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[APD] Re: Green Water

As a long time lurker and occasional poster, I would like to relate my recent experience with "green water." I recently moved a 29 gal. classroom tank to another location. (Thanks, Karen Randall for the inspiration to place tanks in school classrooms!) After a large water change and the usual addition of potassium sulfate, the tank began to cloud. Within 7-10 days it was pea soup green. In 28 yrs of keeping tanks, I've never seen anything quite like it. Visibility was less than an inch; the water was almost flourescent green. It seemed "thick" to siphon and had that peculiar "algae" smell. Not dirty, just green. Standing in a public place, the tank was a major embarrassment.

I searched the APD site and read the lengthy green water thread. Initially, I tried aggressive water changes, but that seemed only to make matters worse. I took Karen Randall's approach, which seemed the least aggressive. I shut the lights off for five days. I didn't cover the tank, so the fish could see with ambient room light. I installed a HOT Magnum filter (great filter, by the way!) with its pleated micron cartridge. And I did daily 10 gallon water changes (actually 2 five gallon water changes).

At the end of the five days of darkness, the water was moderately clear. At least I could see the back of the tank again. I continued the water changes every other day for the next week. By the end of ten days, the water had returned to crystal clear. The fish seem none the worse for the wear. Actually, I think they rather enjoyed the green and the water changes. The slow growing plants (Crypts, anubias) are just fine. The fast growing plants (mostly hygros) showed some signs of stress (red/brown leaves), but are fast on the comeback trail.

Why did the green water happen in the first place? I have no idea. Too long since the last water change? Sudden influx of potassium threw the nutrients out of balance? Unexpected change in tap water chemistry? Who knows? I've long given up test kits and treat my tanks like potted plants. They have a way of letting me know when something's not right.

Moral of the story: 1. APD is the single greatest source of information on the planet when it comes to planted aquaria. 2. Green water happens, but it isn't the end of the world, or the tank. Be patient. 3. Keep up with your weekly tank maintenance.


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