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It is virtually impossible to maintain an aquarium without any trace of algae. And algae isn't all bad - it forms a natural food for many fish and gives them something to do scraping it off rocks or logs, but anyone talking about the benefits of algae is referring to a small amount growing on ornaments and tank fixtures - not a tank full of green water. This isn't meant to harm your fish - although it can decrease oxygen levels in the dark - but it can be a symptom of something that may harm your fish. The first thing you want to do is break out the water test kit and make sure everything is within acceptable parameters. If the PH is out of whack you may need more filtration - to reduce over stocking or over feeding etc... You can buy PH down products for a quick fix but do not rely on them long term - and in most cases you are better off treating the cause then the symptom. The most likely cause of an algae bloom though is over exposure to light. Have you been leaving an aquarium light on 24/7 or is your tank getting direct sunlight? A bacterial supplement may help in a new tank as well.
OK - you've sorted out what is causing the green - but it's still a nightmare to get rid of all the stuff already in there. The algae hasn't just colonised - it has set up an entire civilisation and has no intention of going anywhere. Water changes help a little bit, but just to complicate things further, the microscopic ooze takes infusions of fresh water as encouragement to reproduce more rapidly. This is when you might want to consider a chemical to remove the things.
When your whole tank turns green you are dealing microscopic algae suspended in the water. Your filter won't do any good at all because the particle size of these things is so small they simply pass through it. Even an extra fine or water polishing filter won't work on it's own - but it is a very good idea to use one with this product. This product works by clumping the algae particles up into larger bits, which theoretically can be removed by tour filter. I do strongly recommend the extra fine filter pad if using this as it will catch much of the algae, and you just rinse it out ever day.
So does it work?
It does help, but in our experience it did not do the job completely and we resorted to the bin bag cure* see below. On the first occasion we used this, we had removed an old net curtain from the window. The extra sunlight was causing the problem - but I could not convince my husband of this. I wanted to go straight for the bin bags but he is one for the modern conveniences and just had to try chemicals. This is pretty cheap stuff . I think we paid about £3 but you can buy it for under £4 on Amazon - the fine particle filter will cost more though. There was a definite and visible improvement. The fine particle filter was white and we could see a layer of green gloop removed each day, but it was still growing back. We replaced the net curtain, did frequent water changes and I had my husband cleaning the filter pad ( not the whole filter) every day. He eventually got tired of the extra work and went for the bin bags which completely eliminated the problem.
This sat about for 2 years so it was getting old on the next application. We went to the caravan and I left the light on in my youngest sons tank for the full 7 days. We do have a few algae issues in this tank to begin with - always caused by the boys leaving the lights on and feeding a bit too much. Not wanting to tackle a full clean out, we did try the green away, but we did not buy a fine filter pad ( you bin these afterwards they will clog up to easily with day to day use). It did not make as much difference in the water and once again we went for the bin bags.
So in conclusion - I do feel this product helps if combined with a polishing filter. if you are willing to put the work in and keep doing water changes, cleaning the fine filter often enough and scrub the tank well - and you eliminate all underlying causes - I think you could eventually clear the water with this. I do find black bags far more effective, as well as being less expensive and I prefer not to douse my tank with chemicals when i don't have to. The black bag treatment does look awful though, so if you can not live with your tanks covered up for a week - you may want to use this.
Please note - the manufacturer does state this will not work if your ph balance is not correct. I did use this in a pet store many years ago with no success at all until I could get the manager to sort the over stocking and sky high ph problems. This would give a quick improvement but it never lasted. The manager's idea of dosing daily resulted in dead fish. A little is good - more is not better - follow directions. They eventually let me take over everything to do with the aquariums - including ordering stock. I ordered far less but we had less deaths so it evened out.
And finally - if you want to clear your water without chemicals this is the way to go:
First check ph levels, sunlight etc and try to determine the cause of the bloom. No matter what treatment you use - if you do not treat the underlying cause it will return.
Remove ornaments scrub and soak in boiling water. Siphon of 1/2 of tank water, paying special attention to gravel floor for signs of over feeding. If you are hoovering up lots of uneaten food - there is your problem. Rinse your filter in in extra tank water and replace. If you have plants you may well kill them with this - so if you have an extra tank - move them.
Feed the fish and wait for food to be eaten turn off the lights , then tape bin bags over the glass making it pitch black.
Do nothing - the fish can go a day without food and eat less in the dark anyway.
Open lid turn light on . Feed fish wait for all food to be eaten -remove 10 - 15% of water. Turn off light and back to the dark.
Day 5 as day 3
Day 6 turn light on and feed only.
Day 7 remove bin bags, do 30% water change carefully hoovering gravel as you go and rinse filters.
This should do the trick - but be extra careful with lighting and feeding for the next few days. If you should have a case of the children feeding too much, get the gravel vacuum out and clean right away - limit lights to feeding time for unplanted tanks and 6 hours a day for planted tanks for the next week.
PLEASE NOTE: This review refers to use in fresh water aquariums only. I have no knowledge or experience with salt water tanks. Please remember this is a chemical. Keep out of reach of pets and children.