Blue algae in an established tank... - The Planted Tank Forum

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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-26-2003, 09:37 PM Thread Starter
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I have been noticing BGA (blue-green algae) in my 40g heavily planted tank...I know that BGA is really a bacteria and is caused by either poor water quality, lack of cleaning, over feeding...since my tank is heavily planted it is impossible to vac the gravel...my nitrates/nitrites are 0 and the plants/fish are fine...I could use an antibiotic to kill the BGA but it could also damage the plants plus I don't know where to get it...

I figured since my nitrates are 0 and I can't vac the gravel that must be the cause...I was told to try Malaysian Trumpet Snails to help clean the substrate but I am trying to find a LFS that has them...

Does anyone have any suggestions for this problem?

thx

40 gal Planted:
3 Zebra Danios, 3 Long-Finned Blue Danios, 2 Long-Finned Leopard Danios, 2 Horse-Faced Loaches, 1 Clown Pleco, 2 Fancy Guppies(male/female), 1 "Teenage" Guppy Fry, 5-6 sm. Guppy Fry, 2 Baloon Mollies, 2 Red Velvet Swordtails, 2 Ottos, 2 Yo-Yo Loaches, 1 Dwarf Puffer
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-26-2003, 11:00 PM
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Using antibiotics doesn't hurt the plants, just your pocket :lol: but for a 40 gal tank it should be affordable. You can get them in your pet store, there are different brands that contain Erythromycin, I think one of them is called EM tablets or so, and Maracyn (or Maracyn-2) as well, just read the package. I have read that 50% of the dose to kill "regular" bacteria is sufficient, but there are different opinions.

Zero nitrates could cause your plant growth to be less than optimal, I would try to shoot for at least 5 ppm. Happier plant = often less algae.

I think you can get MTS from fellow aquarian Anonapersona, send her a pm...
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-26-2003, 11:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HawkEye_Pierce
I was told to try Malaysian Trumpet Snails to help clean the substrate but I am trying to find a LFS that has them...
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...category=20757
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-27-2003, 11:14 AM
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Hi there,

You will be suprised but it could be that the reason for this blue algae is the frequent water change leading to nitrate=0. Both plants and algae need nitrate in order to prosper but blue algae is a better competitor for the nitrate than higher plants so when there's tiny amounts of nitrates the blue algae takes over....

I saw this bacteria in a store once - they are proud of the fact that they replace 40% of their water daily automatically....

Could you - before medicating your tank - just make sure you have nitrate level of 5%??? Another thing that I would like to suggest is that you clean your filter. But do these things one after another so we shall know which one caused the problem.

Aviel.
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-27-2003, 08:07 PM Thread Starter
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thx everyone...I did a search after I posted and found many ideas...the one's I like are the one's w/o meds...I medicated for ich and my plants did not like it...nor did the bacteria....

Aviel, are you suggesting that I do NOT do any water changes for a while? And when you say 5% nitrate do you mean 5ppm and if not how do I figure percentage?

I upped my fert dose but I am unclear how to test for nutrients? I went to the LFS and the only test kits they had were the normal freshwater kit by aquatic pharmacuticals (*SP?)...is there another kit I should look for or is there a way to measure trace elements, iron, phosphate, etc?

thx

40 gal Planted:
3 Zebra Danios, 3 Long-Finned Blue Danios, 2 Long-Finned Leopard Danios, 2 Horse-Faced Loaches, 1 Clown Pleco, 2 Fancy Guppies(male/female), 1 "Teenage" Guppy Fry, 5-6 sm. Guppy Fry, 2 Baloon Mollies, 2 Red Velvet Swordtails, 2 Ottos, 2 Yo-Yo Loaches, 1 Dwarf Puffer
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-27-2003, 08:55 PM
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Hi,

In addition to the "normal" master kit containing tests for GH, KH, PH, Ammonia and nitrid I have the following test kits:

Nitrate (NO3) test kit from a company named Red-Sea.
Phosophate from the same company
Iron from JBL.

From others experience medicating doesn't harm the plants and it work very good - please note in case the "natural" solution doesn't work.

Aviel.
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-27-2003, 11:51 PM Thread Starter
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Thx...I have pH, kH, gH, Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate...

I guess I'll have to look around for the Iron and Phosphate kits...

As for the water changes how often should I change if not every week? Every 2 weeks? Once per month? Or should I just monitor nitrates every few days and change when it gets high?

thx

40 gal Planted:
3 Zebra Danios, 3 Long-Finned Blue Danios, 2 Long-Finned Leopard Danios, 2 Horse-Faced Loaches, 1 Clown Pleco, 2 Fancy Guppies(male/female), 1 "Teenage" Guppy Fry, 5-6 sm. Guppy Fry, 2 Baloon Mollies, 2 Red Velvet Swordtails, 2 Ottos, 2 Yo-Yo Loaches, 1 Dwarf Puffer
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-28-2003, 10:49 AM
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Actually what they are saying is you do not have enough nitrates...the target range for nitrates is anywhere from 5ppm to 10ppm.
Nitrates cant normally "build up" in a planted tank, especially if its heavily planted like you say.
You should be adding nitrates if you are now at "0", you will most likely see a change in your plants as well.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-28-2003, 12:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buck
Actually what they are saying is you do not have enough nitrates...the target range for nitrates is anywhere from 5ppm to 10ppm.
Nitrates cant normally "build up" in a planted tank, especially if its heavily planted like you say.
You should be adding nitrates if you are now at "0", you will most likely see a change in your plants as well.
Yup. See

http://www.csd.net/~cgadd/aqua/art_plant_nitrate.htm

and related excellent articles at the same site (including calculators for mixing the chemicals for correct dosing).

Where I live, a good source for the necessary chemicals is hydroponics stores.

Kinketsu
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-28-2003, 05:54 PM Thread Starter
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thx Kinketsu fir the link...my next question was going to be where can I get nitrate...However I just did a search on Google and a site came up about bomb making!!!!! I hope the police won't be coming to my house because I want to improve my aqua-garden!!!!

I checked the internet sites for lowes and home depot but didn't see either of the products the article mentioned...I'll have to call the stores...

thx

PS...do you think they would have ireon & phosphate test kits maybe in the pond section?

thx again!!!!

40 gal Planted:
3 Zebra Danios, 3 Long-Finned Blue Danios, 2 Long-Finned Leopard Danios, 2 Horse-Faced Loaches, 1 Clown Pleco, 2 Fancy Guppies(male/female), 1 "Teenage" Guppy Fry, 5-6 sm. Guppy Fry, 2 Baloon Mollies, 2 Red Velvet Swordtails, 2 Ottos, 2 Yo-Yo Loaches, 1 Dwarf Puffer
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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-28-2003, 10:22 PM
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Yeah, you have to be careful nowadays when asking for KNO3...

You could use stump remover (Spectracide, Green Light, Grants...) which is hopefully pure KNO3, $5 buy you enough KNO3 for a few years (depending on your usage), or do it like some others and buy 50 lbs over the web which is cheaper per pound, and will be enough for a few hundred years, plus a few fireworks in your backyard (just kidding!!!).

Regarding test kits, your pet store might offer a better selection.
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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-29-2003, 01:54 AM
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Hawkeye,

Where do you live? If you are in a fairly large North American city there ought to be some sort of hydroponics outfit around. For instance, in Canada we have a nationwide chain:

http://www.hydroponics.com
http://www.hydroponics.com/info/aquatics/pmdd.htm

For small quantities of KNO3 I'd hope there wouldn't be too much difficulty.

Apropos test kits, your best bet might be to buy online. Lots of options in both USA and Canada, and I'm sure elsewhere as well. As just one example, http://www.aquatic-store.com has Lamotte kits. Just search on the kit you are interested in and you'll find plenty of options ... if you have any doubts about any vendor, have a look in the Online Vendor Reviews section of this site.

Good luck,
Kinketsu
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-29-2003, 12:05 PM
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Quote:
Yeah, you have to be careful nowadays when asking for KNO3...
BULLSH*T.

I can go down and buy a ton of KNO3 from a local supplier and nobody blinks. I can buy NH4NO3 by the ton and fill my diesel tank at the same time and nobody blinks. And NH4NO3 and diesel make a great improvised explosive.

Here in the US there might be a few places where people would ask questions. I would not live in those places. I can remember being young and going to the drug store and buying KNO3, sulfur and powdered willow charcoal and having the druggist telling me to be careful with my black powder. I also remember just a couple of years ago helping my dad blow out 500 apple tree stumps with amfo and quarter sticks of dynamite. Using the amfo was cheaper than full sticks of dynamite since he already had several tons of NH4NO3 and about 500 gallons of diesel.
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-29-2003, 01:09 PM Thread Starter
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Thx Rex...I feel real secure now!!!

I found Green Light Stump remover at Lowes for $4....a 16oz container...now I just have to re-read the article on how to use it and I will be all set...

Kinketsu, thx for the links and info

40 gal Planted:
3 Zebra Danios, 3 Long-Finned Blue Danios, 2 Long-Finned Leopard Danios, 2 Horse-Faced Loaches, 1 Clown Pleco, 2 Fancy Guppies(male/female), 1 "Teenage" Guppy Fry, 5-6 sm. Guppy Fry, 2 Baloon Mollies, 2 Red Velvet Swordtails, 2 Ottos, 2 Yo-Yo Loaches, 1 Dwarf Puffer
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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-29-2003, 01:14 PM Thread Starter
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OK...I read the article Kinketsu provided....I mixed 1 TBS of KNO3 with 100ml of water (basically cut the article's dose in 1/2 maybe a little less)...now 1ml of my premade solution will provide 0.771 ppm of nitrate (based on the calculator provided on the site) and over 1 week I should be up to 5-10ppm...

Don't worry I am only putting a few drops into a 1/4 TSP so as not to over-dose...

Wish me luck and THX to everyone!!

40 gal Planted:
3 Zebra Danios, 3 Long-Finned Blue Danios, 2 Long-Finned Leopard Danios, 2 Horse-Faced Loaches, 1 Clown Pleco, 2 Fancy Guppies(male/female), 1 "Teenage" Guppy Fry, 5-6 sm. Guppy Fry, 2 Baloon Mollies, 2 Red Velvet Swordtails, 2 Ottos, 2 Yo-Yo Loaches, 1 Dwarf Puffer
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