Algae? Problem - PLEASE help!

brandon Member Posts: 2
Hi all,

I’ve been in the aquarium scene for some years now and finally thought I had it all figured out, seems not!

I have a 5ftx2ftx2ft and 4ftx2ftx2ft tank with a turtle in each, inside my home. Not long ago, I decided I’d “refresh” their tanks with all new, nicer driftwood and new sand etc. silly of me, I did too much at once and caused both tanks to cycle. I then used Seachem Stability (which I already use every now and then with water changes) to help speed up the cycle process. The cycle “completed” and amonia and nitrite are 0, but strangely the nitrate is also very close to 0, rather than a slightly higher healthier number, unsure if this is related to the issue I’m yet to explain, but thought it worth mentioning.

Both tanks have a fluval fx6 filter each, and 2x wave makers each, with plenty of filtration and water movement.

Now, the problem, there’s some new kind of algae? Or something, consuming the tank, especially on the new driftwood. It got to the point where a couple of weeks ago we actually removed the driftwood from the tanks and high pressure cleaned them to remove any trace, and removed any bits from the aquarium, being careful to leave the filters and everything else unchanged as to not recycle.

Now, again tonight I noticed it’s back and spreading. I have AlgaeExit, and used it once after putting the driftwood back but didn’t use it again until now when I saw it’s back, as I was concerned this could further alter the tank conditions and cause another cycle.

I’ve tried researching different algae’s online and can’t find any matching the appearance of mine, so unsure if it’s algae or something else, but it only came into both tanks with the new cycle and driftwood, which was purchased from a reputable store.

Prior to cleaning the driftwood the algae was MUCH worse, and seems like pockets of dense white clouds or infections or something, with some misty/hair type around it also. Plus also some areas with brown hair algae too! I don’t know if it’s a combination of multiple algae’s or what, but I’m very lost and hoping it’s not hurting my turtles.

Any assistance as to what this could be and how to treat would be GREATLY appreciated. I was trying to freshen the tanks up for my turtles and spent a small fortune on new stuff, only to cause a bunch of issues :(
Thanks in advance!


  • Dr Matt
    Dr Matt Member Posts: 83
    Algae is photosynthetic and usually green (but certainly coloured).
    That white stuff I suspect is a fungal outbreak. You can go nuclear with chemicals but I'd start with handful of aquarium salt.
  • brandon
    brandon Member Posts: 2
    Thanks Matt, the tanks already have a fair bit of salt as turtles do well in salinity of around 0.006% or so, so has quite a bit of salt already for a fresh water tank. Any other suggestions I could try? :)
  • Dr Matt
    Dr Matt Member Posts: 83
    In that case, perhaps it is time for chemicals.
    Reptile safe anti-fungal of some kind I guess.
  • RxF
    RxF Member Posts: 4
    Hi Brandon, you may find the following article
    helpful as I agree with Dr Matt that this looks like a fungal / bacteria-fungal issue, in this case probably associated with the natural decomposition of the driftwood.
    Unlike the author I am a great fan of Hydrogen Peroxide for this sort of clean up as H2O2 is natural, works fast and, breaks down into harmless constituent parts (H2O and O2) rapidly. There is conflicting information about using H2O2 in the aquarium with the turtle in residence. It may be
    My gut feel would be to remove a few litres of water from the aquarium into an open container and dose with 25 ml of 3% H2O2 per 50 litres, (e.g for every 2 litres use 1 ml of 3% H2O2) and let it stand for 24 hours or so until all bubble production has stopped. You now have a supply of water that has the same parameters as your tank water but minus most of the common pathogens that might be encountered.
    Remove the fungal infested driftwood and/or other tank scape elements as are affected into a seperate tub and bathe/scrub in tap water dosed with 25 ml 3% H2O2 per 50 litres (1ml 3% H2O2 per 2 litres).
    Making up a spray bottle of 4:1 H2O:H2O2 (4 parts water, 1 part 3% Hydrogen Peroxide) can help spray the solution deep into nooks and crannies.
    Allow the driftwood etc to dry naturally for 24 hours.
    If you are worried about residual H2O2 on the driftwood, rinse it using the water you took from the aquarium and dosed with H2O2 48 previously.
    Put it all back together.
    Your driftwood will continue, albeit slowly, to decompose as the tank water will not be cold enough to inhibit decomposition. You may need to repeat the cleansing process occasionally if the fungal bloom recurs as odds are it will from time to time.
    If you can find a turtle safe anti-fungal that works then that would be good as well but probably more expensive than the H2O2 process.
    The H2O2 process also gives you a good excuse to tweak/refresh/update your turtle tank layout from time to time.
    Good Luck.