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Blue-Green Algae

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SiMorris

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I really don't understand the need for such drastic action. The fish are not that badly off now, so why stress them by catching/moving them unnecessarily? This is the highest form of stress fish experience, being netted, because it is the same thing as escaping a predator for your life.

Reducing light some, and keeping up with a good regime of water changes and not overfeeding will deal with this, just give it time. And it is not really hurting the fish as I say.
Understand what you're saying. I'll cut the light intensity because as you said 2 tubes might be too much (although it's been ok for over a year before the problem started, and in the past month or so it's only really on for no more than 3-4 hrs a day) so worth giving it a try.

My concern is that the plants and fish are slowly dying off, and I'm really only just keeping it clean by a 2 hr cleaning session every week with a complete tank and filter strip down & water change. I'm not sure how long the remainling fish can survive for if I don't do anything soon.

Also I've only got a small number of fish left now, and I hardly need to feed them much and things are not getting any better in the past months, hence I'm getting desperate.

I agree, trying to catch the fish is really going to stress them out, and that's if I can even get near them when they're hiding in amongst the plants and decors. The treatment says it's safe for fish and plants, may be it's better for the fish to be left in the tank during treatment?

If this doesn't work then I might have to strip the tank completely, fish out, and blitz the whole tank and start from scratch. Either that or I watch it slowly turn into a green goo of a fish grave yard and the plants turn into a wet pile of composs . . . . :((
 

Byron

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I do recognize your frustration. My two outbreaks were not anywhere as bad as this.

What are nitrates reading in this tank? And test the source (tap) water on its own for nitrate too, just to know.
 

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If fish are dying there could be another underlying cause. Blue green algae is an irritant and will cause problems to fish that are in contact with it (eg: Corydoras swimming on the bottom that is covered with bga). However, small areas of bga should not harm mid or upper level fishes or even bottom dwellers that are not in direct contact with it.

It's possible something else is going on and that is killing the fish and causing the bga.

What happened a month before this started?
Did you add anything new to the tank before this started?

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You can make a big gravel cleaner out of a 1, 1.5 or 2 litre plastic drink bottle and a garden hose. This will allow you to gravel clean the tank faster and reduce the time you spend cleaning it.

Get a 2 litre plastic fizzy drink bottle and cut the bottom off it. Remove the cap and plastic ring at the top and throw these bits away. Put the end of a garden hose in the top of the bottle and run the hose out the door onto the lawn. Gravel clean the tank and drain the water outside. Then fill the tank with dechlorinated water.

If you have a big tank, you can use a large plastic bin, wheelie bin or storage container to dechlorinate new water while you are draining the tank. Then use a small water pump and some plastic hose to pump the new water into the tank. You can make a U out of pvc pipe and attach the hose from the water pump to the U. Then hang the U over the edge of the tank and turn the water pump on to fill the tank.
 
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SiMorris

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The nitrates have always been on the low API scale whenever I tested it, around 5ppm. Tap water nitrate is always zero, slight bit of phosphate sometimes.

The only thing I can remember (whether or not it has anything to do with it) was a new plant about a week or so before. I didn't quarantine it as I normally would (in a lazy mood at the time)

Other than that, because it's such a low load tank, it was very easy to look after for nearly 2 years. Only ever lost a dwarf gourami in a year. Now I'm heading towards Armageddon! :( :(
 
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SiMorris

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By the way, I don't mind so much for the time cleaning it, it can even be quite theraputic sometime. The worst bit is seeing bits of plants dying slowly each time I do a clean, it's quite depressing.
 

Colin_T

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There might have been a bit of blue green algae on the plant and that has set up home in your tank. Or the new globes aren't the right spectrum.
 
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SiMorris

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Got the PureBlue blue-green algae remover this morning, which is pretty quick considering I only ordered it just before the weekend!
As for the tank, only cleaned it a few days ago and is already half covered in the slime. Didn't have time to deal with it this morning so had to wait till I got back from work.
As per instruction, made up the solution with the powder provided and put in the amount according to my tank size, pretty straight forward really. So far so good.
I tried to ask the seller how it works just so I can be sure if the fish is going to be ok, as I wouldn't be able to catch them without causing a great deal of stress to the fish. Understandably they wouldn't give me the ingredient list but reassure me that the fish will be perfectly fine. Anyway, they gave me their website address which has a bit of info on it if you're interested: www.aquamedics.co.uk
I'm going to keep a very close eye on it. I guess the most important thing is to make sure it hasn't wiped out the good bacteria together with the cyanobacteria and practically un-cycled the tank. So I'll be doing check on the ammonia level daily. Is there anything else I need to be keeping an eye on otherwise?
Fingers crossed.
 

seangee

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I would not use it. That site goes to great lengths to tell you what is not in it, why not just say what is. Perfectly safe in marketing speak just means it won't kill your fish (immediately). They use to say the same thing about thalomide as a treatment for people!!!
 
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SiMorris

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I would not use it. That site goes to great lengths to tell you what is not in it, why not just say what is. Perfectly safe in marketing speak just means it won't kill your fish (immediately). They use to say the same thing about thalomide as a treatment for people!!!
So far so good although it's early days yet. I would not want to use such chemicals normally but the plants and fish were heading down a one way street to armageddon anyway if I didn't do it.

I tried looking into a few other "magic cure" to see what's in the active ingredients but no manufacturer will tell you what is in it, knid of a trade secret I guess.

Time will tell, I'll keep you all updated. Fingers, toes and all dangly bits crossed.
 
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SiMorris

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On the fifth day after application of the PureBlue treatment, I was getting quite disappointed this morning, nothing much has changed, the blue-green algae has not got worse since the treatment began but neither had it got any better. So for the whole day at work I was planning how to blitz the tank, and worry about how many of the fish and plants I'll manage to save, and generally getting quite depressed.

Then when I got home from work, like magic fairies have been, the tank was completely cleared of the slime, not a trace of it! So the PureBlue blue-green algae remover has worked! I still can't believe just how sudden it worked, it's like magic, just couldn't beleive it!

I've not seen the tank so clean for a long time! Unfortunately now that the slime has disappeared, it is even more obvious that a lot of the plants had died. Just spent the last hour or so clearing out the dead plants.

I won't get too excited though (difficult since the tank looks so nice now) because it's still early days yet, the slime could potentially come back anytime, I shall see, not that I'm suspecious or anything, you know when threy say it's too good to be true. . . . Really hope the treatment will last, then I can start to think about restocking the tank.

So so happy PureBlue has done the trick! :) :)

Checked all levels daily this whole week, ammonia and nitrite were always zero, nitrate and phosphate went up a bit yesterday, now back to 5 and 0.5 ppm.

I'll carry on keeping a close eye on the levels, and as suggested per instruction, will hold off water change for another week. Will report back next week, or sooner if anything changes.
 
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SiMorris

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It's been a few weeks now since the treatment started. I thought I'd post an update.
The treatment worked really quickly, and the result has lasted. Took a little effort to clear away the visibly dead plants and it looked quite bare initially. Few weeks on and the plants are now healthy, fish are happy. I've started re-stocking the plants and slowly added a few fish back in, lights are back on so I'm enjoying the aquarium a lot more now. It's back to normal maintenance routine, levels are stable and there is no sign of the slime returning, so I guess it really has worked, and properly got rid of the slime for good. Just hope it doesn't return, but if it did, I have a spare treatment kept aside so I can treat it before it kills anything in my aquarium. Thank you all for the advice and information, very much appreciated.
 
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I had a bit of trouble with blue green algae. Here's what I found out worked and how I got rid of it.
Gently rubbed it off all the leaves of my live plants (it rubs off easily between thumb and fingers), removed decorations for separate cleaning, scrapped down all the glass very carefully. Vacuumed the heck out of the substrate and did a 20% water change. Fed my fish. Covered the tank with towels and a blanket for just over THREE DAYS. Complete black out, no lights, no peeking.
After three days, uncovered the tank, vacuumed again, another water change maybe a little less volume 10-15%. Done
All of my fish came through the three days without a problem. Female bettas, swordtails, glass fish, odessa barbs, glowlight tetras, ottocinclus cats and some nerite snails.
I have come to learn that blue green algae likes still waters and that a bit of water flow will keep it from propagating too much.
 
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Sorry I forgot to mention something important. Blue green algae (BGA) is a photosynthetic bacteria that releases a poison (cytotoxins) when it dies. That is why you need to scrape everything down, remove affected decorations and vacuum out as much as possible before the black out. If too much dies while the tank is covered the water may become too toxic for the fish. Vacuuming out afterwards gets rid of what died during the black out. Be sure to keep track of water parameters daily afterwards. Three days with no food added to the tank can upset your nitrogen cycle a bit, it did mine.
Let me add that I purchased live plants this past summer and never had BGA before those plants arrived. I also never had black beard algae (BBA) which greatly reduced my progress trying to raise sword plants. The black out greatly reduced the BBA and while I still have some, the water parameters have stabilized.
 

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Sorry I forgot to mention something important. Blue green algae (BGA) is a photosynthetic bacteria that releases a poison (cytotoxins) when it dies. That is why you need to scrape everything down, remove affected decorations and vacuum out as much as possible before the black out. If too much dies while the tank is covered the water may become too toxic for the fish. Vacuuming out afterwards gets rid of what died during the black out. Be sure to keep track of water parameters daily afterwards. Three days with no food added to the tank can upset your nitrogen cycle a bit, it did mine.
Let me add that I purchased live plants this past summer and never had BGA before those plants arrived. I also never had black beard algae (BBA) which greatly reduced my progress trying to raise sword plants. The black out greatly reduced the BBA and while I still have some, the water parameters have stabilized.
:oops::oops::oops: I left my tank covered while I am away from home! I did clean it before though...and I intend to vacuum as soon as I get back. I'll check parameters too.
 

Stan510

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My 2 cents: I've had two outbreaks in over 40 years of fishkeeping. First was when I had an undergravel filter with a full tank of plants..the gravel had some potting soils mixed in as some plants were in pots,some in the gravel. The cause to shorten this,was too much nutrients..I cured that with antibiotics.
The second was a year and a half ago in the 240. To shorten that... More circulation helped,but what really killed off the bga was when I covered the pool sands I had as a substrate with (white) aquarium gravel. I tell you...the hobby's love for sand now has been the cause of so many bga threads on fish forums and all over youtube. It's the sand,something about the silica or type of,is an endless food supply for the algae. In fact,I had used pure white fine sands from the dollar store mixed with the pool sands..and that raised the bga to even higher levels of growth-lol.
I covered it with gravels where light is most intense..and its gone. It never from the start would grow on the inert gravel. Proof,its the sand.
 
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