Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources (
-   Beginner Freshwater Aquarium (
-   -   Please help me identify this algae (

FlashGuppy 12-07-2011 11:03 AM

Please help me identify this algae
I have a Fluval Chi 5 gallon with one Crown Tailed Betta. Just this week I started noticing this velvety blueish green type of algae. It also has settled onto my plant. It's not slimy and icky like the Cyanobacteria but am not sure if it is or not. I do a partial water change weekly along with gravel vacuum. He is fed once daily and I hand feed him Betta pellets by hand meaning that he eats each pellet as I offer it to him. None if any gets to get to the bottom of the tank. He gobbles them right up. I'd appreciate any advice on trying to get rid of this before it takes over my tank.

Nubster 12-07-2011 11:10 AM

Looks like Blue-Green aka slime algae to me, but I could very well be wrong...I say that because that's the only algae that I know of that grows in sheets like that. If you pull some up, does it have a bad odor?

"Grows rapidly in blue-green, slimy sheets. Spreads rapidly over almost everything and usually indicates poor water quality. However, blue-green algae can fix nitrogen and may be seen in aquariums with extremely low nitrates. Sometimes seen in small quantities between the substrate and aquarium sides. Will smother and kill plants. This is actually cyanobacteria. It can be physically removed, but this is not a viable long term solution as the aquarium conditions are still favorable for it and it will return quickly. Treatment with 200 mg of erythromycin phosphate per 10 gallons of water will usually eliminate blue-green algae but some experts feel it may also have adverse effects on the biological filter bed. If erythromycin is used for treatment, ammonia and nitrite levels should be carefully monitored."

Best thing to do is to figure out why you have it. Have you tested your water? Tank water and tap water? What kind of light is on the tank and how long is it on? You might try blacking out the tank for a couple days and reduce the amount of time the light is on after that. Also make sure the bulb is not old (>1yr) and is of the correct color, 6500/6700k. You may also need to do larger and/or more frequent water changes.

FlashGuppy 12-07-2011 11:58 AM

I pulled some up and it has no smell at all. Seems to come up easily and some of it actually powders. The major part of it like on the log is not icky slimey. Water parameters are normal. Nitrate is 20 and Ph is 7.6...everything else is normal.

Since it's a Fluval Chi, it has the common light that comes with it. I'm guessing LED too but will have to check to be sure. The tank is not a year old yet. I usually keep the lights on for 7 hours a day. I can try the black out if need be. Am wondering if I should go ahead and do another water change seeing on how I just did one this weekend and clean off the live plants and the log?

I don't normally do more than a partial water change because the tank is only a 5 gallon and hate to remove too much and stress Tonto out. If I have to to get rid of this I will tho.

Nubster 12-07-2011 12:17 PM

Strange. The slime algae likes bad water which doesn't sound like you have. I've never had it but I wouldn't expect it to be powdery when removed and everything I have read says slime has an odor, usually offensive or fishy. Doesn't sound like your lights are on too much, you may change the bulb though. The power compacts work great if you get the 6500k ones. I only assume that would work in your fixture, I'm not familiar with it. Does the tank get sunlight? For now I'd just try to remove as much as possible, maybe even remove the log and fern and give them a scrub with a toothbrush and do a water change (50%+), change the light bulb, and see what happens. If it comes back start doing more frequent water changes to see if that helps. I am far from an algae expert but these are just things that are coming off the top of my head. All my algae issues are fairly easy to deal

It could also be something with the circulation. Does it seem like maybe the waterflow has slowed recently? I know bettas are not the biggest fan of high current, though mine didn't seem to mind it in my 75g. I read the filter on your tank isn't the greatest so perhaps it has slowed down for some reason. You may need to add a small airstone/pump or get a new filter. Just another idea throwing out there.

Byron 12-07-2011 12:19 PM

That is cyanobacteria, the blue/green slime as Nubster suggested. It is not a true algae but a bacteria. Excess organics in the presence of light causes it. I see it now and then, in certain tanks, very minimally, and usually on floating plants. These tanks have higher organics. For some reason it frequently occurs in tanks with crypts, not sure why.

Light blackouts and such will usually get rid of it, but this is not recommended because without resolving the actual cause it will just return. Excess organics occur from over-feeding, over-crowding fish, decaying plant/fish/invertebrate matter, etc. Not suggesting all of these apply, but they are all causes of excess organics. Finding the cause and eliminating that should fix this.

Antibiotics can work, but they have detrimental side effects on plants and fish and bacteria. Obviously, since antibiotics target bacteria, this is where the most damage is done. The good bacteria, along with the cyanobacteria, is attacked. I have known entire stands of plants to be wiped out from antibiotics. And as with humans, subjecting fish to unnecessary antibiotics is not wise.


FlashGuppy 12-07-2011 03:08 PM

All good points and ideas Nubster...thank you. The tank does not get sunshine...only the light from the tank itself. I have live ruffled Java ferns in there with my Betta. The water flow has not slowed any. Really weird as I've not done or noticed any changes in water flow. I've always kept the little tray full of rocks on top of the out put (because it can get really strong) and it gives a good easy flow coming down from the spill cup into the water.

Byron....thank you for your input. This is a stumper for sure as none of the indications for the Cyano seem to apply to Tonto's living quarters. No over feeding, no excess organics from plants or food...definitely not's a bachelor in his own little pad. Yea, I definitely don't want to go the antibiotic route. It will disrupt the nice little cycle I have going.

Very much a stumper for sure. I was very surprised when I started to see this grow thats why I thought I'd ask on this forum because never seeing this kind of bacteria before...thinking it was algae....and not having the ideal conditions to make it flourish, I am stumped.

I'll try the scrubbing of the log and clean off the fern. I'll do another change and vacuum the rocks again and see if it doesn't come back. This is such a nice little tank...and then this starts happening!

Byron 12-07-2011 07:32 PM

Another source of nutrients is plant fertilizer, so if more is being added than the plants can use, this will obviosly feed algae and/or cyano. And light is needed, the more there is the more likely this will occur too. Obviously there is food (organics) and light or the cyano wouldn't be there. I don't know the plants in this tank, if for instance they are slow growing as opposed to fast growing there will naturally be more organics/nutrients unused. Nor do I know the light intensity and duration.

I have found myself though that whenever I have had problematic cyano, as opposed to just a tiny patch on a floating plant leaf, the tank's biology is clearly out of balance. One can tell this from many things...considerable detrius in the substrate, sometimes slightly cloudy water, a stronger than normal "woodsy" smell, plants not doing as well, etc. And again, this is always in tanks with crypts, never the others. Only exception was the 10g in the window, to encourage algae for my Farlowella fry; cyano did also occur in this tank, though not to any real excess; mainly on the rear wall of the tank that was right up against the west facing window.

Kelvinlim11 12-08-2011 08:31 AM

I had those before and i has an effective way to clear them

First cover up the tank to make sure that there are no light source into the tank.

Let it stay this way for at least 2 weeks. Remove all the coverage, algae should be gone.

Try to feed yournlivestocks first before performing the above

Nubster 12-08-2011 12:52 PM

Certainly that would work but the main issue I think is not getting rid of the algae/bacteria but figuring out what's causing it and preventing it from returning. While I 2 week blackout would get rid if it for sure, I'd think it would come back in time if the cause wasn't addressed.

Byron 12-08-2011 01:11 PM

Agree, and after 2 weeks the live plants would be alive no longer which is only going to add to the mess.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:46 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