Originally Posted by fish_4_all
Now all of this assumes 2 things, one is a cycled tank and the other is a balanced tank. If you have a massive amount of organic material in your tap water, this can be a cause.
There may be other causes but this is the best collection of the causes I could find and what I have been through. These are proven causes as either myself or someone I know has dealt with any or all of them.
I realize there can be other causes but assuming you can elliminate the other, such as nutrients, then ammonia from decomposing matter is one of the first things to look for. I did test my nitrites, PO4 and nitrates and they were not higher than they had been before. That is until I killed the green water at which time half my tank died with them and everything spiked out of this world. But that is another topic.
I did not test this but it comes from someone who has; Tomm Barr:
In established tanks where there were only plants, levels of NO3, PO4, and iron were dosed at levels 4-5 times the concentration you normally would. Non of this induced any type of algae if the nutrients were balanced. The addition of pure ammonia lead to an almost immediate bloom in all cases wehre nitrients were balanced. Algae could not be induced with almost and level of dosing that was not toxic to the plants as long as all of them were BALANCED. NO3:PO4 10:1, CA:MG 4:1, Iron at almost any level, CO2 at a "steadily" over 30ppm. Nothing induced green water. Add a small amount of ammonia, pea soup.
I know there are other causes but this is what I could come up with from experience and reliable sources. This just gives someone something to check when they have tested everything they can think of and the tank appears to be balanced.
" The situation that causes GW (Green Water) is usually a combination of high nitrates, phosphates, and mixed in some ammonia/ammonium
. Substrate disturbance is usually the culprit. What happens is the algae (GW form) will flourish off of the ammonia/ammonium
Very good article Eddie.
As for UG filters, I said they CAN cause it, not do. If they are maintained properly, Like you do, you don't overfeed and you don't have a heavy bioload then UGF are fine and can work for years. But if they fail and the circulation is lost anywhere under the plates then that can and will cause green water. Even with powerheads it is possible because I never used anything but powerheads on my UGF when I used them on a 55 gallon and I got Pea soup every 6 months. Yes I overfed and had too many fish but that when I was young and fish-uneducated and before I had the internet. 8)
Again, all I was addressing was the initial cause, I know how hard it is to get rid of once you get it. I had it for over 6 weeks in both my tanks. I changed nothing that I did and it eventually went away. The cause, likely MTS that had died in the substrate after I put 75-100 in each tank. Ammonia source disappeared, green water did too.
I do NOT know any way to get rid of it except to do massive water changes and do a black out. Other than that I just let it run it's course when it happens and make sure the fish are not gasping for air. Treating it is another topic and like I said, I do not know how I got rid of it, just that 9/10 times it is initialy caused by nutrients AND ammonia in some form or another. My planted tanks have 30ppm NO3 and 3ppm PO4 by the end of the week dosing EI, No algae. I also dose up to .3ppm iron 3x a week, no algae. The one time I had a fish die about 6 months ago and didn't find it, Green water, the BBA and Staghorn algae because of chemical imbalances caused from the green water and damage to the plants.
I agree that planted tanks have a lot of nutrients and that the high nutrients contribute but without the ammonia, no algae bloom, other wise my tanks would have nothing but algae. Yes, sunlight can cause it but if you have a tank by the window you are either raising plecos or algae eaters of some kind or deserve the algae.
I have not tested this yet, but some say you can grow infusoria, (green water) using bottled water and simply by adding ammonia in small amounts with the container in the sun.
The most frustrating thing is the fact that a dead fish can cause it but by the time you get rid of the green water you will never find the fish.
If anyone has a way to get rid of it besides a black out, I am all ears
Originally Posted by betababy
Also, the easiest way to combat algae is to not have an issue with it in the first place. We know the causes, so we know how to avoid them.
Good point but preventing a fish or snail from decaying that has died and usually hid is sometimes hard to do.
Like you said, the best thing to do is prevent it. Weekly water changes with gravel vacs and maintaining your equipment to prevent as many causes as you can.
As for other algae types, can't help you there. Had BBA and staghorn and they went away when I removed my DIY CO2 and started dosing Excel. Reason they went away, haven't a clue.
The only thing I have been told from Tom Barr about algae in planted tanks: If you have all your nutrients balanced dosing EI and have proper lighting then CO2 is the cause of the algae, period. If your CO2 is not above 30ppm and steady then that is your cause, end of story.
To say he is addamant about his statements would be un understatement.
He tested this, according to him, for many years and many trials and it always came back to CO2 in a well lit and EI dosed tank. The same with green water and an EI dosed tank if it is heavily planted, the cause is ammonia, period; the duration, a lot of things, but the cause is AMMONIA.
That is why I don't inject CO2 anymore and use Excel. And it has worked, why, not sure but I won't use it again unless I can get pressurized.
I realize that the whole green water cycle is a whole lot more complex but hopefully this will help some to try and avoid this abnoxious aquarium pian in the neck.