Bacteria Bloom fix? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-20-2008, 09:01 PM Thread Starter
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Bacteria Bloom fix?

What are the primary causes of a bacteria bloom? I suspect that is what I have been experiencing over the past several weeks. The setup is about 9 months old and nothing has changed lately. I'm wondered if a slow buildup of ferts or something (I'm doing EI) could be the culprit. I have a UV sterilizer I can hook up but I'd rather fix the problem than mask it (I think).

Ideas?
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-20-2008, 09:06 PM
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How are you cleaning the filter media? ...if it's a true bacterial bloom it's because your bio filtration is lacking or being disturbed on too regular a basis. The only way to actually get rid of a bacterial bloom is to wait it out, zapping it with UV, water changes, etc, are not a solution as you've realized (just masking it).

What size tank and what are the inhabitants? Water change schedule?

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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-22-2008, 05:02 AM
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I think I'm going through the same thing. Tank is about 3 months old. I scooped water out into a white plastic cup and the water had no green color to it. This led me to believe that it's a bacteria bloom. I'm going on week 3 with this. I was doing daily 25% water changes for 4 days and didn't notice any change. I guess I should ride it out. When I didn't have the bloom I was doing weekly 5g water changes. This is a 20g RCS tank.


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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-23-2008, 04:03 AM
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Originally Posted by BentZero View Post
I was doing daily 25% water changes for 4 days and didn't notice any change. I guess I should ride it out. When I didn't have the bloom I was doing weekly 5g water changes. This is a 20g RCS tank.

I get mild bacteria blooms only after water changes. Stop the water changes and ride it out, as you said.

To accelerate the process, oxygenate the water by dropping the level a few inches, so that the return flow splashes into the tank. That clears mine within a day.

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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-23-2008, 04:11 AM
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Just a water change shouldn't send your tank into a bacteria bloom- especially not a planted tank?

I'm with Indie- anything at all you can think of that may have affected your biological filtration?

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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-23-2008, 04:28 AM
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Just a water change shouldn't send your tank into a bacteria bloom- especially not a planted tank?

I'm with Indie- anything at all you can think of that may have affected your biological filtration?
The organics and chlorine in tap water contribute to my tank's slight blueish haze after large water changes. The chlorine definitely impacts biological filtration.

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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-23-2008, 04:42 AM
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I've never encountered that, I dose Prime for my aquarium volume and then refill (with otherwise untreated water) the 50% volume previously removed. The reaction of Prime against Chlorine/Chloramine in the water is virtually instantaneous. If you're killing your beneficial bacteria when doing a water change then something is wrong with how you're performing the water changes or the dechlorination chemical being used.

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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-23-2008, 10:04 PM Thread Starter
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It may just be the filtration in my tank. I'm getting close to the time when I'd clean the filter and replace the pad. Perhaps I need to reduce the time between changes. I'm planning to do a filter clean in a couple of days and will see how that affects the water clarity. Thanks for the advice..... back soon.....
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-23-2008, 10:20 PM
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I've never encountered that, I dose Prime for my aquarium volume and then refill (with otherwise untreated water) the 50% volume previously removed. The reaction of Prime against Chlorine/Chloramine in the water is virtually instantaneous.
I use straight tapwater, which is bad, but the bloom lasts only a few hours if the water is aerated. Should the need arise for a large water change, I'll use the Prime.

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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-24-2008, 12:00 AM
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The organics and chlorine in tap water contribute to my tank's slight blueish haze after large water changes. The chlorine definitely impacts biological filtration.
I was wondering about that phenomenon! Thanks for the explanation. It probably doesn't help that I give a little bit more fert after a water change.
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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-24-2008, 01:15 AM
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Never even occured to me that you might be using untreated tapwater! LOL

I never add untreated tapwater to my tanks. That definitely would be a good explanation.

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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-24-2008, 01:59 AM
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Wow, there are no circumstances where I'd ever do a water change without treating the water.

If you know it's bad, why do you do it?

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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-24-2008, 02:10 AM
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Originally Posted by tom855 View Post
It may just be the filtration in my tank. I'm getting close to the time when I'd clean the filter and replace the pad. Perhaps I need to reduce the time between changes. I'm planning to do a filter clean in a couple of days and will see how that affects the water clarity. Thanks for the advice..... back soon.....
Forgive me if I'm telling you things you already know, but you should never change all the media in your filter at the same time. A large portion of any tank's Nitrogen-fixing bacteria are found in the filter, and if you remove too much media all at once, that by itself can trigger a cycle and bloom in a tank. I only change 1/2 my filter media or less at a time, and any time I clean my filter I put back in the old media and don't change any media at all for at least several weeks to a month afterwards.

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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-24-2008, 02:54 AM
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Wow, there are no circumstances where I'd ever do a water change without treating the water.

If you know it's bad, why do you do it?

The tap water is bad in a nuisance way, not a tragic way. A typical tap water change for me never exceeds 3 gallons (approx 11%). For larger water changes I use distilled. When bacterial blooms occur, they are very mild, short-lived, and cause no harm.

Tank: 40 Gallon Breeder w/Eco Complete ||
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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-25-2008, 12:23 AM
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Did a water change today with dechlorinator. No blueish/white cloudy water at all--water is crystal clear. I don't know if it's because my canister is only a month old but I was used to doing 50% water changes with untreated tap and I never noticed anything but very transient cloudiness. A couple of weeks ago, it lasted a few days though. I am glad this thread came up--I am going to treat from now on.
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