Green Water!

15 06 2009

Over the weekend I have had an epic water borne algae bloom. It happened the day after a 50% water change so the first thing I did was to check my tap water nitrate levels. I live in a rural area and it seemed possible to me that agricultural run off was turning my tap water into plant food. I measured a reading 0f 10ppm, which isn’t very high.

The other probable cause would be over exposure to light, my living room gets a huge amount of natural sunlight as it is, and I have a dreadful habit of leaving the aquarium lights on until I got to bed at about midnight. I recently changed two of the light bulbs after they had blown up and I purchased Arcadia Original Tropical tubes.

Marine Spectrum:
Note peak at ~615nm
Note peak at ~675nm
Tropical Spectrum:
Note peak at ~675nm

These tubes replaced Arcadia Marine White tubes and a quick look on the Arcadia website revealed that the Tropical Tube spectrum is red shifted! Red light is known to encourage plant and alage growth so the new tubes may well have contributed to my problem, and leaving them on for 12 hours a day certainly didn’t help.

I treated the algae bloom with Interpet Green Away, a commercial product. It turned out to be a messy business. This product works by binding all the green algae particles in clumps of brown gunk which then falls to the bottom or gets trapped in the filter. Unfortunately, I am currently under-resourced as far as mechanical filtration goes as my Eheim 2229 doesn’t really trap particles. I did have a sponge to go over the filter intake so I fitted that, and squeezed out the brown gunk every few hours. 24 hours after adding the treatment I did another 50% water change and vacuumed the gravel leaving my tank free of green algae and brown gunk.

Hopefully leaving the lights off during the day while I am at work will prevent another flare up.

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