Algae bloom hours after water change
I've been having problems with algae in my 80 gallon tank for about a month now. I got plants, reduced light, eased up on feeding and it's helped, but the water still gets a little greenish. The really frustrating thing is that i've been doing a 50% water change every week to clear it up and it looks great but within a couple hours the water quickly gets hazy and greenish again. I'm sure its not ammonia or bacteria spike (0 ammonia, nitrates/trites) and it is definately green. I've also cleaned out my filters
Is it normal for an algae to explode this quickly? any suggestions? Thanks!
You say you're doing a 50% WWC to clear up the algae problem....you mean you weren't doing this all along? I would do a 50% WC twice a week with an aggressive gravel siphoning. If that doesn't work a few days of darkness, a total tear down, or for about $40 an internal UV sterilizer (e.g. Green Killing Machine) would likely take care of it.
I've been doing ~20% water change per week under normal conditions for the past year or so with a solid gravel siphoning and it's been keeping the tank clear and stable. I usually only do more when i've been adding more fish or some problem occurs (ich meds, increased salt after a battle, i've been away for a while, etc) but it's stocked relatively lightly right now and well filtered, any more seems unnecessary for my tank.
Thanks again for the tips!
Thanks for the clarification. They way it was written, routine water changes were unclear.
I think the blackout for a few of days may do the trick although it may be a bit hard on your plants?
I've never used a UV sterilizer, but have read they can be very effective and much better than (evil) chemical controls - not just for algae, but for parasites like ick and other "evil doers" in the water column.
I remember back in the day the value of hooking up a diatomaceous earth filter from time to time to clean water so well - better than any conventional filter. Of course the trouble with all these gadgets and gizmos is they cost money that might better be spent elsewhere. But even if we were rock collectors, there would be some hammer we'd want for - lol
Anyway, I just thought the UV thing was worth mentioning. There's nothing better than a display tank with crystal clear water, a good aquascape, and healthy, vibrant inhabitants.... and if/when the glass is dirty or the water isn't clear, it gnaws at us and just looks bad, like we're neglectful. Bacteria and algae blooms are a pain.
Thanks again! I've been looking more into the UV sterilizer and I think it may be the way to go. I've spent over a thousand bucks on the tank all said since I've had it, I may aswell keep it looking good for an extra couple.
It's too addictive, every time I feel like my setup perfect and couldn't be any better, I think of something else I want haha I can't stop!
If this "green water" is only recent, the last month you said, then I would not waste money on UV sterilizers [yes, that would probably work, but it is not necessary] nor would I resort to a blackout yet. The problem with the latter is that it is temporary; if the source of the green water is not rectified, it will only return. We have to find the cause and fix that. Also, understand that "haze" after a water change (for the rest of the day normally) is common depending upon various factors, not least of which what is in the source (tap) water. "Green" is very different.
I agree with AD to do some serious cleaning/water changes to restore a natural balance. It would also help to have some numbers. What are the water parameters (hardness, pH, temp) and nitrates? What is the light (be specific), and how long is it on? What if any plant fertilizers are being used and how often? What species of plants (some are faster at using nutrients than others)? And what is the fish stocking?
You mentioned having been away for a while and maintenance slipping; was this when the trouble started?
Thanks for the reply!
ph is ~7.6, Ammonia and nitrite are 0 and I since i've done some serious cleaning the nitrates are pretty much undetecable. The algae has cleared up a lot now, but the water still has a greenish hue, not hazy, very clear, just greenish. Temp is 80*, I have 2 t8 bulbs but I can't remember what they are, I leave them on for about 12 hrs/day. I think the problem is starting to clear up now that I've sucked up everything from the gravel, but my plants (water cabbage, a couple others) are starting to die too. Not too worried about them though. Once the algae is cleared up i'll tone down the aggressive cleaning and get some new plants to establish equilibrium.
Green hue could be the algae waiting to return, or it could be the lights. Fluorescent tubes emit specific light depending upon the phosphors so the tank can take on a hue from blue to green to purplish to yellowish to cool white...whatever. And as tubes age they become "worn out" and the colour can change, and again algae will take advantage.
If you are thinking of new aquarium plants, tubes with a full spectrum or "daylight" and a kelvin around 6500K (6000K to 7000K usually works) will help the plants and keep algae at bay, and lessening the duration. It takes a bit of experimenting. Six hours is about the minimum, but you can start higher, maybe 8-10, and observe the plants and reduce if algae appears.
The lights I have are a t8 4' glo Aqua-glo and a 4" Power-Glo, and after looking into them I see that they both promote plant growth. As you said, with few plants and those lights on for that long, I can understand where the algae came from after I was away and nitrates built up.
I think to clear up this mess I'm gonna stick with keeping nitrates down and light times ~ 3 hrs, a herbicidal approach, and once the algae has calmed down i'll stick in some new plants and go ~6 hrs/day with the light as you suggested.
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