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Algae in tank floor

Discussion in 'Algae Removal' started by pocmatos, Jan 14, 2018.

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  1. pocmatos

    pocmatos New Member

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    Hi,

    I have 190liter tropical tank with around 20 fish at 26 degrees Celsius first started back in March and which for half a year gave me no issues. Then algae started to grow. This wierd algae on the floor of the tank creeping up the walls. I remove it, replace 1/3 water but a few weeks later it's back and it's stronger.

    How can I remove it? I am desperate. Tank looks really crap now!

    Photo here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/kf2sd2kweto3rr6/20180114_132700.jpg?dl=0

     
    #1 pocmatos, Jan 14, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2018
  2. Toney

    Toney Fishaholic
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    Erythromycin
     
  3. pocmatos

    pocmatos New Member

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    Huh?
    Isn't that an antibiotic?
     
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  4. Toney

    Toney Fishaholic
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    Yep, I'm pretty sure that's the blue green stuff....

    Does it stink?
     
  5. pocmatos

    pocmatos New Member

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    Yes, it's pretty bad. I wonder how I am going to get a prescription only antibiotic here in Germany though. Are there any fish-related brands selling this?
     
  6. essjay

    essjay Member

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    The reason we in Europe can't get antibiotics without a prescription is because the misuse of them creates drug resistant bacteria. Antibiotics should only be used when necessary to cure disease and not to cure blue green algae.

    Looking at another site on the subject of algae, the cure for blue green algae - cyanobacter - is a total blackout for 3 to 4 days. Do not even open the blackout to feed the fish.
    During the blackout, work out why you have it in your tank. If you don't do something to stop it coming back, it will come back. The same website suggests possible causes:
    Very low nitrate
    New tanks that have had ammonia and light present
    Poor water circulation
    Dirty substrate and filter

    Do any of those apply to your tank?
     
  7. pocmatos

    pocmatos New Member

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    OK, total blackout sounds like a solution. Just to confirm. I probably need to move the fish elsewhere during the blackout, right?
     
  8. essjay

    essjay Member

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    It is usual to leave the fish in the tank. Not feeding them for 3 or 4 days is not a problem. But when you remove the blackout keep the room dim for at least an hour to let the fish acclimatise to being in light again. Removing the blackout in a bright sunny room and turning the tank lights on straight away will stress the fish.
     
  9. pocmatos

    pocmatos New Member

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    OK, I have finally done the blackout procedure for 5 days. Unfortunately I had 1 death during this time. Afterwards I did the removal of 2/3 of the water from the tank. I cleaned the walls of the tank as removed the algae as much as possible even though much of the substrate was still a bit green, etc..

    I didn't clean the filter as I had done that a couple of weeks previously.

    It took then a week for the algae to return and turn the whole thing green again. I am running out of ideas. I thought the blackout would have just killed the damn thing but it keeps coming back. What else can I do? Any suggestions?
     
  10. Toney

    Toney Fishaholic
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  11. Toney

    Toney Fishaholic
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  12. essjay

    essjay Member

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    Before adding anything to the tank - which will end up in the fish, so the less added the better - you need to work out why you have this algae or it will just come back again.

    How long are your lights on for?
    Do you have any live plants, and if so what do you feed them, and how much?


    I am opposed to using antibiotics for things like this. My elderly mother was in hospital with pneumonia last months and she contracted MRSA. That bug was created by the mis-use of antibiotics. This is the reason that in the UK (and possibly in the rest of the EU as well) we can't buy antibiotics over the counter, we can only get them on prescription.
     
  13. Byron

    Byron Member

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    Essjay is correct, using antibiotics (or other chemicals) is more dangerous than beneficial. She is also correct when she says you need to find the cause and deal with that. I can guarantee than any treatment, including blackout, will not benefit permanently without the actual source/cause being resolved.

    Cyanobacteria is, as the name indicates, not an algae but a bacteria, which is why some suggest antibiotics but this is not the best option as they affect fish and the biological system in other ways. And cyanobacteria is caused by organics in the presence of light. The organic level is obviously high; this can be caused by too many or too large fish, overfeeding, over-fertilizing plants, insufficient filter cleanings, insufficient water changes (volume and/or frequency), insufficient substrate vacuuming, or sometimes (unfortunately) they just occur, but this is not as common as the obvious causes that can be rectified.

    No mention is made in this thread of nitrates, but I would suspect they are probably higher than normal, or just high. Can you test nitrate and let us know? And if using the API liquid nitrate test, shake Regent #2 for a good 2 minutes (not just the 30 seconds) before adding the drops. Also, what is the pH?

    Organics occur from having fish in the tank, obviously, but we need to reduce them. I have dealt with cyano twice, or maybe three times, in the same tank. I haven't seen it now for five or six years. I mentioned some causes of excess organics above, and therein lies the treatment. The best treatment is to remove as much as absolutely possible at one go, with a water change and deep substrate vacuuming; use your fingertips to remove it from objects including plant leaves and it will drop to the substrate where it can be siphoned out. If you fertilize for plants, stop it temporarily. Reduce fish feeding amounts if this seems a possible cause (you can not feed them for a few days). I personally would not do a blackout if you have live plants, as you want the plants to use the organics/nutrients more, and this requires light to drive photosynthesis. It took me three, maybe four weeks of this extra cleaning during the weekly water change to get rid of this, along with reducing light (I cut it back from 8 to 7 hours daily); each week it was increasing far less than before. Persistence and rectifying the causes is the only way to deal with this.
     
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  14. Demeter32

    Demeter32 Member

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    I had a similar problem and it cleared up just fine after a few days with minimal light, extra water changes, and with the addition of duckweed along with cherry shrimp. The duckweed dampened the light as well as sucked up the extra nutrients in the water, effectively starving the blue-green algae.The shrimp seemed to eat a fair amount of it too as I would often see them grazing on it. What algae remained was caught in/on the duckweed and all I had to do was remove the algae riddled duckweed and that was the end of that.

    The down side is, once you introduce duckweed you will have a heck of a time getting rid of it. Plus it can block a filter intake if the plants are pushed underwater by the out put.
     
  15. hobby5

    hobby5 Member

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    Those are cyanobacteria also called blue green algae. Those are pioneer organisms for that reason you often see them in new tanks, in which the biology is not fully established yet. There is no single cause for there appearance, for that reason there is no simple way of treatment. To get rid of them usually takes effort and patience.

    I don't like the blackout-approach, because it is not changing anything in your tank (the cause), and because of that they will come back pretty quickly as you experienced. Also it harms your plants and growth of higher plants is the best remedy against any algae.

    As soon as you see growth of cyanobacteria you should start with frequent water changes and manually removing as much of the algae as you can. (You started way to late and also should have done that before the blackout, if it has to have any chance of success.) They don't like disturbance and changing conditions.

    You can try to add lots (!) of mulm from an established tank to kick-start the biology. Also always a help is the addition of many fast growing plants. Ramshorn snails (!) are the only known tank inhabitant to feed significantly on blue green algae. Shrimps are not know to normally eat those.
     

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