View Full Version : Algae on sand
12-20-2007, 03:51 PM
I have a crappy gravel vac and its still leaving my sand kinda gross looking. Lately i've been noticing a green tinge on the top layer...i'm only guessing that its algae growth? I've been trying to mix it up a bit with my fingers and holding the vac a little closer. but its not helping much. And i'm not sure how much the oto's will eat the algae off the sand. Anyway I have two questions. Do you think its the lack of suction power and things not getting pulled off the sand? Also...how do the pythons compare suction wise to a regular manual gravel vac?
Anyone else have this problem with their sand?
12-20-2007, 03:54 PM
Could be gasses building up under the sand. Run your fingers thru it to stir it up abit.
12-20-2007, 04:04 PM
Thats what i've been doing. I stir everything up and the green disappears but its back by the next water change. I try to run my fingers through the sand each water change.
12-20-2007, 04:15 PM
Gases don't build up that fast. I think stirring it up some every couple months is about norm. How deep is the sand? You may have too much in there. Could it possibly be diatoms from being a newly set up tank?
12-20-2007, 04:43 PM
Its about an inch deep, enough to bury my fake plants lol...is that too much?
12-21-2007, 02:12 PM
A site with nice pics of different algae:
I just went through a bout of cyanobacteria (Blue-green, Slime or Smear algae). It looks like algae. It grows easily on substrate or moss (mostly, but also on any surface). It is slimy. It starts as a thin layer.
It was growing first on my moss, then on sand, then on other surfaces.
It is known to develop when there's low water circulation, or a buildup of toxins due to not servicing your filter's cartridges often enough, or low nitrates (maybe that one only applies to a planted tank though).
I don't know if this is what you have, but just in case I'll post what I did about it, which has so far worked - 1-2 weeks with no further signs of it.
After lots of Google searching, my solution was to:
1. manually remove by cutting moss, and tamping down on sand with paper towel to get it to stick, and wiping hard surfaces
2. Dose with API Erythromicin - 1/3 of recommended dose. Two days in a row. Do water changes. (I also added a bacteria booster after this, trying to mitigate the risk to my biological filter)
3. Raise nitrate concentration using Nitrate fertilizer. I used dry fertilizer (KNO3) but you could use Seachem Flourish Nitrogen or similar. Keep in mind I have a planted tank. Raising nitrates in combination with moderate use of other fertilizers helped balance the tank so that the plants could flourish. I raised NO3 from about 4ppm to about 12ppm right away, and since then have added a little bit more now and then.
Some things that shouldn't hurt, for you, no matter what kind of algae it actually is:
- If you haven't serviced your filter in a while you could try changing out some of the media.
- You could do frequent water changes, assuming you don't have plants.
- Try to completely remove the green stuff that's there, even if it means removing some sand, trying not to stir it up into the water.
12-21-2007, 02:15 PM
Good post elmer. I got a phosphate pillow and it lowered my level from 2.00 to .50. Seemed to cure the ails in my tank.
12-21-2007, 02:37 PM
Sorry Megan - little sidestep here...
For a while I was using a phoshate pillow too, and it worked pretty well on my 20G.
But then I stopped and have been trying a different strategy on it by reducing the amount of excess food, and also making sure Nitrogen and Potassium and Trace are not limiting the plants' consumption of the phosphate. A phosphorus limited tank is sort of what I'm going for. But I am low-light/non-CO2, so I better not add any more fish :) fish poo == protein converted into phosphate
Yes - my phosphorus is about 1ppm according to my API test kit, although I haven't tested the test kit with known concentrations yet.
I think my cyanobacteria outbreak was caused by the huge drop in Nitrogen concentration when I upgraded the tank. And by the way, no algae eater will eat that stuff, because it is not algae. The thing that makes me suspect Megan has cyanobacteria is that it started on the substrate and not on the glass.
Back to the original subject - Megan - the stuff is only on the sand, nowhere else? Can you post a pic?
P.S. - best way to increase suction is to increase the height difference between inlet and outlet of the hose.
12-21-2007, 10:37 PM
Do you think its the lack of suction power and things not getting pulled off the sand? Also...how do the pythons compare suction wise to a regular manual gravel vac?
Anyone else have this problem with their sand?
We had the same problem, Megan. Our regular gravel vac just will not pick up the waste and food particles off of the sand of our puffer tank. So, we just took the large tube off of the hose of the gravel vac and now just use the hose when cleaning the puffer aquarium. With the smaller tube, a much more powerful suction is created and lifts everything up. Although, it will suck up a lot of sand if you're not careful, but the sand can easily be placed back in the tank again. So, if you can remove the larger tube from the hose of your gravel vac, you might give that a try.
12-21-2007, 11:09 PM
Check to make sure you don't have some stones lodged in the opening, too. I had to pop a few stones out of mine more than once.
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