Tank Upkeep- Green Help

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by maco100, May 16, 2018.

  1. maco100New MemberMember

    Hello, looking for advice
    Noticed my 5.5 gallon female betta tank(filtered and heated) is green. Lots of Algae on everything. Took decorations out and washed with water, no soap.

    Changed filter cartridge as well, it was full.

    Any suggestions to clean out the green? Would a snail or something be beneficial?

    Please help! Image1526525821.436288.jpgImage1526525821.436288.jpg
  2. Sergeant Pepper

    Sergeant PepperWell Known MemberMember

    Green water indicates possibly too much sun exposure or that the lights are on for too long. How long do you have the lights on during the day? Does the tank sit in front of a window?
    You mentioned changing the filter cartridge. Did you completely replace it? In your profile it states you aren't familiar with the Nitrogen Cycle. Your beneficial bacteria lives in the filter cartridge, so completely removing it without letting the new one "seed" (collect and colonize with bacteria from old/mature cartridge) kills any cycling that may have been occurring. You could be experiencing a bacteria bloom as well.
  3. OP

    maco100New MemberMember

    Thank you for the help! My tank doesn’t sit near a window no, it’s in the basement. Lights are for approximately 12 hours a day, just the LED tank light. I completely replaced the filter cartridge yes. Was this bad? I still have it if need be, although two of them do not fit in my filter unit.

    What is a bacteria bloom?

    It now appears that the water is foggy.... doing a 25 percent water change seemed to make it worse

    Sorry for all the questions.... any other advice for General tank maintenance? For sure miss the pristine clear water and tank
    Last edited by a moderator: May 17, 2018
  4. danhutchins

    danhutchinsWell Known MemberMember

    If you were able to clear up the "green" in your tank and now it looks cloudy you are going through a "cycle", this is when the beneficial bacteria grows. It consumes ammonia and turns it into nitrites and then another bacteria grows and turns nitrites into nitrates. Ammonia and nitrites are poisonous to fish and can kill everything in your tank. The beneficial bacteria makes these things not so poisonous by creating nitrates, nitrates can still be harmful at high levels but are usually kept low with weekly water changes. How long has it been since you removed the filter? If it has been long enough that it has dried out you are out of luck with letting it seed the other filter because the beneficial bacteria cant survive out of water for extended periods of time. You would have gone through a nitrogen cycle when you first set the tank up, every tank goes through this. Hope this helps.
  5. fjh

    fjhWell Known MemberMember

    So a quick run down of the nitrogen cycle and how it affects your tank:

    Your fish produces ammonia (from poop, uneaten food, etc). Beneficial bacteria (bb) consumes this ammonia and converts it into nitrites. Then the bb converts the nitrites into nitrates.

    Ammonia and nitrites are very poisonous to your fish. Nitrates are as well, but only in great quantities and to a lesser extent.

    About 90% of your bb lives on your filter media. When you changed out the cartridge. You essencially killed all your bb and ruined your cycle. When your cartridge gets full of junk, scrub/squeeze it in old tank water (ie water from a water change) until it is clean enough to your liking.

    A bacteria bloom occurs when there is a lot of ammonia (and/or nitrite) in your tank. The water often turns opaque/cloudy and you may see what looks like spider webs in your tank. This is bb in your water consuming the ammonia, the water will turn clear again once the bb in your filter catches up to your ammonia production.
    To fix this, i would recommend doing exactly nothing. Water changes will often only make it worse, and it should clear up on its own in about a week. So long as your fish arent showing too much stress, just leave the tank as is.

    An algae bloom is just what it sounds like. Your water will turn green and tou get algae on all your decor. Probable causes are: a) too much light (sunlight or having your light on for too many hours), b) too much nitrates in the water, c) a sudden increase in ammonia production or a ruined cycle.
    How to fix: in your case it is a mix of an uncycled tank and too much light. For now, i would cut down the light period to 6hrs a day or 2 4hr segments (ie 1-7pm OR 7-11am and 6-10pm). Usually lights should knly be kn for 7-10 hours a day, not 12hrs, so once your tank clears up yoi can keep them on for 8hrs straight.

    The nice thing about tanks is they let you knkw when something gets really out of wack ;)
  6. FishGirl38

    FishGirl38Valued MemberMember

    As SP stated, algae growth is a product of too much light entering the tank either from the lights or an open window. The tank should receive about 8 hrs of light a day on average. I'm pretty sure rapid algae growth could also be an effect of phosphates. Phosphates are added to the tank through fish food.
    If you happen to over-feed at all or leave food at the bottom of the tank for long periods of time, it can allow phosphates to build up enough to help 'feed' algae.

    Algae in and of itself isn't really harmful, it can be unsightly though. Personally, I prefer just wiping the tank down with a course sponge and leaving the tank light off for a few days as my algae quick fix...Though there are a few things you can do about it as a preventative, aside from manually scraping it from your decorations/tank glass.

    1.) Buy an algae eating organism: You have to be careful that what you buy will eat the TYPE of algae in question, if it's dark green in color and hard to remove, its likely GSA and not many things like eating it. The person selling the fish may not specifically know either. I personally recommend otocinclus. If you go with a snail, try Nerite snails (i.e, olive nerite, sun snails, zebra nerite, black racer nerite). Shrimp (tho I'd take care with the betta) try amano/yamano shrimp.

    2.) Keep the tank dark for about 2-3 days: The longer the better. This prevents the algae from growing and allows it to die off naturally, the filter should take over from there. Adding snails to stir up the dying algae wouldn't hurt. W/E you do, do not buy pond snails, jap. trap door snails, assassin snails, or any other snail that may reproduce in your nano aquarium. (Nerite snails reproduce in brackish- half salt - water, so do amano shrimp, so they're safe; and hardy! Mine are going on a year and a half.)

    3.) Consider Phosphates/Nitrates: If you're keeping light under 8hrs a day and there are no sources of natural light permeating the tank, than it's possible excess phosphates/nitrates are to blame. Especially if you have a tendency to overfeed (like myself...) or skip water changes, you could buy a phosphate/nitrate test kit to see if that actually is a possibility. You could skip this step though, phosphates and nitrates aren't really important in the aquarium unless you have live plants. They're a waste product, so you could just buy a poly-filter that removes phosphates/nitrates and put that in front of the carbon inside the filter and observe if algae has cleared at all...

    -------An addition about green water: If the water itself is actually green, that means that there is unicellular algae in the water. Usually a product of high light conditions and optimal phosphate/nitrate levels. Nothing can 'eat this' really, you'd have to let the filter clear it up. You could do a small water change, but personally I recommend a 3 day black-out if it won't stress your fish too much.

    Cloudy water/nitrite cycle:
    If the tank is cloudy, and it's not caused by stirred particles and dirt, it's likely a bacteria bloom, which is good; kind of. When a tank first establish's itself, within the first week of filtration, the water clouds and looks milky, these are the first colonies of nitrospira bacteria. This bacteria oxidizes (changes) fish and food waste, specifically ammonia, into nitrite. Nitrite is the most toxic by-product of the cycle, but ammonia typically causes the most problems. From there, a second type of bacteria colony establishes itself and oxidizes the nitrite into less toxic nitrate and you're ready to add fish/do a small water change. This usually takes about 3-4 weeks to complete, though you can buy add-in bacteria supplements for emergency or preventative occasions.

    Now, when this happens in a new tank, its a good thing. When it happens in a tank that's been around for awhile, it's a not so great thing. This could mean that somehow, you've depleted the bacteria colonies responsible for reducing ammonia naturally in the tank. In that situation, I would add a live bacteria supplement formulated to add a pre-established bacterium colony into the tank (fluval, api, tetra, and marineland all have supplements that are adequate).

    OR monitor ammonia level or fish behavior (to make sure she's not at the top gasping for air or 'coughing'/'choking' which are common symptoms of ammonia burn: if she is, do a SMALL water change, betta are anabantids and can breathe from the surface of the water, so she won't suffocate from excess ammonia like most fish would, but it may make her sick/burn her--leading to potential illness/infection; I HIGHLY DOUBT that you're that bad off in terms of your bacteria colony though.)

    Edit: Completely agree with fjh, I think you should leave the tank alone for now, (don't add anything yet either), wait about a week or two. And then do a small water change, I've had my tanks for 2 years now and have never replaced the bacterium agent.. We have different kinds of filters and I'm assuming your carbon and bacterium agents are stored together, mine are separate components, but tbh, I don't change my carbon every month like i should either...your tank is much smaller than mine are though, and I wouldn't recommend going more than 2 months w/o changing the carbon, as it is true that after about a month, the carbon doesn't 'do it's job' anymore and smaller tanks 'get dirty' alot faster than larger tanks do.

    4.) Use an algaecide: This is a chemical/powered dosage that you can add to your aquarium to kill algae. I recommend it last because I don't see the use in it. I don't like to go shooting my tank up with all kinds of products and supplements to get it 'right'. Elbow grease never hurt anybody...BUT, if you have an algae problem that won't go away, and don't have any shrimp or snails (SOME algaecides contain copper and other additives that will KILL shrimp and snails, use with caution and always read the package.), using a chemical to knock it out should be a full-proof method. Again, I've never personally used it, but I'm sure it's safe for fish. Betta are very hardy as well.

    I hope I was helpful, maybe not in your specific situation but I hope I've at least offered a new piece of information for you.
    Last edited: May 16, 2018
  7. Hunter1

    Hunter1Well Known MemberMember

    It was recommended to clean your filter instead of replacing it, great advice.

    But do not clean it with tap water unless you are on a well. The chlorine will also kill your B.B. the best practice is when you do a water change and remove water, clean your filter in this water at that time.

    If you have to replace your filter media/cartridge and the old cartridge will not fit on the upstream side of your filter, cut the media out and put it on the upstream side for at least a month.. this will maintain your cycle.

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