Post # 1
I need some help!! Growing up, we had a huge (75 gallon) tank that was the focal point of our living room. My dad and I were always adding fish/cleaning/taking care of this huge tank. Now that my FI and I are in an apartment that we know we wont be leaving at the end of our lease, I wanted a tank! I got a small (20 gal) tank and recalled everything I needed from my childhood. (pH, conditioner, vacuum, etc.). We have 4 tetras and 2 albino algae eaters.
Now the problem is this really persistant algae bloom that is in the tank. It’s been weeks. I have left the light off, changed the water (it’s now up to an every other day change – which I think is too much), and tried those stupid drops that I know I’m not supposed to use. I have taken out and washed every plant (non-living), and also the filter. I have to change the filter once every 2 weeks because it turns green. Help!!! I can’t really find any other advice on fish sites that I haven’t already tried. Any advice or brands of whatever it is you use will be helpful!
Post # 3
You could try adding extra charcole to the filter bag, and making sure the take is out of any direct natural sun light.
It worked for my 55gal.
Post # 4
@BelleriverBride: thanks. It has no direct sunlight, but I will try the filter!
Post # 5
@BelleriverBride: quick question – did you use charcoal crystals or inserts?
Post # 6
I’m a bit of a fish nut. I have 3 freshwater aquariums, 1 brackish aquarium, and 2 saltwater aquariums, so I am a bit obsessive– especially when it comes to information. 😀
Are you having green algae or brown algae problems? How long has the tank been running? How long have you had fish living in the environment? What kind of filtration are you running? How long have the lights been completely off, and have you noticed any changes in algae growth? How much water are you changing every other day? What are your nitrates reading? What is the temperature in the aquarium?
What species of tetra do you have in the tank?
Also, this is a bit off topic, but what kind of albino algae eaters do you have? Are they they golden algae eaters that look like this:
Or do they look similar to this:
If it looks similar to the first one, how large are they?
Post # 7
@Meglin: haha ok- I think I can attempt to answer all of your questions (and thank you SO much for helping!)
tank has been up for 4 months, fish since 3.5 months (after I got pH and nitrates all balanced and maintained)
I have an Aqueon filter that came with the tank(size Medium cartridges if that helps at all)
I tried lights off for 4 days with no change
no change in algae growth (algae has been persistant for almost a month)
40% water changes- vacuuming various parts of the tank each time. Using filtered water plus a conditioner each time.
temp is usually around 78 degrees, don’t have a nitrate reading that is super current but will take one in the AM and update
we have the second pic of albino algae eaters, and we also have 2 very tiny neons and 2 “red-blue” tetras. the red-blues are about 3/4th an inch and the neons are about 1/2 and inch. the algae eaters poop like crazy! They are about an inch and a half.. maybe a little smaller.
I have also tried feeding slightly less.
edit – Just spoke with FI and he recalls algae for about a month and a half. (he finds my obsession with it annoying so he recalls …. haha!!)
Post # 8
I would discontinue the 40% daily changes until we have a reading of ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates (really, nitrates are the only thing I’d consider to be a potential issue, though.)
4 months isn’t super new for a tank, but depending on the method you used to cycle the tank, it may be taking a bit longer to get stable. What were your water changes like prior to the 40% you’re doing now? Did you check out the nitrates since adding the fish, and if so, what were they reading?
The reason I would discontinue the 40% changes right now is because unless we know the water parameters, we could be doing more harm than good by disrupting the bacteria bed in such volume with such frequency. If you can get that nitrate reading tomorrow morning, that would be FANTASTIC. And if you haven’t done today’s water change yet, I would skip it. If you can, try and get the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate readings. If any fish stores around you offer LIQUID tests, do that instread of the strips. I purchased a set of liquid for both fresh and salt systems and will never look back; its accuracy is outstanding! If you can only access strips, its at least a good enough indication. 😀
I also must say THANK YOU for keeping the tank at 78. Neons really prefer the lower end of the “tropical” spectrum. Do you recall your pH at all?
Also, thank GOODNESS you have the albino bristlenose plecos! I definitely agree with you on their mess, though. 😀 Most people have no idea that the freshwater “cleaner fish” can be so darn poopy!
Feeding less is a great idea. What is their current diet?
As a side note, I should also add that since your plecos are young, make sure you either have live driftwood or bogwood in the tank, OR are feeding them a HIGH quality wafer with wood. Plecos don’t have great survival without wood in the diet (usually not longer than 2-3 years). Just thought I’d throw that in there just in case!
Post # 9
@Meglin: ok. Just did a strip (Will look for liquid on my next trip, thanks for the advice!) here is the reading:
pH:6.0 (this has been quite consistent since I set up the tank)
NO3: 20 (just barely)
The strip readings have been pretty much like that since my tank first cycled. The pH spiked to 8 once (before fish) but since I lowered it, it has stayed at 6.0 the entire time. I asked around a bit, and the people who were working at the pet store (specialty fish store) said this reading should be okay. Not sure if this is true?
Prior to the 40% changes I was doing – I used to do about 25% once a week once my tank cycled when I first set it up and introduced fish. When the bloom started, I initialy did 40% the first week, saw it didn’t change much, and then went to the 40% every other day. I’ll hold off on the water changes for now.
Didn’t know that about the wood- I put that on the shopping list. I have been feeding them the tropical flakes (following the rule of only the amount that will be eaten in about a minute).
Post # 10
@Meglin: So, I didnt do any water changes until yesterday. I did about 50%- The green bloom was just getting way out of control. I took out a few decorations that just looked way too green and chucked them. I washed the other ones thouroughly. Its better, but still green.
I’ve been doing more research and I keep coming across adding live plants to contol the algae. I’ve never had a live plant in my aquarium before, so I was wondering if you think this will help? Also, which plants (if you know) might be good for my small tank/fish and are they generally easy to add/take care of?