90g restart - Empty, severe OTS, severe algae (pics)

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kjr928

Go fish yourself.
Original poster
Been keeping fish for around 15 years. Betta bowl to 5g to 12g to 46g to a beautiful planted 90g. Then I had kids and it all went to hell. I got a ton of BBA, tore the tank down, peroxided everything, dried out the wood, set it all back up again and the BBA came back immediately. I almost died when I saw it reappear.

So about 3 years ago I said F it and I quit, but left my tank up and running for all this time in the corner. Today I did my first water change in years (50%) and scraped down all the algae, which was so thick it was totally opaque.

I’m so out of practice that I don’t even know what to do with this mess. I don’t see any BBA at this point but maybe it just hasn’t revealed itself to me yet.

Anyone willing to advise/coach/mentor me?

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the loach

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Aug 6, 2018
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Sure... so algae are very primitive pioneer plants. They can grow in a wide range of conditions whereas aquatic plants need specific conditions in respect to pH, light, CO2 and other nutrients to thrive. Once you provide these conditions, and it isn't difficult or expensive, aquatic plants will outcompete algae and you will barely have any. Having said that, a small amount of algae is natural and not of any concern.
In short it is a balance between lighting, fish load, plant density and pH.
 
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dougall

...
Mar 29, 2005
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I would honestly bleach it and start, assuming you have no beneficial bacteria at this point.

Just use plain bleach, then a complete water change, then let it sit in fresh water and dechlorinator

Then reapeat

If you know that your water authority uses chlorine to treat the water, it should all gas off after a day or so, especially if your filter is running (I would bleach or replace all the media too,)

Then start again, slowly, like it's a new tank.

Maybe sure there isn't too much light too.
 
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kjr928

Go fish yourself.
Original poster
I would honestly bleach it and start, assuming you have no beneficial bacteria at this point.

Just use plain bleach, then a complete water change, then let it sit in fresh water and dechlorinator

Then reapeat

If you know that your water authority uses chlorine to treat the water, it should all gas off after a day or so, especially if your filter is running (I would bleach or replace all the media too,)

Then start again, slowly, like it's a new tank.

Maybe sure there isn't too much light too.
Ok so do you literally mean BLEACH the tank? Like pour Chlorox into it? What will happen if I do that? Does it kill all algae and what will happen to the other stuff in the tank like the wood/gravel/etc? Am I supposed to take any of that stuff out? Also, how much bleach per gallon?

There are no fish so I’m not concerned about killing things. Also, what to do with my filter media? Throw it all out and get new and just cycle the tank from scratch?

I was thinking about taking the wood out and power washing it since I can’t get the algae out of all the crevices.
 

the loach

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Aug 6, 2018
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So what happened to the fish, was there any kind of disease or did you just take them out?
It will be important to note, that now matter how much you bleach, any new tank will have (some) algae before a balance is created. The reason is you can't really have a sterile aquarium. Algae spores are in the air, water, and will come with fish and plants.
What kind of lighting do you have in there?
 

dougall

...
Mar 29, 2005
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Ok so do you literally mean BLEACH the tank? Like pour Chlorox into it? What will happen if I do that? Does it kill all algae and what will happen to the other stuff in the tank like the wood/gravel/etc? Am I supposed to take any of that stuff out? Also, how much bleach per gallon?

There are no fish so I’m not concerned about killing things. Also, what to do with my filter media? Throw it all out and get new and just cycle the tank from scratch?

I was thinking about taking the wood out and power washing it since I can’t get the algae out of all the crevices.
Bleach like instead of water, it will be a bleach solution with a bit of bleach to a significantly higher amount of water.itsvto kill off bacteria, algae and other unwanted living stuff.

If you have city water, you need to dechlorinate, the chlorine in it is basically a small amount of chlorine bleach, normally you would dip into a 1:20 solution to kill off unwanted Live stuff from, say, plants . I would maybe go 1:100 for a start. And clean everything.

To address the above of always having algae, you can address that by controlling lighting or nutrients in the water via feeding. Or you can use up excess nutrients with some fast growing plants, I would go for something like a large species of salvinia assuming legal for you.

Honestly you did this before, this will just allow you to start afresh, rather than dealing with existing problems, as you have no real livestock to worry about.

Obviously, look up any advice to get other opinions and know amounts of bleach, fairy dust or whatever... Just to ensure you aren't being led astray.. and look to see if you have a local aquarium club in your area, they can be of enormous help.
 

fishorama

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Jun 28, 2006
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Bleck!

I am a bleach user too, like dougall. Since there's nothing but algae to kill, I'd run the filter on the tank with bleach to clean the media. You might want to stir up the substrate to make sure it gets clean too but not with your hand, use a long stick or something. Make sure to use fairly new bleach, not scented, it is only potent for ~1 year. If it doesn't small strongly of bleach, it's lost it's oomph. (don't stick your nose too close or you'll be sorry! & wear old clothes, I almost always get a tiny drop or 2 whenever I use bleach, lol If you have carpet, be extra, extra careful, trash bags can help). Cheap dollar store or generic bleach is fine as long as it's not scented. Start with a gallon, you want a noticeable bleach smell.

& as the loach asked, what killed your last fish? Bleach kills almost everything!

Let it work for 24-48 hours or so, change as much water as you can & repeat. Go heavy dosing dechlorinator (at least 2 or 3 X "normal" dosing) after the second round of bleach. Let it run for 48 hours then rinse & dechlor at least 2 times. Use the sniff test, if the tank smells like bleach or a kind of "organic musty funk" rinse & dechlor some more.

I'd bleach the wood too & if you have a power washer it might help to remove the decayed layer that's sure to be there if it's been in the tank all this time. I just use a "fish only" scrub brush.

You also might want to use filter floss/quilt batting in the filter to remove all the (now dead) algae & fine particulates. It'll clog fairly quickly. What kind of filter(s) do you have? That may make a difference on often it clogs & you change it out.

Sorry if this is confusing, I'm watching hoops, typing & cooking.
 

Mr.RoadWarrior

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May 23, 2019
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I'd be careful about power washing the driftwood...after a long soak in an aquarium, it will be soft and might disintegrate.

Agree with others above, scrub with bleached water, bleach and soak (I'd say each soak 24 hours), drain, repeat two more times. Heavy dechlor soak before drain and re-use. Before starting, take out all equipment, scrub with bleached water, rinse water, rinse twice, soak in water w/ heavy dechlor. You're gonna have to wash everything carefully, don't miss a spot. I would get rid of any filter materials and start fresh.

On startup, don't overheat, don't overlight...and cycle lightly. I think too heavy an ammonia concentration and you're just gonna feed algae if any lived. Once cycled, put the baddest algae eaters in there you can (others would be better to recommend)...if there are any that eat BBA, get them.

That's a beautiful tank, put the work in, you'll get it done. It will be worth it.

Good luck,
RW
 

Sploke

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Oct 20, 2005
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What kind of substrate do you have in there? It looks pretty deep, possibly something like eco-complete? You might consider replacing it, or at least giving it a very thorough cleaning. If it is heavily laden with years of detritus, a lot of that might leach back into the tank, fueling another algae bloom.
 
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