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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This method is free, it is natural (no chemicals). It is safe for fish and plants. It takes 5-8 days to completely get rid of green water (GW). It removes the cause of GW and some other algae. You don't need to stop dosing your fertilizer, you don't need to switch your lights off. You don't need to make any extra water changes, just proceed with your regular ones. Sounds like an ideal method to fight GW, maybe it is :)

The idea is taken from Russian aquarium forum at http://www.aqa.ru/forum/ and Wadim Lisovsky page at http://lis.aqa.ru/

OK, the magic word is WILLOW!

Here is my experience of using the willow in my 90G tank.
I took few branches of willow tree. 1-2 years old branches 1/2 inch in diameter and 30-40 inches long will work. I used smaller ones as I couldn't find that thick.
Put these branches into your tank and wait. In 3-5 days the willow will develop roots and water will start to clear at that time. 2-3 more days and you get a crystal clear water! At that time you should remove the willow or your plants will starve. That's all!

I think the willow can be also used for:
1. Fry tank.
2. Cichlid tank without plants.
3. For removing white bacterial cloudiness.
I haven't try these myself though. If anyone wants to try please let us know the result.

Here is my conversation with Nikolay during the experiment. And some pictures. Unfortunately I started taking pictures only on day 6.

*****************

"I don't think that the willow is a magic thing - it just sucks nutrients like crazy.
Nikolay"

"Sure, no magic. By my understanding the willow and some other trees consume NH3/NH4 (a major algae's food) much faster than aquatic plants. That helps to combat the cause of any algae bloom.
I have a UV sterilizer, I used it few times to combat GW, it helped. But I don't like that bacterial equilibrium blows up along with GW.
Well... I'll see in a few days if the willow really helps :)
On a side note, I add nitrates and phosphates to my tanks and it never entails a GW bloom. This particular tank was nitrate limited (0 reading of NO3), I think that shifted the balance.
Oleg"

"BGA is an algae that is closer to a bacteria. It is thought to develop as a result of low Nitrate. If that is true then maybe it makes sense to say that you and I may have bacterial bloom because my tank was very very low on Nitrate too.
In any case I am very frustrated that after using a big diatom, flocculant, UV, and blackouts that bacteria didn't even go away a little.
If the willow is indeed an ammonia sucking champion absorbing the smallest amount of ammonia as soon as it's released then I'm inclined to say that that is a great tool to use in the fight against algae.
But from what I read you need certain branches, not just any branch, right?
Nikolay"

"This morning I noticed a few new roots on some branches. And there is much less GW now!
Oleg"

"Very nice pictures. Keep taking pictures every day. That will make a great post and maybe an interesting discussion on APC and on Aquaria.ru too.
Nikolay"

"There are more roots this morning. And I can see the background pretty good. Note that this tank is 56cm wide.
Oleg"

"This is clearing up very very well. I wonder if these results can be repeated.
What about the white stuff that we think it's bacteria? Can you still see it?
Nikolay"

"Unfortunately I can still see that white stuff. Or maybe it is just a dolomite powder I added recently (it is a very fine powder).
Oleg"

"Do you mean diatom powder?

"Once I got some diatom powder that was too fine and the diatom filter couldn't run - the powder formed an impenetrable layer. But it never polluted the water.
Nikolay"

"Here is a picture I took this morning. The water is completely clear. I moved the willow branches to another corner of the tank and I will remove them from the tank in few days.
>Do you mean diatom powder?
No, I meant "dolomite". I use it sometimes to increase carbonate hardness (KH). It dissolves very slow. It also helps shrimps and snails - many times I saw them ate dolomite. You can read about dolomite here:
http://webmineral.com/data/Dolomite.shtml
The dolomite I use is in a form of a very fine powder so it actually clouds the water.
By the way I see neither white nor green cloudiness anymore.
I am very happy with the result. I encourage you to try the "willow method" if you ever get GW.
I believe it also can be used in a breading tank when fry actively feeding. Also I think it can be very useful in a cichlid tank.
Oleg"

"Please before you do anything else check the N and P of the tank water.
Nikolay"

"Nikolay, I am adding CaNO3 and KH2PO4 daily. So probably it will not tell us much if I check N and P now. What do you think?
Oleg"

"Tom Barr has been saying lately that Ammonia in very low levels is the cause of algae, not the excess of any other nutrient. Maybe the willow sucks Ammonia like nothing else in the world. We don't know if Ammonia causes the green water, but obviously adding NO3 and PO4 doesn't help it stay.
If Tom is right, and if the willow removes the small amounts of NH4 before they can cause algae, maybe it is logical to keep it in the tank at all times and at the same time to fertilize with NO3 and PO4 to feed the plants. I wonder if that could work in an extended period of time.
It sounds like the perfect filter - instead of bacteria convertinga Ammonia to NO2 and NO3 the willow removes the Ammonia very agressively, before anyone can use it. No accumulation of NO3 in the water!!!
Your results are very very interesting! Please post them on APC.
Nikolay"

">You have been adding NO3 and PO4 every day while trying to clean the green water?
Yes.
>Tom Barr has been saying lately that Ammonia in very low levels is the cause of algae, not the excess of any other nutrient.
I agree. Limiting plants in any nutrient plus raising ammonia level plus strong light = GW
>If Tom is right, and if the willow removes the small amounts of NH4 before they can cause algae, maybe it is logical to keep it in the tank at all times and at the same time to fertilize with NO3 and PO4 to feed the plants.
It seems to me that the willow consumes nutrients so quickly that it would be a waste to keep it with plants all the time.
I would try to keep it in a fry tank and in a cichlid tank.
Oleg"
 

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Discussion Starter · #46 ·
robby said:
:D :D :D :D :D :D

I am very happy to mention that last week I succesfully battled a white bacterial cloudiness using willow branches.

For 3 months I could not get rid of this milky water, and by using willow branches it was gone in two days !!

Thanks very much for this unbelieveble method.
For me it is no magic, but comes pretty close to it :D
Sorry for the late response! Somehow I don't receive email notifications about new replies. Hm.. I definately had subscribed to this thread :)
Anyway, I really glad to hear that it helped you to get rid of white cloudiness! Congrats!
 

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Discussion Starter · #47 ·
fishyface said:
blackout clears green water in 2-3 days...
Hi fishyface, are you working with Graham on Broadway? Right? Just wanted to say hello and mention that blackout will not get rid of the cause of GW, same thing about mechanical filtration or medicine. Also plants will definitely suffer from blackouts.
Anyways, see you soon in the store. Have you got Cardinals yet?
 

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Discussion Starter · #48 ·
chiahead said:
OK, I am having extreme difficulties in obtaining any Willow brances. I have gone to a half dozen nurseries and no one here carries any willow trees. They all say it is just too hot and dry for them here. I am curious if anyone who has access to any branches would be willing to cut and ship some to me. I am looking for about 4-6 decent size branches about 24" long for my 80 gallon. I will pay whoever can do this plus the shipping ofcourse. I just cannot get any locally nor will the stores special order me a whole tree(I tried). Please PM me if this is possible. Thanks in advance.
Hi chiahead,
Sorry for the late response again. I missed it somehow.
Here is an article translated from Russian about Mangroves. I don't know if you have these things. If yes, and you are willing to give them a try, let us know how they work.
http://www.msaqua.com/html/aqua/plants/mangrove/mangrove_eng.htm
 

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Discussion Starter · #49 ·
Gumby said:
Meh, I had the branches in my tank for 5 days. Still have green water and some dried out willow branches. About half of them died, and the ones that lived never sprouted leaves.

I gave up on trying that one, I'm too impatient. I borrowed a UV sterilizer from a friend... anyone know how long it'll take to clear up the water?
Hi Gumby,

Sorry to hear that. Did you use first year branches or older? Green branches (first year) probably will not develop roots and will just rot. This is what I have read, anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #50 ·
Daphnia tank

Here is my 5.5G Daphnia tank. It stays under direct sun light; and I feed Daphnia a lot (I mean A LOT) every day except weekends. There are also ramshorn snails in it; and I feed them with an organics-rich turtle's food.
I had a thick layer of algae on the glass and few nasty smelly kinds of algae at the bottom. I also had to change water few times a week.
Willow got rid of the algae quickly and I forgot when I last changed the water.
This was just a stick without leaves on it, and without roots. I picked it up under a willow tree.
 

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Discussion Starter · #54 ·
grandmasterofpool said:
I wonder if you left the lights on when you put the branches in?
Hi grandmasterofpool,
I left the lights on as usual. Haven't shorten the light period.
Oleg
PS: The willow in my Daphnia tank became a real tree :). Today I had to cut lots of new branches as they reached the floor. I did cut most roots as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #58 ·
houseofcards said:
Hi All.

I have just started using willow branches to clear my 72 gallon planted tank.
It' seem from the discussion members have used both fresh (cut right off the tree) and old branches (dead) on the ground for this method. Doesn't the branch have to have some softness in it to grow new roots.

My only concern is do you think fresh branches are safe for plecos and otos since they will be sucking on them.
Hi houseofcards,

I had one pleco and lots of otos and SAEs in the tank where I kept a willow. I noticed no problems :) Even my gouramies liked to nip the branches and later - the roots.

Please note that the branches shouldn't be dead even if they lay on the ground. You can collect them after a windy weather, for example.
 

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Discussion Starter · #60 ·
houseofcards said:
Thanks Oleg, sounds like it shouldn't be a problem for he aglae eaters.

I actually cut some small branches off the tree this morning, took off the leaves and stood the bare branches in the tank. I guess the success is based on how quick and how many roots develop.
Hi houseofcards, let us know when you see new roots.
 

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Discussion Starter · #62 ·
houseofcards said:
Hi Oleg,

Roots started appearing in about 8 days. Here's a pic of Day 10. Haven't seen any effect on water clarity yet. My water seems to get greener as the day continues.

http://community.webshots.com/photo/480220988yzDKcY
Hi houseofcards,
The branches look exactly as mine.
At this point the excess of nutrients should be removed and the water should be clear already. Something is not right here. Maybe three branches are not enough for your 75G or it'll take longer to clear. Maybe you should stop adding NO3 for few days.
Please don't remove the willow from your tank yet. I am sure it will bit your green water. See the swo21259's post above; it took him 14 days.
Oleg
 

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Discussion Starter · #64 ·
houseofcards said:
Hi Oleg, maybe I spoke to soon. The water is looking clear this morning. The big test will be by days end, because my water has been getting a green haze to it by evening, I even dosed po4 and no3 this morning. Just for the record the branches that are rooting were fresh branches right off the tree and were cut from both ends. The lighting on the tank is a hood light and is below the top of the branches which are sticking out of the top of my tank.
Glad to hear that! I wouldn't add NO3 yet though.
Keep us updated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #66 ·
houseofcards said:
Well the water got a little hazy toward evening, but not as bed as it has been. What in your opinon is the connection with the no3. I basically subscribe to the EI method and didn't thing the no3 was an issue.
Connection with NO3 - just my experience. I think once GW got established it feeds up on NO3. I would stop adding NO3 until GW ALMOST disappear. I am saying ALMOST because if GW is digressing then it has no food and it is time to feed plants.
But this is just my experience. Tom Barr probably would say add a lot of NO3 and CO2.
 

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Discussion Starter · #70 ·
houseofcards said:
Well I finally made it through the day without any haziness and without adding anything to the water. It's tough to completely credit the willow branches, could be that the growth in plants gave the GW a knockout punch, (tank is 3 1/2 weekk old) but I must admit it did coincede with the large root development on the willow branches over the last few days.

BTW - I continued to dose no3 and po4. The water right now is crystal clear.
Congrats!
 

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Discussion Starter · #74 · (Edited)
Edward said:
Hi

The magic word is NOT Willow for me.
I have 4 identical 10 gallon aquariums in a sunny room with green water. In one as an experiment I placed a bunch of willow branches. They have developed roots and been there for 4 weeks. The green water has NOT changed. Why?

Edward
The magic word is NOT Willow for me. - :)
Thank you Edward for the experiment!
You probably continued feeding your GW with nitrogen, didn't you?
If you'll give enough food for both GW and willow, they both will be living in your tank.
If you stop adding your ferts the GW will die much faster than willow.
Or maybe it depends HOW MUCH NO3 we are adding. It would be interesting to try two tanks with GW and willow, first - adding NO3 as usual, second - limiting or discontinuing NO3.
 

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Discussion Starter · #76 ·
Edward said:
Hi houseofcards and Oleg
You want me to starve the algae? We can try that, but what about the plants? The aquariums are fully planted and without proper water column fertilization the plants will die. Is this the plan?
Edward
Hi Edward,
I hope your GW will die much faster than plants and you then happily continue your proper water column fertilization :)
Best wishes,
Oleg
 

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Discussion Starter · #78 ·
Edward said:
Hi Oleg
My 13 aquariums run 4 UV sterilizers over here so it's not a problem getting rid of the green water in few hours. I perform experiments on purpose so we can help members who do not have access to the UV sterilizers.

Edward
I know, Edward, you are doing a very good thing. I just answered you the same way as you ask the question.
If you truly want to understand why willow didn't work in your specific case then please describe your 10G tank in details and we will think together. But be open to learn not only teach.
Regards,
Oleg
 

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Discussion Starter · #85 · (Edited)
Edward said:
Hi Oleg
It's quite interesting. We have in this direct sunlight room four 10 gallon aquariums and one 50 gallon. The 50 gallon aquarium doesn't get green water, but the other aquariums do. This goes on for years. I was hoping the willow does the trick because it is so simple. I even tried the Aspirin as mentioned above, one tablet a day - didn't kill the green water.

I will keep the willow there so we can see how it goes.

Thank you
Edward
Hi Edward,

Let us together find the cause of GW in your 10G tank. And if the tree is able to remove the cause.

Problem:
a constant GW for years

What we know:
Volume: 10G
Light: natural sunlight

Some more info required:
fish load and feeding, type of food and amount
plants load
fertilization (yes/no, what exactly)
- CO2 (yes/no, ppm)
water changes (%, how often)
substrate
About substrate. I have a feeling that this might be the most important thing in your case. What do you use? How often do you clean it if ever? How thick is the layer(s)?
Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, phosphate level - would be nice to know too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #86 ·
MatPat said:
...I noticed you tried the aspirin and it didn't work. I had also tried it in a 10g tank I had on my deck and it was unseccessful...
This is an interesting experiment but... again.. the aspirin will not remove the cause of GW.
 

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Discussion Starter · #88 ·
Edward said:
Too many combinations to list.

Access to sunlight is the most powerful aspect for plants and algae to react. The angle, duration and spectrum with temperature can trigger growth not expected to happen under artificial light fixtures. The GW is mostly visible at seasonal changes.

The answer to this experiment is the lighting period as per the poll.

Thank you
Edward
Edward, with all my respect, we are talking here about why the willow didn't help you in one particular tank. You sure haven't tried all these combinations during the "willow treatment".
 
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