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Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 14
  1. Default Algae ID - double-check, please


    0 Not allowed!
    Hi everyone. I'm afraid I'm asking for help again. This time, it's just to double check my identification of algae in my 55g tank. I believe it is BGA, but it's not blue green, it's more blackish/brownish. But it is slimy as heck, sloughs off easily, and grows on the plants excessively. It is making me crazy. I also have some brownish algae on the glass mostly - I assume that is diatoms...I am currently trying to get the amount of silicates in my tap water.

    So, BGA adn diatoms, I think that's what I have. Nothing green. Mostly dark and slimy.

    What I intend to do is:
    1. get my phosphate and silicate numbers (my nitrate readings are well under control 10ppm at the most)
    2. manually clean as much as I can, along with gravel vacs...I already do the gravel vacs, but maybe just more thorough
    3. Do really big water changes (like 75% if I can) twice a week
    4. Use erythromycin if necessary
    5. look at UV sterilizers. Dammit. I mean, would this work, since its' bacteria?

    Also - anyone who knows me might remember that I have a less-than idea light fixture on this tank. I have done a lot to remedy that, and I find the BGA is just getting worse. So, at this point, I'm not sure that scrapping the light would even help. However, if this can't be controlled, I will replace the light. Perhaps I'm going to be stuck with this stuff no matter what I do, though. I just don't want to be looking at so much slimy stuff all over my plants.

    Thanks for checking this over. Please add anything or tell me what worked for you, etc. But I just ask that you're nice about it. I'm already pretty upset about this problem, and i don't need help from anyone who wants to say "I told you so" or "you're an idiot." OK? Thank you very much!!
    Beth
    1 - 55 gallon planted community
    3 - 10 to 20 gallon planted betta tanks
    My advice: slow down, think, and be willing to learn. Then you'll be fine, no matter what.

  2. #2

    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    That does sound like BGA (Cyanobacteria) as it can some in very very dark coloring. Manual cleaning and large water changes will help and would be the first thing to try to get rid of it. If that will not work, you can also try antibodics which will always work. At least these two approaches worked for me the last time I had to deal with BGA. You have to keep in mond you are dealing with a bacteria and not algae here

    As for the diatoms, you are correct that they are beinf caused by silicates in your water. They will typically come from either new substrate, or your water supply. If you have newer substrate (less than 6 months in the tank) increased water changes and gravel vacs will help. If the silicates are in your water supply, I would suggest chemical filter media to remove silicates, such as chemi-pure. I have silicates in my tap water from time to time but if I keep chemipure in my filter I never get diatoms anymore. Once the silicates are gone, so will the diatoms as that is what they need to live
    If you take your time to do the research FIRST, you can successfully set-up and keep ANY type of aquarium with ease.
    "Not using a quarantine tank is like playing Russian roulette. Nobody wins the game, some people just get to play longer than others." - Anthony Calfo
    Fishless Cycle Cycling with Fish Marine Aquarium Info [URL="http://saltwater.aquaticcommunity.com/"]

  3. Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Thanks Cliff. I've always done large water changes twice a week - I slacked off to once a week in December/mid January and this is when the problem started. So I've been doing the larger changes again, but admittedly not 75%. That's really huge...might have to get that water changer after all. I also never thought to scrub off this stuff until lately, so I'll be doing that frequently.

    But really, would a UV sterilizer help, at least theoretically? If I can't get this under control, would it be a viable plan C? After scrubbing/wc's and abx? I just don't want to be constantly fighting this...at this point (I'm really frustrated now, so maybe it's desperation talking)I wonder if I'll get out from under this...all my plants are affected to some degree and I'm worried about it killing my stock.
    Beth
    1 - 55 gallon planted community
    3 - 10 to 20 gallon planted betta tanks
    My advice: slow down, think, and be willing to learn. Then you'll be fine, no matter what.

  4. #4

    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    I think a UV would help to control and or limit outbreaks of BGA, but it won`t get ride of the problem for you. It won`t do a thing for diatoms
    If you take your time to do the research FIRST, you can successfully set-up and keep ANY type of aquarium with ease.
    "Not using a quarantine tank is like playing Russian roulette. Nobody wins the game, some people just get to play longer than others." - Anthony Calfo
    Fishless Cycle Cycling with Fish Marine Aquarium Info [URL="http://saltwater.aquaticcommunity.com/"]

  5. #5

    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Glen Arm. MD
    Posts
    2,635

    Awards Showcase

    Happy Christmas - MuckyFish thanks for advising on vegetables for my kribs! so here is a discus - ScottishFish You help a lot - PhillipOrigami For the bank account, and thx for the rep - Cliff beautiful discus! - Crispy 
    I know this doesn't help but it's all I can do! - chrisfraser05 for all the wise advice you've given me - fishmommie Congrats on 2000th post! - andreahp Merry Christmas! - fishmommie Merry Christmas - Cliff 
    Thanks for the rep :-) - ~firefly~ appreciate it. - fishmommie Thanks for the birthday wishes - mommy1 ٩(̾●̮̮̃̾•̃̾)۶ - korith For all the good advice you give. - ~firefly~ 
    Thanks for the rep the other day - Cliff thanks for the rep points.  appreciate it - fishmommie happy friday! - mojosodope Merry Christmas! - ~firefly~ Thanks for the rep! - steeler1 

    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    All what you said sounds really good; both algae and bacteria will be reduced/controlled if you have a UV sterilizer running (diatoms not at all as Cliff pointed out.) Also, phosphates drive BGA and algae even with moderate nitrates like yours. Lights/duration/level mean little to BGA but low light or on for too long does help algae.

  6. Default


    0 Not allowed!
    I figured it wouldn't solve the BGA problem for me...only lots of work and maybe abx will do that for me. I don't worry so much about the diatoms since they are relatively easy to handle and aren't as absolutely gross as the BGA. THe UV sterilizer seems like a pretty good tool for maintenance, and since I've got the nasty stuff, I might always have it to some degree. Good to know my stupid light isn't the root cause. I keep that tank so darn clean...I don't know how algae would even get a foothold(unless something external was in play). BGA however, is a different story and can hit anyone, from what I've read. I iwll check that phophate level ASAP - my water comes from both Lake Erie and some agricultural areas, so phosphates could be there due to runoff.

    It helps tremendously to have your help, Cliff and Cermet...I appreciate the feedback. It helps me avoid feeling like a complete failure in this hobby, because a slimy tank sure looks like failure. At least there's some things I can do.
    Last edited by bethyMT; 02-18-2013 at 09:12 PM.
    Beth
    1 - 55 gallon planted community
    3 - 10 to 20 gallon planted betta tanks
    My advice: slow down, think, and be willing to learn. Then you'll be fine, no matter what.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Glen Arm. MD
    Posts
    2,635

    Awards Showcase

    Happy Christmas - MuckyFish thanks for advising on vegetables for my kribs! so here is a discus - ScottishFish You help a lot - PhillipOrigami For the bank account, and thx for the rep - Cliff beautiful discus! - Crispy 
    I know this doesn't help but it's all I can do! - chrisfraser05 for all the wise advice you've given me - fishmommie Congrats on 2000th post! - andreahp Merry Christmas! - fishmommie Merry Christmas - Cliff 
    Thanks for the rep :-) - ~firefly~ appreciate it. - fishmommie Thanks for the birthday wishes - mommy1 ٩(̾●̮̮̃̾•̃̾)۶ - korith For all the good advice you give. - ~firefly~ 
    Thanks for the rep the other day - Cliff thanks for the rep points.  appreciate it - fishmommie happy friday! - mojosodope Merry Christmas! - ~firefly~ Thanks for the rep! - steeler1 

    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    When you say "like a complete failure in this hobby, because a slimy tank sure looks like failure." Boy, do I know where you are coming from! I have fought BGA and far too often lost the battle against it. No issue has plauged me more or forced me to tear down a tank like that stuff - algae is a dream compared to those massive matts that can creep like a cancer across the substrate.

    I discovered that phosphates are the key - they are in the fish food that rots (tiny bits that are near impossible to remove by vacuuming because it imbeds down into the substrate) and in all fish waste (liquid form that cannot be removed by simple substrate vacuuming.)

    Phosphate containing organics diffuses into the substrate and even after a complete water change (70 gal! in a 75 gal tank), a phosphate reading of 5 ppm will, with all that new water, still measure 3 ppm! Stirring the substrate, a phosphate absorber, and daily water changes could barely keep it in check (under 1 ppm.)

    My grail was to defeat it. I am still in the process and discovered just a few weeks ago my tank's nitrates were about 0.5 ppm, but BGA still was appearing in very minor, ultra thin patches here and there! The tank's phosphates were in the 2 - 3 ppm range despite all my efforts - biweekly water changes (wed. 50%/Sunday 80%) and a special biological based nitrate reactor, a UV sterilizer, and an algae scrubber. Defeat was facing me again! (here is dramatic drum roll for best sound effect.)

    After realizing that my vacuuming could not get the small debris, I have added yet another filter system - so I dusted off an old system (put into moth balls) and installed my old reverse flow UGF; now my nightly vacuumings appear more effective; in fact, now my phosphates are under 0.5 ppm, and nitrates under 0.2 ppm with no large water changes! Maybe this will work, maybe not but I am determined to beat this slimy monster (antibotics was never something I would try or do: the BGA will, in time become immune if you are not hyper careful, and a lot of good bacteria in the tank and fish's gut will be distroyed.)

    Dramtics aside, your approch should work well but do test the phosphate levels. That will allow you to get a good read on what works best for you.

    Best of luck! and let us know how things go ...
    Last edited by Cermet; 02-18-2013 at 10:05 PM.

  8. Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Ugh. The guy from the water dept. just called me back. Turns out the phosphate level in the water is (according to the lab) .1mg/L or roughly .1ppm. That is low! That data isn't very compatible with my phosphate theory. However, I was talking to a dude in a fish shop yesterday who said water authorities will periodically add phosphates, so if it's low now, it may not have been in the past. And they never test for silicates.

    I ordered the phosphate test kit and some phos-zorb today, because I bet I've got some phosphate in there anyhow. I've decided not to worry about the silicates for now (and the phos-zorb removes them as well) since diatoms are the least of my worries; at least my nerites will eat those.

    I upped the aeration in the tank; adding another airstone and dropping the water level a bit; the nitrates yesterday were less than 5, which is pretty low for me. When the test comes I can start putting together the puzzle and start action. When all of this is settled, I think I am going to have to bite the bullet and look into a co2 system; the light really calls for it and will help the plants outcompete the BGA/whatever else. I really do like my plants in there(more than the fish at times); the idea of having even better plants is pretty nice. But right now, CO2 would be dumb to do because oxygen kills BGA and co2 feeds it. So I have time, and a lot of work, until I get to that point.

    I feel like I am rambling to myself. Can you tell nobody around me cares about my beloved tanks? My husband gets this glazed over look in his eyes when I start rattling off words like phosphate and ppm...thanks for listening, if you can stand it!
    Beth
    1 - 55 gallon planted community
    3 - 10 to 20 gallon planted betta tanks
    My advice: slow down, think, and be willing to learn. Then you'll be fine, no matter what.

  9. #9

    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    I would think 0.1 ppm is low. But I would guess the level in your tank would be higher as it is not uncommon to also add phosphates to your set-up though fish food and plant ferts.

    Please post the phosphate level in your tank once you get your test kit
    If you take your time to do the research FIRST, you can successfully set-up and keep ANY type of aquarium with ease.
    "Not using a quarantine tank is like playing Russian roulette. Nobody wins the game, some people just get to play longer than others." - Anthony Calfo
    Fishless Cycle Cycling with Fish Marine Aquarium Info [URL="http://saltwater.aquaticcommunity.com/"]

  10. #10

    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Glen Arm. MD
    Posts
    2,635

    Awards Showcase

    Happy Christmas - MuckyFish thanks for advising on vegetables for my kribs! so here is a discus - ScottishFish You help a lot - PhillipOrigami For the bank account, and thx for the rep - Cliff beautiful discus! - Crispy 
    I know this doesn't help but it's all I can do! - chrisfraser05 for all the wise advice you've given me - fishmommie Congrats on 2000th post! - andreahp Merry Christmas! - fishmommie Merry Christmas - Cliff 
    Thanks for the rep :-) - ~firefly~ appreciate it. - fishmommie Thanks for the birthday wishes - mommy1 ٩(̾●̮̮̃̾•̃̾)۶ - korith For all the good advice you give. - ~firefly~ 
    Thanks for the rep the other day - Cliff thanks for the rep points.  appreciate it - fishmommie happy friday! - mojosodope Merry Christmas! - ~firefly~ Thanks for the rep! - steeler1 

    Unhappy


    0 Not allowed!
    For an aquarium, 0.1 ppm phosphate is extremely low and adding that level to a tank is of no consequence. Fine for humans, too. That level would not cause problems. Tanks with fish have 2 - 6 ppm phosphates typically (even with large and frequent water changes.) Phosphates are bad whether you have low nitrates or not.

    Good and bad news: if you have really dense plants, they might mop up enough nitrates and some phosphates to keep the BGA under control but maybe not. You MUST carefully feed all required nutrients (Fe, K, Mg, S, and a few others) in the right amounts and avoid ferts that have phosphates and nitrtaes (fish and food supply far too much already.) Otherwise, algae or BGA will return. CO2 will really help plant growth with high level and correct temp light but then you need to feed the micro-nutrients or trouble - this isn't easy stuff once you move to the next level -sorry.

    I tried high density plants (High level lighting, CO2, micro-nutrients, tabs, liquids and all required kits) and realized that it was too hard because BGA always returned ... hence the fake plants and an algae scrubber. I could keep plants but I'd have to add nitrates!!! It doesn't get funnier than that ... .
    Last edited by Cermet; 02-21-2013 at 12:52 AM.

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