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OT: Yet Another Cure for Green Algae

Posted By: Leadfoot <leadfoot@sbcglobal.net>
Date: Friday, 5 August 2005, at 8:34 p.m.

Some of you may know of my previous postings concerning my successes with ridding tanks of black hair algae, black brush algae, and cynobacteria algae, and I thought I'd post about my recent success of ridding yet another tank of yet another form of algae.

Interestingly, 4 of my 6 tanks each developed its own algae. All tanks have pretty much the same parameters: extremely soft water, sand, and plants. Compact flourescents, no CO2 dosing, no fertilizing. All contain at least one piece of African Congo rootwood, and the same types of rock.

The one difference between them all is the type of loach; one holds clowns, another striatas, another has zippers, etc., but I can't believe that would contribute to the different algal growths.

One tank developed black hair algae, another developed black brush algae, another developed cyno, and my largest tank (75 gallons) developed the old stand-by green alage. Because I seemed to have cured all the others, this post is centers around my 75.

About a year ago, I came home one day to find the water clounding up after the tank had already been perfect for over a year. I checked everything I could think of an nothing seemed to be amiss. I immediately did a water change and filter cleaning.

The next day it started clounding up again. Thinking I might be experiencing a new mini-cycle, I left it alone. Two days laters, it was clear the water was greening up, not clouding up. I did another water change, scrubbed some ornaments of the typical algae, then watched closely. The next day, the water was really green. Within 3 days, the water was so heavy with algae, you could literally not see a thing!

I'm not kidding... I couldn't see fish, plants, rock, wood, nada! I did a 75% water change, and it was still cloudy! Throughout the day I watched it get greener and greener, and by nightfall it was pea soup again!

Out of desperation I did the Nemo movie thing and installed a UV sterlizer. VOILA! Within two days the water was crystal clear again. Unfortunately, the plants were covered with algae, so I replaced them.

Within days again, I noticed algae growing on rocks, and on the sand! I cleaned off the rocks and my bristle-nosed plecos have kept the attached algae in check on the rocks, wood and broad-leafed plants ever since. I added 4 Siamese algae eaters and they control the algae on the small-leaved plants.

What's weird is that even though I have many bottom-huggers, including large clowns stirring up the sand all the time, I noticed that the algae kept plaguing the sand.

I added several earth-eating geophagine cichlids over time like Brasiliensis, Surinemensis, and Juruparis, all of which sifted the algae off the sand. Unfortunately, each of these species all became too aggressive over time and had to be removed. Sure enough, once they were gone, the algae returned.

About three months ago, I came across some Balzani cichlids. These cichlids are also eatheaters, but are of a slighly different family; gymnogeophagus vs. geophagus.

Reputed to be gentle cichlids good for community tanks, I decided to give them a shot. Within a week the sand was void of all algae, and I haven't seen one aggressive move on either of the two Balzani's parts. The tank contains:

3 5-6 inch clowns
1 3 inch zipper
3 4 inch bristle-nose plecos
1 cactus leopard pleco
2 4 inch bosemani rainbows
1 4 inch Red Irian Rainbow
4 4-inch Siamese Algae eaters
2 Balzani Cichlids (one male and one female)

I expect at breeding time I might have to temporarily remove the Balzanis during breeding, but so far, it's been a real treat two have these two additions to the tank.

Now all my tanks require only water changes and filter cleanings, and very rarely some quick front glass swipes with magna-floats, but all in all, I am so happy to no longer have to deal with overgrown algae anymore. Yeeeee-haw!

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