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Algae bloom problem - advice please

Discussion in 'Tropical Discussion' started by Kelly Preussner, Nov 8, 2019 at 11:32 PM.

  1. Kelly Preussner

    Kelly Preussner New Member

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    I would like some advice since I am fairly new to the fish world. I have a 36 gal bow front freshwater tank that has been cycled since May. I am in a Chicago suburb & we have hard water here (Lake Michigan).
    My PH is 8.0, Ammonia is 0, Nitrite 0 & Nitrate 5.0. I have 4 live plants, driftwood & 2 moss balls. I have 2 swords, 5 platys, 1 guppy, 1 adult black molly, 2 teenager black Mollys & 1 molly fry. I also have 1 female betta & 6 nerite snails. My water always appears greenish. Whenever I do a water change (every 2-3 weeks about 40%), the water looks amazing for about 4 days & then turns green similar to an algae bloom. I usually change the carbon filter with water changes because it is so dirty! When I add the clean water I always a little safe start plus. I also use prime to dechlorinate. I must be doing something wrong because the water changed from clear to green in a matter of days. How do I keep a clear tank? Now I know it won’t ever be crystal clear but I can hardly see the fish with the green. Thanks
    I included a picture after water change & then a few days later.
     

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  2. Naughts

    Naughts Fish Crazy

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    You need to do a water change every week, regardless of algae problems. Obviously this will help with the algae too. It will remove the algae and also remove the excess nutrients that the algae feed on. Change 50% or more.
    Is your tank getting a lot of sunlight, maybe facing a window? What aquarium light do you use and how long is it on for each day?
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  3. seangee

    seangee Member

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    @Naughts has most of the bases covered. Is the green in the water or on the glass? Its not clear from the pic. When you drain the water for the water change wipe the glass with a clean sponge (above and below the water line). Also rinse your filter media in the old water that you took out before you throw it out. Squeeze any visible muck out of the sponge(s) and if you have biomedia give them a good swish around.

    Adding floating plants like frogbit or water sprite will give to extra benefits. They will compete with the algae for nutrients (starving the algae) and they will also filter the lights to reduce the available light. Your plants don't as much light as the appear to be getting.
     
  4. Kelly Preussner

    Kelly Preussner New Member

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    Ok, I will change water 50% every week. The tank I have is an Aqueon & it is the light that came on the lid. The light is on about 12-13 hours/day. It is near a window but only gets morning light & some direct. I try to keep shades down Until light is not direct. The green is in the water, not on the glass. I have the filter that came with the filter that came with the tank, over the glass & you replace the white carbon filled thing (I am very new to fish since January) lol. I purchased the make your own to save money. How often should I replace that, every water change? Also are you recommending I swish the new carbon in the old water before I put it in the filter? Also my water temp is about 76-77, FYI. Is that about right?
     
  5. seangee

    seangee Member

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    Try reducing your lights to 8 or 9 hours per day. This does not have to be the same time as daylight. I set mine to come on in the late afternoon and turn off at around midnight so I get to enjoy the fish at the time I am home. Is the white carbon filled thing the only media in your filter? If so you should not replace it too often as that is where bacteria live. Carbon is not really neccessary so a lot of people cut a piece of sponge the same size as that cartrige and never replace it until it falls apart, or cut a slit in the covering and pur the carbon out. Carbon does need to be replaced monthly of you do use it. There is no need to rinse the new cartridge, but no harm in it either. If there is also a sponge this should not get replaced, just rinsed.
     
  6. Kelly Preussner

    Kelly Preussner New Member

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    Thanks for all the advice. Yes, the carbon filled thing is my only media. I have been throwing away the whole thing. Maybe this is my problem. I have no sponge & have been getting rid of the bacteria every couple weeks! It has just been so dirty so I thought I should replace it.
     
  7. AbbeysDad

    AbbeysDad Member

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    Algae is the result of light and nutrients (aka pollution). Less light often solves the problem. However, as mentioned, you also want to do routine weekly 50% (or so) water changes ('the solution to pollution is dilution'). As for activated carbon, you really don't need or want it in a planted tank and it's only capable of adsorbing impurities for a week or so, so it typically isn't very cost effective. Carbon is useful for special circumstances. I'm assuming it's a cartridge filter. If you can get the carbon out, you can continue to use the cartridge filter pad until it about falls apart (just clean weekly or more often), or you might replace it with sponge material.
    BUT...
    Don't get too hung up on beneficial biology in the filter as there's far more BB in the rest of the tank, ESPECIALLY in the substrate (look at all that surface area!)
    :)
     
  8. Kelly Preussner

    Kelly Preussner New Member

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    Thanks for the info. Sorry, 1 last question. When I do my water changes, I suck out the water with a vacuum and I vacuum the substrate. Should I keep doing this or do I just change the water?
     
  9. AbbeysDad

    AbbeysDad Member

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    If you have gravel, it's a good idea to gravel vac at each water change. Gravel can easily harbor detritus and uneaten food that decays and pollutes the water. This is not necessary with a sand substrate as particles do not get down under. (I have pool filter sand (others have good luck with play sand) in my 60g for years and never had a need to disturb the substrate.)
     
  10. Kelly Preussner

    Kelly Preussner New Member

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    Yes, I have gravel. Just out of curiosity, if you use sand substrate, what about the left over food & poop that drops to the bottom, doesn't it sit on the sand & then wouldn't you have to vacuum that up? Again, I am new and trying to learn more! What is the advantage (if any) to sand vs. gravel? Thanks.
     
  11. AbbeysDad

    AbbeysDad Member

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    I have countless Malaysian Trumpet Snails and never see any 'crud' on the surface of the sand. Also, between rooted plants, rocks, and a (fake) hollow log, there really is only a very little visible surface sand. If it was an issue, one could hover over the sand to pick up anything...but it would be much quicker than gravel vacuuming. I'm not trying to convince you to switch to sand....I'm not working on commission here <hehe>... I just found it easier than gravel. ALTHOUGH I was doing some reading lately about (Dr. Kevin Novak) plenums. It seems there may be some advantage in using an under gravel filter plate (or equivalent) under gravel or sand, but with very slight flow through it (far less than would typically be used for a UGF).
    BUT I feel this is a case of "if it's not broke, why fix it!"

    If you gravel vac every (or even every other) water change, your water will be more pure than would otherwise be the case.
     
  12. Kelly Preussner

    Kelly Preussner New Member

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  13. AbbeysDad

    AbbeysDad Member

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