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 Quite often diatoms can contaminate a culture and they will out
compete the microalgae for available light and food.  Its really
important that starter cultures begin in sterilized equipment. If you
are using gallon glass jars or less like I do (I use quart jars)  I
sterilize them by adding water and microwaving for about 10 minutes....
quarts I only nuke for six.  Bleach, though good, is not always 100%
effective in eradicating undesirable organisms like diatoms and
bacteria. Microwaves always get their germ and algae :)

It is also important to keep flying insects from falling into your
culture as they are vectors of contamination also.  If the microalgae
has a suitable head start then it can be the predominant algae and
overwhelm any contaminant.

One other cause of a microalgae settling out is the exhaustion of a
needed nutrient.  If the algae goes light green and its supposed to be a
richer green and then settles out ... its dead and you will have to
start over ...in fact if the color in the tank changes ..its already too
late.  Several places sell nutrients for promoting microalgae growth and
some have recommended the use of miracle grow.  I recommend the Plankton
Cultivation Manual published by Florida Aqua Farms, its all in there
from phytoplankton culture to brineshrimp and daphnia culture.

->     There is more than one kind of green water. Some kinds must be 
-> inedible or aggressive growers and can harm a Daphnia culture. I have 
-> had a soft hair algae that the Daphnia do not eat that seems to 
-> overpower the culture. African cichlids love it though. I've also had 
-> a "green water" starter that formed some sheets of dry looking light 
-> green on the surface once well under way. This algae would wipe out, 
-> rather than feed, a Daphnia culture. Once it contaminates a culture, 
-> bleaching and starting over seems the best next step. - -- Dan 
-> McMonigle