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UGH! I'm really starting to hate the color green!

3815 Views 16 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Neptune Boulevard
And it's my favorite color! :x

My tank keeps getting algae blooms. I'll do a 35% water change 2X a week, treat it, and 2 days later it's back. I've tried using Tetra Algae Control but it doesn't seem to work at all. I've seen these UV bars that profess to kill algae but I don't know if its worth the money. Any ideas? :popcorn:
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UV Sterilizers are great at getting rid of free algae. Personally (though pricey) I recommend Aqua Ultraviolet sterilizers (find a dealer on their website or order online ( pond supply...I live nearby and got mine there. They also sell them online and claim to have them for the cheapest $$$...)). What I like about them is they have a lifetime guarentee/warranty, very sturdy construction (its housing is also UV resistant so you won't have to replace it like you would with other brands), etc.

Another brand I have no experience with but is more affordable is Coralife's Turbotwist UV sterilizers.

I suggest bigger and more water changes until the situation is under control, like 50% every two days for three to four weeks. Also, try reducing lighting period. Keep the lights off when you are not home, for example. Adding a filter and encouraging more water movement seems to help as well.
If you have something like high phosphates in your local water then your water changes are feeding the algae...

I've used UV lights for 5 years or so... I love them... The will eliminate all free floating algae and will reduce surface algae... As a bonus they kill parasites and make the water truly crystal clear. Sure they cost a bit, but to me their benefits are worth it for a display tank.

I have Turbo Twist lights and they work great... I like the way they hang on the side of a tank which is great for a unit used to move between tanks...

My preferred brand is Danner as they are built very tough and meant to last. They're housing is also UV resistant.

I've never used Aqua Ultraviolet sterilizers but to be honest... I've never gotten a bad review from a UV light that was properly used... As long as it doesn't leak and the bulb works... the light pretty much does what it's supposed to do...
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thank you all for your advice, I think I may invest in a UV sterilizer, but I'm going to see if a couple bigger water changes will work first. :thumb:
Stop using algae killing products. The only chemical you should have to throw at your tank dechlorinator.

I would contact the local water company and ask for their annual water quality report. Phosphates will make your battle harder.

You could try purigen, which will help remove organics that feed the algae. Slow feeding down as well. A phosphate pad would help too.

A UV sterilizer will remove all free floating algae, but will not remove algae from surfaces and it doesn't take much to have it spread on a surface. You may need to do multiple things to get this under control. I really like my Submariner uv unit as I can move it from tank to tank without having to mess with plumbing.

None the less, good luck. Keep us posted. Have you checked all water params?
A UV sterilizer is really only necessary for green water, if you have algae sticking on the glass or covering your substrate a sterilizer will only be marginally useful. The answer to many algae questions in a non-planted tank is to reduce the amount of light. Turning off all the lights and covering the glass with something like a black trash bag to block all light for 3-5 days will pretty much kill most algae (except green water, UV sterilizers are known to be effective on green water.) After turning on the lights you'll want to control the time and intensity of the light. Your fish don't need the light to see, ambient light through a window will be enough for them to see food and keep from running into decorations, except in planted tanks I only turn on the lights when I expect to glance at the aquarium. Usually after I get home from work I'll go through the house and turn on the lights (on my planted tanks that have timers set to come on just before I get home) and feed the fish then switch the lights off before I go to bed. I have my lights on for 5-6 hours in the afternoon and evening and that's it. I've had very few problems with algae this way.

You should test for ammonia before and after a water change, ammonia is known to trigger algae growth because it can actually use the nitrogen in ammonia faster than it can use nitrogen in nitrate. If you are getting an ammonia spike that could be part of your problem.

I know it sounds a little backward but if your gettting blooms after a water change maybe you need to stop doing so many water changes. The nutrients in your tap water are what is feeding the algae, if you deprive the algae of nutirents it will die. Don't worry so much about your water quality, the algae will eat nitrate and other wastes so you can extend the time between water changes a little more than if you didn't have the algae.
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I think the first thing to do is identify the cause.

phosphates in the water are quite often the culprit. so the use of a phosphate remover should sort it.

a UV steriliser/clarifier treats the problem(of green water, not algae on tank/décor), but doesn't solve it. so you are adding another bit of equipment that needs to be maintained and running costs. and the moment you remove it it comes back.(clarifier's are usually used on ponds and are therefore cheaper per watt, however, three is a larger gap between bulb and wall, so they only kill some of the algae spores, and the odd bacteria/virus. steriliser's have a much narrower gap, and will therefore kill all organisms in there.)

as others have suggested, get a report form the water company. this should give an indication whether its the tap water causing it.

another thing to note, if you are feeding frozen foods, rinse off the thawed juice first, as this is extremely high in phosphates.
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i will check on the phosphates, i would call the county water supply for that I'm guessing.

The only parameter that is out of whack is my nitrites, they are pretty high and I have no clue on how to lower them.

I have a pretty dark room, I like living in a dungeon as my dad used to say. My tank light is on for a max. of 3 hours a night and thats it.

All I really have is the free-floating green algae. If it's not that its a white haze but I'm pretty sure that goes away within the first 3 months of initial cycling correct?
nitrItes are high?? I'm hoping this is a typo and is really nitrAtes, nitrites are harmful to the fish, and would suggest you have insufficient/non cycled filters.

light wouldn't seem to be the issue, however I would check to see that your timer is working correctly. they might be receiving more light than its supposed to.

UV will clear it, but I would try and ID the cause and remove that, rather than invest in expensive equipment
If nitrites are supposed to be at 0 then I am high. My tank has been cycled and I am running the filter that came with the tank.

I don't have a timer on the tank, i turn it on when I get home from work (10pm-ish) and turn them off when I go to sleep (midnightish).

I wish I knew the cause, but thats why I'm here! haha :wink:
Have you added new fish recently or completely changed your filter? IF so, then you are at minimum going through a mini-cycle. Do water changes, asap, 25% maybe twice a day. What do your nitrites read?
nitrItes should be zero.

I would use a 5* strength dose of prime to detoxify them, leaving them available to the filter to remove, yet not effecting the fish.

have you had a response with regard phosphate readings??

and all of what under_control said.
The last fish I added were 2 2" viejas around the first of June. I have not changed the filter since i set up the aquarium, just the cartriges. I will start the 25% changes today. I just did a test and it read that nitrites were at 7.5 :?

Where would I find the prime? And I haven't really had much of a chance until today, I have had work every day until now.
That is what I was asking--changing the filter=cartridges. Does it only have one cartridge? OR two? If it has two, only clean one at a time, as this will throw you into a cycle.

Prime is available at petsmart, petco, big als, etc. It is a seachem dechlorinator that is prob the best, and petsmart had it on sale here this week. One bottle treats 2500 gallons, so it goes a long ways.

What kind of test kit are you using? Test strips? They are junk. Do yourself a favor and buy a good master test kit.

Do a water change. ASAP.
Haha you gotta give me some slack here, I'm usually not awake before 12. I have been changing both, I will definitely take your advice on both the filters and the prime.

I knew the test strips were junk, but I didn't have the money to get the whole kit. Thanks to the stimulus check i just received, I can splurge.
I have been using the prime, and I definitely see a difference, my nitrites have been cut in half and the chlorine went from little to none!
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