Help With Cloudiness/Algae - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-26-2019, 09:35 PM Thread Starter
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Help With Cloudiness/Algae

Hey everyone, I’ve been lurking for a while but just recently signed up. I have a low tech, planted 36g Bowfront with a Finnex 24/7 planted cc light on it that’s been established for about 6 months. All was going well until I went on vacation for two weeks. I had my family watching the tank and the water got low, so I had them add water (with dechlorinator) to it. When I got home, my tank water was very hazy looking (not milky white). I’ve had my water tested and the parameters all appear normal. The fish in the tank are also doing fine for the most part.

Some info about the tank:
Water parameters all look relatively normal (no nitrates/amonia issue)
The water is soft/slightly acidic
Stocking is low currently, only have a pearl gourami, 6 harlequin rasboras, 2 guppies and 2 black nerite racing snails.
I try to ensure I don’t overfeed the fish, and that my family watching the tank didn’t either (showed them how to feed/how often).
It’s filtered by an Aquaclear 70 running the aquaclear filter media (rings/carbon/sponge) and a penguin wheel 150 with filter floss.
I dose thrive 3x a week (M/W/F) and also use API CO2 Booster daily. I don’t currently run injected co2

The issue: My water is constantly cloudy and unsightly. It’s been this way for about a month now. My family said it happened when they dumped the new water in the tank during the top off while I was gone. Additionally, there appears to be a mix of algae growing on my plants and glass. The snails have been pretty good about cleaning the tank, but it seems like they’re a bandaid fix for now. They aren’t solving the issue.

What I’ve done to try and fix it:
Typically I do 10% water changes weekly. For the last 2 weeks I’ve upped that to 20-30% every 3-4 days.
I’ve adjusted the lighting from the settings I used to have it at (max brightness for 7-8 hours a day, with a dimming period for about 3 hours) to run on the 24/7 setting the tank comes with. Since doing this I’ve noticed new plant growth which is nice, but I’m still having issues with algae.
I changed the filter material (carbon/pellets from aquaclear) two days ago.

Hopefully that is enough info to potentially diagnose the problem. I’ve attached some pictures to show the tank water/algae growth. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-26-2019, 09:52 PM
snails are your friend
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Welcome to the forums! Looks like a touch of green water, which is almost always from high light and usually ammonia is present. Hard to tell from the photos but you may indeed have a bacterial bloom as well. That's usually not something you see in a 6 month old aquarium that isn't overfed or had an unremoved death though. And you've been cursed with some green spot on the glass for good measure I see. That's usually low phosphate and low CO2. FWIW there is no CO2 in API's CO2 booster. Search the site for glutaraldehyde, that's more than I can get into here.

If that were my tank I'd back the lights to 8 hours a day (total), and the peak brightness to maybe 3 hours. A good water change regimen will speed things up, but don't do so much that you upset your cycle. As long as your source water is close to your tank's parameters, it should be okay. If you are newer to fish keeping, err on the side of caution and something like a series of 20% daily water changes for 3-4 days ought to do it. A UV sterilizer would make the water crystal clear, but the underlying issue is still there and I'd expect a different nuisance algae to pop up. Surprised it didn't improve at least some from adding fresh carbon.

Nothing good happens fast in an ecosystem.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-26-2019, 10:08 PM Thread Starter
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A fellow Ashevillian I see! I actually just moved from Asheville to Waynesville in February. Always nice to meet a local fish keeper! I’ve been keeping fish for about 10 years now, so I’m not a novice when it comes to fish keeping. Unfortunately I am when it comes to planted tanks, as this is my first attempt.

So for the water cloudiness, I may need to look into a UV sterilizer/doing 20% water changes daily for 3-4 days? The new carbon was only put in Monday, so it hasn’t been running long so I’m hoping that will help. As far as I know there aren’t any dead fish still sitting in the tank. I’ve moved the drift wood and vacuumed in the back to make sure.

As far as the algae goes, will reducing the lighting, scrubbing the glass and ensuring a good vacuum of the substrate take care of those issues? I’ve read a bit about the co2 booster (after getting it) and read at best it’s more of an algae killer. I’m not sure how true that is though.

After removing the algae from the glass, how would I go about removing it from the plants? Would a couple of Otto cats/bristlenose pleco help in that regard?
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-26-2019, 10:33 PM
snails are your friend
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Glad to see another local member! I owned the LFS in Black Mountain (still do, it's just a pet supply store now), so we may have met over the years.

I wasn't suggesting that you get a UV sterilizer, just that it would kill everything suspended in the water column. While that would mean crystal clear water, when those organisms are no longer there to consume the nutrients something else will almost always come along. And the water changes are largely just to make the tank not drive you crazy. Besides reducing their numbers, water changes should in theory reduce the nutrients, unless they are present in your tap. One of the big ones we can't easily test for are silicates.

A good wipe down and vacuuming can only help. "Pest" snails such as pond, ramshorn, and MTS are basically free and are pretty good at eating algae growth on leaves without adding much of a biological footprint. Over on the UK forums, most of those guys lose their mind over the sight of a "pest" snail, but I add them to every freshwater tank I set up. I could give you some if ever in the Black Mountain area. If you have another tank set up, squeeze out a sponge from it if you think some additional good bacteria might be beneficial. I suspect the light being too bright for the plant growth you have is a big culprit.

Nothing good happens fast in an ecosystem.
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