DrTim's Aquatics Recipes for Success: Getting Rid of Cyanobacteria and Algae (Using Re-Fresh and Waste-Away)
Why do you get cyanobacteria and/or algae?
Because there are nutrients in the water and no competitors to remove those nutrients before they are consumed by the cyano or algae.
Who are the competitors and where are they?
They are bacteria. The fact is the unintended consequence of your protein skimmer, UV, and/or Ozone is that they remove bacteria from the water but do nothing to cyano and algae that are attached to the surfaces of your tank.
The long-term solution to cyano and algae problems is adding competitors back to your system that can consume the nutrients and then removing those organisms, thereby removing the nutrients from the system.
This is not as hard as it may sound!
Here's what you need to do:
First, you will use DrTim's Aquatic Re-Fresh which knocks back the cyano and algae and then the Waste-Away bacteria will add back competitors that will remove the nutrients. Next, we use the protein skimmer to remove the bacteria thereby removing the nutrients. Regular dosing of Waste-Away will then result in a tank free of cyano and algae!
In a nutshell: the goal is to convert nutrients into bacteria and remove the bacteria with your protein skimmer.
Caution: as mentioned, for best results you need a skimmer and/or filter sock to remove the bacteria that will be produced and to help prevent bacterial blooms that may result in loss of livestock.
DrTim's Aquatics Recipe for Success:
Whether your tank is covered with cyanobacteria or algae, the directions are the same.
- First, try to manually remove as much of the cyanobacteria/algae as you can.
- Add Re-Fresh to your tank at a rate of 5 ml per 10 gallons (see back of bottle). Turn off your UV sterilizer and protein skimmer (plus ozone if you have it) for a few hours. NOTE: if the water starts to turn cloudy, turn your water cleaning equipment back on ASAP.* Wait 48 hours.
- Treat with Re-Fresh one more time as above.* Wait 48 hours.
- At this point, if the cyanobacteria/algae are noticeably disappearing, you can start dosing with Waste-Away.* Or you can dose with Re-Fresh one more time. NOTE: there is no wrong way to proceed.
- When you do decide to start using Waste-Away, it is strongly suggested you start with 1/4 of the normal dose—or less. Read the back label of your bottle for dosing directions. Turn your skimmer, UV, and ozone off for 2-4 hours. But again, if the water starts to turn cloudy, turn your water cleaning equipment back on ASAP.
- After 48 hours dose Waste-Away again* but increase the amount slightly.* Turn the skimmer, UV, and ozone off for 2-4 hours. If the water starts to turn cloudy, turn the aforementioned equipment back on.
- After 48 hours dose Waste-Away again* but increase the amount slightly more.* Turn the skimmer, UV, and ozone off for 2-4 hours. If the water starts to turn cloudy, turn this equipment back on ASAP.
- After 48 hours do a partial water change. Your tank should be looking better! In some cases, you might need to repeat the treatment. You should also start thinking about what may be causing these issues in the first place. Are you overfeeding? Is your aquarium crowded with too much livestock? Are you over-skimming with your protein skimmer?
*Precautions: If, at any time, your aquarium water turns cloudy—TURN ON YOUR SKIMMER. DO NOT add more Re-Fresh or Waste-Away until the water clears. Do not dose both on the same day. Proceed slowly with dosing Waste-Away if the tank becomes cloudy. Do not increase the amount of Waste-Away. A little bit each day or two is better than a big dose at one time.
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