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Old 02-11-2011, 05:18 AM
Location: Raleigh, NC
1,039 posts, read 2,655,701 times
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I'm going mad here with my aquarium.

I have a 20 gallon freshwater aquarium. There are 3 blue gouramis in the aquarium. I'm using the Tetra Whisper 20/30 (or 20/40 I forget the specific gallon number) filter.

I have been battling the green algae water for the better part of 5 months now. No matter what I do I cannot stop the algae from growing (it is the algae that turns the water green and very cloudy).

I have tried everything from keeping the light off for days (I use flourescent lights). Using the algae killer you put in the water (with the charcoal filter removed). Water changes, and even planting live plants. The last water change I did was about 50% and the water seemed clearer for about 4 days but the algae is back.

I'm about ready to drain the whole tank, buy new aquarium substrate and plant some live plants. I really don't know what else to do. I do know that the Gouramis are hardy fish and I think they'll be OK with the change. I know it because when I first got the fish I had a 5 gallon aquarium and I did 80-90% water changes on a regular basis (these are my first fish and this was before I knew about beneficial bacteria).

Any suggestions??
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Old 02-11-2011, 03:39 PM
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Does your tank get any kind of direct sunlight? Make sure it's far away from windows. And adding live plants can just aggravate the green water, although there is a plant that some say can help with it, maybe water sprite? I am typing off the top of my head though, I don't have time to research it.

I feel for you, I have had it happen to a few of my tanks in the past. I am coming up blank as to what I finally did that fixed the problem, though. I do have water sprite in all my tanks. I remember I tried everything. I will try and remember what I finally did.
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Old 02-11-2011, 07:45 PM
Location: North Western NJ
6,591 posts, read 24,869,986 times
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algae is typically a combination of too much light and too much fish food.

as the above poster asked, is the tank close or in direct sunlight (even from across the room) this will absolutly cause algae blooms.

my other suggestion is to feed less.

given the size of your tank too id suggest looking for ottos (Otocinclus Catfish) they are small, wont bother your gourami, wont take up much space, and possibly the BEST algae eater there is they prefer to be in groups so get at least 5, i never typically bother adding them to my overall bioload unless im already almost full because they are very efficient feeders.

id also suggest cutting back on how much your feeding your fish as uneaten fish food will feed algae as it breaks up.

drining your tank and starting new wont help the situation because you wont be addressing the cause of the algae blooms.

how old is the tank? it could also be a case of all the stuff youve done to try and fix the algea has caused a bacterial bloom causing the cloudyness...

limit light, put your flourescant on a timer with no more than 10 hours of light a day, and if its across or neer a window where its getting light find a way to block that off, either move the tank or close the curtains (direct light will make algae grow like crazy.)
feed little and even less frequently.
personally i feed my cichlids every other day and only enough that they can eat in a few seconds, they are growing like weeds, healthy happy fish and i only have to whipe down my glass once a month since i started feeding less and i have no free floating algae...

i would also absolutly suggest adding a group of 5 ottos to your tank, itll take them a while, but combine them with the light and feed measures and your tank should be clear...

if all that doesnt work id look into adding a small uv sterilizer to your tank, itll pump water through the sterlizer which will kill the algae blooms and should clear you up quick, but uv sterlizers are a little pricey so id only do that as a last resort...and id still limit feeding, light and add ottos even with a uv sterlizer.

iwith the ottos, if theres no algae in the tank drop a few frozen peas in once a week, they will also scavange on the bottom for missed flake and pellet food.
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Old 02-11-2011, 07:48 PM
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, 615' Elevation, Zone 8b - originally from SF Bay Area
44,585 posts, read 81,279,384 times
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Usually caused by being next to a window, natural light grows algae well compared to the top light. Plants do make it worse. The best filter system won't help with algae, water changes help some, but won't stop it because it grows on the glass and gravel. Another cause is overfeeding, the extra food in the water provides nutrients (fertilzer) for the algae. Make sure the fish eat everything in 2-3 minutes, if not you are giving them too much. There are also fish like Plecostomus, Loaches and "Algae Eaters" that will help.
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Old 02-11-2011, 08:17 PM
Location: Raleigh, NC
1,039 posts, read 2,655,701 times
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Sorry...I tried to be descriptive but I left those facts out.

The fish tank is on the same wall as a window. It is about 3 feet to the right of the window and there are curtains on the side of the window, so there is no "direct" sunlight. The wall faces east and with the fish tank on the south side of the window, no light shines directly on it.

As for feeding, I will switch to every other day.

There is something definitely something going on in there. In the past I never had a problem with organic matter on the substrate, but now when I'm vacuuming I'm seeing some white (looks "furry") matter, as well as feces. In the past I never had any problems.

So I guess my immediate questions are:

How much water is safe to change?

Nix the plants? (I was told that they were good because they competed with the algae for resources)

How long before I introduce the algae eater fish? Wait until the water is clear again?

Thanks in advance, I appreciate all the help!
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Old 02-11-2011, 09:22 PM
Location: North Western NJ
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i never do more than a 25% unless desperate, in this case though it would depend, if your water tests are comming up normal id say its bacterial and id only do 10-20% at a time (too much new water can cause the beneficial bacteria to go into overdrive and increase cloudyness...if however its a nitrate/nitrite problem id do 50% water changes and frequent gravel vacs. the white sounds more like a bacterial bloom but id definatly get a water testing kit (preferably a liquid kit as they are more accurate than the test stips that you dip) as both nitrates and nitrites can cause cloudyness too. it could be a case of something they are not treating your water with if your city, or something going on in the well if your well water...try doing water changes with filtered water if you dont already.
might be worth adding extra carbon...get a pair of ladies nylon stockings, cut the foot off and pack loosely with loose carbon, tie closed and sit it in your filter behind your current carbon bag.
if its bacterial it should clear up fairly nicely with a cut back on food and is harmless to the fish.

if your water tests clear and your other fish are healthy id see no problem adding the ottos...there typically tough little guys!

i know over feeding can cause cloudyness...you might want to look into a food that says specifically that it helps keep water clear, some foods seem to be more prone to causing cloudiness than others.

how long has this specific tank been set up?

live plants can help with algea control, but you generally have to increase daily light to 14 hrs a day.
if you WANT to add live plants, it wont hurt...however if you wernt planning and dont want to add live plants (or dont want the upkeep) then i dont think itll make too much of a difference.

a 10-20% water change once a week should help reduce any free floating algae too.
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Old 02-11-2011, 09:49 PM
Location: Raleigh, NC
1,039 posts, read 2,655,701 times
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Thanks Foxy...

The tank has been set up for a year or so.

As for upkeep of live plants, is there maintenance involved?

I don't see any free-floating algae, just the cloudy stuff.

I'm going to test the water tomorrow and go from there.

Thanks again.
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Old 02-12-2011, 07:04 AM
5,064 posts, read 15,907,992 times
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You say you are going to feed every other day, I'd only do that temporarily. You certainly don't want to under-feed your fish, either.
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Old 02-12-2011, 07:45 AM
Location: North Western NJ
6,591 posts, read 24,869,986 times
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i feed my fish every other day, have for 2 years and they are fat sassy healthy fish...infact my ob ciclid could probably go on a diet lol hes a big bellied boy.

in terms of plants, it depends on the types of plants your using, some are very easy raisers, ive done well with water sprite and amazon swords as well as hairgrass...
other plants are a litle more finniky and need extra lighting an co2 pumps...
theres alot of info on planted aquariums on the internet, i personally dont do planted anymore as we right now have goldfish/koi in one tank for the winter (poind spring/summer/fall) and they will eat straight through...and plants simply dont survive with all the digging and rearranging cichlids do.
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Old 02-12-2011, 10:09 AM
Location: On the Chesapeake
45,444 posts, read 60,653,733 times
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Cut back on the food.

Cut back on the light.

You may just have one of those setups that algae likes. Is it the long stringy type or more just a fuzz? The first can be a problem, the second not so much.

Cloudy, grayish water indicates an overfeeding issue.

Healthy, growing plants will often clean up an algae issue, they steal the nutrients form the algae.
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