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  L# Blue Green Algae War
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SubscribeBlue Green Algae War
kj fishy-finn
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Because I am up at college I only am able to go home every 2-3 weeks and clean my 20G aquarium. This summer I did manage to plant it with a few plants and they were doing okay until I added some Cabomba and left for school. The next time I came home, my tank had been taken over and my gravel and plants were coated with blue green algae. After several attempts at wiping it off the leaves and vacuuming the gravel I eventually just pulled out my Cabomba and L. repens (what was left and hanging on) last weekend. I did decide to leave my Cryptocoryne beckettii and 4 Echinodorus quadricostatus that are still holding on and making an effort at growing.

I googled ways to get rid of it and was wondering if the proposed idea of using Erythromycin would work according to these websites:
http://www.malawicichlidhomepage.com/aquainfo/algae_erythromycin.html
http://www.myfishtank.net/articles/blue-green-algae-article/

My driftwood I have in my tank is covered in it and when I try to remove some of it I can just tell that the wood is squishy and the cynobacteria are clearly breaking it down. This also gives them a good culture with which to repopulate and take over I'm assuming. Should I just give up hope on the driftwood and trash it too?

kj fishy-finn <*)))><
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Post InfoPosted 11-Oct-2010 22:44Profile PM Edit Report 
Gomer
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Okay BGA is a bitch! One common theory is that the cause of a BGA breakout is lack of nitrates in the aquarium. If you have a test kit could you measure your nitrates. Another cause is an excess of organic wastes and inadequate water circulation, which results in oxygen depleted areas and provides ideal conditions for BGA. May I ask how often you perform waterchanges, what the size of your tank and what filtration you have? Also what fish and other inhabitants do you have in your aquarium?

Okay there are two methods that can be used to rid your tank of BGA. I'll list them in the order you should perform them in.

First is creating a total blackout for 3 - 4 days. This can be done using a bunch of thick towels, tarp or other material that you don't mind getting moist from condensation and will block out 100% of the light and will cover the tank completely. Doing this in conjunction with turning your aquarium lights off will starve algae (in this case cyanobacteria) and kill it off. This does work as well and I would highly recommend this approach before using Erythromycin. It'll be cheaper too.


If the driftwood was boiled before adding it to the tank this will cause the external layers of the wood to begin to break down and after a few months the wood will become 'squishy' and fall apart to the touch.

Maybe remove the wood and use some steel wool and scrub the soft layer off, regardless of whether it was caused by boiling or not.

Don't worry about your plants, they'll be fine with a 4 day blackout and so will your fish too.

The second method would be to use Erythromycin. I've never used this and I'm not sure where to get it. That'd be something you'd have to figure out yourself or someone else could help you. I'd prefer to try a 4 day blackout before using medications anyway.

Post InfoPosted 11-Oct-2010 23:30Profile MSN PM Edit Delete Report 
FRANK
 
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EditedEdited 12-Oct-2010 05:50
Hi
Gomer has some good points...
Another point is that it will thrive in areas of poor
circulation. These act as sumps where the detritus collects
and feeds the bacteria.

The medication is an antibiotic that comes in capsule
form, and easily available from a variety of sources.
Take an article with you to your family doctor, or to your
family vet, and they will give you a perscription for the
medication. I've also seen it in a diluted form in some
petshops in their medication section to eliminate the
bacteria.

THE main reason it is used as a last resort is that it
kills bacteria and it does not distinguish between the
"Good" bacteria such as that which supports your Nitrogen
Cycle, or the "Bad" bacteria. With its use, you can easily
kill off the bacteria in the tank and cause it to have to
cycle all over again.

A complete tank blackout for 3-4 days, followed by at least
a 75% water change and a good gravel vacuuming to remove
any pieces of it laying around and again the next day
and again two two days later will remove the toxins released by the dead and dying bacteria.
Ensure that your lights are on for 10 hours or less.
Ensure that you have no "dead spots" in the tank as far as
circulation is concerned.

Also, here are two sites that you may find informative:
cyano.shtml" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">http://www.skepticalaquarist.com/docs/algae/cyano.shtml
For some reason I cannot delete the part of the link that
is in blue. Try typing just from the http through shtml
and going to the site that way.
And:
http://www.thekrib.com/Plants/Algae/cyanobacteria.html

Hope this helps...
Frank

-->>> The Confidence of Amateurs, is the Envy of Professionals <<<--
Post InfoPosted 12-Oct-2010 02:59Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
hca
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You can get erthyromiacin, and other meds- here
http://www.kensfish.com/medicationsbacterial.html

No script needed, but sign a waiver for some meds that its for non ediable fish use
Post InfoPosted 12-Oct-2010 05:49Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
FRANK
 
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Hi Hca & Gomer,
Wow! That's expensive, and what in the world is one going
to do with 60 capsules? Heck, when I showed our vet the
article and explained what I was doing, he GAVE me 6 and
I only used 4 of them. But, then we have been using the
same vet for 17 years with our two cats.

Frank


-->>> The Confidence of Amateurs, is the Envy of Professionals <<<--
Post InfoPosted 12-Oct-2010 05:55Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
kj fishy-finn
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Gomer: I probably perform 50% water changes 2-3 weeks. The tank is 20 gallons. I have a Penguin Bio-Wheel 125 for filtration. I have a pair of Blue Rams and 8 Harlequin Rasboras. Plants include 1 Cryptocoryne beckettii and 4 little Echinodorus quadricostatus.

My driftwood isn't all that thick and it is heavily coated. I think scrubbing it would just destroy it beyond no return. I think I will just pull it out and get some Malaysian driftwood from the store.

Frank: By dead spots in circulation, do you mean places in the tank that aren't getting oxygen?

kj fishy-finn <*)))><
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Post InfoPosted 12-Oct-2010 16:18Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Gomer
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Dead spots are areas with no circulation of water. They normally accumulate waste and debris and when these are broken down by aerobic bacteria it starves the immediate region of oxygen and you can get nasty little pockets within your tank.

It sounds like it would be best to replace the driftwood.

Post InfoPosted 12-Oct-2010 21:37Profile MSN PM Edit Delete Report 
hca
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Well I dont know what one would do with 60 capsules, but some people dont have furry critters- so no vet, and some doc's dont like writing scripts for "other purposes"... so Figured out throw it out there.... I do get foods and equipment from there... and those are good prices compared to my local LFS.



Post InfoPosted 13-Oct-2010 02:03Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
kj fishy-finn
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This tank has been running for 7 years and I've never had any issues with circulation. How would I go about solving this problem?

kj fishy-finn <*)))><
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Post InfoPosted 13-Oct-2010 14:25Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
hca
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Personally- Id take out what i could..wash off any affected plants- or pinch back to get rid of it, do a bigger water change or two, then cover the tank for several days so no light gets in.

Post InfoPosted 14-Oct-2010 07:06Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
kj fishy-finn
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I won't have time to do a tank blackout until around Thanksgiving because I'll be on break, but here is my plan of action:

1. Pull the driftwood and trash it.
2. Wipe off the few plants I have left.
3. Stir up the gravel with my hands to help pull algae off the gravel.
4. Gravel vac and 50% water change.
5. 1-2 days after repeat stirring gravel, gravel vac and 50% water change.
6. Cover tank entirely. Blackout for 3-4 days.
7. Gravel vac and water change.

I should probably replace my filter cartridge when I'm done. What should I do to increase the water circulation in my tank though? It wouldn't have had to do anything with using the Hagen Plant Gro CO2 System would it? Because my plants weren't growing, they weren't intaking the CO2 which was causing it to build up in the water column and lower the oxygen levels resulting in the outbreak?

kj fishy-finn <*)))><
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Post InfoPosted 14-Oct-2010 15:04Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
hca
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Not sure about co2- as I dont use it.

I had a bout of it in a tank with a ugf...and another bout of it this summer when I needed to add more aeration due to summer temps...

THe ugf- tried black outs, ect... finally tore the tank down for a 1/2 a day- fixed the "dead spot" under there- caused by a lots and lots of plant roots. And did several thorough water changes to get all the bits of the stuff out. Never did the blackout after that- tanks fine- and the rooted plants are no longer in that tank.

The tanks with extra aeration- had larger airstones sitting on the gravel- pulled off what I could- did a water change, moved the airstones off the gravel, did a black out- and all was well.
Post InfoPosted 14-Oct-2010 17:00Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Gomer
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Increased CO2 levels won't lower O2 levels within the tank.

If you think your tank has good circulation it probably isn't that. It was just a theory. Sounds like you will knock this on the head come thanks giving.
Post InfoPosted 14-Oct-2010 21:44Profile MSN PM Edit Delete Report 
kj fishy-finn
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Okay. Let's hope!!!

kj fishy-finn <*)))><
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Post InfoPosted 14-Oct-2010 22:42Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
kj fishy-finn
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So this weekend when I went home to clean my aquarium, the gravel, sides etc weren't as heavily coated as the last time. When I vacuumed the gravel though it still stuck together because of the blue green algae. I still have not removed my driftwood only because then it would look really vacant since the majority of my plants were killed off before they could get a grasp in the aquarium.

kj fishy-finn <*)))><
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Post InfoPosted 25-Oct-2010 16:06Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Babelfish
 
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I had a long battle with BGA. Tried the blackouts, dosing nitrAtes, everything worked for a little bit, but it kept coming back. In the end I had to dose antibiotics, don't remember if it was ethromiacyn or not, pretty sure I got it from big als and it wasn't 60 pills!

If you're making some progress you might make it through without having to resort to pills. I had a few smaller skirmishes a few years apart before the real war started in my tank. Was a 20 too .

^_^

Post InfoPosted 26-Oct-2010 22:55Profile Homepage AIM MSN PM Edit Delete Report 
AdamsKevy
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EditedEdited 23-Aug-2012 23:33
Post InfoPosted 23-Aug-2012 23:33Profile Homepage Yahoo PM Edit Delete Report 
Wroberson
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EditedEdited 28-Aug-2012 02:01
HBH Makes a food that's main ingredient is spirulina. It contains 28% protein, 9% fat, and 6% fiber. Algae is a main source of food for many fish. My rainbow fish love it.

As for your algae problem, you are not alone. I have a 125g tank that had/has one. I did hours of research and one solution was the amount of phosphate in the aquarium water. At as little as 5ppm an algae bloom can occur.

When this happens, plants in the aquarium can react negatively and become nutrient locked and can be unable to take up nitrogen and other minerals required for strong flourishing growth.

I recently bought a phosphate test from API and found that my tank had phosphate as high as 10ppm.

Two days ago I put a piece into one section of my Whisper EX70 filter. Last night after 24 hours, the phosphate reading was down. I'm new to testing and my eyes are 46 years old, but my phosphate reading was down to 2-5ppm.

Once the phosphate level is down to .5ppm, the plants in the aquarium should start taking up nitrogen, (nitrates) again. This will lower the Nitrate level in the tank. My nitrate level is 200ppm according to the API test strips.

So, by lowering phosphate and nitrate in the water column of your aquarium, algae will not have enough food to grow out of control.

Hope this helps. I really recommend the Pura Filter Pad to remove phosphate in the aquarium over any powders, or chemical. And BTW there is a nitrate removal pad out there too, but I have not tested it. I would like the plants to do the job for me.

Before I added 1 filter pad, the phosphate reading was 10ppm. 24 hours after adding the filter, the phosphate ppm dropped to 2-5ppm. After 48 hours the phosphate is still at 2ppm. I added a second Pura Filter Pad and will retest my water in 24 hours.
Post InfoPosted 27-Aug-2012 09:09Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
taylord
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I find that ghost shrimp are great tank scavengers that help to solve this algae problem - and quickly I might add - in my 5 gallon tank.

Taylor
Post InfoPosted 07-Aug-2013 07:44Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
FRANK
 
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Hi,
If "we" are still talking about BGA, Blue Green Algae, sometimes called a "slime algae" nothing, alive, eats it.

Ghost Shrimp will eat the green hair algae.

Frank

-->>> The Confidence of Amateurs, is the Envy of Professionals <<<--
Post InfoPosted 07-Aug-2013 23:13Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
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