Algae Bloom Happened Overnight! Please Help!

dan100785

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Hello everyone,

So I'm not exactly sure what happened, but it just seems like overnight I got this massive algae bloom. Everything was fine for weeks. My tank has been cycled, and is running for almost 3 months now. This happened on Sunday when I did my usual by weekly 25% water change. Then the next day I got those really thick cloud of green all throughout my tank.

I don't know if this would affect anything but I also change my foam sponge, my carbon pack, and my bio material. I am using to aqua clear 50 filters. Correct me if I'm wrong but I have heard that you should every month. I don't know if that had any effect to the algae bloom or not. I don't know whether running two filters is good. So any advice on that would be greatly appreciated.

Once I started to see the green algae bloom I did like I normally do, and just add a normal dose of API Algeafix. It didn't really seem to do much, so I decided to do some research. A lot of people said to do 25% water changes every day and black out my tank for about three days. Isn't that harmful for my fish or my plants?

On top of all that I have reason to believe that because of the API Algeafix... A few of my fish are dead. I'm just not sure at this point what to do I've also heard that in severe cases do a 90% water change and also black out the tank. But I'm a little bit skeptical... isn't changing out 90% of the water really bad for the environment and the tank? I know that my tank is cycled now, but even if so 90% seems like a lot. Also with me changing all of my filter media last week, I feel like that might be even worse for the environment. I'm just not sure if anybody could help me out with this I would greatly appreciate it!

Thanks,
Dan
 

TexasDomer

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dan100785 said:
Hello everyone,

So I'm not exactly sure what happened, but it just seems like overnight I got this massive algae bloom. Everything was fine for weeks. My tank has been cycled, and is running for almost 3 months now. This happened on Sunday when I did my usual by weekly 25% water change. Then the next day I got those really thick cloud of green all throughout my tank.

Can you list your specific water parameters? pH, temp, ammonia, nitrites, nitrates

I don't know if this would affect anything but I also change my foam sponge, my carbon pack, and my bio material. I am using to aqua clear 50 filters. Correct me if I'm wrong but I have heard that you should every month. I don't know if that had any effect to the algae bloom or not. I don't know whether running two filters is good. So any advice on that would be greatly appreciated.

Unfortunately you were given some bad advice. You shouldn't replace the biomedia; if you do, you're throwing away your good bacteria, and you'll have to re-cycle the tank.

White cloudy is a bacterial bloom; green cloudy is green algae in the water column. Green algae can be caused by high ammonia, which would make sense since you threw away all of your bacteria.

Once I started to see the green algae bloom I did like I normally do, and just add a normal dose of API Algeafix. It didn't really seem to do much, so I decided to do some research. A lot of people said to do 25% water changes every day and black out my tank for about three days. Isn't that harmful for my fish or my plants?

Discontinue the Algaefix. Since you're likely dealing with ammonia too, I would do 25-50% water changes daily until this is under control. You'll then need to closely monitor your water parameters and do water changes as needed to protect your fish from ammonia and nitrites.

On top of all that I have reason to believe that because of the API Algeafix... A few of my fish are dead. I'm just not sure at this point what to do I've also heard that in severe cases do a 90% water change and also black out the tank. But I'm a little bit skeptical... isn't changing out 90% of the water really bad for the environment and the tank? I know that my tank is cycled now, but even if so 90% seems like a lot. Also with me changing all of my filter media last week, I feel like that might be even worse for the environment. I'm just not sure if anybody could help me out with this I would greatly appreciate it!

Your fish could also be dying from ammonia poisoning since you lost your cycle. 90% isn't necessarily bad, but I think 50% water changed daily would be better.

Thanks,
Dan
See responses in green above!

In the future, I would just change the carbon out monthly (and really, you don't even need carbon). Rinse the media in old tank water instead of throwing it out. It'll last you a long time. When it starts falling apart, add new media and let the new and old media run together for a month. After that, you can remove the old media.
 

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Hello there! From my own personal experience I would say this might be due to your lighting. How often are you running your aquarium lights? As for filter media that is where the vast majority of your beneficial bacteria live. By replacing the media you essentially remove that. What I normally do is rinse my filter media in a bucket of USED TANK WATER (never rinse in tap water) and then place it back in my filter. Once it looks like it is starting to be on its last leg I would place new media in the filter WITH your old media for a few weeks so that it has a chance to grow bacteria as well. Hopefully someone with more knowledge will correct me if I am wrong!
 

andychrissytank

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wait you changed the entire contents of the filter?
you need to keep that in there because that's where most of the beneficial bacteria live, that is probably why some of the fish died unfortunately
have you checked the water parameters after the change, incase there is too much ammonia or nitrites?
the algae doesn't really do much and if it bothers you, you can buy some snails or amano shrimps
 

Diesmali

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So first thing one of the experts is going to ask is what your water parameters are? Temperature, Nitrates, Nitrites and ammonia. So might want to have that prepared.

Next, and grain of salt here because I'm new, I don't think you should change all your media at once. With two filters running I would think changing one each month would be more than enough. I know with canisters you are only supposed to change some of the media every couple months depending on specific models and stuff.

Next question will be on lighting, how much and how long?

If you get that info ready for when the smart folks around here see this it'll speed things up greatly.

Hah! The smart people beat me to it...
 

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Do you have prime? You need to be dosing that daily with 25 -50% wcs. The ammonia is probably killing your fish and probably caused the algae bloom.

Did you throw the old media again? That's what kept all the bacteria in it for your cycle... you need to get it back in asap or have to cycle again with fish in. In your place I would just get a bottle of TSS, so you don't have to worry about water changes every day and prime every day for a few weeks! With TSS you could be cycled in a few days.
 
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dan100785

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Thanks to everyone that replied!

I am running 2 light fixtures because it's a 22"tall tank 38 gal total.

Finnex Ray 2 Finnex Ray 2 Series
Satellite Plus PRO Satellite Freshwater LED+ PRO - Current-USA

I am trying to grow dwarf baby tears (HC) that is why I went with two light fixtures.

I am also running CO2 at 2-3 BPS.

And I was dosing the normal amount of Seachem nutrients

-Flourish
-Nitrogen
-Potassium
-Phosphate
-Iron
-Excel

Water Temp = 73-75 degrees

Ammonia = 0-0.25 ppm
Nitrite = 0
Nitrate = 0

I've been running the lights at 12 on & 12 off. I know that's a lot but I guess I was just really worried about the dwarf baby tears. They are hardly growing let alone spreading.


So now that I know not to change all of the filter media at one time, does this mean that The tank will start to cycle itself all over again? That makes me really worried because I may lose all the fish then, right?
 
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dan100785

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Culprit said:
Do you have prime? You need to be dosing that daily with 25 -50% wcs. The ammonia is probably killing your fish and probably caused the algae bloom.

Did you throw the old media again? That's what kept all the bacteria in it for your cycle... you need to get it back in asap or have to cycle again with fish in. In your place I would just get a bottle of TSS, so you don't have to worry about water changes every day and prime every day for a few weeks! With TSS you could be cycled in a few days.


Yes, unfortunately I did throw out all the old media that was about a week ago. I do have prime and I have been doing 25% water changes every day while dosing prime. I do have Seachem - Stability. I just dozed a little bit of that I was afraid to do a full dosage like it was a new tank, mainly because I did not change all the water out at once. So instead I just did half of the required amount for a new tank hopefully that helps with some of the beneficial bacteria.

TexasDomer said:
See responses in green above!

In the future, I would just change the carbon out monthly (and really, you don't even need carbon). Rinse the media in old tank water instead of throwing it out. It'll last you a long time. When it starts falling apart, add new media and let the new and old media run together for a month. After that, you can remove the old media.
Thanks for the help! Unfortunately I did not know that changing all of the media at once was a bad idea. I will definitely know that the next time around.

I guess at this point it's just a waiting game. Hopefully while I wait for the tank to recycle itself it won't kill off any more fish..
 

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Doing wcs every day and adding prime is great! Dosing stability will definitely speed up the cycle .

Good job with this.
 

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I would not add chemicals to control algae, they have a bad record of killing fish.

A UV filter like the green machine uv filter may be needed if the green water persists or gets worse. This zaps the algae as it flows through the filter and does not affect the fish.
 

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Yes, your tank will re-cycle. I would cut down your lighting and do frequent water changes. These should help the green algae go away, and the WCs will protect your fish during cycling.
 

TexasDomer

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Not sure, but it's not necessary at this point, if you weren't having issues with green water before you threw away the media.
 
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dan100785

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Excellent! Thank you everyone for your help! I truly appreciate it! I will keep doing WCS and cut back on the lighting. I will keep everyone posted.

Is it worth it to cover the tank with black plastic?
 
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dan100785

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TexasDomer said:
On the side where sun comes in?
Sure! I'm just not sure because I've read that it's good to completely "black out" the tank...
 

TexasDomer

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I don't think you need to at this point. Water changes and reducing the lighting should go far.
 
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dan100785

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So it's been a few days and I've been doing Water Changes and only running the lights about 4 hours.

It hasn't really changed much at all. It seems like the Algee Bloom goes away slightly after a water change then it comes back ten fold. I just don't understand because it's not going away at all and I'm worried because I haven't been dosing any nutrients. It looks like all my plants l are dying and turning yellow. My dwarf baby tears are almost dead. I'm just not sure what do do. I've had no choice but to "black out" the tank with black plastic bags. Tomorrow will be day 3 so I will take them off and check to see if that helped any.

Should I get a UV Sterilizer? If so how do they work? Would I have to always leave them in?

Should I still be dosing everything?(except excel..since the lights aren't on) I haven't dosed because I was afraid that I would promote more algee growth.
 

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What are your water parameters?

You can do large and frequent water changes to get rid of green algae. UV sterilizers will also do the trick, but it won't help the uncycled tank problem. You would only need to run it when you had green algae (which should be a rare problem). How often are you doing water changes now, and how much are you changing?

You can still dose ferts, but without light, they won't use them much, from what I understand.
 
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dan100785

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PH = 7.6
High Range PH = 7.8
Ammonia = .025ppm
Nitrite = 0ppm
Nitrate = 0ppm

I was doing 25% water changes every day, but I wonder is that even good to do 25% let alone any water changes while the tank is having to recycle?
 

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