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Advice Required Please

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Offline Redbelly

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Advice required please
« on: August 04, 2017, 07:03:36 AM »
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Morning all,

I have had my tank for about 6 months now and in the last 2 weeks it has developed what i think is a bacterial bloom, this I believe is not harmful to the fish but not pleasant to look at. I have done weekly water changes but it still hasn't improved. I love watching my fish and I find it very relaxing doing so but when it looks cloudy its less calming and more frustrating. Does anyone have any advice they could give me to help with this issue.

Many thanks in advance for your advise, see pic below....

Offline Matt

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Re: Advice required please
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2017, 07:20:34 AM »
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How long are your lights on for?

Offline Redbelly

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Re: Advice required please
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2017, 07:31:06 AM »
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The lights are on for about 13 hours a day

Offline Matt

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Re: Advice required please
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2017, 07:49:59 AM »
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Id advise you to reduce this to less than 10 maximum, 8 preferably and preferably less whilst you deal with the algae bloom.

You can do a 'siesta' in the middle of the day also which will help where the lights are off for a few hours during the middle of the day and you have 2 shorter lighting periods.

To double check does the water look green cloudy or white cloudy? Are you vacuuming the substrate?

Offline Redbelly

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Re: Advice required please
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2017, 07:59:21 AM »
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Hi Matt,

Its quite hard to tell, its cloudy with a hint of green but I don't know its thats the reflection of colour from the plants. I have attached an other image below.

Yes i have vacuumed the substrates recently, I have also been doing a weekly water change.

Offline Matt

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Re: Advice required please
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2017, 08:04:39 AM »
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Ok I think we're on the right lines with reducing the lighting period.

Do you dose any plant fertilisers? Give them a miss this week if you do.

Offline Redbelly

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Re: Advice required please
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2017, 08:10:41 AM »
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I don't use any plant fertiliser. I will reduce the light and hopefully this helps.

Is there anything else I should be doing ? Last week I did a 60% water change and brought a new filter and it was crystal clear for the 1st 10 hours or so but has slowly gone back again.

Offline Matt

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Re: Advice required please
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2017, 08:16:33 AM »
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Did you transfer your old filter media into the new filter?

Offline Redbelly

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Re: Advice required please
« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2017, 08:20:00 AM »
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No, but i washed the new media in the old tank water and the cloudiness was there before I changed it.

Offline Matt

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Re: Advice required please
« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2017, 08:30:12 AM »
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By not transferring the old media you have lost all the beneficial bacteria which treat the fish waste.  You are effectively going through a fish-in cycle.  This is what has led to the algae/bacterial bloom.  Fortunately the large water changes you have been doing have probably been protecting the fish.  Please read here for more information https://forums.thinkfish.co.uk/fishtank-filtration-and-cycling/fish-in-cycling-with-fish-how-to-do-it/.

Afraid I need to log off now but I expect @Sue our cycling expert will be along shortly to advise further. Keep the water changes up in the meantime.

Offline Matt

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Re: Advice required please
« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2017, 08:31:15 AM »
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Ok I think we're on the right lines with reducing the lighting period.

I'd still stick with reducing the lighting period fyi

Offline Redbelly

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Re: Advice required please
« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2017, 08:35:13 AM »
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Thanks Matt, I will do as you have suggested. I am also hoping Sue has some words of wisdom too ?

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Advice required please
« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2017, 08:45:47 AM »
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I agree with Matt.
What have you done with the old filter & media? Do you have any cycled media available?
Water changes, water testing & monitoring the water parameters will be very important for your fish.
If you have any other cycled media available you can put a small amount (don't remove more than a third of mature media from a filter) in the new filter to kick start the cycle. If you don't have any mature media available there are several people on this forum (including myself) who are willing to post mature media from our own tanks to help.
Following the information Matt has linked to will take you through a fish-in cycle without harming your fish. Old tank water won't help much as the beneficial bacteria grow on things (filter media, substrate, plants, decor), but the fact that you have some bacterial already in your tank will help because it means you won't be starting a fish-in cycle from scratch.
It's very likely that, following the fish-in cycle information, you'll just have several weeks of regular/daily water tests & changes, and everything will be fine.
I don't tend to have my tank lights on for more than 6-7 hours usually, and I think reducing the lighting period in your tank will help during the cycle.
Everything will be fine, it's just a small hiccup, and a bit frustrating for you, but there won't be any serious harm to the tank and you can manage the water changes, etc.

Offline Redbelly

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Re: Advice required please
« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2017, 08:52:40 AM »
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i don't have any of the old media left. I think this is a lesson learnt.

So just to clarify, I need to continue doing small daily water changes, reduce the lighting and make sure the substrate is clean and in a few weeks you think this issue should be resolved ? Because it seems to be getting worse !

Thanks again for your advise


Offline Littlefish

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Re: Advice required please
« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2017, 09:13:55 AM »
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It's all part of the learning curve, and we all have little hiccups along the way.
Keep the water parameters correct is very important. I would reduce the lighting, and start by testing the water daily (before any cleaning or water changes) to give you an idea of how much waste/ammonia is being produced, which will give an idea of size & frequency of water changes - smaller & more frequent may be preferable to larger weekly water changes at the moment.
Basically, tank cleaning & water changes are the answer to most problems.  :)
A fish-in cycle following the information in the link is the safest way to do it for your fish.
If you would like a little boost with some mature media just let us know.
@Sue will be able to give you more advice.

Offline Sue

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Re: Advice required please
« Reply #15 on: August 04, 2017, 09:33:57 AM »
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What you need to do now is monitor your ammonia and nitrite levels. Because you have live plants, they will help a lot as plants prefer ammonia over nitrate as fertiliser so they'll take up a lot of the ammonia made by the fish.

As well as following the fish-in sticky in the filtration and cycling section you can also use a calculator to check if the ammonia you detect in a test is in the toxic form or the less toxic form.
https://www.hamzasreef.com/Contents/Calculators/FreeAmmonia.php
Leave the first box as it is, set salinity to zero, then add your readings for ammonia and pH and the tank temperature. Then click calculate. The number you want is in the last box, NH3 concentration.
If this is no higher than 0.02, you don't need to do a water change. If the number is above 0.02, you do need to do one.
But if you see nitrite above zero, any value, you need to do a water change regardless of any ammonia.


It is probable that the bloom is an algae bloom, they are not always green. It started before you changed the filter so that isn't the cause of the bloom, just an added complication. The usual treatment for an algal bloom is a total blackout for 3 days. The tank is wrapped in something thick and left for 3 days - no tank lights, no feeding the fish. The idea is that lack of light will kill the algae. The plants, being bigger, will survive. But you can't do that right now. You need to test the water and do water changes if necessary. And you can't risk shutting the plants down for 3 days as that would mean they take up less ammonia.
I think you'll have to sit out the bloom until you are sure the tank has re-cycled. Once you've had zero ammonia and nitrite for a week, together with cutting down the light time, see what the bloom looks like then. If it is still bad, then maybe think about the blackout.

Offline Redbelly

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Re: Advice required please
« Reply #16 on: August 04, 2017, 09:49:19 AM »
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Thank you for all the advise. It seems i have some work to do.  :wave:

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