Came up against a new problem last night. Got a call from a lady, new tank, bought at small a local full-line pet store - not a big chain, just a mom and pop place nearby (read: blind leading blind...) and they called me to FIX it... this happens quite a bit, but usually I can trouble shoot over the phone...... not this time....
55 g AGA with an Emperor 400, NO lights, tap water (!!!!), about 15 lbs LR (Fiji?) and a couple of (rotting) tree sponge and ball sponge.
They have lost a spendy assortment of fish, including a butterfly and a naso tang (which I plucked out of the water last night)... customer put their trust in someone who either doesn't know what they are doing, or doesn't care - this family runs a home for abused women and their children, and I'm struggling with what was more despicable - ripping off a charity by getting them to flush a lot of money, or just the ignorance of sending otherwise healthy fish to their deaths -- I'm struggling with this one..... but I digress (ahhhh feel better having vented a bit...)
Anyway, right now the water is GREEN. So green you cannot see from the front to the middle of the tank, let alone the back. Almost a milky green, but definitely green. Microalgae suspended in the water column, but not bad on the rock or substrate. Tank has been up since July 7, they've lost about 8 fish, there are currently two fish, a sailfin molly and a spotted cardinal (those cardinals are totally bulletproof). I got there last night, did a water test:
Ammonia - I forget the concentration but it's present - mute point
They had added some ammo detox at the advice of the "other" store - they were also advised to feed the fishes 3 times per day!
During my assessment, I noticed they had not changed filter cartridges, so I popped back to my place and got replacement cartridges, and I have a canister filter that pushes 400 gph, I packed it with Polyfilter, carbon, purigen and phosphate sponge and brought it over to let it run. I haven't called them yet to see of there is any improvement this morning, but I'd appreciate any feedback from anyone who has experienced a bloom like this before, and what you did to get rid of it?
My thinking is that the nutrient rich water from going through a rough cycle is what's feeding the algae - that and the high phoshpate tap water that we all suffer here, just served to "enhance" the bloom. If running the canister strips out some of the organics, and even some of the larger particulate, perhaps we can flush some of it out of the system and stop the food source.
Has anybody else experienced this, and if so, how did you manage it? I've really never seen anything quite like this......