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Whitish Cloudy Water

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by Steven, May 17, 2010.

  1. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Tugs Had A Little Too Much Sugar & Caffeine

    Hi Steven,

    Dan makes a good point though for clarity I will restate my philosophy regarding “treatment.” :)

    Whatever happens whether we label it good or bad, the system is telling us something. The problem with “shortcuts” is that unless we have dealt with the underlying problem the problem will return and usually the system is weakened.

    In this case, the problem was the conditions that allowed the BGA (cyanobacteria) to flourish. Instead of correcting the problem, you chose to kill the cyanobacteria with erythromycin, but the erythromycin killed not just the BGA, it also killed Chemosynthetic Bacteria, mainly Nitrosomonas, Nitrobacter in this case and perhaps heterotrophic bacteria, Saprophytic Bacteria.

    The Chemosynthetic Bacteria and Saprophytic Bacteria along with their associated community of fungi and so forth keep the water quality; help the critters and plants utilize the nutrients available, as well as providing nutrition. :eek:

    In your case, the bacterial bloom was the “crisis response” that tries to recover the tank (system).

    Unless you have identified and rectified the conditions that allowed the BGA to begin with, those conditions will allow (encourage) the BGA to return and the plants, critters and microbes will be less able to protect against the BGA so the next outbreak tends to be more severe.

    Correcting the conditions to begin with is slower and often frustrating, but as you see the BGA retreat on its own you will have a better grasp of the root causes and the tank (system) stronger and stable, able to ward off the other nasty’s lurking.

    I disagree a bit with Dan on the UV-sterilizer issue; generally, UV-sterilizers are not very effective against bacteria, which is why they to not harm biological filters in general use. My advice against using it here was as Tug said, “if it clears up in a few days and if using the UV light - you might think it has something to do with the clouds disappearance.”

    I also differ a bit with Dan on the use glutaraldehyde on BBA; glutaraldehyde (SeaChems Excel) can be part of the solution.

    Good luck,:cool:
    Biollante
     
  2. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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  3. Steven

    Steven Guru Class Expert

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    Hmm...Indeed I rather like removing BGA mechanically or fix the underlying problem but I just got too exhausted and bore to the look of it so this time I like to try something new/new method that I never do before moreover after read that so many that have good results with that "shortcut" and for sure I know the consequences if all those BGA are not die completely I will face the more resistant BGA next time and in fact I just feel/think that not all of my BGA was actually die, I still can see some slime green color at one spot of my front substrate, the other spot have turn to brown slime that I think they were dead.

    Folks, indeed I found that this hobby is quite frustrating, so much factors in it that need our sharp eyes and knowledge to ID the problems and solve it. After 1 year struggling in this hobby, I still not have a nice decent looking aquascape instead all of this time I just struggling to grow some healthy plants. If I may ask, in planted tank what is most important thing to have a success rate? Is it the water that we are using? Thank you.
     
  4. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    How's that old saying go? When you find your in a hole, stop digging.

    Congratulations, you now have just a small inkling of what it's like giving birth to a child after nine months. Your almost there. One more push. Besides, your tank did not look as bad as you made it sound.

    What are you doing about some of the potential issues mentioned on your OP? More specifically, lighting and positioning of your powerhead/filter. They were the last things you were working on. Now that you are following EI doses, those would be the areas to look at.
     
    #24 Tug, May 20, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: May 20, 2010
  5. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    Steven, some of us have spent over a year just making one tank and one layout look good. When you see the best, it's not on the level of a summer garden or a floral arrangement. It's more like what happens when nerds decide to use biology as a paintbrush, and then having them learn photography on top of it. Be patient, and keep asking yourself why it doesn't look good. Healthy plants are one part, where to place it and how to photograph it are whole other areas of the hobby that you don't get to refine until the first part is out of the way.

    Bio, I'm certain that UV can do a great job of killing bacteria. A Nobel prize was won for doing just that with TB, and it's currently a form of water sanitation. It's hard to say if 5 watts is enough though; the exposure time and intensity are pretty open ended in this case since we don't know all the variables. Drawing conclusions now would be a little difficult, so saying that it doesn't work is premature. And no, it won't kill all bacteria in the tank; there's way too much surface area to culture on that will never see the sterilizer. The column sure will cycle through nicely though.

    How much to be how effective? It was worked out a while ago: http://faq.thekrib.com/filters.html#sterilization

    There are UV sterilizers that are most definitely effective for aquariums. If this is worthy of a debate thread, I'll get to digging up my old resources on it.

    Outside of that though, I think we're pretty much talking about the same thing. Fix the cause of the problem, then use what you like to alleviate the symptoms. Both is better, the former is vital and the later is simply an aid to it.
     
  6. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    What Tug Said! Now That He Has Slept Off The Sugar & Caffeine

    Hi Steven,

    I know it can be frustrating, 50 something years in the hobby and a year ago, I ran into the worst BGA I had ever had, I had a tangle of other alga and it was a stinky mess. :( Nothing I did seemed to work, I was driven to absolute distraction.

    The truth is I was ready to “nuke” the tank. Thankfully, since I have never had a friend, people pointed out what a loudmouth hypocrite I was threw everything I ever said back in my face. :p

    Finally, I started fresh and worked systematically until I found the problem, which of course was some stupid thing I had tried and forgotten about. :(

    It took a couple of weeks, many water changes, a good deal of pruning, I think I dipped every plant in Potassium permanganate solution (my tanks have lots of plants). I lost a few plants, mosses mainly. I do not think I lost any critters, though I did move a number of the more sensitive types.

    On the heels of this problem, the local water company let a high level of copper through and killed a bunch of invertebrates, :mad: copper does kill cyanobacteria as well, took out the remaining BGA.

    A problem I repeatedly see, people over thinking the hobby, lacking patience trying to do too many things at once.

    The plants we are growing are noxious weeds; sane people are working to eradicate them.

    Greg Watson, Tom Barr and company have done a marvelous job of providing wonderful amount of information for beginner to expert. The first step is deciding what you want. As Tom Barr says, “choose a method and learn it well.”

    Next as with any garden pick flora and fauna that get along, preferably that like your water, remember your aquarium is really just a container garden, the container just happens to be filled with water.

    Do yourself a favor, even if you plan to use high lighting, start with lower lighting; CO2 is going to be your biggest problem.

    Consider using glutaraldehyde, like SeaChems Excel, to provide plant friendly carbon, unless you are keeping primitive plants (even then, sometimes you can use reduced amounts).

    Then observe and enjoy, do not make large changes, as my Dear Ol’ Dad used to say, “Anything that happens quickly in the garden is likely bad.” :)

    In my experience, it takes three to six months for an aquarium to mature.

    Good luck, hang tough,
    Biollante
     
  7. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    To UV Or Not To UV, That Is... Well, Up To You

    Hi Dan,

    If the UV-sterilizer comment was directed at me, I would suggest re-reading the earlier posts (11&21). :gw

    I use UV-sterilizers everyday of the week. ;) I am a fan, any doubt I had evaporated when I started using ORP meters. :D

    I simply stated I did not think UV-sterilizer use in a new tank (cycling) or during a bacterial bloom is a good idea, for the reasons stated above.

    Biollante
     
  8. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    As far as I can see you're saying that it's ineffective against bacteria. Given that it's commonly used for killing bacteria:
    http://www.enhance-it.com/energiestable.htm

    I'm kind of wondering how you're coming to the conclusion without knowing the details of the sterilizer in use.
     
  9. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    I Stand By My Statements

    Hi Dan,

    Yes, I am saying that most UV-sterilizers are relatively ineffective against bacteria. :)

    Perhaps I did not have all the information. :p

    I assume that whenever we answer these questions we do not have all the information. That does make me vulnerable to those not interested so much in helping the person asking the question as trying to appear smarter or forward some silly agenda. :rolleyes:

    In this case, Steven said he has a 96-liter (25-US gallon) tank {post #1}, had purchased a 5-watt UV-sterilizer; he did not specify the brand or the pump used {post #6}.

    I have no way of verifying anyone's statements, I take them at face value and unless they beggar reason, assuming they are true, I answer based on my experience, with the base assumption unless otherwise stated that they are hobbyists and the equipment is appropriate to hobbyists.

    A 5-watt UV-sterilizer is sufficient for most hobbyist purposes in a 96-liter (25-gallons) tank. {In my always humble potted plant opinion.}

    I am hard pressed to believe that a 5-watt hobbyist UV-sterilizer is going to produce the 1,900 to 24,000-µW sec/cm2 of 257.3 nanometer ultraviolet radiation required according to your referenced chart to produce a 90% kill rate. I suspect that chart gives air or atmospheric kill rates. I accept that it is possible that a person could get high kill rates with the 5-watt UV-sterilizer if the allowed enough dwell time.

    I use a couple of 400-watt commercial UV-sterilizers and I can toast just about anything, but for practical everyday operation the common bacteria kill rate is under 30 percent.

    In any situation where we are establishing or inoculating microbes, we bypass or do not use UV, because we are trying to establish the population as quickly as possible. In my ever humble potted plant opinion that is the bacterial bloom situation. You are free to have another opinion.

    I do get the snarky bit, I am not playing your game, this is polite conversation with the intention of assisting the person asking the questions. I have another thread where we can discuss the various issues.

    Biollante
     
  10. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    Moving this works, I'll cross-quote and URL link so nobody gets confused.
     
  11. Steven

    Steven Guru Class Expert

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    Btw, my tank size is 80x30x40 = 96L/25.3Gal plus minus substrate, rocks, driftwood and filter I assume it is roughly 90L and I bought this 5 Watt Atman UV Sterilizer (I can't find the manufacturer's website and the links I provided are 11 and 36 Watt, mine is 5 Watt) also run it with JBL CristalProfi e1500 (1500L/H) Canister Filter and added small 400L/H powerhead.
     
  12. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Hang In There!

    Hi Steven,

    That looks like a high quality UV-sterilizer, even more reason I think it best to wait until the bacterial bloom subsides. :)

    I actually think your tank is doing quite well. I looked around at your other threads and think you are experiencing the new tank, new to the hobby syndrome. ;)

    It gets better, concentrate on CO2 and circulation and I think you will find everything works out. :)

    Good luck,
    Biollante
     
  13. BigFlusher

    BigFlusher Prolific Poster

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    it seems that not killing nitrifying bacteria would be better than killing them. that is how they will find there way to wher they shold be.

    I think that is the real point bio was making.

    Joe

    Joe
     
  14. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    In a heavily planted tank you aren't exactly dependent on them anyhow. If you can run a UV sterilizer while the stuff regrows on substrate/filter media at a slower rate, then what's the harm?
     
  15. ThingWhatSpawnedLC

    ThingWhatSpawnedLC Junior Poster

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    The harm is causing a delay in cycling and providing an opportunity for things we do not want, to gain a foothold.

    An old gardening rule
     
  16. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    wouldn't those things be sterilized in the column just the same? Given that ammonifying/nitrifying bacteria also populate quite nicely on surfaces, wouldn't it be the same there?
     
  17. ThingWhatSpawnedLC

    ThingWhatSpawnedLC Junior Poster

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    Not sterilizing is the idea.
     
  18. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    What I'm trying to say is that if you have an effective UV sterilizer, then it should be equally effective with anything in the column. Competition would then move to culturing on the surface of things, which is something that nitrifying bacteria does quite well. I don't see any substantial risk in doing that, but I do see a down-side in aesthetics with having a foggy column.

    All of that aside, I never seem to get a fogged column with a heavily planted tank running EI. If heavy planting with healthy growth is uptaking the NH4 enough to avoid the issue in a new tank then fixing the underlying issue means no problem using UV since the nitrifying bacteria is establishing slowly.

    A seeded filter would also do the job, meaning the column could be cleared and a functioning culture added.

    I think there's any number of ways of getting rid of the issue rather than just coping with an ugly column.
     
  19. ThingWhatSpawnedLC

    ThingWhatSpawnedLC Junior Poster

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    Hi Dan, Steven,

    I agree with you in the broadest sense that an effective UV-sterilizer will kill things off in the water column.

    While my degree may have been in early elementary education, I have been gardening for over 70 years and keeping planted aquariums for 20 years.

    I am educated enough to understand that a UV-sterilizer will not be “equally” effective on all things in the water column, since some “things” are easier to kill than other things. I agree that it is possible to sterilize the water given enough time and sufficient power.

    In my opinion, Steven is better off allowing the “bacterial bloom” to run its course for a number of reasons:

    • Something is feeding the bloom, destroying the bacterial bloom will not correct that.
    • Based on what Steven said it is probable that his filter lost the bacterial colony, sufficient to deal with wastes available. Destroying bacteria in the water column slows colonization of the filter.
    • Likewise, the plants, substrate and other surfaces colonization of those surfaces will be slowed.
    • Cleaning out healthy desirable anything simply increases the opportunity for other undesirable microbes, plants or animals to take over.

    To speed the process of colonization Biollante tells me the application of sodium thiosulfate, alum or Sodium bisulfate should critters for human consumption be involved, help coalesce the bacteria helping them clog the filter and end up on plants and substrate.

    Dan, you are welcome to your own opinions.

    Obviously, Steven can do as he pleases; it is after all his aquarium.

    I have a hard time typing and expressing myself in this manner so I asked Biollante to help me and type it up.

    I will now go back to making Biollante’s life a misery. I am done with “forums.”

    As the politicians say, I am the ThingWhatSpawnedTheLoudCreature and I approved this message.
     
    #39 ThingWhatSpawnedLC, May 24, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: May 24, 2010
  20. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    I guess a reply would be pretty pointless then.

    Bio, if you want to continue then we can do it over on your general UV discussion thread.
     
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