Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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-   -   algae issues (

Charm 08-16-2007 05:40 PM

algae issues
i have white gravel in my tank, and the whole top layer has algae,
what are my options for getting rid fo this?
a chemical?
or should i just scrape the top layer out and put some new gravel?
AND if i do that, how do i keep it from coming back? b/c i dont really want to buy gravel every few months lol

I did take alot of it out and tried washing it- it took probably 50% off but still looks bad.

thanks for your suggestions.

jsm11482 08-16-2007 05:54 PM

New gravel won't do it. You need to use a gravel vac and really get down into the gravel. It will also suck most of the algae right up. Get the vac as far down into the gravel as you can. You will know when you're doing it right because the water in the vac will turn a nasty brown color! Also, I just realized this so thought I should share. My vac is a normal cylinder but it has a flare on the end, like this:

| |
| | <- Tube
/ \ <- Flare

I removed the flare and the suction is waaaaaaaaaay better now! Hope this helps.

Charm 08-16-2007 06:07 PM

that will work when blasting it with the garden hose didnt?
it there differnt kinds of gravel? this one seems to have pores
in it.
i'll give it a try tho :)


fish_4_all 08-16-2007 06:23 PM

Ok, first tell us a couple things about this algae.
What it looks like: flat and slimy, tufts, stringy, etc.
How much light do you have?
How long do you leave the light on?
Is this a planted tank?
Also, how often do you do water changes?

It would also be helpful to know what fish you have and how much you feed them. Something has to be happening to cause a massive imbalance of nutrients for the tank to have so much algae.

Sooner or later we will help you get to the bottom of this.

jsm11482 08-16-2007 06:31 PM

....just realized how nasty that drawing came out..... :x

Charm 08-16-2007 09:59 PM

jsm- your drawing was just fine! 8)

its a long story but im posting a little pic of this mess, so i feel the need to explain a little to help curb my embarrassment!- and just get this off my chest ..feel free to skip over it all LOL
my tank was perfect for years PERFECT ..i had 4yr old cichlids
great plant growth, everything.
then i went away for 2 weeks -someone was supposed to take care of my tank and did not- i came back to a 100% dead tank.

after a bunch of crying and a 100% tank re-do
i had it going pretty nice then my hubby decided to get cray fish and they made my plants into a floating salad,killed my clams,fish snails etc..
so i gave up and told him to get rid of the cray fish or just take over the tank- so he took over the tank and it got gross.
the light was left on forever, no water changes (i just added water when it got low b/c of the water noise) so now i took back the tank before it gets worse! whew its nice to get that off my brain lol

so no its not planted, the algae is green dots on the glass and stuck to the rocks. i have 40w of flourecent light
i do have a plant bulb, just not using it atm.
i used to do 10-15% water change 2 times a month- it seemed to work ok for this tank.

only 4 fish in the tank right now, 2 gourami, 1 sword, and a cory..or a goby i forget.
i feed every other day.

i should just take all the rocks out and start over again but thats not an option for me b/c of $ right now.. anyway here is close up of the rocks so you can see what im talking about.

thanks for taking the time to help :)

mHeinitz57 08-17-2007 08:14 AM

k here's the extremist way to get rid of algea on gravel and tank ornaments...bleach!

Most people won't even bring a bottle of bleach near the aquarium but it actually does a great job of removing algea. Take the green gravel out and place in a bucket (not one you use for water changes). Fill it up with some hot water and a little bit of bleach. THere isn't really a set bleach-to-water ratio but it should be a milder solution if the gravel is somewhat porous. If you have decorations with algea on it feel free to throw them in the bucket too. Let the gravel soak for several hours till the algea seems to be removed.

Now you have to make it safe to go back in the tank and with gravel I would err on the side of safety. Drain the bucket and rinse the gravel really well. Spread the gravel out on some paper or an old towel to let it dry. (you probably don't need to do that but it will allow any bleach to drain from pores and allow chlorine vapor to evaporate more. Rinse the bucket really well and place gravel back in there. Fill it with water and add a hefty dose of dechlorinator to neutralize any residue of chlorine bleach. Let it sit for a few more hours adding dechlor every hour. Then drain the bucket. If you can't smell bleach on the gravel then it will be safe to throw back in the tank.

Some people may warn against this as bleach will be harmful to fish if enough of it got in the tank but having worked in 5 different fish stores, thats the way many stores clean their ornaments and i've never seen a fish die from it.

jones57742 08-17-2007 10:22 AM


A review of the following may help:


fish_4_all 08-17-2007 01:13 PM

It looks like the typical amount of algae from a neglected tank like you said. If yiu start to do the proper water changes like you did. Only keep the lights on for 10 hours and keep the tank well maintained the algae will go away. If you like the fish, Otos would put a huge dent in the algae in a short time but don't get them unless you plan to keep them and get at least 4 of them.

The removal of the plants seems to be what really did the tank in. If you can get some kind of plant back in there to start out competing the algae the problem will go away without any extreme measures.

As for the bleech, it works very well, I have done it and do it every time I tear down a tank.

Charm 08-17-2007 11:42 PM

thanks for all the help..
i spent 3 hours tonight getting the algae off the walls of the tank,
changing hte filter and getting some gravel/water out.

i got a good part of it sitting in bleach water now, so i'll see what its looking like in the morning ;)

im pooped out now and my arms are tired LOL

thanks again .. i'll post an update on it in a few days.


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