Battling algae for over two years. Help

  1. laxdude

    laxdude Valued Member Member

    I've been at war with algae in my 20 gallon tank for so long now it's almost become a part of the tank in my mind. I NEED to get this out for my sanity's sake. I've only been giving the tank 6 hours of light, with no sun on it for a year, I've tried powerful filters, and even bleached the tank and started from scratch. Can anyone tell me what my algae is and how to fight it?

    ImageUploadedByFish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum1465332855.109372.jpg

    It's thick and blanket-like. it webs across my driftwood, and even carpets my substrate. please help- I'm desperate.
  2. Coradee

    Coradee Moderator Moderator Member

  3. c

    cheese Valued Member Member

    looks like blue green algae to me :(

    Sent from my SGH-I337M using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum mobile app

  4. OP

    laxdude Valued Member Member

    I figured that out just yesterday. any idea on where to get erythromycin? I know it's a prescription drug, so buying it from a pharmacy won't work.
  5. Aquaphobia

    Aquaphobia Fishlore Legend Member

    In the fish section at your LPS! No prescription needed:)

  6. DoubleDutch

    DoubleDutch Fishlore Legend Member

    In fact it is a bacteria (cyano).
  7. B

    Bhuij Valued Member Member

    Is your tank planted? If not, you may find that adding a floating plant like Water Lettuce or Duckweed to the top of your aquarium will solve the problem for you. Plants that can get CO2 from the air tend to easily outcompete algae for water nutrients.

    Adding chemicals and medications to your tank may help clean up in the short term, but it won't really address the root issue, and the algae will eventually return.

    I suspect your water is rich in phosphates. This tends to happen when you overfeed, especially with flake foods. I had a small algae problem in my planted tank recently, and I was able to nip it in the bud by cutting back on how much I fed the fish, as well as a couple of other measures that may not be appropriate for your tank.

    If I were in your position, I'd add water lettuce or duckweed to the top of the tank, cut back on overfeeding with any flake foods you might be using, and if you're growing plants anyway, look into getting Flourish Excel/Metricide and getting on a dosing schedule with that. It has some anti-algal properties aside from adding carbon to the water that will help your plants grow more quickly.

    Best of luck! Please keep us informed.
  8. OP

    laxdude Valued Member Member

    This tank has quite a decent amount of plants in it rn, and I'm not dosing any CO2. I have a minuscule comparative bio-load because I only have 7 rasboras.

    I don't tend to feed my fish too much, and if anything I sometimes feel I should feed them more. with this particular algae being blue-green algae, it's actually a cyanobacteria (researched it just after posting this thread) and normal methods for removing/preventing algae won't effect it. From what I can tell it really won't go away unless you dose erythromycin. there are other ways, but they all seem tedious or risky.

    I have had water lettuce and duckweed, and actually use them in my 40g in the sump (along with many mosses) as an extra biological filter. I don't personally like the look of it in my planted tanks because it gives it a gloomy feeling in my eyes. it can also starve many plants of the light they need.

    I appreciate the help and response from everyone, and will try to update when I get erythromycin. hopefully this will help anyone with a blue-green algae/cyanobacteria issue in the future.

    (ps, thanks for the links, Aquaphobia)
  9. DoubleDutch

    DoubleDutch Fishlore Legend Member

    Sorry, but as said this is a bacteria instead if algae. That requires another way. To be honest I think it is a lack of phosfates
  10. B

    Bhuij Valued Member Member

    My apologies for any misinformation. I wasn't aware that blue-green algae fell into an entirely separate category.
  11. OP

    laxdude Valued Member Member

    ImageUploadedByFish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum1465824736.320306.jpg
    day 1 of treatment. blue-green algae covering glass, wood, sand, and plants almost completely
  12. OP

    laxdude Valued Member Member

    day 2 of treatment. not much of a noticeable difference, but it's getting a bit thinner and looser around plants and driftwood ImageUploadedByFish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum1465915762.003496.jpg
  13. Silister Trench

    Silister Trench Well Known Member Member

    Not sure if this applies to this particular algae-like bacteria, but in most cases of algae it almost always does - what kind of lights are you using and if not LED how old? It looks dim, so single T8 over 20 long?

    It's good if it is loosening, then you should be able to remove easier and hopefully not have it grow back while treating.
  14. PaulieWoz

    PaulieWoz Valued Member Member

    If erythromycin doesn't work you can try Boyd chemiclean.

    In one tank I used h202 to get rid of it, it took about a week to kill it off, but I can't remember the dosage I used.

    In my other tank I had shrimp that did not like h202 so I used chemiclean and it worked great. In both cases I increased my dose of nitrogen and it hasn't come back since. I read that low nitrates can cause it, but I'm not a 100% sure if that's what it was.

    Edit: also watch your ammonia, I've heard of spikes caused by the bacteria dying.
  15. OP

    laxdude Valued Member Member

    It's a single Flora Sun 17 watt T8. it's tinted purple a bit, because it's more for plant growth. at the time I got this tank, I had barely and funds. LED wasn't an option, nor was T4 (is that right?)

    PaulieWoz I'm doing progressive water changes as I go. 20% today, 30% tomorrow. and so forth as needed. thanks for the heads up, though. also, ill keep that link close if needed
  16. Silister Trench

    Silister Trench Well Known Member Member

    How long since you last changed the bulb in your fixture? I've never had this exact problem, but while reading up on my own algae outbreaks often came across information relating to it, and old bulbs or bulbs not in the right spectrum were often associated with outbreaks of blue green algae in combination with excess nutrients (could be from the water out of your faucet) and low oxygen due to poor water flow.

    EDIT: I'm definitely not opposed to using treatments to get rid of algae, but the times I do I make sure to clean out my filter often to remove dead matter and usually try to remove as much as I can by hand while treating so it doesn't end up sucked into my filter.
  17. OP

    laxdude Valued Member Member

    well I ended up having to leave town amidst the middle of the treatment, so I'll have to start over I suppose. I'm just going to let this thread die now.

    also, the bga has been in the tank since the bulb was new.

    thanks to everyone who helped and provides links. if I end in success I will try to drop a quick note over here. cheers
  18. DoubleDutch

    DoubleDutch Fishlore Legend Member

    Thing is as the cause isn't gone, it definitely will be back
    I have had it for years, tried everything.
    It did go after I, against all advices, used cheap 4000K tubes from the hardware store, fed more, started using ferts,etc....

    [​IMG] Plants started growing and the cyano went home !