanks for the useful suggestions. I think I will evict some fish, cut light back a bit, up the plant ferts, and deepen the water changes (and I tried most of these the first time around...). I may increase CO2 a bit but I find that much above 20 (interpreted according to PH and KH, perhaps inaccurately) the plants grow crazy fast.

As to fertilizers, do you recommend something other than 1/2 cap Flourish per week? Again, I have a 29 gallon jungle.
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20 gal. planted 40 Watt
6 neons
1 glass cat needs friends
2 rainbow tetras
2 guppies
1 redfin shark
1 betta
2 cory cats
1 pleco
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Old 08-24-2007, 07:48 PM   #14
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If you use liquid fertilizers, you should be able to dose down in small increments. Get a syringe from drsfostersmith.com and you can dose out more easily.
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Old 08-24-2007, 11:07 PM   #15
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That is a lot of light to have over that 29 gallon without having your CO2 at the proper level. ie 30 PPM.

It you don't want you plants to grow 'crazy fast', maybe you should look into lowering that light. (Using some calculations due to using a more efficent bulb and amount, I come out at 3.4 WPG over your tank. Ie high light)

If you don't plan on increasing your CO2, then you need to remove one of the bulbs or purchase two 50/50 bulbs and run those.

If your plants grow 'crazy fast', then you wouldn't have a problem with green water. Plants prefer NH3 over NO3 and therefore would remove it as it is created.
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Old 08-24-2007, 11:25 PM   #16
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I've run into green water in three of my four aqariums. In all cases I've found that the best long term cure is patience. In every case the GW showed up in a fairly new aquarium where I didn't have the dosing routine fine tuned yet and the plants were still getting established. By concentrating on providing good care for my aquariums (balancing nutrients, regular water changes, etc) the majority of the plants survived unharmed (Ludwigia brevipes was one of the few casulties) and often were much healthier and bushier than before the GW appeared. This method is not for the faint of heart, because it usually takes 1-2 months for the GW to finally disappear. However it's never reappeared in any of my aquariums after I finally eliminated it.
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Old 08-25-2007, 08:02 AM   #17
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My understanding is that green water in a new setup is a different phenomenon. This is a mature setup, and green water showed up after many months of stability.
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20 gal. planted 40 Watt
6 neons
1 glass cat needs friends
2 rainbow tetras
2 guppies
1 redfin shark
1 betta
2 cory cats
1 pleco
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Old 08-25-2007, 11:19 AM   #18
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While it's much easier to get GW in an new aquarium, it's the same algae reguardless. The treatments are the same. In an established aquarium the cause is probably either that something got out of balance (fert dosing off, trimmed too many plants at once, etc) or an inhabitant died unnoticed causing an ammonia spike. Get everything back in balance and keep it that way and the GW will go away.
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