It's been lovely and snowy here the past few days. Normally I'm not one to celebrate snow, but when I'm inside writing anyway, it's kind of nice to feel all cozy and snowed in. We got a really insane amount of snow a few days back, as you can see by the half buried cars on my street!
While it's all white outside, it's all green inside my tank. Boo. What I thought was a bacterial problem has now shown itself to be definitely not a bacterial problem. The tank is now fully, insanely green. Like, I can't see the fish if they're halfway back in the tank green. Big sigh. I guess this is what the WetWebMedia people mean when they tell you that killing off BGA with antibiotics isn't really going to solve the problem.
I'm a bit at a loss for what to do here now. I've still been doing weekly water changes, but do I do more? Less? Fertilize or no? Add a flocculant? Opinions are so mixed on what seems to be the source of the problem. Generally, most people seem to think that when you get a bad algae outbreak, it's because there's an overabundance of one type of nutrient, or a lack of another type that prevents the plants from actually being able to make use of the nutrients properly. I know it's not an excess of nitrate (can you say ZERO nitrate?). It could well be phosphates, but I don't have a kit to test for that. I'm tempted to keep adding fertilizer in case the limiting nutrient is something like iron, but it could be that I'll just be making more algae soup. Another tidbit that I found from the interwebs is that algae don't grow as well in blackwater conditions, so I could try adding some blackwater extract, which would probably be nice for my fish anyway. For the first year of the tank it was probably a little full of tannins from the driftwood, so maybe this kept me from having problems before.
For today, I think I'll just do a water change and be patient. But I'm setting the timer on this one -- if the tank looks this bad by March break, I will 1) do a 50% water change, 2) add flocculant, and possibly 3) add blackwater extract. It sucks majorly not even being able to see my fish.