I went on vacation for two weeks and left my system in the care of a friend and came back to unbelievably high ammonia levels (exceeding 8) and algae so thick I can barely see into the water.  Through replacement of greater than 75 percent of the water over the last 4 days I have been able to bring the ammonia down to the 2 range (amazingly I did not find any dead fish), and I'm now focusing on the algae issue.  I have about a 115 gallon system with 15 tilapia in it and a 6x2+ grow bed.  So far from reviewing prior posts it seems my options are to create some kind of temporary filtration, to buy a plecostomus, or to shade the pool.  I can't shade the pool as it is also part of our landscaping, and I'm not excited about self filtration prospects.  Plecos seems to be the way to go, although with an outdoor system, even in southern california, I'm going to pay an arm and a leg for heating costs.  Has anyone had success with any type of natural additive?  I bought a barley/peat formula that claims to work.  

Any suggestions on algae control other than shading would be most appreciated.

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It is bright green, when I was using a 5 gallon bucket to do the replacement I was able to see it better, could not see the bottom of the bucket when half full.  Pictures wouldn't do it justice because I have a black pond liner set into the ground, the water just looks dark grey in the pond.

I think I am going to try the plecos first and just bite the cost of an additional heater and the energy that goes into it.

15 bucks to have it go away almost immediately!  

Click: Algicide 

Product PDF: GreenClean

What type of grow bed do you have. if it is media then try using peat moss. it is organic and wont harm the fish or your plants. The type of algae you have the plecos don't eat, the algae they eat has to be attached to a surface not floating. there is another thread on here that talks about using peat moss.

 

What are your nitrate levels at? I think part of your problem is the high levels of waste in your system. Algae will go where there is food. Get your system balanced out and it may help. For bigger tanks, I've heard people recommend humic acid, which darkens your water and keeps sunlight from reaching the lower depths of your fishtank.

And why can't you shade the pool? You can buy some shade cloth or something and cover it up. Blocking out the sun is gonna help a lot too.

I have an IBC tank that grew so much algae on the sides that it was dark inside. I only had 5 Tilapia and a few goldfish and didn't have a clue what to do so I went to the pet store and bought an algae eater fish. Don't know what kind it is other than it's black with white stripes but it loves algae. In a matter of days the algae was well on it's way out. I don't know why no one else ever talks about this solution. It's been working for me for  months. I sometimes wonder what he's eating now.

 

 

the Humic acid will produce H2o2 and actually kill the algae..
barley straw has been the preferred treatment for years, it also creates H202.
the barley peat option is the best.. but its considered a preventative not a fix.. just give it time to work..

Really. I didn't know that :) I just remember listening to Nate Storey mention something about it darkening the water.

Nate's got a article/video on algae that you can check out on his website, JSH.

http://verticalfoodblog.com/algae-in-aquaponics/


Rob Nash said:

the Humic acid will produce H2o2 and actually kill the algae..
barley straw has been the preferred treatment for years, it also creates H202.
the barley peat option is the best.. but its considered a preventative not a fix.. just give it time to work..

Hi Rob, Hi all,

I concur, first balance system, then eliminate light and if that still doesn't do enough to solve the problem think biological. If the algae isn't long filaments but is separate particles, it is a good based for zooplankton used in greenwater culture but in your case with a pond that small, I'm afraid is not particle. Large or small, barley straw is a decent option for a quick fix (if you really need it). Both goldfish and tilapia eat this so should go away eventually...if not there is a slight design flaw.

As for putting other fish in, I would prefer that they serve more than one function i.e. be harvestable as well as eat algae. Also, some fish like loaches can get aggressive and harm your crop fish so beware.

I like your concept. Since this is an outdoor system, might I suggest looking into "natural swimming ponds" and it's method of filtration. You wont have this problem...ever...well unless you overstock/ overfeed the system. Expand the pond a bit if you can and you can have a self feeding (zero input), low maintenance, all natural system.

Cheers

Slightly hijacking the thread here, I apologize, but I'm having trouble understanding how it is that people actually have problems with algae. I'm operating my second system now, an above ground koi pond basically, where the fish tank is completely out in the open, and in the past four years I've never ever had algae overgrowing the tank!

Maybe it's because I focus more on plants than growing a million fish, but my water is crystal clear (yellow tinted of course) and the algae that does grow on the sides is the friendly kind (not the stringy stuff).

Can it be as simple as DON'T OVERSTOCK YOUR FISH TANK!? or put another way: GROW MORE PLANTS!

=)

Or, don't over feed your fish...

Yeah, having an excess of food in your system is definitely an attractant. I think once it's in your system, it's a little harder to get rid of then if you just took precautions in the first place. Ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure...and several extra pounds of tilapia ;)


Averan said:

Slightly hijacking the thread here, I apologize, but I'm having trouble understanding how it is that people actually have problems with algae. I'm operating my second system now, an above ground koi pond basically, where the fish tank is completely out in the open, and in the past four years I've never ever had algae overgrowing the tank!

Maybe it's because I focus more on plants than growing a million fish, but my water is crystal clear (yellow tinted of course) and the algae that does grow on the sides is the friendly kind (not the stringy stuff).

Can it be as simple as DON'T OVERSTOCK YOUR FISH TANK!? or put another way: GROW MORE PLANTS!

=)

Thanks for all the helpful advice.  It's pretty awesome how resilient an established system is, within 2 weeks it has pretty much completely cleaned itself out, the excess ammonia I was unable to clean out through water changes was rapidly turned into nitrates, and after a huge spike in nitrates my plants have almost eaten them all up.  I put the plecos in about a week ago and although there is still a bunch of algae I think he is already helping.  Hoping that the combo of that and getting the nitrate level back down will be enough, if not going to try the barley peat. 

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