Algae Issues In Planted Tank

The Merchant

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Haven't posted in that part of the community before, please excuse me in advance if this is the wrong area.

I have a 10g tank that I keep in my dorm room that is home to 7 pygmy gourami. It is well filtered and is well planted (Anubis, cryptocoryne, Java fern, a few stems of ludwigia, and some dwarf sag). These are all on either driftwood or rocks. For substrate I used a mix Fluval Stratum and sand.

As of right now I'm fighting, for lack of a technical name, "green slime algae." By this I mean it's an algae that is a dark green and that creates a thin, slimy film all over everything. It doesn't seem to cause health problems to any of the plants or fish, but it is really unattractive and it gets everywhere.

The algae is really easy to physically remove off surfaces, as it just rubs right off (I use my hands or a toothbrush when trying to remove it), but the problem is it that it grows back within a few days. The troubles seems to have started when I accidentally over fertilized with some Flourish Excel. That was several weeks ago. Since then I've stopped dosing and kept up with tank maintenance, but I can't seem to get rid of it. Any advice on how to remove it? Also if anyone knows the actual name for it I'd appreciate that as well in case I have to deal with it in the future. Thank you!

Side note: I also removed some Java Moss and Marimo Moss balls, as it seemed like this green algae especially liked to grow on and get trapped in them. They are just chilling in some small Tupperware off to the side, basically left to their own devices. Seems like the algae has died on them. Not sure if that's cause of lack of nutrients, lack of light, or the fact that I didn't de-chlorinate the water that those plants are sitting in, but it might provide some insight.
 

Kyleena696

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I won't be able to help much but could you post some pictures of it? It will allow others to help you better. I think it sounds like you have Cyanobacteria.

You also might be asked for your specific tank parameters as well as lighting schedule.
 

DanniD

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Sounds to me like cyanobacteria which is a monster to get rid of... I battled it a while back and tried everything from reduced lighting schedule to chemical treatments but the only thing that worked was a 4 day complete blackout.

I removed as much of it as I could then added an airstone and draped my entire tank so no light would get in. I only opened it up to feed the fishies for a few minutes each day. Your plants should be able to withstand that so I wouldn't worry about that. Just note that when you finally open up the tank after the blackout, do a hefty water change to rid of all the dead cyano or else your ammonia will spike as it decomposes.

Best of luck!!
 
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The Merchant

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I won't be able to help much but could you post some pictures of it? It will allow others to help you better. I think it sounds like you have Cyanobacteria.

You also might be asked for your specific tank parameters as well as lighting schedule.
Unfortunately I did a big scrub today did the tank looks "clean." I can try to get the parameters soon. My friend and I made tanks together so they currently have the tank test kit.

Sounds to me like cyanobacteria which is a monster to get rid of... I battled it a while back and tried everything from reduced lighting schedule to chemical treatments but the only thing that worked was a 4 day complete blackout.

I removed as much of it as I could then added an airstone and draped my entire tank so no light would get in. I only opened it up to feed the fishies for a few minutes each day. Your plants should be able to withstand that so I wouldn't worry about that. Just note that when you finally open up the tank after the blackout, do a hefty water change to rid of all the dead cyano or else your ammonia will spike as it decomposes.

Best of luck!!
I'm heading out of town for about 2 days tomorrow, so I can start the blackout then. Also already have an airstone going so I guess I'm a little ahead on that.

I'll try to keep this updated to share how everything goes. Thanks for the help!
 
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The Merchant

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Figured I'd update everyone since we're at roughly the halfway point of the blackout.

At the moment I turned the tank light back on just to perform a water change, give the fish food (and count them to make sure all are still alive - they are) and do a general inspection. I'll probably do around 30% with some gravel vacuuming.

As for the cyanobacteria - nothing has grown back in from when I cleaned everything off and then started the black out. However, there is still some clinging to the leaves and roots of the various plants. I'll turn the light back out once I finish the water change.

Also, different note: I'll be graduating college soon and thus have to break down the tank. I only live 3 hours away so I plan on taking my fish with me (as well as a tank of one of my friends), what is the best way to go about transporting the fish? My current plan is to use large Ziploc bags.

This is specifically concerning the pygmy gourami. should I put them all in one large Ziploc bag or split them into two or even three groups? The size of the bag won't change regardless of how many groups I do. I just don't want them to start hurting each other while in such a small space during the car ride.

I'll also be bringing home my friends betta and ember tetra, but those will each have their own bag.
 
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The Merchant

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They would likely die in ziplocks...
What would be a better option? The ziplocs are bigger than anything the fish came in when coming from the store (they're the half gallon size ziplocs). I guess I could use a bucket, but the gourami and betta aren't compatible so I don't want them to fight.
 

Kyleena696

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I think most fish stores will give (or maybe sell) you the bags they use for transporting. Wouldn't hurt to ask if you have one close by.
 

toeknee

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If it is cyanobacteria which is sounds like it is use the product in the link below. It's beyond me why this isn't a popular product to use against cyanobacteria I never see anyone recommending it. I had cyano a long time ago and battled it just like you by removing it all the time, trying black outs etc....nothing worked. Stumbled on this stuff in a really old forum post and gave it a shot....it didn't effect my fish, plants or snails. Slowly but surely the "algae" which really isnt algae disappeared....and it never came back. for 10 bucks its worth a shot. Ultralife Blue-Green Slime Stain Remover, 0.71-oz bottle
 
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The Merchant

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If it is cyanobacteria which is sounds like it is use the product in the link below. It's beyond me why this isn't a popular product to use against cyanobacteria I never see anyone recommending it. I had cyano a long time ago and battled it just like you by removing it all the time, trying black outs etc....nothing worked. Stumbled on this stuff in a really old forum post and gave it a shot....it didn't effect my fish, plants or snails. Slowly but surely the "algae" which really isnt algae disappeared....and it never came back. for 10 bucks its worth a shot. Ultralife Blue-Green Slime Stain Remover, 0.71-oz bottle
I might purchase that for if this happens again. As of right now, I turned the light back on on Sunday. From the look of it there was no cyanobacteria left. I did, however, have to do a big water change and scrub down a lot of the rock surfaces with tooth brush. Unfortunately during the blackout I lost a really nice crypt. But the other plans faired better and should recover their color (some started losing their green). All the fish also made it through. Definitely reducing the feeding and upping the water changes on the tank though. Fertilizing is also going to be limited if I do it at all
 
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The Merchant

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Been pretty busy lately but wanted to update everyone on the status of the cyanobacteria.

So after the blackout I lost 1 plant but it seemed like most of the cyanobacteria died. Unfortunately the next day I saw a little bit of growth coming back.

To combat this, I did a big tank overhaul. I removed some rocks, washed several plants, did a large water change, and tried to remove as much dead plant matter as possible.

It's been a couple of days since then and cyanobacteria growth is severely reduced. A couple of small patches show up but I remove them and am doing another water change today. Hopefully that'll keep it in check
 

DanniD

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Been pretty busy lately but wanted to update everyone on the status of the cyanobacteria.

So after the blackout I lost 1 plant but it seemed like most of the cyanobacteria died. Unfortunately the next day I saw a little bit of growth coming back.

To combat this, I did a big tank overhaul. I removed some rocks, washed several plants, did a large water change, and tried to remove as much dead plant matter as possible.

It's been a couple of days since then and cyanobacteria growth is severely reduced. A couple of small patches show up but I remove them and am doing another water change today. Hopefully that'll keep it in check
I think if you don’t kill it off completely with the blackout or something else,’you’ll continue to have it growing.. however small the growth is
 

bettafanatic

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I moved a 55g and what I did was I bought a tub container with a lid and put holes in the lid for air. Filled about halfway with tank water and placed fish, plants and the filter media in the tubbermaid container and tore the tank down. No problems at all and keeping the filter media in the container with the tank water and fish kept me from losing the cycle


As for as the cyanobacteria outbreak, erythromycin works great! You can get it from almost any fish store. It wont hurt your plants or fish and will get rid of the green slime quickly.
 
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The Merchant

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I think if you don’t kill it off completely with the blackout or something else,’you’ll continue to have it growing.. however small the growth is
You are right. I can see it coming back. Small, but still noticeable and annoying. I've been busy wrapping up school so my tank maintenance has gotten a little lax over the past week

I moved a 55g and what I did was I bought a tub container with a lid and put holes in the lid for air. Filled about halfway with tank water and placed fish, plants and the filter media in the tubbermaid container and tore the tank down. No problems at all and keeping the filter media in the container with the tank water and fish kept me from losing the cycle


As for as the cyanobacteria outbreak, erythromycin works great! You can get it from almost any fish store. It wont hurt your plants or fish and will get rid of the green slime quickly.
I'll try to find that after I move the fish home. Are there any specific brands that work best and easily available?
 

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There are definitely ways to temporarily remove the cyanobacteria and the algae growth, but in order to entirely get rid of it, you must find the root cause. To me, a bloom in algae/cyanobacteria growth indicates that there is an imbalance in the tank. The fish tank is an ecosystem, comprised of fish and plants. I find that when there is not enough plants, or too many fish, or both, then something in the ecosystem has to compensate. And that compensation takes the form of algae/cyanobacteria. Basically, the normal case is that there are too many fish and not enough plant life to process the waste/nutrients created by the fish. As a result, algae and cyanobacteria are created in order to reduce the amount of waste/nutrients in the tank. This is why some seemingly disgusting, algae ridden tanks have pristine water parameters. It is because the algae filters the water like a plant. I too had these unwanted blooms when my tank was planted scarcely.

My advice for getting rid of this stuff entirely after the blackout is to feed your fish only once every three days. When you do this, fish will resort to eating the cyanobacteria and the algae that grows in the tank. This usually won't be enough though, and I would recommend purchasing more plants to fill your tank.
 
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