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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"
Hello. Having been thinking about trying willow in my aquarium for a while now as my background is gardening and ponds and have been searching internet for info. I finally found your posts on this forum and have decided to go ahead. I will endeavour to give you feedback on what happens.
gabby
 

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I ve had a GW problem in an established tank after the tank had been moved to another city and then discovered one of the roots in the tank started to rot. It innocentluy started as a bacterial bloom, so I did a lot a WC and siphoning to reduce ammonia. My water wasnt even green, just blurry...

Then I read an article on http://www.skepticalaquarist.com/algae-allelopathy>

In The Ecology of the Planted Aquarium, Diana Walstad reports the test results of A. P. Fitzgerald, who compared guppy tanks with and without Pithophora under 24/7 lighting, and found that the tanks without Pithophora turned green in a week, while those with Pithophora remained clear through a month's trial, even when phosphate and nitrate levels remained high. My own experience is utterly unscientific, but I find that tanks with some Pithophora are especially free of other kinds of more troublesome algae.

And the I opened DWs book again and dropped two little marimos in my tank.. The water is visibly clearing out with every WC. It seems to me that marimos stopped the GW, and not killied it. It dont believe this is just a coincidence. Has anyone else tried this?

P.S. i believe GDA also disappeared, it was present in traces over the front glass.. I havent changed my Mg dosing at all.
 

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Hi. I have never posted anywhere before on anything but thought I must on this. I am a very new tropical fish keeper. I inherited them from my son. About two months ago my tank whet from clear to very very green. I tried everything except chemicals and was about to ditch it all in when I came across the willow method. My sons and everyone who saw what I was doing thought I was nuts. So I duly put the willow in the tank as instructed. After six days of not really seeing much change but with the white roots starting to show I very nearly took them out, but didn't as I was going away for the weekend. I returned two days later OMG the tank is very nearly crystal clear. I can see my fish again.
 

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I've been struggling with green water for the last 9 months or even 1 year (I cannot recall exactly how long) in my outdoor tank. I didn't take any action against the algae because it went away by itself in the past but not the recent case. The situation was so bad that all the hornwort and elodea had to be thrown away because algae grew all over them leading them to rot.

Recently, I tore down another indoor tank to be rescaped and happened to have a lot of Java ferns. At the same time, I took back some unwanted plants from my friend. I also transfered some Salvinia into the tank. It seems like the algae on the glass are dying off slowly and green water has disappeared. The amount of plants are really a lot. The extra nutrients must have been absorbed by a large number of plants to overcome the algae issue.
 

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for green water, ... why not daphnia ?
every source i've read on water fleas suggests they are effective against green water, including one source that cultures daphnia using green water for food

as an added bonus you've got little bite-sized nibbled for the fish in your tank too

no idea now long it takes the little critters to clear up a tank, but it inspires me as it's chemical free and adds free food for the rest of the fish
 

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The problem with daphnia in a tank with fishes is the daphnia would be eaten up before they could consume any green algae...hahaha. It only makes sense for a tank without any fish but I would not have any tank without any fish in the first place as I could be in a big trouble for breeding mosquitoes (this is illegal in many places or ....should I say it's illegal everywhere??).
 

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LOL... so here's a side note.... I am actually looking for ways to grow green water more densely because I have 8 vats of Daphnia and Moina to feed and with Winter coming I am culturing the GW in the garage. If you have a lot of GW then get a starter culture of daphnia and siphon off a gallon of GW for them every day then start using a net with fairly wide holes to harvest the larger ones and stick'm in your tank... your fish will love you. Right now I need about 20G of dense GW daily to keep the daphnia cultures greenish....
 

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PS, there is a willow around the block from me. Must go steal a few branches tonight and stick'm in some refugiums - I have been looking for some major nutrient hogs for the refugiums connected to some of my breeder tanks but water lettuce and hyacinth are not legal in Tejas... Willow? Worth a shot, thanks! BTW - I use Pothos hanging off the back of tanks as a veggie filter and cord/filter hider and that grows like crazy with nice rich aquarium water to feed it.
 

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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"
I've added 3 branches to my tank and blacked it out. I SO hope this works. I have a willow tree in my back yard so easy access needless to say. I've had a crystal clear 65 gallon tank up until about 2 weeks ago then BAM, GW. Very frustrating. I've changed the water to no avail, came right back the next morning. UGH. This is my first experience with GW. Not fun.
 

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Day 3 with willow branches and black out. NOTHING. Tank looked just as bad as when I started this procedure.
Bought GW fighter and BOOM, in an hour my tank was clearing up. It's now 6 hours later and my tank is crystal clear. NO sign of algae or GW anywhere.
So, obviously the willow branches and blacking it out for several days does nothing for GW.
Complete waste of 3 days and putting my fish through suffering through that ick. Not to mention lost a beautiful fish in the process.
Last time I will follow a process like this.
 

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My 10 gallon was can't-see-through-it-green for 3+ months. Tried a total blackout for 4 days, did nothing other than make the plants look sadder. Put in three small sprigs from a willow and it was clear in 72 hours!

day 1


day 2


day 3


Thank you!
 

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Just a thought. maybe someone else already said that and I've missed in the 20 pages of this post. Willow trees contain salicylic acid. Salicylate is also the active ingredient of an anti algae product like Algaexit from Easylife (which works also against GW). Maybe salycilic acid is the trick?
 

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I was sceptical at first but gave it a shot. In 3 days went from water that was so green you couldn't see the other side of my 90 gallon aquarium to crystal clear water , it was absolutely amazing. I had spent$50 on chemicals that did not work and this cost nothing and worked amazing. A big thanks!!
 

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I was a bit skeptical but within 3 days my water went from so green I couldn't see the back of my tank in my 90 gal to crystal clear. I didn't cover it just had the lights on less. I had spent $50 on chemicals that did not work. So impressed. Thanks!!
 

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I was skeptical at first but within 3 days my aquarium went from being so green I couldn't see the back of my tank to crystal clear. I didn't turn out my light or cover. I had spent $50 on chemicals that did nothing. Big thanks!!
 

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I posted this on another green algae topic a few days ago:
----------------------------

Salicylic acid is an algaecide. It works by blocking the Phosphate from use by the algae. The reason it works best when the willow begins rooting is because the roots are where the Salicylic acid resides. http://www.wef.org/PublicInformation/page.aspx?id=775

So, I have a tank that I inoculated with spirulina last night. By this morning the water was a lovely green color. I am going to experiment by putting two plain, 400mg aspirin (40 Gallon) in the tank along with a teaspoon of Bicarbonate (to rebalance the ph) to test the effect.

Most of the plants are rather plain stem-cuttings that I am not particularly worried about losing.

There are no fish or inverts in the tank and it is running a 300gph powerhead with an 8x4x4 pond sponge.

I'll post pics if someone has an interest in how it's going.

Update: Dissolved 800mg Bayer plain aspirin with bicarbonate of soda (stomach protecting) in half cup of warm water - added it a little at a time over an hours period and 2 days later the tank was clear.
 

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Hi there, It looks like it's been a while since anyone's posted here, but since the thread been going for a few years, I'll see if anyone's still out there. I just set up a 135 gallon tank w/40gallon sump. The water has started turning green. Not bad yet, but it is there. Anyway, I have LOTS of Willows available, but here's my question: It seems the tanks clear up as the roots develop. Would it work, or speed up the process any if I were to just use a piece of willow root right from the start? For most people the branch would be easier, but I have a huge willow that a storm recently blew over and access to roots is quite easy. Thoughts? Also, the tank has only been going for about a week, and the substrate has been disturbed several times. Could this even just be part of normal cycling? I'm new to the whole planted tank thing. I'd be happy to give more info if anyone is out there is interested. I have read all 20 pages in this thread, so for now my question isn't how to get rid of the GW, but whether or not using the root will be any faster than the branch, or if it will even work at all.
 
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