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Green, White Water Problem


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Hello, I have been having for sometime 6 or 8 months this problem in my aquarium. It go from green to white cloudy water then it gets clear and them go back to either green or white water color. I see to have at the bottom some green algae sometime it see to be black. My tank is a 46 gallons and house it 10 Black long fin tetras, 4 red eyes tetra, 3 Platy and 4 serpae tetra.  I have 2 java fern plants that are doing really good. I do not use anything for the plants. Filtration, I have 2 each 30 gallon aqua clear and one medium sponge filter from Co-op.


What can I do to get this under control?


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There are a variety of ways to approach this, some cheaper, some a little more expensive, the cheapest and easiest is to simply black out your tank for a few days when an algae bloom occurs, that should bring you back to clear water but as you already mentioned you've been on this see saw for a while and if you want to solve this permanently you'll need to get to the root cause, which is an abundance of nutrients and no one around to use them but algae. I would start by getting some water test kits and checking your tap, and tank water for levels of ammonia/ammonium, nitrites, nitrates, GH, and KH and start approaching it from there.

While you have the problem you can increase water changes from one to multiple times a week, and depending on what you are currently doing increasing the percentage of tank water you exchange to up to 50%. After the blackout you could reduce your lighting hours referred to as an active photoperiod, generally 8 to 10 hours is enough for plants, if you only have Java fern you might even be able to get by with anywhere from 6 to 8 hours, at least for a while.

Another option is to introduce more plants; Cryptocoryne, Sword plants, Anubias, and Bucephalandra are low light plants like Java fern and will do well in a lower light tank but usually  grow  slower, most stem plants like Ludwigia, Hornwort, and others generally want anywhere from low to medium light but grow faster and will therefore use more of the nutrients in the water and thereby outcompete the algae for nutrients causing it to decrease.

You could also run a UV-filter which is probably the most expensive method. Applying the nomenclature of "filter" is actually a wrong term because it really isn't a filter but a UV-light that kills algae spores and waterborne bacteria, however just like the blackout the UV-filter is a temporary fix as it doesn't solve the underlying problem which in most cases is either water quality to begin with, or water quality as a result of overfeeding. Overfeeding is easy to fix by reducing the amount you feed daily but before you put your fishes on a diet you really should look at your water quality coming from your tap, and in your water with tests, so you don't have to work in the dark.

Just as a tidbit in case you wonder, the way the algae gets into your tank is generally not in the water, or by being attached to decorations, algae spores are endemic to our air, so they basically get "blown" into your tank which is why fishkeepers around the world can easily compare notes because algae knows no borders.

I hope this helps somewhat and at least points you into the direction of where to begin.

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