SO SICK of this recurring algae! - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 20 Old 03-18-2012, 10:42 AM Thread Starter
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Angry SO SICK of this recurring algae!

I have a 5 gallon freshwater aquarium with four GloFish (zebra danios). The tank is naturally cycled, and kept aroud 75ºF.

A few months ago there was a massive green algae bloom. I couldn't see inside the tank. I took a water sample to Petsmart and he said that all the levels were perfect. So I got a toothbrush, scrubbed, and replaced much of the water. I also decreased the amount of time that the tank is exposed to light to about 9 hours.

It was like new for about a week. Then, another bloom came. This time, I went to Walmart, bought some quilt badding and activated carbon. I made a new filter cartridge and scrubbed the tank down again. It was successful for probably two weeks. I also increased the flow of my filter, in case the slow flow was causing too much stagnancy. However, the bloom is back. My tank is impossible to see. Also: there are really massive bubbles that keep forming on top of the water. They pop as soon as they hit the glass, but I've never had that before.

Could there be some other problem that I'm missing? What can I do? I try doing weekly water changes, but the algae always comes back.
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post #2 of 20 Old 03-18-2012, 11:00 AM
What are your water parameters? What is your lighting and how often is it on?
Often algae problems are the result of high nitrates and/or lights that are too brights and/or on too long each day.

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post #3 of 20 Old 03-18-2012, 12:17 PM
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Yes, more data on this is needed. In additionto what AbbeysDad asked, are there any live plants in this tank? What is your normal water change schedule, i.e., how much of the tank and how often regularly?

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 #4 of 20 Old 03-20-2012, 05:03 PM Thread Starter
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Are there any live plants in this tank? Yes, one "Argentine Sword."

Water changes: How much of the tank and how regularly? Usually 50%, once a week.

What are your water parameters? Not exactly sure what you mean by this (still a beginner). The water is kept at or around 75ºF, 5 gallons, filtered with a decent flow.

What is your lighting and how often is it on? 10W, fluorescent aquarium lamp on from 10a.m. to 7p.m. (9 hours).
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post #5 of 20 Old 03-20-2012, 06:14 PM
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Water parameters are the indicators of water health. Water can contain Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrates which in specific quantities can be harmful or fatal to fish. There are test kits such as the API Freshwater master test kit (about $25 online) that will tell you the levels of those and PH.

If you don't have the kit taking a small sample of water to petco or petsmart they will test it for you and give you an idea of the levels in your tank.
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post #6 of 20 Old 03-20-2012, 06:34 PM
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Sounds like "green water" which is caused by unicellular algae. We just happen to have been discussing this in another thread,
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...y-water-95805/
and in my post #27 therein I detailed the causes and ways to treat this, or more accurately, I cited the cause and treatment from another aquarist. There are also some photos to compare.

That info should help you.

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 #7 of 20 Old 03-22-2012, 04:37 PM Thread Starter
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Method No. 1 The blackout means covering the tank for 4 days, no light whatsoever is allowed into the tank during this time. Cover the tank completely with blankets or black plastic trash bags. Be prepared, killing the algae will result in dead decaying algae that will decompose and pollute the water. Water changes are needed at the beginning and end of the blackout time and ammonia should be monitored also.
This was a very helpful post, Byron. THANK YOU! Will the blackout kill my plant, do you think?

Also: I've had a snail in the past. Sometimes I just think they ....for lack of a better word... poop too much for it to be worth it. You end up having to clean up just as much as you would without them. Am I wrong?
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post #8 of 20 Old 03-22-2012, 04:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by etanico View Post
This was a very helpful post, Byron. THANK YOU! Will the blackout kill my plant, do you think?

Also: I've had a snail in the past. Sometimes I just think they ....for lack of a better word... poop too much for it to be worth it. You end up having to clean up just as much as you would without them. Am I wrong?
Others have used the blackout without killing plants, though the plants will be affected and may show it. As for snails, I have the small ones, Malaysian Livebearing and common pond snails. The former is very good in my view, burrowing through the substrate. Larger snails do add to the bioload obviously.

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 #9 of 20 Old 03-23-2012, 08:39 AM
Just another $.02 about snails.... Although it may seem they do, I don't believe snails really add to the bio-load. Without teeth, much like worms, snails survive by consuming algae, decomposing plant waste, fish food, etc. This makes them part of the cleanup crew in the food chain. In a sense, although higher up the chain, they no more increase bio-load than fucultative bacteria that decompose organic waste further in the natural recycle process.
It is true that like bacteria, once introduced, the snail populations will rise and fall relative to the conditions resulting in balance. Some may dislike their proliferation, but in some ways they are a natural part of the living aquarium.

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post #10 of 20 Old 03-25-2012, 10:04 AM Thread Starter
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I'm on day three of the blackout, and I've got a question about what comes after I'm done.
While this blackout could potentially sole my algae problem right now, isn't it possible that the green crap will just return like it has every other time? In other words, after I destroy it...how can I prevent it?
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