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.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.
"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.
"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?
"This morning I noticed a few new roots on some branches. And there is much less GW now!
"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.
"There are more roots this morning. And I can see the background pretty good. Note that this tank is 56cm wide.
"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?
"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).
"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.
"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:
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.
"Please before you do anything else check the N and P of the tank water.
"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?
"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.
">You have been adding NO3 and PO4 every day while trying to clean the green water?
>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.