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Re: My Green Water

I would like to thank everyone who responded both privately and on the list
to my plea for help about clearing up my green water.  With everyone's
input, I think I've solved the problem, at least for now.  Take heart, you
newbies that responded to me privately, your advice was good....next time
post directly to the list!

When I first set up the tank, my water had quickly turned gray.  I thought
it was bacterial and would fade but several days later it had turned to
green.  At this point, I took the advice to "wait it out" until the tank
matured and "cycled".  This was my first mistake.  I now feel that if the
water is slightly green, you might be able to wait it out, but if it gets
darker and darker until you can't see the other side of the pigmy chain
swords growing against the front glass, you have waited too long, and things
are out of control.

My next step was to try the advice to filter out the algae with my XL diatom
filter.  About half the responses I got said that a diatom filter or a
Magnum with a micron filter would clean it up in one hour and the water
would be "polished" and crystal clear.  Many others said that this did not
work for them, and frequent mass water changes were the only thing that were
effective for them.

I loaded up my diatom with 4 cups of DE.  The best it could do was to clear
it up about 50% after being on for 12 hours.  In other words, I could see
about half way through my 75 gal tank.  It seemed that the filter was
effective for about the first hour and then the degree of murkiness did not
decrease.  I have tried this several times in the past weeks and the results
were similar.  I'm sure the DF was working correctly.  The DE was the color
of the inside of an advacado.

I had also tried an 85% water change last week.  The water still had a gray
green tint to it,  but I thought that if the plants started getting light,
the GW problem would go away.  But in one week it was back to pea soup.

As it turns out everyone's advice was correct!  It was just a matter of
degree.  Today I did a 95% water change.  I was very careful not to disturb
the gravel, both when draining and filling (used a lot of chlorine remover).
The water was just a bit hazy when I looked through the tank the long way
from the side.  I then hooked up my XL DF with 3 cups of DE.  The water was
crystal clear within the first hour.

I had forgotten how an aquarium looks with clean water and good lighting!  I
had to sit down and stare at it for at least an hour.  Fortunately the fish
look vibrantly healthy, and plants are in pretty good shape (now that I can
see them).

I have learned the following things.

i)  My diatom filter can't perform miracles.  I assume those who reported
that their DFs cured their GW problem weren't working with pea soup.  The DF
method is great, but change the water first to reduce the load.

ii)  The slow continuous water change method will work too, as it basically
replaces _all_ of the water over a weeks time.  But if you don't have an
overflow hole to a sump, frequent partial water changes are more practical.
Then polish the water with a filter.

iii)  The flocculent idea didn't work the first time, as I did not use it
properly.  In my excitement, I added the flocculent to the tank, and then
charged the DF using the tank water.  Flocculent seems to work pretty well
on DE, as it was my impression that it was quite clumpy looking, and I think
this made the DF pretty ineffective.  Next time I will perhaps try it on
gray water if the DF doesn't help.  I definitely need to learn more about

iv)  Plants and fish don't seem to be too adversely affected by GW,  as long
as the plants get enough nutrients and light.  Luckily, my fish have never
appeared to be harmfully affected by my 50% plus water changes.

Again thanks for the advice.... nice group of people.

Steve Pituch