Green Water - No matter what I do... Help!

rctoyguy
  • #1
Here's the full story...
In August, I set up a 30 gal freshwater tank - it was a "starter kit" so it came with cartridge based back filter.

The first month or so was fine - no problems, other than a couple of fish dying (1 or 2 of which just disappeared, never found a trace of them)

Since around October or so, it has been an endless fight trying to get the water cleared up. It is very green - I can do about a 50% water change, replace the filter cartridge, and add the drops that are supposed to help clear up the water, and for a day or two it will start to improve - then it goes downhill in a hurry. Within 2 days a brand new filter cartridge will be solid green.

2 fake plants and a sunken ship are all that are in it, and there is a little visible algae (I guess it's algae) on the plants - I scrubbed the sides of the tank during one of the water changes I have done recently - the sides weren't bad.

I didn't have a water test kit (never used one back in the day) so I took some water to the pet store the tank came from. They said everything tested OK except something (don't remember what) - the fix was to put 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda in the tank. They also said that I should be doing 25% water changes every week.

SO - last night I pulled the plants out and left them out, took the boat out and rinsed it off (it was clean anyway), stirred up the gravel some, put algae killing drops in the tank, took the filter cartridge out (which was solid green) and rinsed it out thoroughly, and later in the night I added the baking soda.

-- NOW --
I've never heard of that often of water changes - could that be correct?
Is my problem related to the back filter instead of an undergravel filter?
Could the missing fish's remains be causing something screwy with the water?

Please help.... I know it shouldn't be this difficult to keep the water clean. you can't see the back from the front... heck, most days you can't see the middle from the front. I have not had any other fish die since the beginning (at least I think they're all still there - water is so dirty it's hard to tell....
 
Cody
  • #2
I had that that problem to...and again but it was because of mopanI would that takes months even aftetr bioling..I left it in a crock pot for 24 hours once and it still happend..but what you should try is.adding extra carbon to the filter .and risne the filter our ever two or three days continue water changes weekly..you should get your water tested..your proubably have a bad aglea bloom..this happend to me and it happend due to me neglecting the tank and slowly getting out of the hobby but I fell back in love when I started to care..I'm sure somoene will come on here and totatly go more technical and what not...but I say...add more carbon.you can buy a little jar type thing full of it..and fill your filter up with it..and that will help get more of it out ..everytime the filter starts to get very green risne it off..and I would only replace it once a week..keep to 25% water changes once a week. and gravel vacume..look under decor and anywhere those fish could be rotting away..if your confused pleaes tell me
 
TheEssigs
  • #3
You can also try a remover, such as Algone. Algone has a website you can reference.

Green water usually means there are excess nutrients or elevated nitrates in your water. Water changes, nor excess carbon will clear the problem, it may help, but eventaully the green keeps going until you find the source problem. I woudnt use an algae killing chemical in the water either, I feel they do more harm than good.

Is your tank placed where it may get direct sunlight? That will also cause a algae bloom in the tank.

Good luck!
 
susitna-flower
  • #4
HI Rctoyguy, Welcome to fishlore, hope we can help.....

Nothing lovely about a green tank......

Like stated the causes are #1 High nutrients in the water, ie, ammonia, nitrites, nitrates or phosphates.

#2 High light

For #1. Water changes. But this will only help if you don't have an overcrowded tank, or aren't feeding the fish to much.

You didn't say what fish are left, or what the tank size is. THIS is important. If the adult expected size of your fish is over 1" per gallon of tank, it is overcrowded, and your water needs frequent 25 - 50 % water changes.
It might be that back in the day, (YOURS and MINE I suspect) they didn't test the water, but that doesn't mean it is not a good idea. I recommend the API Master test kit, it's easy to read, then you will KNOW....
If your ammonia and nitrites are over 0 your fish will be unhealthy and die! Both can contribute to algae. If your nitrates are above 20 your fish will be unhealthy and you will grow algae!!! I like to keep mine down between 5 and 10.

If ANY sunlight can reach the tank think of moving the tank, or closing a shade during the day. Tank lights should only be on 5 hours twice a day with a 2 hour off period.
For the first three days as you clear your tank, totally cover it with a thick blanket. Do a 50% water change and vacuum the gravel to remove as much dead algae as you can.

If you aren't overcrowded already, you should think of getting some kind of algae eating fish for your tank. (let us know how big the tank is and what fish you currently have) Bristlenose plecos are one of the best for eating algae. For a really small tank 3 otoes would help.

The amount you are feeding fish can be a HUGE problem with water quality. You should be feeding two small feedings a day, no more than can be eaten in 3 minutes, there should never be any left. Depends on the type of fish you are keeping here also, some are big waste producers, which in itself can cause more problems with water quality.

If the filter is not sized correctly for the tank size, and the type of fish you are keeping it could be improved.

NEVER scrub the tank, or throw out the filter material. You can brush off decorations, or rinse them in discarded tank water. More than that and you risk a minI cycle with another spike in ammonia, which will kill fish.

Give us some more information, and remember green is good
maybe just not for your water.
 
zigmeister
  • #5
rctoy,

I have been having the same problem. I have tried everything short of the chemicals. Nothing I have done has made any difference. My fish are fine, but the green water is just plain ugly. If I find a cure I will let you know! Until then, GREEN TANKS UNITE!!! LOL just teasting.
 
rctoyguy
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
The email notification didn't work... I just happened to check and saw the replies. Thanks everyone!

It is a 30 gal tank - the filter is the one that came with the package - topfin 30, I believe.

There are 5 zebra danios, 5 neon tetras, 1 small glass fish, 1 med/small plecostomas (sp?), and 1 knife fish (my 3 year old HAD to have it LOL) that is about 5 inches long. In the first couple of weeks, we lost a black fancy goldfish and a black molly - that was before the neon tetras and glass fish were added.

I now have a water test kit - tested it the day after the baking soda was added, and everything looks right - I don't have the chart in front of me, so I can't give numbers, but everything was where it should be according to the chart that came with the test strips.

I HAVE been leaving the light on 24/7, but I didn't realize fluorescent light affected anything - there should be no daylight getting to the tank.

Here is my plan for tonight - unless someone says not to do this -
** do 50% water change while vacuuming gravel
** Rinse off filter (replace filter?)
** turn off light - completely cover tank with blanket or something

We are having a "thing" at our house this Saturday night, and I am really ashamed of how the tank looks - is it realistic to think I can have it presentable by then?
 
susitna-flower
  • #7
OK rctoyguy, test the water again. Write it down and let us know: Ammonia:
Nitrites:
Nitrates:

I should have mentioned this before, baking soda is to change the PH, and normally your fish will be able to adjust to PH, and this really isn't contributing to the GREEN.........the store employee was trying to be helpful, but messing around with the ph in the end just stresses out your fish. You can't maintain the adjustment through water changes without lots of messing around.

SO now you have some clues, sounds like the light is #1 problem.

But I still think you need to consider your feeding habits.

With such varied fish are you feeding "extra" to make sure your black Ghost Knife is getting his food? If so, stop. Feed your Small tank mates once a day for awhile. Till the algae is gone, DON'T put any food in for the Pleco (then when the algae is gone, you can feed him an algae wafer twice a week)
By the way you say medium pleco, what kind of pleco is it? If it is a common, you shouldn't even have him. See if you can trade him for a Bristlenose, they are much better on algae cleanup, and produce LOTS less waste, which is what you want to eliminate. The extra waste produced by a common pleco just feeds that algae!
Feed the Black Ghost Knife after the lights are out. Just a small feeding like some bloodworms right where he is in the tank, JUST enough to keep him from eating your neons!

If you do this and limit the light to a total of 10 hours a day, it will help. Remember as your algae dies in the tank it will foul the water and water changes take care of this. You still are talking about "REPLACING" the filter. PLEASE don't replace the filter media, rinse it in discarded tank water. You need to get your tank healthy and it won't happen if you kill the bacteria in the filter, or discard the filter material and replace it with new media.

When the tank is clear, you can change 1/2 of the media at a time, OR if it is a filter cartridge, when you change it out, place the old filter next to the new and run for a week this way, OR use Bio-Spira at the time of filter change to seed the new filter with bacteria.

Hope this helps. You should see some improvement by Saturday, if not, keep it covered with that blanket or wrap it up like a big Christmas present, and people won't care! :;gift
 
rctoyguy
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
48 hours since the 60% water change... At that time, I also replace the filter (filtration system, not just the cartridge) to a Penguin Bio-Wheel 150. I then turned off the light and completely covered the tank with beach towels.

Now - the water is a little cloudy - It does not have the green look that it did, it's just a white colored cloudy... Using a Jungle 6 test quick dip thing, here are my numbers right now, Thursday night:
Nitrate - 10
Nitrite - 0
Hardness - 75
Chlorine - 0
Alkalinity - 40
pH - 7.0

For better or worse, I just added Top Fin water clarifier drops, leaving the light off and covering it back up....

Advice? Thoughts?
 
Skyline
  • #9
Heres what I did when I encountered that problem...The tank needs to be cycled first though......Water changes - daily and frequent.....No lights for two weeks. Feed fish sparingly and monitor how much they eat...In fact I underfed puposely. Algae will feed on the excess food in the tank....Algae killing agents can be harmful to fish, plants and especially invertebrates....

No major disturbances to the tank decor, filter, gravel, etc.......
Vacuum only 1/3 of your gravel per week to keep minI cycles from happening. See if that helps....

MY NUMBER 1 WAY TO CURE THIS:

Buy Nutrafin Cycle Biological Aquarium Supplement. In the worst of days this product was my savior, I owe this product SOOOO much. I recommend it x 10234ndn4729nso93, you can find it at any local fish store (LFS) or at this PETCO site.

Works wonders highly recommended coming from a person who had over 30 very expensive fish die from over-using algae medicine...which should never be used only if worst really does come to worst.


Hope this helps..I know this can be VERY annoying...
 
susitna-flower
  • #10
HI rctoyguy,

Just wondering how your tank is doing?

I'm worried that you totally changed out your filter, and it would have sent your tank into its cycle again.....the white cloudy water.

This is why I told you not to change the filter media....You need the bacteria in there to change the ammonia into nitrite...

So just worried and wondering what is going on.
 
jsalemi
  • #11
MY NUMBER 1 WAY TO CURE THIS:

Buy Nutrafin Cycle Biological Aquarium Supplement. In the worst of days this product was my savior, I owe this product SOOOO much. I recommend it x 10234ndn4729nso93, you can find it at any local fish store (LFS) or at this PETCO site.

The general opinion here (and elsewhere) is to not use Cycle for anything -- it doesn't actually contain the good bacteria your tank needs, and does more harm than good by constantly causing mini-cycles to occur. And frankly, since algae is a plant and the bacteria that Cycle supposedly has (and the ones that really populate the tank) only eat ammonia and nitrites and not plants, I can only conclude that it was a coincidence that your algae problem cleared up around the same time you added the Cycle. One really has nothing to do with the other.
 
Skyline
  • #12
hmmm...I guess your right...but it helped me...I think
 
rctoyguy
  • Thread Starter
  • #13
10,000% better. I have been doing a weekly ~25% water change.
past day or so I have noticed a very slight white cloudiness - not a big deal at all. before that it had been basically crystal clear.

Just tested the water:
Nitrate - 10 or so
Nitrite - 0
Total Hardness - 75 Soft
Chlorine - 0
Total Alkalinity - 30 ish
pH - 6.7 or so - not quite getting to 6.8

Thanks for all of the help - I didn't realize the water changes were that important, or that the hood light would promote algae. The tanks I dealt with years ago didn't have these problems and I never did water changes. Guess I was just lucky then or something.
 
capekate
  • #14
So after almost two years with the 55 going, it appeared that for no apparent reason the tank started to get cloudy on me. Then the water is starting to turn green. Ive never had this problem before so I did some research on older threads on this subject. At least I know that its not harmful for the fish. Good thing!
I also read that a blackout may work in ridding the algae bloom. I don't want to go that route tho. I would feel terribly bad for the fish to be kept in total darkness for 3-4 days as it would be so unnatural for them. I read about willow branches but in the middle of Feb were would I find some that were not dormant?
The only reason I can come up with for the algae bloom is that I increased the amount of food I was feeding the fish when the BR Parrots came along. They are such piggies that I felt I had to add more than usual. The culprit may be the Spirolina Brine Shrimp since it is green with veggie matter in it. So I have omitted that from their diet and they have to deal with the plain Brine shrimp which for some reason they really do not care for. jeesh...
I'm waiting on the delivery of the python that is supposed to be here today and that will make the frequent water changes much easier.
This tank is where I have extra sponges gathering BB for the new tank and I don't know if transfering the media to the new tank will introduce the green algae to the new tank? I want to be able to move the JDs and convict to the 55 when the 125 is ready for fish and hate the thought that now I have to deal with this algae problem...
thanks for the vent!
 
Lucy
  • #15
HI Kate, ugh, how frustating.
Did you come across this thread that it was suggested to using willow branches?
Here it is:
 
capekate
  • #16
HI Lucy
yes I did.. I went through the water conditions forums and read every thread that started with 'green water help' lol... I mentioned the willow branches in the OP and now wondering if being dormant would matter at this time of year on whether they would still work or not?
 
Lucy
  • #17
Sorry, missed that. Good question. Here in Tn the daffodils are blooming. I forget that you're a lot colder up there.
I wonder if you could get some from a florist.
 
capekate
  • #18
Sorry, missed that. Good question. Here in Tn the daffodils are blooming. I forget that you're a lot colder up there.
I wonder if you could get some from a florist.
hmmm now that is a good idea! I can always check.
Yep it still cold up here but no snow on the ground... I think the high today should be in the high 40's to possible 50*. Ahhh the daffys are starting to bloom there eh? I think we are going to have an end to winter here soon, for whatever reason our animals are starting to shed awfully early this year.
 
Jonah
  • #19
I have a tank that gets far more sunlight than it really should and and green water syndrome in it because of that.

The room is south facing so it can't be helped.

I found marimo balls really useful in controlling the algae by out competing it.
 
bettafish2816
  • #20
that's so frustrating! i'm sorry to hear that. unfortunately I don't have much to add in the way of solving the issue.
 
AlyeskaGirl
  • #21
Yeah, that is frustrating. Sorry. I've never experienced green water before so I am no help.
 
capekate
  • #22
Thanks.. Ive never experienced it before either, its all new to me as well. :-\
My plan instead of covering up the tank with the fish is to move them all to the 125 hopefully this weekend if another problem can be solved (python issue but that is for another thread). I was not going to do this, but it seems that by moving them to the new tank and monitoring the water perimeters there I can then cover the empty tank in total darkness to get rid of the algae before moving the JDs and convict into that tank.
That's the only thing I can think of at this point. :-\
 
lew2000
  • #23
what about trying a small HOB UV unit?
 
Shawnie
  • #24
if its from the food, it should go away now that you stopped using it...in my 75 gal, my bf had bought some of those green hikarI pellets for the jd's that are suppose to give them more color..the only thing it colored, was my tank water LOL ...those have gone to the trash needless to say....also, those parrots are big poo'ers and if they are eating green food, they are going to poo green ...so it could be a combo of both...if there is no green algae on the deco, tank walls, or subtrate, id say its the food not so much algae per say...a good gravel vac and 50% water change will let you know...run a carbon for a week and that should help a lot also...NO FREAKING OUT ALLOWED ...with the new tank getting closer to set up, only happy thoughts ;D
 
capekate
  • #25
if its from the food, it should go away now that you stopped using it...in my 75 gal, my bf had bought some of those green hikarI pellets for the jd's that are suppose to give them more color..the only thing it colored, was my tank water LOL ...those have gone to the trash needless to say....also, those parrots are big poo'ers and if they are eating green food, they are going to poo green ...so it could be a combo of both...if there is no green algae on the deco, tank walls, or subtrate, id say its the food not so much algae per say...a good gravel vac and 50% water change will let you know...run a carbon for a week and that should help a lot also...NO FREAKING OUT ALLOWED ...with the new tank getting closer to set up, only happy thoughts ;D
LOL Shawnie...
that's the strange thing about it. When I look head on into the tank, there is no green water, no green on the decor and none in the filter or on the white bio orbs. BUT when I look in from the sides of the tank, I can hardly see the other end with the green tint to the water. It just doesn't make any sense to me, why does it look green when looking in at the side, but not the front of the tank?
I used the python today for the first time, (I will save my comments on that for another thread, just let me say.. uggh.) lol I did almost a 50% water change and I also did one on monday but the water is still cloudy and greenish tint from the sides of the tank. I just don't get it.
I know if it was an algae bloom it would be on the decor as well. I will run the carbon and see what happens and stay away from the Spirolina Brine Shrimp. I would really rather cycle the big tank first before adding fish in there if I can help it.
Thanks Lew, I have heard of the UV filters, not sure what they are tho? I will look into that.
thanks again

The 55 gallon looks like a bad Christmas wrap job! lol... The BR Parrots have been moved to the 125g and now the tank is completely covered and blocking out any light. Will see how it does in four days time... Hopefully the black out will kill the green algae.
 
Lucy
  • #26
I hope it does the trick! Are you going to lose the cycle?
 
capekate
  • #27
I hope it does the trick! Are you going to lose the cycle?

I believe the time line for black out is 36-48 hours on the first try. I have thought of adding a few drops of ammonia during this time. But I also thought there was so much established BB in the filter and the gravel that maybe I didnt need to? But on second thoughts.. it would probably be a good idea to sneak some ammonia in there tonight with lights off in the room.
Thanks for the reminder... I really do NOT want to loose the cycle, since I want to put the JDs in there when the water is clear.
 
Chase J
  • #28
There Are Some Old Threads About This. Try Searching Them In The Search Bar. Hopefully You'll Get Your Answer. Good Luck!
 
Toxic
  • #29
This is my turn with the green water, I would suggest covering it with a heavy blanket also. Flush your filter media good, I added an extra layer from cutting a new one in half. Your filter media will have all the algae in it when its over. My link :
 
capekate
  • #30
Woopiee the black out did the trick!
#1 photo of the green yucky water...
#2 photo, after four days of black out! It did the trick, the water was crystal clear, all readings were great, 0 for ammonia and nitrite and the nitrate was very high tho, so a 50% water change, a good vacuum and the tank was ready to go.
#3 photo: I added the two JDs from the 29 and they seem very happy with the room. ;D
 
Lucy
  • #31
It really looks great Kate!
 
haedra
  • #32
Awesome!

Now the question is.. how do you keep it from coming back, unless you know why it appeared in the first place?

This is something I would like to know for future reference, just in case I end up having to deal with it.
 
capekate
  • #33
thanks Lucy and Haedra! ;D
well... IMO to keep it from coming back is to not over feed the fish and make sure the nitrates are always kept as low as possible, which for me means more tank vacuuming and for me also, is not to over feed the fish.
At least I'm going to see if this method works. lol.
I have had the tank running for almost two years, and never had this happen before. only thing I did differently was feed more than usual. So I am guessing that must have been the problem and the tank was more than likely a bit overstocked due to the high bioload of the 4 BR Parrots that were in that tank.
So time will tell.. hopefully the problem is solved, but I will get back to you on that after I observe the tank for awhile...
 
Razimith
  • #34
I had the same thing happen about 3 months ago

I had the same problem a while back and the black out trick was the only thing that worked for me as well. I tried carbon and water changes everyday and that did not do any good. After I did the black out I turned my lights back from 10 hours to 4 hours and every day I added an hour to make sure the cloudy water did not return. I had plants and they all survived the black out but they were a bit on the droupy side though LOL. I am back up to 8 1/2 hours of light but that is the max for me I do not want to push it. Also I noticed that if I kept my lights on for long periods this also triggered the cloudy water syndrom. My timer allows me to turn on and off the lights 7 times a day therefore I never leave my lights on for more than 2 1/2 hours during the day. I am not saying this is the right way this is just what has worked for me to keep the cloudy water from returning. I have higher nitrates in my well water since it is spring time it is around 20ppm which algae loves to grow in. Great to hear it all worked out for you!!!!
 
capekate
  • #35
I had the same problem a while back and the black out trick was the only thing that worked for me as well. I tried carbon and water changes everyday and that did not do any good. After I did the black out I turned my lights back from 10 hours to 4 hours and every day I added an hour to make sure the cloudy water did not return. I had plants and they all survived the black out but they were a bit on the droupy side though LOL. I am back up to 8 1/2 hours of light but that is the max for me I do not want to push it. Also I noticed that if I kept my lights on for long periods this also triggered the cloudy water syndrom. My timer allows me to turn on and off the lights 7 times a day therefore I never leave my lights on for more than 2 1/2 hours during the day. I am not saying this is the right way this is just what has worked for me to keep the cloudy water from returning. I have higher nitrates in my well water since it is spring time it is around 20ppm which algae loves to grow in. Great to hear it all worked out for you!!!!
Thanks Razimith,
I also fear that the green water will come back now that I have the lights back on, but so far.. so good. Seeing that I also have well water, I think I may go ahead an check the tap water for nitrates as well, never thought it may change so in the spring, but that's a good idea. Thanks...
 
Bluestreakfl
  • #36
I'm having what I believe to be an algae bloom in my 20 gallon long tank. When I first set it up, I got severe diatoms, which the current 3 Otos and 3 Nerites have since devoured. Over the last week and a half the water has begun to cloud up. At first I blamed the substrate. I have black Floramax topped with Black fluorite sand. I noticed before the cloudiness that the fine dust from the sand had started to settle in an almost powdery form. Then it gradually disappeared and the water started to cloud. At first I thought it was just dust from the sand, but now the water has a nice green hue to it. I'm thinking excess nutrients from the sand have basically made the water nutrient rich.

I've started dosing excel daily. Aside from daily excel and daily small water changes is there anything else I can do to help it clear up? I had thought about rigging up a 100 micron filter sock to the outflow of one of the filters or even manually running a bunch of the water through the sock into a bucket and then filling the tank back up. Will a filter sock catch fine particles like these? I also have a few packets of Carribsea bio magnet water clarifier which I believe is a flocculent which helps particles clump together, would using this with the filter sock help?

This is my first time dealing with green water so I want to make sure I do it right. Lighting is a Finnex Planted Plus 24:7 which I let run on the automated 24/7 setting.


ImageUploadedByFish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum1443447075.431980.jpg

Any help and suggestions are greatly appreciated.


 
LexyBoi
  • #37
You can cover the tank in towels for 2 days and have no light whatsoever if you're plants aren't sensitive. More fish so they can eat the algae out of the water even s bunch of guppy will help, and some big water changes 40% every two days for two weeks. I had this problem in my fry tank, really want it back now it aerated the water better than any plant, constantly feeds fish by being super small, absorbs unused nutrients removed nitrates, the only bad bit is that it looks well undesirable.
 
TexasDomer
  • #38
You can cover the tank in towels for 2 days and have no light whatsoever if you're plants aren't sensitive. More fish so they can eat the algae out of the water even s bunch of guppy will help, and some big water changes 40% every two days for two weeks. I had this problem in my fry tank, really want it back now it aerated the water better than any plant, constantly feeds fish by being super small, absorbs unused nutrients removed nitrates, the only bad bit is that it looks well undesirable.

I wouldn't add more fish to solve this problem.

What about a UV sterilizer? I've heard that helps green water.

Also maybe reducing the amount of time the light is on.
 
Bluestreakfl
  • #39
Yeah I'm gonna try shortening the photo period. The plants in this tank are Crypts, Vesuvius Sword, Erect Moss, and Staurogen Repens. I'm trying to avoid total blackout, and am hoping Excel, Daily water changes, and a very good filter sock will do the trick. There is a window behind the tank, so I may put something on the back of the tank to block some of the sunlight that hits it.


 
Aquarist
  • #40
Good morning,

Getting to the root of the problem and reducing your lighting is the best idea.

You can use Micron Filter Pads to remove the algae bloom. These pads will remove algae blooms but will not remove bacterial blooms. They can be cut to fit any type of filter. They will clog easily and should be replaced probably within 24 hours. Sometimes they may go as long as 48 hours. I rinse the pads with a water hose and let them air dry and they are ready to use again. I do not wash them in a washing machine due to possible soap issues.

They work great:


Ken
 

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