Monday, April 13, 2009

Death by Algae...

It will be me who dies of frustration over this disgusting blue-green slime! Completely ignoring my attempts to destroy it, the Blue Green Algae keeps coming back with a vengeance. Introducing lots of new plants to the tank did nothing. I succeeded in making the tank look a lot nicer but a week later, the plants were smothered in it and probably unable to breathe and grow.

I also did extensive water testing. Here are the results:

ammonia: 0 ppm (perfect)
nitrite: 0 ppm (perfect)
nitrate: 5 ppm (very good)
phosphates: 2 ppm (? but assuming this is good)

Any other parameters are the same as other tanks as I use exactly the same additives and water for all of them. So why this one????

I was desperate so I went to Big Al's and asked them if they had anything at all that could control it - I was ready to use heavy duty chemicals if I had to! To my surprise they did! It's called "UltraLife Reef Products Blue-Green Algae Remover" and is supposed to be safe for all fresh water plants and fish.

This past weekend was Easter and having two parties at home I did not think I would have time to take care of the tank. But on Sat. night opportunity presented itself. Stupidly I downed two cans of Pepsi when our friends were here and, at 1:00 am, found myself wide awake. So I decided to do the tank anyways. Might as well use the time productively.

After scraping the algae off the walls, the water was so dirty and thick with debris, I could not see the bottom despite a strong light shining on the water. Then I picked out each and every plant and literally scraped the BGA off every single leaf on every plant. Did the same for rocks and driftwood. Luckily this stuff comes off pretty easily. I also mechanically removed large globs of it covering the sand. Then syphoned about 90% of the water.

Once I replaced about 50% of water I rearranged the rocks and plants, topped up the water, cleaned the filter and pump and removed the carbon from a new filter bag - the old one was filthy from decaying algae and was slowing down the filter.

And finally, I added the BGA remover. Actually, that was not my last action - to be safe, I have also put a dark background around the back and sides of the tank. In the past I did attempt to block out the sunlight from this aquarium but I now realize that I did so with white paper, which pretty much defeated the purpose. This time I used the typical aquarium backing paper. This is really the only thing I can see different with this tank - it is in a northern window but, outside is our garage, which is painted white, and it reflects quite a lot of sunshine.

Completion time? 4:00 am! Oh, but it was such a satisfying work.

36 hours later I am happy to report the leftover bits of the algae (you can NEVER remove all of it, short of filtering 100% of the water and sand) have lost their typical bluish color and look positively sickly green (Yeahhhh!!!). There is also no sign of regrowth so far. Could this product really work as well as it boasts? Now that would be the first! If this works (and I'm keeping my fingers and toes crossed), I will have to do the same to Teddy's tank.

On a sad note, I've lost my last original big mama Guppy and I cannot help but think it had something to do with the algae. She was a beautiful, healthy, large female and I'm glad that at least I have lots of her offspring.

There is good news, too: Aparently gold fish do grow their scales back! I was watching Lady Lydia the other night and realized some of the missing scales have been replaced. Interestingly, the new ones are a bit lighter than the older ones, so they still look like they are missing, but on closer examination I have confirmed they are indeed scales. She only has two more spots to fill on the other side.

Teddy has also been doing well regrowing his dorsal fin - it is now about 1/2" long.

And, last but not least - I have at least two female Amano (Japonica) shrimp in my male guppy tank and they are heavy with eggs. On my son's urging, I have done some research and decided to attempt to breed them. It is supposed to be very hard but I have always liked a challenge. Have to visit my favorite store again (Big Al's) and buys some supplies, but it should not be too expensive. Besides a challenge, I really need some more shrimp and the store supplier has been very slow. Can't find the darn things anywhere at the moment. Maybe I can get my own.

1 comment:

  1. In order to successfully set-up a plant tank, you should start with a completely empty tank. Then add filter, heater, and about 1LB per gallon. Wait about 2 weeks. Clean scrub your tank glass even if it appears clean. Buy lots of plants. I wouldn't choose too many diff. species so it looks natural. Plant them doing research on proper plant care 1st. Then add "pest" snails (the asexual kind) and wait a few weeks. Use fertilizer as necessary until your tank is FILLED with plants. Start adding your fish. There's no formula for plant-per-fish. I keep my puffer in a 3G tank that was filled with plants from bottom to top. It STILL needs the algae scrubbed clean once in a while.

    A GREAAAAT plant for beginners is Rotala Indica @ 2-2.5 watts per gallon. Other plants would be onion plants like dwarf onions, crinum onions, etc.

    Stay away from slow growing plants like anubias, anachris, etc. because if you want to have fish in your tank algae will kill the plants faster than they can grow in some cases.