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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
This may sound familiar to some of you. I've been down this road, but this stuff is killing me. I've tried every bit of sound advice as well as some of the voodoo in my efforts to get rid of it. It just keeps coming back. I've tried blackouts, decreasing photo-periods and intensity, less ferts, more ferts, you name it (yes, even the willow branches).

So far, the only thing that has worked temporarily is my 9w UV sterilizer. It clears the water beautifully, but as soon as I stop using it, the darn stuff comes back. I have it plumbed as a hang on as I only hoped to be using it temporarily, but now I'm wondering.

So I'm sure someone will ask, why not just use the UV all the time. I really only have two answers.

First, I feel like I'm just putting on a band aid, not really fixing whatever the underlying issue with this tank is.

Second, I don't really want that ugly thing hanging off my tank permanently, and I have some hesitation about plumbing it inline. Let me explain. Currently this tank (75 gal) has 2 XP3's running for filters and I often wonder if this provides enough filtration and flow. One of the filters has my CO2 reactor plumbed inline. I also have a 150 gph powerhead in the tank to provide extra water movement (or to drive the UV when it is in use).

O.K so some tank specs (I'll probably leave something out...apology in advance)

size : 75g
Lights: Tek 4-54 HO T-5 (only running 2 lamps currently) about 8 hours/day
CO2:pressurized thru AM 1000 reactor with pH controller. Also have drop checker to verify at least 30ppm
Ferts: Dry KNO3, KH2SO4, KPO4, Tropica Master grow micros. I won't even try to tell you what the fert regime is right now, as I have tried many EI, EI light, once a week dosing, no ferts, you name it
Livestock: 2 Pearl Gourami, 4 SAE, 4 Ottos, 6 black phantom tetras, 3 penguin tetras, 1 dwarf neon rainbow, 3 congo tetras, 1 BN plec, 1 small rubber nose plec.
Age: tank has been up and running for about 3 years.
Water: KH 2, GH 2, pH 5.6 (w/CO2 running...about 6.8 from the tap). Try to keep kno3 around 20 phos at 2 .

So tell me what you think, am I cursed? Overstocked? Underfiltered? Unlucky? Just being silly about not wanting to plumb in the UV?
 

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Only thing you left out is how heavily planted? Maybe a photo?

It sounds like you've tried pretty much everything, from experiences I've had with GW (no fun) It takes a steady approach.

I would suggest following the EI dosing regimen for your size tank, but cut the KNO3 almost in half and add a little extra of KH2SO4. Do not do blackouts, they will lead to more GW when all of the stuff that dies starts decomposing. Do big Waterchanges (50%) every other day for a couple of weeks. Be sure the lights are only on for 8 hours, maybe even less (try 7). Leave the UV on during this time. CRANK UP THE CO2!

You mentioned you were using a drop checker, what do you have IN the drop checker? Is it just aquarium water? To be accurate it needs to be water with a KH of 4. Otherwise the blue green and yellow don't mean much.

Follow the steps above and the GW will go away, no voodoo necessary.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The drop checker has Billionz 4dKH solution in it. Tank is moderately planted.

Didn't mean to cause confusion, when I mentioned I have tried lots of fert regimes, I don't mean just for a week. Any adjustments were made for 4-6 week periods to observe what happened.

I actually don't have problems getting the green to go away. The UV does a great job. Last time I left it on for 2 months straight just to make sure the GW did not come back. Well a couple of weeks after turning it off, it came back.

It is probably about as heavily planted as your 34g Logan'sDaddy
 

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Given all of the other info I'd have to agree with minsc, substrate disturbance is a sure fire way to kick start the GW. What type of substrate do you have by the way?

Only other thing that comes to mind is too much light, I know you are only running the 2 55w tubes, but is there a window facing the tank, or even just a bright sunny room?
 

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I have had problems when I clean my filter and kill all of the beneficial bacteria. This would result in an ammonia spike witch the the algae would start to feed on before the plants start their up take. I know just rince the sponge out in a bucket of tank water and reuse. You say the tank had been running for 3 years but I get the impression that it has not been planted that long. What is the substrate? And what is the light spectrum?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Well I'll try to answer all of the questions.

First, the substrate is 100% Eco-complete. It has been in there since the tank was set up.

Second, yes this did start life as a planted tank, but not like it is right now. Started off as a low tech, lightly planted tank with a 3x32w T-8 strip light. Gradually moved on to pressurized CO2, ferts, TEK, pH controller, drop checker etc.

I am always very careful when cleaning filters. Never both the same week, always rinsing with tank water etc. The only thought that occurred to me today was that the fine and coarse sponges in the bottom of those XP3's are still the originals. I just rinse them well and reuse. I have filter floss in the top, and bio in the middle.

Substrate disturbance I have been guilty of on occasion. But how do you avoid this with species like anacharis and green hygro and their huge growth. Have to top and replant them right?

The tubes I am running are a combo of 6500k and 10K tubes, with one of each on at all times.

I have really soft tapwater too. GH and KH are both about 2 degrees.

What I really find weird about this is that I have tried really hard to do things "right". I've listened to the gurus, I've done lots of research, but I can't beat this without the UV on all the time.

There has to be some piece of the puzzle missing. But for the life of me, I can't figure it out.
 

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I feel your pain dogdoc :(

I've been battling GW for about 5 months with no luck. Just to share my situation....I got GW in my 56g tank that had been set up for over a year. I had it for about a month, got fed up because the WC/blackout method wasn't working, and bought a 9 watt UV sterilizer. The GW was well established and it took about 1 week to put a dent into it. I even bought a small filter to slow the flow of water into the UV sterilizer to make it more effective. When it was all said and done the tank still wasn't 100% clear. The water no longer looked green, but it was still cloudy no matter how long I let the UV sterilizer run. The GW was back within 24 hours of cutting off the UV sterilizer.

I got up fed again after about another month and bought a diatom filter. After adding Seachem Clarity (for flocculants!) and starting the diatom filter, the GW was cleared within an hour and my tank was 100% CRYSTAL CLEAR. I mean absolutely no cloudiness at all- I had never seen a tank so clear. So I cut off the diatom filter thinking that I had won the battle. Two days later the water started getting cloudy and by the end of the third day the water was pea soup again.

Of course during the first couple of months I did as much research as I could on GW and made all necessary adjustments/checks (i.e. limit substrate disturbance, avoid cleaning filter, adjust fert regimen, check for ammonia, don't waste time with large WCs, etc.) none of which helped. During this "learning experience" I was able to better diagnose my situation. My problem is a bacterial bloom that turns into GW. Could it be that you have a bacterial bloom as well? I know this because my water is has a white cloudiness/haze the day (sometimes for only hours) before the water starts turning green.

I was under the impression that a UV sterilizer will kill bacteria too, but it didn't work so well for me and I've been too lazy to hook it up again (its a pain in the butt and its ugly!). Maybe someone can let us know if a UV sterilizer will really kill a bacterial bloom?

I believe I have narrowed down why I keep getting a bacterial bloom, but I could be way off. I put a layer of sphagnum peat moss under the substrate when I initially set the tank up. I did some major changes to the tank not too long before I started getting GW, which caused some of the gravel to be turned over. What I had originally thought were small chunks of driftwood sitting on top of the gravel I realized were chunks of peat. Ok so I completely forgot about the peat under the substrate and replanted everything. I did my best to clear to top of the substrate of the peat. I honestly have no clue if peat can cause a bacterial bloom, especially since I hear that some people put it in their filter, but I can't think of anything else. Despite the bacterial bloom, my plants have never looked better, and I have little to no algae.

So this long winded post for two simple questions:
Do you have a bacterial bloom or green water? Do you have any additives under your substrate that could be leaching out when you make adjustments to your plants?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Nope, not a single additive under the substrate here. Not even a root tab.

Actually, a couple of months back when I was in the midst of my heated battle (and just before I bought my UV). I completely broke the tank down. Put all the fish in buckets, took out all driftwood etc. Stirred all the substrate up and removed all old roots, debris, and did two complete 100%water changes. I did this thinking that maybe this olds substrate just had too much organic material in it after 3 years and needed a good cleaning.

And the only way I know to tell a bacterial bloom from a GW outbreak is time. I think they both look similar at the outset, just slightly hazy water. The Bacterial bloom is self limiting though and will go away on its own. The GW looks hazy at first but after a few days it leaves no doubt what the issue is.
 

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I had some GW not that long ago after pulling out a really big mound of M fluviatilis and what worked for me was a DE filter. It never developed into a full blown outbreak of pea soup but the tank was just really hazy. The tank is 75 gallons, heavily planted, 2x54 T5HO and I dose EI. I've had a 25 watt Gamma UV inline for a couple of years and it runs 24/7. This may have kept the GW from fully developing but never completely eradicated it. After a week of water changes, wipe downs, etc I picked up a HOT Magnum and some diatomaceous earth. I ran it daily for a week for 4 hours or so each day and it cleared it up and it has yet to return.

At least in my situation, I think it's hard to get all of the algae spores through the UV so I was left with some still hanging around in the water. But then that makes me wonder why it would all be cleaned out with the DE filter and some still not left. So, I think it was the combination of cleaning, water changes, UV and DE, lol.
 

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I have trouble with GW as well. I do a major water change and the water remains hazy then after two days it turns pea soup green and by the end of the week its hard to see more than a couple inches deep into the tank. :mad: Can this be resolved by a UV or Diatom filter alone or is it something of a combination?
 

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Just based on my experience, I'd try a diatom filter before UV. If that doesn't clear it up then I'd give both a shot. Of course you still have to address the cause of your GW. If an uprooting was the cause then good tank maint with a proper dosing routine, including maintaining adequate CO2 should keep it from returning.
 

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What if the haze is already from the tap water? Say I fill a bucket up straight from the tap and the water is hazy after hours of sitting, does that mean the water quality is poor?
 

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Substrate disturbance I have been guilty of on occasion. But how do you avoid this with species like anacharis and green hygro and their huge growth. Have to top and replant them right?
I think substrate disturbance may be the missing piece of the puzzle. Species like Anacharis and Green Hygro, along with some of the other Hygro species, are not suitable for high light, CO2 injected tanks due to their fast growth rate, at least in my opinion ;) How often do you have to uproot and replant them? I would guess at least weekly and if you are not doing a large water change after uprooting you are probably releasing enough NH4 to trigger a Green Water Bloom. I assume you are doing your water change after tank maintenance and not before? I think the results of NH4 (and other nitrogen sources) can be seen more readily in softer water than in harder water meaning an even smaller amount of NH4 may trigger your outbreaks.

Why not replace the Anacharis and Green Hygro with some slower growing stems? If you really like these two plants put them in another tank for a while and see if the lack of substrate disturbance doesn't resolve your GW issue. I had very similar issues several years ago when converting from a lower light, CO2 injected tank to a high light CO2 injected tank. I followed the regular EI dosing routine but used 1/2 tsp of KNO3 versus the recommended 3/4 tsp. You have more light than I do so I would probably stick with the 3/4 tsp recommendation for your tank.

At the time, I also invested in a HOT Magnum (~$40 online) which I use as a diatom filter when needed. When I needed to uproot a mass of Sunset Hygro or similar fast growing plant before a water change was due I would run the HOT Magnum with the micron cartridge in it for the next day or so. I haven't had a Green Water outbreak in a very long time now, but now that I've said that I'm probably due. I don't keep the very fast growing varieties of plants any more since the require more work and I'm getting lazy with old age :)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Hmmmm... Interesting

I am having to top and replant the anacharis weekly. But I always do this right before water change. And I usually do big water changes of at least 50% but often even 60-75%.

Usually, the first piece of advice I get is to pack the tank with lots of fast growing stems to help suck up the nutrients and prevent algae. But in this case maybe it is encouraging algae.

And I, like you am tiring of the fast growing weeds. I'm moving more towards vals, swords, and crypts in this tank. Any other recommendations for good looking, slower growing stems that aren't too hard to come by? Espcially ones with some "color"?
 

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Have you checked your source water for NH3 or NH4? While probably not very likely it is possible for your tap water to have a small amount of NH3 or NH4 in it and maybe that is contributing to your GW outbreaks. Just another thing you may want to check out.
 

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If a HOT Magnum filter is used while there is GW outbreak, does it help filter out the algae and clear the water or would the filter simply prevent the outbreak in the first place?
 

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Ditto on the diatom filter. I had GW for about a month, bought a filter and it took about four separate filter sessions at 30 min twice a week and it was all gone. Although I did use a filter that does like 400 gph on my 20 gal, but I think that actually helped b/c it was able to get all the water so there wasn't any dead spots. (it looked like my tank was in a tornado) I would definitely try a diatom filter.
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