Blue Green algae (bacteria) - Page 3 - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #21 of 32 Old 02-08-2013, 03:31 PM Thread Starter
the only thing i can think of is to stop doing water changes everyday. and do it once a week. plant it heavy use the seachem de nitrate in my filter to sort of starve it. or at best control it so it wont take over everything. other then that i have no idea as far as cost wise for me at least for other options.
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post #22 of 32 Old 02-08-2013, 06:38 PM
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Originally Posted by JDM View Post
Where have you ever read this? One possible cause is increased nitrates.... certainly not lack of nitrates.

everywhere, lol. and dosing KNO3 is recommended as a BGA solution...
If I haven't encountered the same discussions before I would certainly agree with you, as it does seem to make more sense that nitrate should only feed the BGA not destroy it...but I've read many many arguments on BGA and what causes it, and it seems to be the contrary.
;) I don't really state anything out of the blue or because I've got nothing better to do. lol
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post #23 of 32 Old 02-08-2013, 08:55 PM Thread Starter
Well Aokashi, I understand cause i had been doing reading on it as well. But i have come to this conclusion after gathering everything from different places. and I don't think the nitrate really have an affect on it. Yes it does use it. i have no doubt. but i think like a virus it has different strands. And some like low nitrates while others like high nitrates. Also What i learned is that It does not like water movement. But will do fine in certain water movement as it tends to cling to what it is on. so it kinda grabs hold and starts building its colony. also it is toxic to fish and humans (depending On strand depends on how toxic) also from what i read antibiotics can cure it. but if it comes back it will be immune to the treatment. along with the fish, they could also be immune if ever needed to be treated. Also I have read where it grows In rich oxygenated ponds. Tho in aquariums Not so much. But still It seems that their isn't just one all type. but several different strands of it. and depending on how it grows and it's environment depends on the type. But all the different ways and environments that it grows, It all dies by the same treatments.

So my guess Is that BGA Can grow In any tank at anytime all it needs is a source. this is my conclusion and my own opinion based on research. But I am going to do water changes and continue to keep it off my plants, along with changing the flow of my spray bar (already did). and keep planting my tank until Maybe the plants will snuff the BGA out of the tank. That is my strategy at the moment. if that does not work with in a few weeks. i will do a black out. and if that does not work i will break down the tank Clean everything And redo it. But that is the last option, and is only as a drastic measure. I will not use Any type of med's For If it does come back and is immune I wont be able to do it again. And I only want to do that if my fish are ill and that is all.
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post #24 of 32 Old 02-08-2013, 09:06 PM
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hmm... I stated that it could be one of the causes, not that it IS. lol.

For plants I honestly believe that h2o2 is a good treatment. I've treated my own 1 gallon with h2o2 before alongside metricide, with increased flow and have had good success. (mind you this stuff was in my substrate), as I almost thought it was impossibleto dig out... H2O2 is hardly a dangerous substance if used in small quantities (I had rcs in the same tank...). People will tell you toturn off the filter when dosing H2O2. It's actually the opposite, the filtration will disperse the dosage and prevent toxic concentrations of it gathering in one place.

I think the important things is to not try and kill bga in a day. dose a little bit of h2O2 a day (1ml/ gallon) everyday and you should start to see a decrease in BGA. mind you that H2O2 reacts with light, so treat in the morning when the light comes on.

If you are worried about H2O2 hurting the plants, I cant tell you that my stargrass (the plant that really hates to be touched), susswassertang and moss survived the treatment un fazed. If you have excel, I would use it at normal dosage to give a little more impact to the treatment.

Last edited by ao; 02-08-2013 at 09:08 PM.
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post #25 of 32 Old 02-08-2013, 09:13 PM Thread Starter
Yeah but I'm not much on using chemicals. Besides my fish have been through enough i don't want to add any other problems with them. even tho i heard it is safe to do it. I rather try it this way first. and see where it goes.

And i wasn't trying to say you were wrong or anything. i just figured i state my 2 cents after what i have learned.

But i do want to stay away from chemicals unless I have no other option left.
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post #26 of 32 Old 02-08-2013, 09:24 PM
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hmm, antibiotics are also chemicals and can kill off some good bacteria in the tank too. H2O2 also breaks down to water and oxygen....but whatever floats your boat I guess. I'm just telling you what worked best for me :) speaking of chemicals excel is also a chemical many many people with planted tanks use. the ingredients is similar to that of a chemical used as a cleaning product :) it's a little hard to say what isn't a chemical these days.... there are simply ones that are much more harmful than others. ie. copper.

if the bga is toxic(another chemical i guess?) exposing ur fish to it for extended periods of time will bring more harm to the fish. wont it be better to use a much much less harmful chemical to kill the one that will poison the tank?

Oh, and did you know that spirulina is a type of cyano bacteria? ;)

edit: coming back to that nitrite spike, when you cleaned the tank, did you take the filter out at all? I also recommend some healthy floating plants to buffer whatever impact getting rid of the bga will have on your tank...

edit edit: what's your water temperature?

Last edited by ao; 02-08-2013 at 09:37 PM.
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post #27 of 32 Old 02-08-2013, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by FuelingFire View Post
But i do want to stay away from chemicals unless I have no other option left.
Hear, hear!

Although you could plop the fish into the 12 gallon for the H2O2 (peroxide) treatment.... it does kill the stuff quickly from what I understand. It's not like that is an antibiotic at least. You would need more details on how long it might take so you know how long you might have to wait before putting fish back in.

Either way, you'll need to remove the nitrates from the fresh water for the change.


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 #28 of 32 Old 02-08-2013, 09:52 PM Thread Starter
Yeah But really why use a chemical to combat something with out trying other ways first. sure it might take longer. but why expose the fish to something if you don't have to. it be like giving your dog a drop of antifreeze, and seeing if it affects him. sure a little might not hurt. but after a while it still will take it's toll. I just ain't like that. I treat my dog better then myself. So I want to at least do my best to treat my fish The same, as best as i can. IMHO. but everyone has there own ways of doing things. and if it works great. I learn from other. and apply what i learn and then figure out if i want to take that chance myself. Honestly I don't trust chemicals due to I don't trust myself in giving the right amount afraid i might mess something up. but that is because I know I might screw something up and kill my fish. . even if they are safe. I just Don't trust it. I think using chemicals is good for certain people, i am not saying i might not have to one day. but I want to be experience enough to feel comfortable knowing the affects. I am still new. and Don't feel comfortable or even trust it enough. But I respect you and others who do use them i just can't not until I explore and learn more and feel comfortable.

But every liquid is a potential chemical, Even water. Water is used to make battery acid. (didn't know that until i was researching PH levels)
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post #29 of 32 Old 02-08-2013, 10:35 PM
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I'll give you a few other options then. if you think it's nitrates, i would invest in duckweed or even better a water hyacinth, these are great nitrate sinks. they also float on the water, so unlikely to be smothered by BGA. duck weed does not like water agitation so maybe you can round it up with something that floats ( a styrofoam the width of your tank works great.

continues to create flow around your tank, if need be, employ the use of a air pump and aistone to get to all areas of the tank....

and finally, see if you can lower temperature. plants, as a general rule of thumb does much better in the lower 70Fs. Theoretically if you optimize the condition for plants, you give the tank a fighting chance at re-establishing equilibrium in favour of the plants. Bacteria also multiplies faster at a higher temp, ao by lowering temperature, you can give the plants an advantage.
I can completely understand being new to the hobby and being unsure of chemicals. I myself never medicated a tank before with actual medication, be it velvet or ich... usually I'll adjust temperature... or employ the use of natural remedies like IAL.
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post #30 of 32 Old 02-09-2013, 11:04 AM
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This thread is bouncing around a bit, dealing with two distinct issues (cyano and nitrates). On the cyanobacteria, this is caused by organics, always and only. Other things like water flow, light, nitrates, etc may be factors, but without organics there will be no cyano. So any treatment should target the organics. If this is not done, the cyano will return after any of the so-called treatments like blackouts, antibiotics, etc. You have to eliminate the source, not mask it.

And some of these other treatments may carry detrimental issues of their own. Using antibiotics for cyano is a last resort, and only in a tank with no fish and no plants. Antibiotics kill bacteria (otherwise they would not be effective against cyanobacteria), often harm plants [I had Pygmy chain sword decimated when I had to treat a fish disease with antibiotics], and will affect fish. Fish, like humans, should never be exposed to antibiotics without good reason, meaning a cure for some specific bacterial disease.

Raising nitrates to deal with this is unwise, since nitrates do harm fish. They are toxic as is ammonia and nitrite, albeit with less rapid effect. And the fact that the nitrates are high here already suggests to me that they are not preventing the cyanobacteria. To clarify an earlier comment someone made, when I linked the high nitrates with the cyano, it was because of the organics factor. Organics are the root cause of cyano, and elevated nitrates often go hand-in-hand with higher organics. Nitrates in well water for instance is connected to agricultural runoff.

Persistent cleaning is the best way to deal with cyano. It is not in and of itself harmful to fish, so taking the time to effectively deal with it is advisable. Weekly water changes with a thorough substrate vacuuming (getting down into the substrate where you can) will achieve this over a matter of weeks. Provided you also do not encourage organics at the same time, by over-crowding, over-feeding, etc.

Brief comment on the nitrates. When present in the source water at the levels mentioned here, they need to be dealt with before they get into the tank, and once in the tank. Nitrates above 20ppm are harmful to most all fish. A level of 10ppm or lower is preferable. I'll leave further comment for that thread.


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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