Green H2o....with stinky sand UPDATED!! Aug13,2004
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Old 08-04-2004, 03:19 AM   #1
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Green H2o....with stinky sand UPDATED!! Aug13,2004


I have now gotten the dreaded Green Water syndrome...!!!

In my 20H... 40 watts of light GE 9325 bulbs (higher output than normal bulbs just to make it plain that this aint no low light tank)... CO2 @ 20ppm...No3, and Po4 balanced at 10:1 ratio.. only dose them two plus K..

The tank is realatively new I guess... this green water is the worst though. my DIY co2 ran out one day (i noticed it after about 3 days of cloudy water that just got worse and worse...) ph was 8.0 (normal) now it got it back down to 7.2.. but the plants are just not kill the algae bloom off very well. I tried two big water changes in two days (over 50 %) but it only succeeded in slowing the growth down. How long should i wait till this goes away.... the top of the water is all oil slicky..EVERY DAY NOW..I think from die-off of either my precious plants of the dumb algae colonies..not sure. The fish(they are expendable platties) gasp at the surface a lot..or just hang out there.. because of the bad water. I read that I should not change water..but not sure what to do.

The tank is moderatly to lightly planted (a lot of new plants that need to fill in)... I got a lot of fast growing stem plants in there.. some grow or did grow an inch a day or more. the tank worked great till this co2 mix went off...

SO... should I just wait or should I change water every day.. or should I just stir the surface of the water every so often (until I can afford a surface skimmer--we are broke now)??
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Last edited by fedge; 08-14-2004 at 02:51 AM..
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Old 08-04-2004, 03:43 AM   #2
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New plants can go up to a month without added fertilization. The store sells them right from the grower who pushes growth by loading them with nutrients.
You have good light, a lightly planted tank, with new plants that probably don't need any ferts, and you are dosing them. So, you are feeding the algae.
You need to cut the dosing down or out for a while. Lots of light needs lots of plants in a new tank, to balance the light level. Lots of Stems, and some floaters such as Egeria, Salvinia. Water Sprite can be either a floater or planted in the substrate. Plant as heavily as you can afford.
But before you buy the plants, shut off the CO2, and do a 50% water change. Then cover the tank for 2 days with blankets or trash can liners blocking out all light. After 2 days uncover and do another water change.....don't feed the fish.......re-cover the tank for 2 more days.
Uncover and do another 50%er and plant heavily. Start the CO2 up and keep it up. You caused a lot of the problem by letting it run out, but the odds are it would have occurred anyway because of excess nutrients.
The black out will clear up the algae(green water), but it will return if you don't plant heavier and dose only what the plants can use.
Don't like the sound of fish gasping at the surface. Do you know the kH of your water? If you are adding CO2, you need to have a kH of at least 3.0 H. This will buffer the water and protect the fish. If you don't have one I recommend a kH test kit.

Len
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Old 08-04-2004, 03:44 AM   #3
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Well, again, you're not alone. My new tank is also green right now. The hair algae stopped growing already but the green water started to kick in since last week. IMO, it's more towards the combination of new tank syndrome and the fact that plants have not totally established themselves. This is just a temporary imbalance. I don't dose any ferts yet (not even nitrate). I'm just gonna sit back and wait. There is nothing I could do since all the nutrients levels are all 0 (N,P, ammonia).
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Old 08-04-2004, 07:14 PM   #4
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Well my No3 and Po4 keep zeroing out... Some of the plants are very fast growers vals and such that over 2 months old and have been in the tank as long. So its a mix of new and established plants. I have fast growing stargrass also... filling in a quarter of the tank. I really dont aggree with blackouts.. I would worry about making the plants senese (sp) and forcing them again to live off their stored "fat"...I didn't get these from a grower. i got them from a trade from this forum. the others are great lake plants...

I was just wondering how long it will take to get rid of this problem, if I were to let the plants out-compete the algae?
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Old 08-04-2004, 07:38 PM   #5
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While there's lots of good info on green water on this board, i traced my last 2 outbreaks to a source that hasn't been mentioned (that I've seen). Bulbs (the plant kind) that are starting to go bad/soft can really make the water green. If you have any bulb plants, it's worth checking. A quick sniff will tell you (and is less offensive to me than the squeeze test--yuck). My last outbreak took me a while to track down--the bulb was growing a beautiful plant on one end and rotting on the other.
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Old 08-04-2004, 09:51 PM   #6
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Nope I don't have any bulb plants...

BUT

I did think of something... I may have set this tank up to FAIL from the start!!!!!!!!!!

I used sand and peat moss (about 2 cups of peatmoss or more in a 20H.. w/ 2 gallons of sand). Today I took a handfull out and smelled it. YUCK...reminds me of a toilet or something!!! The tank itself does not stink..but I am starting to think that the peat moss is rotting or something.
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Old 08-05-2004, 03:19 AM   #7
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If you spread the peat moss across the bottom of the tank and covered it with sand(hopefully not really fine sand), you should have no problem regarding peat moss.
I put a dusting down first, before anything else in all my newly set up tanks and it's great for establishing and maturing a tank.
Have you ever used plant tabs, or Jobe's Spikes in your substrate. They are notorious for causing green water issues if they are disturbed and pulled out of the substrate before they are spent.
BTW, a blackout will not hurt the plants or fish, even when used over a 4 day period.
Never had a problem with either after blacking out a tank, and it's very effective.

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Old 08-05-2004, 04:02 AM   #8
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Default disturbed ferts

But, if you think this is from a fert spike being disturbed, then you will want to add more sand to seal the spot and do a large water change.
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Old 08-05-2004, 03:53 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fedge
...
I used sand and peat moss (about 2 cups of peatmoss or more in a 20H.. w/ 2 gallons of sand). Today I took a handfull out and smelled it. YUCK...reminds me of a toilet or something!!! The tank itself does not stink..but I am starting to think that the peat moss is rotting or something.
Well this is the reason I have said that peat can be a bad idea. The good news is if you have a lot of rooted plants they can fix the substrate for you. Don't turn off the light. Let the plants catch up. If you can live with the green water the tank will eventually stabilize and the green will go away as the plants make use of the mess in your substrate. Don't do anything to disturb the substrate unless it is planting more plants. Keep checking your water parameters and try to balance them once or twice a week, no more. It does go away.
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Old 08-05-2004, 04:37 PM   #10
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THANK YOU ALL.. for your comments and patience.(something I don't think a lot of people here really appreciate!) I am very glad their is a group of people like this around to talk to. It keeps the "freak outs" to a bare minimum. I think what I will do is NOT change water more than once every week or so... and plant some more plants(when possible). I WAS going to scrape the whole mess..pull out the plants.. dump the substrate and use the flourite I got (big al's 10 dollar deal....I didn't need it but didn't want to pass it up!!!)....but maybe I will hold off on that idea. I really want to LEARN not just FAIL (besides I dread trying to catch the ottos and shrimps in the tank)...alot of people keep sand bottom tanks, rivers are sand/mud bottoms, so are most lakes...there has to be a way to balance it out...I just have to learn. BTW I dont use those fert spikes... I have some in my 29 gallon... but that is becuase it has just neon blue gravel in there. That tank is going REALLY well..I have plants that need good light growing (albeit not that lush) with just a 20 watt ODNO bulb. Rotala indica Ludwigia, and pennywort. I just added co2 to the tank to try to boost the plants a touch.
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Old 08-06-2004, 08:23 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SCMurphy
Let the plants catch up. If you can live with the green water the tank will eventually stabilize and the green will go away as the plants make use of the mess in your substrate.

How long till it goes away??? a week .. two weeks.. months???
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Old 08-07-2004, 03:41 PM   #12
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One way to 'speed up' the process is via the use of a Diatomaceous Earth filter. This doesn't correct the nutirent imbalance but is does take the green out of the water and allow the plants to grow using the nutrients first. This moves the whole getting in balance process forward a bit.

Green water does have one nice side benefit, it tends to keep other algaes at bay while it is in bloom. By removing it early you risk having other algaes bloom in it's place, if you go the DE filter route make sure you have enough plants in the tank to take up the nutrients. Be sure to test and balance those macros!
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Old 08-07-2004, 06:34 PM   #13
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I don't think that your problem is associated with peat moss. Heck I run a 1" layer of it on my tank (way more than 2 cups), topped with a 2" layer of flourite, and then another 2" of sand right on top of that....The plants are loving it at this moment, even though the tank has been neglected for months (crypts are really healthy and have grown considerably).

As for lighting, that's really not much lighting (I run a very high light tank, and my tank is smaller than yours. Currently running 64 watts on mine), relatively.

I would instead concentrate on nutrient export instead for your problem. I would cut off fertilization for the moment and just leave everything else going, so that your plants strip the tank of nutrients (I do this also for coloring plants...). It will take perhaps up to a month or two (most likely less if your plants are growing as fast as you say).
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Old 08-09-2004, 09:58 PM   #14
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ok Im done with this thread.. FOR NOW I HOPE!!!!

I dumped the tank today.. MAN A LOT OF WORK!!!

I syphoned out about half the water.. started to catch the fish (too hard)...then I sypohned out more water and caught all the fish. Two or three shrimps eluded me...which sucks cause I liked them little guys and I think I end up flushing them by accident or I inadvertively baried them alive!!! SHOOT!! I tried to find them in the gunk, sand, etc..but no luck. I took the fish and plants and put them in seperate bowls. I have a really cool peice of bogwood that I had javaferns growning on. I placed thaton our washing machine and then covered it in paper towels and misted the towels till they were sopping wet. My Stargrass, hygrofilia (sunset) and other plants were NOT fairing so well anymore (main reason I dumped the tank). Stargrass was all 70% rotten. Hygro was starting to do the same. anubias and java ferns were all fine (probably cause they like low light or can stand it).. The water looked just like green jello before you put in the refrigerator.

So now after about an hour of work.. I had an empty tank to rinse out of the sand and slop. The peat moss was no longer anything resembling peat moss. It looked like BLACK SOIL! Smelled REALLY REALLY BAD! I think it was the total cause of this mess. Now I have only flourite in the tank (mixed with complementry gravel). The tank is just now clearing up (even after a good rinsing of the flourite). and most of the plants are going back in.

Im going to hope that I don't get another algea bloom, but if I do, this time I will have no qualms about waiting it out... this substrate won't add to the problem as much as the last. The sand was sugar fine and non of the waste was going into it..just sitting on top...(POOR SHRIMP..man that makes me mad..I was just trying to catch them to save thier lives).. rotting away. My daughters tank is sand also.. I did that one BEFORE this whole mess. I think though that i won't have the same problems. It has about 1/4 cup of peat moss and a dap of kitty litter with a ton of sand on top...very coarse grained sand. The tank looks good..a little cloudy.. but so new its hard to tell what is causing the cloudiness yet (we just started to add baby platys, a couple at a time). ALso, the tank is packed full of good fast growers so within a month I think all the problems will disappear (MAN I HOPE SO ANYWAY>>>I DON"T LIKE TO TEAR DOWN TANKS)

So this posting is pretty much closed now..for now..permanently I hope.
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Old 08-09-2004, 10:11 PM   #15
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Sounds like you had some anoxic layers in the substrate...that would explain the smell.
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