Blue Green algae (bacteria) - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 32 Old 02-03-2013, 11:47 AM Thread Starter
Blue Green algae (bacteria)

ok I think i have Blue green algae, And I have been reserching ways to get rid of it. because it is taking over and killing my plants. I am not sure if my tap water is cause the problem or exactly what is.

I have read that some people have treated with peroxide, I do not want to be one of those people.

I also heard of doing a 3-5 day blackout. and then a water change after wards.

And i have heard of using the drug Erythromycin. My question is what is the best method and how can i figure out what is cause the problem.

I need all the help i can get..

here are some pictures of it.
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post #2 of 32 Old 02-03-2013, 07:27 PM
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Yes, that is cyanobacteria. This is actually a bacteria, not a true algae, but most of us lump it in with algae though cause and treatment are a bit different.

Organics cause cyano, in the presence of light. Regular partial water changes including a good vacuum of the substrate should help control organics; also not overfeeding and not overstocking the tank.

Temporary "fixes" like blackouts and removing the sheets of slimy cyano will almost always not be successful in eliminating it, as it will return if the organics are not brought down under control. Treatment with antibiotics while usually successful (it is after all a bacteria) is not recommended; first, these usually kill good bacteria, and some plants, second, fish should not be exposed to antibiotics without very good reason (to cure the fish), third it will return if the tank is not rid of excess organics.

I have had this outbreak a couple times in one particular tank, and I got it under control by vacuuming the substrate well at the weekly water change when I also changed half or more of the water. It took several weeks, but finally it disappeared. It is interesting how it has only ever shown up in one or two specific tanks, never in the others. I haven't had it anywhere now for over a year.

In this case here, I would do a thorough cleaning; remove it with your fingers from plant leaves, wood, rock, decor as best you can just prior to the water change. It will sink to the substrate. Then during the water change, vacuum every inch of the substrate well, picking all of it up. Be minimal in feeding the fish. I reduced my twice weekly liquid plant fert to only once for the weeks needed until this was gone. Some may still reform, so next week do the same thorough cleaning.

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #3 of 32 Old 02-04-2013, 10:18 AM Thread Starter
Yeah for some unknown reason It isn't growing on the substrate after reading about it and all but I have reduced my feeding and I also read that it doesn't like water current. so i reversed my spray bar from hitting the glass to running through the tank. and have been doing water changes every 5 days. and cleaning the plants before the water changes. it hard to vaccum the substrate in area's with the plants. But i will do a thorough cleaning. thanks Byron.
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post #4 of 32 Old 02-04-2013, 04:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FuelingFire View Post
Yeah for some unknown reason It isn't growing on the substrate after reading about it and all but I have reduced my feeding and I also read that it doesn't like water current. so i reversed my spray bar from hitting the glass to running through the tank. and have been doing water changes every 5 days. and cleaning the plants before the water changes. it hard to vaccum the substrate in area's with the plants. But i will do a thorough cleaning. thanks Byron.
There is a really small narrow vac that I picked up, it has a narrow tube too though, but it gets between tight spaces... I don't recall the manufacturer but it was cheap. Its all I use even though it is a awfully slow siphon.

Jeff.


Total years fish keeping experience: 7 months, can't start counting in years for a while yet.

The shotgun approach to a planted tank with an LED fixture

Small scale nitrogen cycle with a jar, water and fish food; no substrate, filter etc
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post #5 of 32 Old 02-04-2013, 05:40 PM Thread Starter
Yeah I got the big one. But i might get a small one as well. It looks alot better in the tank now. just got to work on the substrate. the big nozzle i got wont get to ever spot. and even sucks up the plants a little bit.
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post #6 of 32 Old 02-08-2013, 11:42 AM Thread Starter
OK after cleaning the BGA out of the tank the best i could, I had a nitrite spike. It has passed and is back to normal. But Now my BGA Is coming back faster then i can keep up with it. It like this stuff is growing over night. I been doing water changes everyday Mostly large water changes. I do not know what is cause it to keep coming back. I have a feeling that it came from a plant when i bought it. But This stuff is really nerve racking.

I have thought about changing my substrate to a darker color sand. and i think that if i did that i can put my plants into a tub and do a black out on them. and kinda clean the tank per-say. But if i did that i have to restart the cycle process. Tho i would add a more plants and am still adding plants.

I am really at a dilemma. I really don't mind algae in a tank. not even this stuff as long as it is in check. But when it is taking over everything. and it gets to a point where it isn't healthy to my plants. then I have a problem.

I just can't seem to think of what could be causing it.
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post #7 of 32 Old 02-08-2013, 11:50 AM
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Just so everything is here in the thread for others to see too...

Organics is the cause of cyanobacteria. It can take weeks to clean this up, but there is no fast way. Just regular thorough substrate cleaning, weekly water changes, and physically removing as much as possible at each. Reduce the light may help; if the light is too intense or on too long this will aid the cyano. The "blackout" method works for this reason [no light] but without resolving the organics it will only come back.

Reducing but not eliminating plant fertilization may help; plants need nutrients, and if they are growing they will work to help eliminate cyano. But excess nutrients is organic, so in my case I reduced from twice to once weekly.

Antibiotics are not advisable. They kill bacteria. They can kill plants--and aside from losing the plants, the plants are an aid to cleaning up the organics so it is a double issue. And fish should never be exposed to antibiotics unless the antibiotic is essential for a fish-related issue.

I have 7 tanks running, and all are pretty much the same with respect to fish load, light, plants, fertilizing, fish feeding. All but one have a sand substrate. Why cyano appeared in only one tank, and for 3-4 months, is beyond me. But the conditions in that one tank were obviously right.

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #8 of 32 Old 02-08-2013, 12:00 PM
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There are a few solutions to BGA....
one is increased flow to the affected areas.
two is dosing nitrates....
three is h2o2... it really isn't that bad if you spot dose it.. I often put a bit in my tank to leep algae low...keep the filter running. if the BGA is on the surface i would spray it with h2o2 mixed with water.
four is excel... may or may not work... but worth a try?
and since it is a bacteria you can certainly try antibiotic stuff >.>if you clean it manually make sure to do a large water change especially around te area you cleaned... to prevent the bga from floating around the water column and spreading.
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post #9 of 32 Old 02-08-2013, 01:26 PM Thread Starter
Well I think i may have found the cause of my BGA. Thanks to the help of Byron. I noticed that my tap water is High on Nitrate. my tank stays around 10-20 ppm on nitrates. but my tap water is pushing 40 ppm on nitrate. Now i need to figure out a solution to lower my Nitrate in my tap water. I use prime as a conditioner but it only detoxifies it for 48 hours at most. I do have live plants. and if you look in my profile you will see my tank set up. any suggestions. I will probably start a new thread. But i like to get an idea in this one beings it kinda goes hand and hand?
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post #10 of 32 Old 02-08-2013, 02:07 PM
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That makes it tough to stay ahead of if you are changing your water often.

There was a thread a short time ago where a tap mounted nitrate remover was used and there are filter pads that can be used to absorb nitrates. They can be recharged with saltwater or something.

Jeff.


Total years fish keeping experience: 7 months, can't start counting in years for a while yet.

The shotgun approach to a planted tank with an LED fixture

Small scale nitrogen cycle with a jar, water and fish food; no substrate, filter etc
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