One Devil of an Algae Bloom

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by helmstead, Jan 13, 2008.

  1. helmstead

    helmstead Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 12, 2007
    Alfordsville, IN
    My SA cichlid tank is totally green. I'm having a free floating algae bloom. My Seachem Clarity clears it for a day, then it is green again in the AM.

    Anyone had any luck with anti-algae treatments? I had this problem with my tetra tank, but the Seachem stuff cleared it up in a couple days. This is a show tank in my living room and it looks like a stagnant pond! Ick!
     
  2. tiffanyh

    tiffanyh Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 8, 2007
    Connecticut
    I had the same problem with a tank I had for years. The room was to bright. I was constantly messing with it and taking the water down, treating it and refilling. It is a possiblililty your tap water has high levels of anything causing. Maybe try gallons of water (expensive) or see if anyone has a better recommendation of treatment.

    Sorry I couldnt be of more help.
     
  3. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

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    May 24, 2007
    Colorado
    I have several ideas but my first is to go to "aquahobby.com" . It's a great fish site with very knowledgeable and helpful people (a few dipsticks mixed in). Look for Dusko's articles on algae ... very helpful and should give you some good advice on how to proceed. Another good one is: "aquaticplantresources.net"

    If you have more questions after reading through the above sites let me know and I'd be happy to offer any help I can.
     
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    How often do you do water changes and gravel cleanings... is it possible phosphorus or nitrate levels have crept up? Be worth testing with one of the kits. The problem almost has to be something like that, as the algae have to be 'eating' SOMEthing.

    So, if it were me, I'd test to identify what is in excess, then if I didn't want to upset the fish with a big water change, I'd shell out for one of the special filter media that absorb phosphorus or nitrogen (whichever one you need). Zeolites or etc - ask at fish store. Will remove the excess nutrients that the algal bloom is feeding on. If you are in a hurry and happen to already have the equipment or have extra cash, one of the fancy 'polisher' filter type things might help strip the existing algae out faster, dunno, ask at fish store. A protein skimmer, which you probably don't have either [​IMG], *might* help, am not sure for algae.

    Then, might be worth reevaluating how much you're feeding, and/or how often you're doing partial water changes and gravel vacuuming, to prevent recurrence. Tiffany's suggestion of testing your water source is a real good idea too.

    Good luck,

    Pat
     
  5. helmstead

    helmstead Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 12, 2007
    Alfordsville, IN
    I have a protein skimmer - it came with my reef ready that I use for freshies, but I've never used on on a fresh tank (I don't think they foam pr at least mine never had). This tank has been self sustaining for the better part of 5 years. We test them regularly to make sure our bacteria are happy and they always are. So what I'm getting at is we don't do water changes and we don't have gravel to clean (sand base). It's not necessary. We add water when the level drops and change filter media as needed, always leaving the bacterial 'mother'.

    Tap water is not the cause as we fill the tanks on the same day and only one tank is blooming. We have well water, so I thought maybe...but then all the other tanks are still crystal clear.

    In all my years keeping and breeding fish - this is the worst bloom I've ever had![​IMG]

    Chirpy, thanks for the sites. I used to frequent a cichlid specific site, guess I'll go pick their brains, too.
     
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:Hummm... have you *actually tested* nitrates (specifically) and phosphates, though? Both accumulate: nitrates will only "go away" if taken up in plant growth (but then if the plants are not harvested or thinned and leaves start to die back, the N goes back into solution to recycle to nitrates...) and phosphates cannot be processed by bacteria, the only way to get rid of them really is with water changes (or special filter media). (A rigorous program of harvesting plants grown under high lighting conditions can also help, but it is hard to avoid at least *occasional* need for water changes, like every few years, unless you are an extreme 'aquarium plant head' [​IMG])

    Look at it this way: an algal bloom will only happen when you get certain kinds of algal cells introduced to the tank PLUS have a buncha extra nutrients for them to go to town on. This may be telling you that it is finally time to do a partial change. (And what about the mulm that accumulates on the bottom, even with sand... you still need to periodicaly vacuum out some of that, to avoid nitrate/phosphate problems...)

    Good luck,

    Pat
     
  7. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

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    May 24, 2007
    Colorado
    I too have well water and was having serious issues with algae. I tested my well water on several different occasions and found that at times I get high quantities of phosphate coming through. Phosphates will cause algae issues in a tank. Thus, I test my tap water before I'm ready to do a water change and if it's high in phosphates I wait another day and test it again. I then do the water change when the phosphates are low. In my case I also had too high of lighting on too small of a tank. When I changed to low lights and started testing my water before changes my problems completely went away.

    Sounds to me like you need to do a large water change with a good gravel vac. Since you haven't done that in a long while I would suggest that you do a 50% water change with a partial vac and then wait three or four days and then do the same thing again only vaccuming a different part of the tank. Water changes are your fishes best friend. Depending on the size of the tank you have how often you should be doing them. I did a 30-40% water change twice a week in my ten gallon tank. I did a 30-40% water change every eight days or so in my 20 and 30 gln. tanks and I do a 40-50% water change every two weeks in my 55 gln. tank.

    Only salt water tanks should not have water changes .. you just continue to add water to those to keep the level up. Freshwater tanks NEED water changes regularly.

    IMO using chemicals to 'fix' a problem in a tank is not the way to go. Find the cause (too high of lights, things in the water you use, too many fish in the tank, etc.) and then figure out how to fix it.

    Also, having live plants in a tank is always beneficial. However, it's not always doable ... especially with some cichlids who seem to think that the plants are just another food source or some toy to push around the tank.

    Good luck. I love having fish but understand completely how frustrating it is to have algae problems. That does take the fun out of this wonderful hobby.
     
  8. helmstead

    helmstead Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 12, 2007
    Alfordsville, IN
    Okay - UPDATE

    I did a series of water changes and media changes. The tank would look good for a day, then be a green, murky mess the next day. No luck.

    We were at the LFS (local fish store) last night and I thought I'd try a chemical fix.

    IT WORKED. The tank is crystal clear. Took about 12 hours.

    So, my product recommendation/plug is:

    API AlgaeFix

    Well worth the $5 a bottle. Given that it takes about an hour to do the water and media changes and that I did that about 4 times...well, guess I should have looked for another way before I wasted all that time!
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2008
  9. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

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    May 24, 2007
    Colorado
    Kate - I'm glad to hear you found a fix. I know how frustrating it is to look in and see algae all the time! Ahh!!!

    However, just to give you 'food for thought' the reason there is an algae issue in the first place is that something is 'off balance' in your tank. You will want to eventually find the cause of the problem and fix that or you will never have a totally stable tank.

    Good luck - enjoy your fish.
     

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