Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Rdb2013 10-22-2012 10:29 PM

Ridiculous algae bloom, tank cleaning, fishless cycle
So i just returned after 3 weeks, i had already started my cycle, i tested the water tonight and got 0,0, and nitrates were off the chart.

So that's all dandy, but the tank is planted, and i returned to some INSANE algae... i mean ridiculous.. all over the glass, all in the filter, all on the plants and substrate, rocks, driftwood... everything.. thick thick stuff.

So i proceeded to scrub and scrub the glass, run my hands through the plants to get algae off, etc etc i continued this then did a 60% water change and refilled my tank.

I took the filter out, and cleaned the media in the old tank water, except the intake tube, i HAD to hot water that in the sink.

Reinstalled, algae is still all over the place and in the water, so i did the same thing again.

i still have some algae in the water, a little on the glass, and some on the plants...

and i plan on getting fish this weekend.

I placed another piece of raw fish in the tank to keep bacteria happy until this weekend, but i am concerned... I know that most the bacteria lives in the media and substrate, rocks, etc... but i changed a lot of water today and i'm going to have to probably do another huge water change, maybe 2, to get all this algae out.. am i going to kill off this good bacteria i just spent 6 weeks establishing? Or are the water changes going to be fine?

any tips for cleaning this algae up... scrubbing and vacuuming doesnt seem very effective so far...

Fredsterbit 10-23-2012 09:01 AM

What kind of algae is it? What does it look like?

SeaHorse 10-23-2012 10:15 AM

Your good bacteria is growing on the surfaces of gravel, filter media, tank walls, ornaments etc. There are 2 types of bacteria, one grows from Ammonia, the 2nd develops from the NI. The AM and NI are in your water, the bacteria live on the hard surfaces. Doing a water change dilutes the levels of AM, NI and NA depending on the levels of these items in your tap water/new water source. You CAN harm your Bacteria if you add water that has chlorine. So doing a water change with De-chlor water will not hurt your good bacteria. However you have been scrubbing, anything you have scrubbed under the tap will no longer have good bacteria on it.
I don't think adding another dead fish will help other than spike your AM again. Remember there are 2 diff types of bacteria. If your NA are high, just do a water change to dilute it down. Retest your numbers, get that dead fish matter out of there and if you numbers are still good, please quote your actual numbers, you are ready to add 2-3 live fish and something to eat the algae. I would stay away from Chinese Algae eaters or reg pond snails.
What size is your tank? What filter?
Most importantly, are your lights on a timer? Did you leave them on for the whole 3 weeks?

Rdb2013 10-23-2012 01:56 PM

My nitratea were 80-100.

The algae is hairy and green.

I didn't tap water anything but the filter intake tube on my fluval c3.

Tank is a 20 gallon tall with a t5HO light.
It's on a timer 6 hours a day and was while I was gone.

I put the raw fish in there to keep the ammonia bacteria feeding while I wait to get fish this weekend. Which in turn feeds NI bacteria and NA bacteria.. As long as water changes won't ruin my cycle ill cleanup the rest of the algae tonight.
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Byron 10-23-2012 07:56 PM

T5 light (and the tube is probably HO?) is very bright. I am assuming there are no live plants. So the light allowed algae to grow, using the nutrients. The very high nitrates reading is due to nutrients in the water.

The algae is most likely brush or beard algae, but a photo would help us identify it. Algae itself is not a bad thing if you don't have live plants. It performs much the same role, of using nutrients in the presence of light and producing oxygen.


Rdb2013 10-23-2012 08:09 PM

Indeed it's a t5 HO. I have about 6 wisteria a banana plant a java fern and about 10 patches of micro sword narrow leaf.

I also am picking up 2 crypts and 5 dwarf sag and 4 frog bit plants thirsday to finish off my planing.

I was gone fr 3 weeks and came home to insane algae, I used flourish tabs before I left and have Eco complete substrate. I'm thinking the light and nutrients in the tank from fishless cycling combined with 3 week no water change allowed algae to grow...

I know algae isn't bad. It is hair like thin thin hair like and also little fuzzy green balls of it too.. And one patch on a
Rock was very sticky and dark dark green almost
Blue.. But only a small spot...

I just can't stand algae I like clear clear water with clear
Glass.. So I'm assuming once
I do more
Water changes and the filter keeps circulating it will clear up...

It's on my
Plant leaves which is annoying... Because it
Doesn't seem to want to come off

I am picking up 8 jelly shrimp tomorrow... Maybe they will munch on it a little bit...
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Byron 10-23-2012 08:19 PM

This is a bit different, now we know there are live plants.

The light is quite bright, but if it is balanced with sufficient nutrients it should work. You may have to reduce the duration, even down from just six hours. But first, there may be a shortage of CO2. No fish means no waste entering the substrate to form organics which the bacteria [different] break down, producing nutrients and especially CO2 for the plants. And nitrogen (ammonia/ammonium] is going to be minimal with no fish.

Getting some floating plants as you mentioned will help to shade the aquarium. And regular water changes, about half the tank once a week. I realize you were away, but this shows what happens when these are ignored. And there is no doubt that significant water changes does help to keep algae at bay.

You are going to need a comprehensive lioquid fertilizer though. Eco-complete willnot be sufficient for the plants; some nutrients are on;ly taken up via the leaves from the water, plus these substrates do not "fertilize" very much, in my experience with Flourite which is much the same. I would suggest Flourish Comprehensive Supplement twice a week (to balance that light) once you have fish present.


j dizzel 10-23-2012 08:31 PM

This may be an over my head type of question but what is up with the raw fish? I have heard of introducing live gold fish to help cycle the tank is this the same principle?

Rdb2013 10-23-2012 08:31 PM

Roger, i have read flourish may be harmful to shrimp however, due to copper... i guess thats a gamble i'll have to take. I have a huge bottle of flourish, ill start dosing it...

I had DIY co2, but that batch stopped while i was away, and i honestly prefer not using c02, but i enjoyed the results when i used it.. so i may make a batch tomorrow.

Do i need to use fert tablets on top of water fertilizer?

i'll take the lighting down to 5 hours a day.

I was planning on getting some otto's.... so maybe they will help, i love those little guys.

I looked it up and it appears to be either fuzz algae or green dust algae... it's gotten 200 times better since i came home, theres only a few spots on the glass left... and the micro sword collects the free floating algae, so i keep vacuuming over those when it collects it up.

the plants are a PITA to get the algae off the leaves... that's the only issue

1077 10-24-2012 08:40 AM


Originally Posted by j dizzel (Post 1284854)
This may be an over my head type of question but what is up with the raw fish? I have heard of introducing live gold fish to help cycle the tank is this the same principle?

Raw shrimp,raw fish,fish food,all produce ammonia as they decay, which feed's the bacteria that we wish to develop.

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