White Algae Bloom and moving fish to a new tank - cycle or use old filter temporarily?

Jan Cavalieri

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I've been fighting white cloud algae invasion off and on for MONTHS in my dojo tank. Finally one Dojo died (could have been from anything- the others look well). All the research I've done on this just said to do frequent water changes and just wait it out. That worked ONCE then after the large Dojo passed away Ammonia levels were moderately high (1,0) so I did a 80% water change - twice. Ammonia still sitting at 1 but I'm dosing it regularly with Prime to inactivate the ammonia damage. Other than some head and body damage the other dojos (from what little I can see of them) seem to be OK. The water is too cloudy to do a full count. All other values are perfect zero's with the PH coming in at 7.2 (7.0 is perfect). I was just about past the last outbreak when I decided to do the water changes to lower the ammonia levels - now it's back with a vengeance - worse than I've ever seen. Note that I add Prime to my water as well as a Neutralizer to lower my natural PH of 9.4 to 7.0 - it's worked well for the past couple of years and beats using PH down and just guessing. I know exactly how much to use of this chemical. Prior to the algae cloud it was normal for this chemical to cause cloudy water for about 1 hour or less (longer in the DoJo tank as they are extremely active fish and kept things stirred up. Once the water chemicals settled I was always left with a sparkling clean tank. This is the first death of a DoJo I have ever had.

The DoJo's are in a 50 gallon tank by themselves - it lacks most of any landscape because they eat or destroy/kill all vegetation I used to have a cover of plants at the top which then enjoyed too much - it made them constantly clog the uptake tube on their filter every couple of hours except during those long naps they enjoy in the afternoon (then it's like "don't wake the babies" so I don't touch the tank LOL). Anyway - now I'm left with the worst algae cloud EVER. The only remedies I've heard of is multiple water changes and to just wait it out. OK I can do that, but I risk the Dojo's getting more facial and side injuries by crashing into each other and the filter uptake tube and the wall. Starting to get afraid of infection breaking out - which I've read can be common in DoJo's just because of their activity level.

I ordered a 90 gallon acrylic tank well over a month ago and - like everybody - Bulk reef supply is experiencing hardship getting Acrylic tanks due to their high demand. Mine is supposed to ship by carrier within the next couple of weeks (I'll believe it when I see it). For the 90 gallon I am switching to a Fluval canister filter (I think the 004 model - good reviews, cost $200 on Amazon). My plan has always been to move their HOB filter with them into the new tank along with adding the cannister filter. Then adding a bottle of Tetra safestart - which I've had excellent luck with in similar situations. Now here is my question: IF I do this do I risk taking the White cloud outbreak with me? Does anybody know if the algae is in the filter or just in the water? Obviously, after waiting so long for a tank, I want to avoid having to cycle the thing, but I KNOW I do not want to risk carrying that algae with me to where we are doing 90 gallon water changes. BTW I just got out of the hospital a week ago with pneumonia which I still have (visiting nurses every other day ) I'm dead tired doing these water changes every day, all day. The guy that cleans my aquariums only can fit me in on Friday's - my daughter and husband work fulltime and have a crazy hyper 1 yr old boy. I'm an only child. Also forgot to mention - my smaller aquarium had a fish that passed away while I was in the hospital and just sat in the tank for a week - my daughter didn't notice (and he was hard to find -but once I lost 4 more fish - all but 1 gourami and 3 Rainbows I finely got brave enough to test the water. PERFECT EXCEPT for OFF THE CHARTS on ammonia - After 6 water changes I got the value down to 4 - I know, still unacceptable but I'm dosing daily with prime and no more deaths. I'm hoping the water change on Friday will take it down to at least 1 and the nitrate cycle will kick in and knock that 1 off the chart. I'd try to have this assistant out more often but the cost would start to add up quickly.

At this point, I am inclined to cycle the new tank normally (with the added help of Tetra safe start) it should be fully cycled within 1 day to 1 week. I'll add additional bacteria once the DoJo's move in. I was going to move my Rainbows back with them but have decided not to (I was convinced that they were stressing out my Gourami and that was what was killing them but now I know I can't blame that on the Rainbows (I just really dislike those fish for some reason - completely lacking any personality or charm IMO). So if anybody in the Topeka Kansas area wants about 8 Rainbow fish they can have them. I am seriously considering if Petsmart or Petco will take them off my hands - I would never think of harming them).

Another thing - I fought the "White Cloud Algae bloom" once in my smaller tank. The DoJo's were driving the Rainbows nutty with their crazy antics so for the Rainbow's sake I removed them and put them in an under-stocked tank of Gourami and Pleco. The tank they came from was just starting to recover from the white cloud algae bloom and within 2 days the tank I moved the Rainbow's too also had a White bloom. Obviously the Rainbows brought it with them. But once I got rid of it (after about 4 large water changes and waiting a week) it's never happened again. I was thinking of eventually moving the Rainbows back to the DoJo tank once I have the 90 gallon tank ready but have concluded that if the DoJo's had a 300 gallon tank that just 4 of them could monopolize the entire tank and drive any fish batty - plus their water temperature requirements change. Dojo;s like it at about 75 degrees or even lower. I've also got a huge mess on my hands in my little duplex - I had planned to start my saltwater/reef tank up a LONG time ago but these Algae blooms have me completely under their control. I've been hospitalized twice in the last 30 days I just can't keep up with all the water changes right now - so it's going to be "wait it out time" other than for high ammonia readings and hope no more fish die. So I've got tons of supplies already purchased and just stacked everywhere. I lost electricity the other night for 1 hour (I'm on oxygen 24/7 so I had very little time to get to a back up cannister and kept stumbling over everything trying to find a flashlight - and trying to keep from panicking - I've never had this happen while living alone before. Well DUH my smartphone serves as a flashlight. Suri saved my life that night - I was getting dizzy and not thinking straight. Luckily I've learned that little lesson. Then I caught my hair and a small part of my arm on fire while cooking something on my gas stove and reaching over the flames - SUPER STUPID when you are on O2. Could have blown myself up, but my hair was unusually frizzy that day and just plain stupidity. It also caused me to fall but those "fatter" parts of me are ok. My hair is so long I don't even see any missing and the little burn healed fast. I was VERY lucky. But I've also got to get this stuff off the floor and into aquariums.

One more question (but first I must digress) - if my $900 aquarium hasn't arrived after 6 weeks should I think about requesting a refund or doing a chargeback. Technically vendors (having been one once) cannot charge a credit card until an item ships. That's a big problem when you are a small company selling products that are very costly but take a while to manufacture. When my husband and I were building servers we might get a $12,000 payment and Paypal required us to ship within 3 business days - since we didn't actually HAVE $12,000 we had to use the customer's money to buy the parts and assemble and ship within 3 business days - and no Amazon back then. We nearly always made that deadline, 2 day shipping on parts and 24 hours to build test and ship. Many sleepless nights. All our designs were customized to the clients needs - like the spam client that wanted the cases of all 12 of his servers painted a very specific color of green so he could add his logo to the outside and have them "look pretty" in the racks (whatever LOL), another client needed a bunch of servers made with special backplates so it happened to be that one of my daughter's best friend's father owned a small metal fabrication company and made 12 of them for us for about $100. You would never see Dell doing that for clients with such small orders - but in the end, Dell put out a zillion refurbished/good warranty servers on Ebay and knocked off all of the 3 smaller Ebay sellers -including us. We went from selling $3 million gross to less than $10,000 gross annually in 3 yrs. Still our profit margin was only 10-20% so we were working for peanuts but it was fun having a small family business for a while. Even my daughter (10 yrs old at the time) was down there installing hard drives and DVD drives with her own screwdriver - she built her own computer at age 12 even doing all the hardware compatability research on her own rather than ask her step dad. She made it to give to her father for father's day. The next PC she made for herself - with a window on the side and bright neon lights flashing 24 hours a day. Can you tell I'm a proud mom?

So I purchased this tank from BulkReefSuppy.com after searching EVERYWHERE for a 90-100 gallon tank (glass or acrylic) that would fit in a stand or on a cabinet and without spending $3,000. In the end, spent $250 for the stand and $900 for the acrylic tank. Based on our emails Bulk Reef supply doesn't actually stock these, they have a company that makes them for them and supposedly that's where the delay has been. Of course he sat on my order for 2 weeks trying to talk me into purchasing another brand (but made by the same company) that I could get in less than 2 weeks) but ciost $400 more - at that point he hadn't charged my card yet. Only when I FINALLY insisted I could wait a few weeks to save $400 and told him to order it or I'd go elsewhere then he placed my order and charged my credit card. So it's been 5 weeks since he charged my card but 7 weeks of dealing with them. Has anybody else had issues with this company or are they, like we once were, a small startup juggling money all the time? If he misses the deadline I am seriously thinking of cancelling my order but I'm sure he's paid the manufacturer with my money by now and probably doesn't have enough cash on hand to reimburse me. I am very sympathetic to small businesses but this is getting a little crazy. Technically he had about 3 days after he charged my credit card to get my tank shipped - even we missed a few deadlines but not by 6 weeks. So should I ask for a refund or do a chargeback?

Thanks - sorry for all the background stuff (I know I'm not that interesting) and personal sob story but I don't get much company in my life - my cat however, is getting far better at talking to me. You should all be grateful for that. - Jan (Oh I'd post a picture but you would like see a tank filled with pure white water - up close the particulates are rather large and contain some orange particles from the time I stupidly fed them orange pellets which they chewed up and spit out. New tank will have new substrate as well. I am unable to locate visually any dojo except once every few minutes or so but it's nap timeW
 
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Jan Cavalieri

Jan Cavalieri

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The new 90 gallon tank (acrylic) arrives some time this week. So I guess my decision will be to get the filters going on the new tank and add 1-2 bottles of live bacteria and try to get this tank cycled in less than 2 weeks or these fish may die. Then I'll move them. At the same time I'll dump the substrate and all filters from the old tank and toss it. Rinse it out with a very light bleach solution to kill the algae or any pathogens running around and dry it all out before I redecorate for it's next occupants (my fish from my last 29 gallon tank); Want to buy about 10 more Gourami and hope the rainbow fish don't stress them out or anything - also going to buy a couple friends for my Honey Gourami that is still alive and see if she gets a little more brave. Then finally the weather should be cool enough to start chopping up really big live rock and dry rock for my saltwater tank (hammer and chisel method - these things are like bowling balls and that won't work in a 31 gallon "starter" saltwater reef. I'll be really upset if I mess that tank up because I've poured so much money and equipment in it. I'm ready to find out.
 

coriesinhawaii

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I wouldn’t put the old filter in the new tank or yeah it might bring the algae into that tank too. Not for sure but I wouldn’t risk it. Same for any decor or substrate so you would want to soak it in bleach first (and rinse well) before putting it in the new tank. That’s for anything non porous. Anything porous like driftwood or live plants I don’t think I would try to transfer to the new tank.

I had to start up a new tank and filter after I got tired of battling black beard algae in my tank. It was a success! But I started the filter from scratch along with the substrate and plants. I didn’t want to risk having the same problem in the new tank. Make sure your aquarium equipment like gravel vac, nets, and sponges are new too.
 

Byron

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I've never heard of "white cloud algae." Cloudiness that is green is an algae bloom, but when it is white/cream it is a bacterial bloom, organics bloom or diatoms bloom. None of these three are harmful to fish, though they are unsightly. Microscopic suspended matter in the water is another cause of a whitish cloudiness; this could be part of it, given the fish, and this also can come in with fresh tap water.

I dealt with an organics bloom in my 90g tank for 2-3 years and could never find the cause, though I suspected it was one or more of the chunks of bogwood. I happened to be moving and had to downsize, so this tank was torn down and the wood discarded.
 
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Jan Cavalieri

Jan Cavalieri

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I thank you both for agreeing with me. Although I really really really want to move the dojos in as fast as possible I don't want to take any risks with the white algae bloom (that's what all the books and videos call it) I'm going soak any rock in bleach and then rinse repeatedly. There are only plastic plants but they will get the same treatment, I bought a few other thing to add to a kind of silly atmosphere, Dojos after are pretty silly fish.
 

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