12-04-2008, 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by rocaquarium
Green water in an aquarium is nearly always caused by an free floating algae in the tank. The two things that can make them reproduce quickly enough to turn the water green are too much light and too much nutrients in the water.
The snail explosion may contribute to the problem. While it is true that they will eat the food in the tank that the fish miss they also produce waste after doing so. The uneaten food, fish and snail poop in the tank will all add the nutrients that the algae needs to grow.
Also, I am assuming that the algae has nothing to compete with. You rarely see green water in heavily planted tanks because the plants will use the nutrients before the algae does.
The easiest way to get rid of the green water is with massive water changes and be sure to vacuum the gravel well. Also, "blacking out" the tank by keeping the lights off and either placing a blanket over the tank or taping dark paper over the side panels will kill the algae (and any plants you may have in there).
While the tank is darkened you can put zuchini slices or spinach on the gravel. Many of the snails will climb on for a meal. Your can then pull the veggies out and get rid of snails.
Going forward, make sure you are not over feeding your fish and don't allow more than 10-12 hours a day of light. Adding live plants to the tank will also help. Java ferns and java moss grow well with standard, low wattage aquarium lights.
On the plus side, the green water in your tank is very nutritious for young fish. If you are growing out any fry it can be used as food.
Great post. If my personal aquarium had this problem, I would apply this solution.
For the record, the "free floating algae" is actually a type of dynoflagillate. There has been a lot of controversial history surrounding this topic over the years, and it USUALLY leads to disagreements on internet threads.
The last published article I read on the topic actually suggested that the dynoflagillate could be air-born in nature, because laboratory studies showed a progression of green water from one tank to the next under controlled conditions.
Anyhow, the details aren't all that relative. Lessen nutrient input, improve nutrient removal, and give the tank a good 48 hour black out. Generally 48 hours will not kill your plants, just the green water. This is pretty easy to recognize when you consider that plants are usually shipped in dark containers.