Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Fishin Pole 05-02-2010 07:35 AM

blue green Slime Algae
So its been awhile since i have been on here, but all is well with all my tanks but one...........Here is the problem............its a 10 gallon tank that we use for our female guppies to give birth in.....It has the same water parameters as our other guppy tanks and is planted with the same kind of plants.....(java moss, water sprite, rotunda???, and duckweed)....this particular tank has a real problem with slime just will not clear up, and this is after it has been cleaned twice....completely ripped apart and everything cleaned or replaced.........everytime we put it back together, it was reseeded with material from other tanks and replanted with new plants, but within a week, the slime algae is back.......Now it has a blue japanese swordtail guppy, with about 8 fry in it.......the fry seem to pick at the algae and they have been doing great, water changes every other day for their health and wellbeing.............My question is, will the slime algae have any adverse affect on the fry?.......I would like to get rid of the algae, but dont want to move the fry till they are a little larger....

Another question...........has anyone have any knowledge, if their is a correlation between slime algae and a certain light spectrum?...............This certain tank has a different bulb than what i have on my other 14 tanks, and this is the only one that has had slime algae.............I cant make out the numbers on the bulb, so please dont ask...

Any help will be appreciated with trying ti rid this solo tank of this issue.........

Hawkian 05-02-2010 09:02 AM

If by Blue-Green slime algae you mean BGA or cyanobacteria, then the reasons for it being in the tank can be manyfold. Light can certainly be a factor and low nitrates is another one. You may wonder for a long time what the real reason is and never get the proper answer.

Cyanobacteria is extremely difficult to get rid of and no matter how often or how hard you scrub, it will often come back with a vengeance. Since it is not actually algae but rather a bacteria, it lives in the gravel, in your filter, and even suspended in the water column, which is why it is difficult to get rid of. There are two schools of thought on how to get rid of BGA: the natural way and the antibiotic way.

The natural way involves doing a blackout on the tank. Three to four days in complete darkness seems to be the norm. Since the bacteria requires light to survive, it is believed that a certain amount of time in total darkness will effctively kill the cyanobacteria. I have tried this method - a 3 day blackout - without any success. Others have also tried with very good success. If I was to try again I would probably do a 4-day blackout rather than a 3-day one.

The other school of thought on the topic believes that a blackout will only make the cyanobacteria come back harder after the blackout, which is exactly what has happened to my tank. Erythromycin, an antibiotic, is believed to be the only way to really get rid of the bacteria. This has worked in my tank. Be advised that it will create a nitrites spike in the tank that will require you to perform 50% water changes daily for about a week. This is probably not a good approach for you since you have fry in the tank and the water parameters' fluctuations would probably not be too good on them.

I'm afraid I don't have definite answers for your questions. BGA is a real pain to deal with. I don't believe a certain light spectrum can be responsible since BGA will thrive in almost any tank once it gets a hold. This however is a hunch rather than a hard fact.

I wish you luck in your battle... it is not an easy one to win.

Byron 05-02-2010 10:26 AM

Cyanobacteria is caused by high organics. I provided some info from other authors in my two responses in this thread which may be helpful.

I also mentioned how I dealt with it.

Edit: Just happened to get (or see) a discussion on this elsewhere, and an experienced hobbyist I know commented that old tubes and yellow spectrum light have sometimes caused cyanobacteria. Makes sense, since algae is able to adapt to less light and different colour light whereas higher plants cannot. Thought I'd pass this on.


P.S. Wondered what had become of you, glad you are still with us.:-)

aunt kymmie 05-02-2010 11:18 AM


Originally Posted by Byron (Post 375132)
P.S. Wondered what had become of you, glad you are still with us.:-)

Me too! How is your little love monkey? I miss seeing her online too!! Did the wedding happen yet?

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