Cleaning a 70 full of algae

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red devil

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Jan 7, 2003
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I just rented an apartment with a patio. The patio has a (I guess) a 70 gallon aquarium that is full of water and algae. I am wondering - trying to make life easier - can I buy some kind of hardy aquatic animal to eat the algae before I do the hand cleaning? maybe some kind of snails? I am in Chengdu, China now. It is outside, and the temperature range now is 50 -80 degrees F. I do have a 200w heater that I can put in it, if necessary. Speed is the priority, followed by me doing as little as possible :)
 

red devil

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If the water is suitable, I will probably put a plecostamus in - will keep that one - but don't mind if I have to trade out others once the tank is mostly clean. I eventually want to put cichlids in it,
 

dougall

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Mar 29, 2005
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What sort of algae is it?
 
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NoodleCats

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Best bet is to manually deal with the algae yourself before adding livestock to deal with it. Livestock creates ammonia which will contribute to the algae possibly and not eat the right kind, depending what algae it is.

If its green spot or green glass, use a credit card or algae scraper, take care to mind the seals... don't wanna nick those with a razor blade.

Green water... drain it and refill with clean water.

And find out WHY it has algae. Sounds like it might be an outdoor tank, which is exposed to natural lighting, which won't make it easy to keep algae at bay.

A pleco for a 70 gallon, most larger plecos aren't algae eating fish... honestly I'd go for the common bristlenose pleco (ancistrus cf cirrhosis). Hardy, not overly large, they will eat some soft algaes, and they're not super shy like many plecos can be. A 70 gallon can only house small or medium sized plecos. Basically anything that stays less than 8 inches long. But plecos are awesome, with the right research. Would need a heater as well more than likely.
 
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The problem with using an algae eating fish, aside from what Noodled mentioned above, is if it does the job, what do you do next? If you have an algae eater and little algae, you need to feed it. If you keep plants with soft leaves, a bn will damage the leaves when trying to rasp off algae.

If you want a bn, then you should get it for that reason not because you do not want to spend the time cleaning the tank. I would suggest a different approach, if there are no living critters in the tank. Kill the algae chemically and then clean the tank very well while it is outside and easy to do. Get a little help, and when the tank is emptied outside after killing the algae, turn the tank on end and hose the heck out of it. you can even turn it onto the other end and re-rinse. I usually will tilt the tank an end forward by putting a small piece of wood under the back side frame. this makes the tanks tilt slightly forward and makes the water run out more easily.

You may still have to do some scraping if you do the above. Dead algae can still stick to glass. But it should be easier to remove. You cannot do the above if the tank has fish etc. in it. You would need to remove these to a safe place first. Also, the tank would need to be cycled before it is safe to put in fish.
 

dougall

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Mar 29, 2005
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If there is no livestock in there, I would change 100% of the water, add bleach and black it out for a week. Then manual removal should be quick and easy.
 
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