Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources (
-   Beginner Freshwater Aquarium (
-   -   Problem with some kind of bloom? (

FlashGuppy 06-08-2011 01:47 PM

Problem with some kind of bloom?
Hi all. I'm new to the community...just joined a bit ago and I thought I'd start out by asking if anyone can help me pinpoint what my problem in my tank is. I have a 14 gallon fresh water BioCube. Has been running for about a year and 1/2. NEVER had this problem before with my other tanks and usually in the past when I've had algae I've always been able to take care of it. This however is not that easy so I don't know if it's something that I am not familiar with or the fact that I have a BioCube and I may not be doing something right with it. I've tested my water and all my parameters are good. Fish and plants are thriving. As a matter of fact fish love it.

The BioCube has not had any alterations to it. I'm running it just as I got it from manufacturer except that I fill it over the manufacturer's suggested water level...if not I'm getting millions of micro bubbles and sputtering. I've checked the pump and it's all secure down in the chamber. I started noticing a "bloom" of sorts. My water has gotten tannish and lime green. I've tried to think back to what I added new to it when this first started and I come up with two things.....salt for one...and plants. Java Fern and a Pennywort. I cannot get rid of this bloom...don't know if it's diatom or...? I've done 25% water changes, put Chemi-Pure in the filter chamber along with the filter. Tried adding extra filter media to the middle chamber plate on top of the bio balls. Have also done 1/2 water changes, taken out plants, decorations and today I was at my wits end and ended up changing gravel. I still have this yellowy limey haze. Now someone told me that the Bio Cube altho they say is ok for fresh water fish...that it is not geared for it and I am wondering if it would do this with the salt water tanks. Do they use different products in the tanks such as special salts that stop this from happening?

I have well water. I know that some treatments for water tanks have sillica in them, would Phos Zorb be helpful if that is the case? I'm to the point where I've tried so many different things, and nothing has taken the haze out of the water. I'm enclosing some pics so you can see what I am talking about. If I missed any info, please ask. And btw....last night I ended up setting up my new Marineland 20 gallon. In the Bio Cube I have 3 Black Tetras, 3 fancy guppies, 1 Platy, 1 Balloon Molly and a Cory Cat.

I wanted to upload a couple more photos but Photo Bucket is giving me problems. This is what the haze in the aquarium looks like. I'll try to upload more later. Thanks for any and all input!

Guess I should also say that we've had the same water here and in the 1 1/2 years I've had the Bio Cube nothing has changed with it. This just happened overnight. Yikes!

Byron 06-08-2011 02:01 PM

First, welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forumn. Glad to have you with us.

I'm having trouble determining if that is "green water" or a bacterial bloom. More info would help us diagnose. You say water parameters are good, but I don't know what that may mean. Can you provide pH, hardness (if you know it), ammonia, nitrite and nitrate numbers? And what is the temperature? What type of light is over the tank, and for how long daily? And any room light from windows?

Plants are not the cause, nor is salt, although this has detrimental issues for some of the fish you have and the plants. Salt should not be added to a freshwater aquarium with plants or soft water fish (tetra, cory) and although livebearers can tolerate salt they don't need it and it is best left out.

Bacterial blooms will clear on their own; water changes only make them worse [see this thread where I explain how in detail in post #10: ]. If it is an algae bloom, light is too intense. The above info will help us sort this out.


FlashGuppy 06-08-2011 06:39 PM

Thanks for your help Byron. I could not find my test notes that I took the other day earlier and finally found them inside my test kit. Here are my numbers:

PH - 70
Alkaline - 300
Hardness - 75
Nitrate 20
Nitrite - 0
Ammonia - 0
Temp range - Between 72 - 78

A note about my parameters. I noted that 300 for alkaline is way too high? I ran them by a local LFS in my area and the girl told me everything looked good. And the fact that my fish were thriving was a good sign even tho my water looks horrid.

The lights are the Bio Cube lights that comes with it. Compact florescent lighting with moonglow LEDS. But I was reading somewhere about actinic lights ...don't know too much about that and have to look into it more. It does not get direct sunlight but is in my livingroom between two west windows. The room is light and airy but the sunlight does not directly hit the aquarium. I leave my lights on for 8 hours. On at 3:00 p.m and off at 11:00 p.m.

I'm glad to hear that plants are not the cause. Wondering if I take plants out of this aquarium can I safely put them in my new cycling tank that does not have fish in yet without ending up with this problem in my new tank too? Or will they be carriers of this stuff?

Thanks for the link from the other thread. Makes sense. But I still have a lot to learn about this since in all my years I've had aquariums, I've never, ever been faced with something like this. Cloudy water yes...but not this color.

Here is another photo of the Bio Cube in all it;s lime green glory. :-D Weird thing...when I take water out of the aquarium it doesn't look that color.

Byron 06-08-2011 07:04 PM

I wouldn't look at actinic light, it is not good for plants, but it can encourage algae. Any idea what the CF bulbs are? Anything written on the stem? I'm wondering about spectrum and kelvin.

West windows are bright. I have them in my fishroom, and they are covered with heavy drapes during the summer because the extra light causes algae to increase.

As this is more green than white then it is likely "green water" which is an algae bloom. Reducing the light will help, along with water changes. Nitrates at 20ppm is not bad, but a bit high, and coupled with the high alkalinity may be part of the issue. Don't overfeed, reduce the light, water changes. But I'd like to know what the overhead light is as asked above first.


FlashGuppy 06-08-2011 07:21 PM

I should have explained a bit better one of the lights on the hood is already an actinic light. I have a 10,000K 24 watt Coral Life and a Actinic 24 watt Coral Life bulb. Thats what it came with. What is "spectrum and kelvin"?

I feed once a day a pinch of food and thats only what they will eat...I try and not let much if any fall into the gravel. I can reduce the lighting time and not use the actinic light. This is why I am wondering if this is a good aquarium for freshwater fish. This has been frustrating. I appreciate your help to figure out what is going on in this tank. I'm very surprised that this is happening now and not anytime earlier.

Byron 06-08-2011 07:54 PM

That is a lot of light intensity over a 14g tank. Java Fern is low light requiring, and Pennywort manages with moderate. By the way, just noticed the Java Fern seems to be buried; make sure the rhizome (the thick "root" from which the leaves and hair roots grow) is not buried, it often rots. It is best attached to a piece of rock or wood, you can use black cotton thread or fishingline, and it will firmly attach itself in a few weeks.

Are these screw-in bulbs, or tubes? If you can remove the actinic, I would. The other is Coralife's "daylight" which should be fine on its own. Spectrum refers to the colour wavelengths emitted by light, and kelvin is the colour temperature as we perceive it. The 10,000K is the kelvin. I found the spectrum graph on their website, but i can't copy the spectrum so here is the link. If you hold the cursor over each light type, a pop-up will describe it and include a spectrum graph. Compare them and you'll see the differences in the light that is emphasized by each different tube.
Replacement Lamps

Plants need red and blue, slightly more red especially for some plants. Green light creates a natural "daylight" balance comparable to the mid-day sun. The 10,000K indicates a "cooler" white than say a 5000K which would be "warmer". Around 6500K is usually good, but a slightly cooler look with the 10,000K is fine too.

Yes, why this suddenly appears is not always easy. Something in the water, or a change in light (longer and brighter days in summer can do it), etc. I would remove the actinic, do regular water changes with a good conditioner, and this should resolve itself. Keep us posted. It will not hurt the fish, though it is unsightly for us.

FlashGuppy 06-09-2011 07:26 AM

Wow....I certainly have learned a whole bunch in just one day!!! I just went to the link you gave me and checked out the lighting. I have a better understanding of what is going on in my tank light wise whereas before I just went for the "prettyness" of it. Good idea in attaching the Java Fern...I did not know I could do that with it.

The bulbs are tubes. The hood of the aquarium has a switch for each light. I will keep the actinic off and just use the daylight lite.

Yesterday I did another water change with some conditioner along with it. This morning the yellowy lime water is not's a cloudy white but I believe that will clear up soon as I sometimes get that with a big water change.

This has been an experience in itself. And I'm glad I decided to join this community. It's pretty cool to learn can never quit learning enough.

I think I'll go back to that website you posted the link to again and read some more. Thanks again Byron, you have helped me majorly! I will keep you posted as to how it goes in that aquarium.

FlashGuppy 06-13-2011 01:05 PM

Update on my Bio Cube. The water is now cloudy, milky and the greenish water is more to the bottom of the tank. So if you were to look at it, it looks almost two-toned. I went to the fish store again this weekend and had them check my parameters to see if our numbers were close and they were pretty much spot on.

On my Marineland that I have been cycling for about a week, the ph he said was high. If I want to change the exsisting fish over to the Marineland (20 gallon) wouldn't it be best to keep the Ph the sameas in my Bio Cube? He suggested I buy Neutral Regulator by Seachem as it neutralizes the water safely. I did and put some in the Marineland but when I check ph last night it was still 7.6. Don't know if I should keep putting that in it or not.

Now I would like to put my fish that are in the Bio Cube in the Marineland 20 gallon. I used a product called Safe Start which claims to have 3 good bacteria sources and you can safely put fish in water 24 hours after using it. I was a bit scared to put them in that soon so I've waited. My question is how do I go about chaging the fish from my Bio Cube which has all that funky water to my Marineland without mixing the water and adding it to the new tank. I'm afraid to get some of that "bloom" in that tank too.

Don't know what else to do with this Bio Cube. Nothing seems to be budging the cloudyness/green water. Soon as I do a water change within about an hour the cloudyness comes right back and after a day so does the green tint. At this point I'm wondering should I mess with the bio balls and maybe try putting lava rocks in that compartment? The Chemi-Pure the guy from the LFS suggested has not helped. Would Phos-zorb help? I'm at my wits end but I don't want to give up on this tank! Last night you could barely see the fish. Looked like I had a tank full of milk.:cry:

Byron 06-13-2011 03:35 PM

The white cloudiness is a bacterial bloom. I detailed that previously, and provided a link to a thread with more info on how it works. Water changes will make it worse, as it explains in that linked thread. A few days is not sufficient time for this to clear, a couple weeks is more likely. But without further messing adding this or that, let it clear on its own.

Tetra's SafeStart is a biological supplement of live bacteria that "seeds" a new tank with bacteria. It does not eliminate the normal cycling, just starts it a bit faster. One or two fish should be fine, with others added slowly days apart so as not to overwhelm the bacteria. It takes time to establish the nitrifying bacteria cycle and this cannot be rushed.

I do not advocate the use of chemicals to adjust pH. Before I comment further, what is the pH in the existing tank and what is the pH in the new tank? And what is the pH of your tap water? And the hardness of the latter?


FlashGuppy 06-13-2011 04:55 PM

Thanks for that link Byron. I did read it...and am still trying to digest the info. :-) I've spent time reading today and reading and of the threads on bacterial and algae blooms. I'll get to understanding it soon I'm sure. I will leave the bio cube alone and get more plants this week.

I just did a ph test.

My new 20 gallon - 7.6
Bio Cube - 7.6
Tap water - 6.4

Need to find out if I have any strips left for testing the hardness of the tap. I'll be back and post that later. Thanks again for your help.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:21 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome