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Accidental (?) Green Water Tank Help


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I tried looking in previous posts, but all I am seeing is how to maintain a pea soup green tank. My tank maintains itself, so this is not a problem for me. However, for all the benifits of a green tank, the fact I have a huge tank in my living room full of green water, and not a fish in site, is kind of bringing me down. When I had my daughter and was in the hospital, and on bedrest prior to that, my poor tank didnt get a water change for the better part of 4 weeks, lo and behold, I had fish again! I changed the water 25% a day for a week, and after 2 days, pea soup. And since my Pleco died of unknown reasons, the tank has gotten worse, as there is now a film on the glass. While this might be a blessing to some, I hate it, so how do I make it go away? I leave the lights off, and the tank is out of the sunlight. - Meg

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Welcome back and congrats to the baby!

Well, I had an accidental green tank some years ago, and the only thing that helped me was repeted water changes... and cleaning, scraping algae...

maybe some one else has better advices...

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OldHag is basically right. You are doing ok with limiting the light - but that usually ends up in loads of brown algae!

Green algae grows when it has sufficiant light and food. To slow it down, you need to limit both. Limiting sunlight and having the lights on in the tank no more than 12 hours a day should help in the lighting department.

The food the algae loves is the nitrates that are produced by your nitrogen cycle. Your cycle takes the fish's waste (ammonia) and transforms it through the nitrogen cycle into nitrIte and then into nitrAte. That nitrate stays in the water until you change out water and dilute the amount of nitrates. Nitrates are very good fertilizers - and the algaes love them and thrive on them.

To lower the amount of nitrates, you need to do either more water changes (more frequently) or change more water at each change (or both). I am betting that while you were loving up that darling new baby of yours, the nitrates in the tank climbed to astronomical levels. Since then, changing out the standard amount of water you used to do before the baby is simply not getting a handle on the nitrates.

My bet is that the nitrates are so high that the amount you are changing each week is just barely keeping them in line - and they are still horribly high. If this is the case - it is probably good that you have the green algae. It is eating a lot of that nitrate - and maybe even keeping your fish healthy by doing it.

To address this, you are going to have to take an aquarium sponge and wipe down all the inner surfaces of the glass. This will remove the green layer on the glass. If it is thick enough, you may have to take a scraper (an old credit card works great) and scrape it off. Then change out a LARGE amount of water. I suggest taking a nitrate reading and finding out exactly how high the nitrates are in the tank. This will guide you in deciding how much water you need to change. IF you have no way of taking a test, you should start out changing out 75% or so. Match the water temp and do not forget to use water conditioner when replacing the water. Do not change or wash the filter media - just swish them out in the used water if you wish - but maintain your strong cycle while changing the water, only. (you can vacumn any gravel you have aggressively, though).

After changing out the tank, I suggest that you continue to test the nitrates in the tank, changing out whatever amount of water you need to in order to keep the nitrates at about 20ppm or less. I strive to keep my tanks at about 5ppm. I have very little algae. The common number quoted is 40ppm and under.

Let us know how it is going. And post up pics of that darling baby for us soon!!!! :)

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I tried the frequent water changes, it seems to make it worse! I changed, over the course of a week, about 150% of the water after I was out of the hospital, even though that is the only time I saw fish in there... and after about a week, pea soup. I was thinking that because the water changes seem to feul the algea... I might have a mineral or something in the water or some thing it likes? I will try to do a water overhaul, and see if this helps. Maybe a massive water change all in one day would choke it out. Cycle crash mayhaps... at least ammonia is easier to deal with. Thanks muchly guys :)

Ill put some baby pics up in community if yas want, lol - not that i mind showing her off!

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Changing out 100% of your water chould not crash the cycle as long as you do not disturb the media where the BB reside. So few BB are acutally in the water column that it is not worth worrying about.

Have you tested to see if you have ammonia or nitrates in your tap water?

Have you tested your nitrate levels? As I said before, just lowering the levels may not make them low enough. Diluting them down takes remarkable large amounts of water and numbers of changes to actually accomplish it.

If you can afford it, you might want to consider an UV unit - they will go far to eliminate free floating algae - the kind that makes the water, itself, green. It will not, however, even touch the algae that grows on the glass.

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To get you an answer, I think you definitely need to get water testing kits and take a look at the level both in your tank and tap. This should be able to be found in any local pet store that has decent fish supplies. Nitrate is important, but if you see an option for things like phosphates and silicates (rarer tests, but relevant to algae) pick those up too. Other good things to have are ammonia, nitrite, pH, KH, and GH.

Perhaps any Canadian friends on here can give you good sources for this sort of things up there.

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Thanks for the link Ranchu. I am wondering if hooking up UV lights above the tank would have the same effect?

Fredct - Where I live, there are no such things as a local pet stores. I can get a pH test and an Ammonia test here. Closest fish/pet store type deal is about 5 hours or so away. If I could test my parems, I deff would! This is generally the main problem. Cape Breton is an isolate rock.

So setting up a spare tank tonight for the fishes, if and when I find them. I have to run a hose out and in to empty/fill my tank, and by the time the water reaches proper temp and what not. Geez. <rolls up sleeves>

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Meg, perhaps the internet could help with that. There may be some Canadian stores that do mail order supplies for fish and other pets. There are several in the US. I'm wondering if someone may be able to give you information on that. Meanwhile, there are over 100K people in Cape Breton. You may be remote, but a decent number of others out there with you ;) .

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