Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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furryfarm 04-30-2012 10:23 AM

green water problems!
hi everyone :) i am new to this forum. i have a 66 gallon freshwater planted tank. i have a 2215 eheim fliter. i also have a koralia 750 powerhead that was just added to the tank today.

i have been having green water issues lately. i have been really busy and haven't been able to do water changes as much as i would like lately - i would like to be doing water changes every day or 2nd day because of the algae issues. the last water change i did was last wednesday. :roll:

other than water changes is there anything i can do for green water?

please help!

Geomancer 04-30-2012 11:05 AM

Is your tank in direct sunlight?

UV filters help with green water, but better to fix the cause than the result.

furryfarm 04-30-2012 11:24 AM

my tank is between my large living room window and my french doors to the back yard. it is a peninsula tank so it is sticking out from the wall from the short side. i can't keep my curtains closed :(

so, there is no way to stop this other than living in the dark? :(

maybe i will have to look into the uv sterilizers.

Byron 04-30-2012 11:25 AM

Finding the cause and rectifying that is essential to deal with green water. And the cause is nutrients (especially nitrates, phosphates and ammonia/ammonium) in the presence of light that is likely too intense or on for too long each day. Live plants and controlled light will prevent green water assuming the rest of the biology is balanced.

Regular weekly water changes of half the tank, live plants, not overfeeding, and limiting overhead and ambient light is the cure. You may have to clean things up first.

And welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.:-D


furryfarm 04-30-2012 11:58 AM

thank you.

i have two 54 watt t5 bulbs in a pretty well reflected fixture that is about 2 inches from the top of my tank. it sits on the top of my tank on little "legs". i have it on a timer for 7 hours a day. i don't know if that is too long.

i was using nutrafin fertilizers in the water and i have fertilizer sticks under the sand. i am pretty sure the sticks are nutrafin as well. i just got flourish and excel in the mail and plan to start that once i get the green water under control, unless it will help now.

my usual water change schedule is ~ 40% every 2 weeks. now i am doing about 50% every 2nd day or so. i missed a few days recently because we were out of town.

my tank is pretty heavily planted but not really heavily stocked. last time i tested the water the ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites were at 0, 0, and 0. my nitrates are always 0. i think it is because i have so many plants and so few fish.

i have turned off my lights for 2 days and it was a little better but then my plants started suffering. when we got back home last night the water was the worst yet. i left the light on the timer and it was pretty bad.

i may be over feeding. i am not sure. i usually feed 2 sinking pellets and a tiny pinch of flake food a day. i have 21 neons, 5 albino cories, 3 amano shrimp, and 2 small bristle nose plecos in my tank. i was having a circulation problem and it seemed like the flake food wasn't sinking very well (the neons won't go to the top of the water to get it!) but now i have a powerhead which is circulating the water so much better at the surface and it is floating down now. maybe that was part of the problem because i was getting a yucky film on the top of the water.

this tank is supposed to be my dream tank and instead i am having headache after headache. :( since i started back with tanks after about 10 years i have had a 10 gallon, a 20 gallon, a 29 gallon, and a 30 gallon tank set up. i haven't had a problem with any of them. now i have this tank set up and it is just not what i want it to be.

the thought of having to keep my curtains closed all the time to keep my water clear makes me so sad.

Geomancer 04-30-2012 12:21 PM

A T5HO fixture is extremely bright for freshwater, it is better suited for reef tanks that require intense lighting for corals. With that light fixture, you will need to use pressurized CO2 to balance. Add in direct sunlight and you've got a lot of light. The plants will happily photosynthesize until they run out of something, then they slow down or stop and algae comes along and takes over because it is less picky. You are probably short on Carbon. Excel may or may not work for you, it's a chemical and not CO2 and as such some plants do not respond well to it.

You have a couple things you can try. One is reducing your light fixture down to a single T8, or possibly a dual T8 (don't know what plants you have). Second you can invest in a pressurized CO2 setup, it's expensive and has a learning curve due to needing to balance your fertilizers (most people who go this route use dry ferts daily). Third is to close the shades, but only during the periods the tank is getting direct light, likely dawn and dusk. A final option that will help cut back the intensity of your light is a thick cover of floating plants.

The behavior of the Neon Tetras is expected under bright lights, forest fish dislike it, with subdued lighting they'll readily venture up for food.

Give the Excel a try, see how it responds. Some discourage its use as it is just another chemical, and who knows how that effects fish. I've personally never used it.

furryfarm 04-30-2012 02:03 PM

i pretty sure my lights are not HO. just t5.

the neons eat no problem, they just mostly stay at the middle of the tank and only go to the top after a bit of the food floats down for them to notice.

i don't know what plants i have either. :S i am not really good with plants and my lfs doesn't know what they are either!

i know i have amazon swords, lace java fern, crypts, apotogeton (?? i can never remember how to spell that), and 3 other plants that i can never remember the name of.

here are some pictures of the 3 plants i can't remember the name of:

Geomancer 04-30-2012 03:06 PM

A 54W T5 bulb is an HO (high output). An NO (normal output) would be 28W I think. A T8 is 32W.

The second is a bacopa, I think maybe Bacopa Carolina.
The last picture is Green Cabomba.

I'm not sure on the red one, but it and Green Cabomba are higher light requiring. (All red plants are, and several stem plants like Cabomba are)

furryfarm 04-30-2012 03:10 PM

thank you. i thought HO was a type of bulb, not the wattage. i am really new to all this higher tech stuff. my other tanks were pretty simple.

my plants are growing really well.

i have just changed my timer to turn my lights on for only 6 hours instead of 7. that is 2 hours less than when i set it up. hopefully that along with water changes will help and then the green water won't come back.

Byron 04-30-2012 03:59 PM

I agree with what Geomancer has mentioned. Give the reduced duration a try as a first step. Bright ambient light in the room does impact this though, especially in summer when the day is longer and brighter.

Flourish Comprehensive Supplement is a better liquid fertilizer than the Nutrafin, as Flourish contains everything. The Nutrafin sticks are good for swords though, i had incredible growth from my large swords when i used them; can't find them anywhere lately. But the Flourish Comp is a better liquid, only once a week. The Excel I also am not partial too.

Once the water is back to normal, a 50% change every week is advisable.

Another thing we didn't ask, what is the GH of your tap water? The harder the water the more likely are algae issues so that has to be factored in too.


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