What typically causes brown slime on artificial plants? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 39 Old 11-02-2013, 09:34 PM Thread Starter
What typically causes brown slime on artificial plants?

This is driving me crazy as it makes my tank look awful and no matter how much cleaning and maintenance I do I cant seem to make it go away. Ive asked a few aquarium stores about this and have heard everything from- Its "just algae" you should buy an algae eater to its "some kind of toxin" you should buy this to get rid of it. Ok well which is it? Just algae? Phosphates? Nitrates? Silicates? Nitrites? None of the above? No one can ever seem to give me a positive answer. Im hoping you extremely knowledgeable folks can shed some light on this for me as your not just trying to make a sale.
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post #2 of 39 Old 11-03-2013, 12:11 AM
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Its often Cyanobacteria... caused by elevated Nitrates and/or high phosphates. The "cure" is simply cut back your lighting schedule, reduce feeding or even stop feeding for a little while, manually remove it from everything you can and up your water changes. Test for nitrates and see if thats up. Also you can use a brand new tooth brush the scrub it off plants and decor and keep it up for a while until it stops coming back.
Don't need to buy a thing.. well maybe a tooth brush
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post #3 of 39 Old 11-03-2013, 01:08 AM
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Agree with Agent13. Could also be inadequate filtration.
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post #4 of 39 Old 11-03-2013, 06:38 AM
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if it's cyano, i've never had this, but it tends to have me thinking there isn't enough water flow, ... but i've never had it so i dono.

if it's green dusk algae (maybe a different color) ignore it, it will clear itself up
if it's not "algae" at all, it could be poop-like stuff that's just settling onto the plastic plants, ... settling out of the water column.

if you think it's algae, let it grow till it becomes obvious
it will either resolve itself and clear up, or give you a better idea of what it is, ... if it stays the same, consider poop-like stuff settling out of the water column, ... in which case, look into a better filter system

---

could consider some live plants too :)
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post #5 of 39 Old 11-03-2013, 07:03 AM
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Cyano is blue/green the OP indicates its brown.

How long has the tank been set up?

What size is the tank?

Describe the fish you have in the tank.

I'm assuming no live plants as you reference artificial.

What filtration do you have?

What type of light is installed:

- Bulb type (T5-T8, Led)

- Bulb Watts

What is your lighting schedule, how long do you keep your lights on?

Is the tank located in an area of high natural lighting garnered through windows and or doors?

What are your water parameters?

Can you post up some images?

There are a lot of different algaes and additional info is needed to provide good suggestions.

I kinda sense your frustration - we can all relate!

I like to keep things simple, for now I'd hold off on adding chemicals or aquatic life which at this point may only fuel the fire and try to better determine what can be changed to correct the problem without adding chems and creatures.
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Have fun and be PATIENT!
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post #6 of 39 Old 11-03-2013, 07:18 AM
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Hey Tracy Bird cyanobacteria is typically blue-green in color, but it can be greenish-brown to black, or even red in color. So in this case it could still be cyanobacteria. Tho the questions you asked and if answered will help us further to know what it is. Thanks for your post there!!
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post #7 of 39 Old 11-03-2013, 07:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boredomb View Post
Hey Tracy Bird cyanobacteria is typically blue-green in color, but it can be greenish-brown to black, or even red in color. So in this case it could still be cyanobacteria. Tho the questions you asked and if answered will help us further to know what it is. Thanks for your post there!!
See.... you learn something new every day round here!

Thanks Boredomb

Have fun and be PATIENT!
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post #8 of 39 Old 11-03-2013, 10:21 AM Thread Starter
I might add that I have natural driftwood in the tank. Could it just be the tanins (doubt I spelled that right) staining the plants? But as requested- 45 gal. set up for over 5 years. 6 Cardinals, 6 Rummy nose, 1 G.Blue Ram, 2 small Angels, 3 Green Corys, and a 6-7" Royal Pleco. 2 Penguin 200 filters and a Maxi Jet 400 Power head with sponge filter just installed cuz Im treating for Ich but keeping in permanently. As for lighting Solarmax HE 42W T5. I usually run the light around 11-12 hrs. a day. there is no direct sunlight exposure. Im doing weekly 25-30% water changes with substrate vacuuming every/ every other week as needed. I feed once a day in the morning with flakes and frozen blood worms as a treat every other night or so. As for water parameters- Ph 7.2, Ammonia-0. Unfortunately (I know im gonna catch flack for this) I do not own any other test kits so Im not knowledgeable of the other parameters. I hope I covered everything as well as possible.
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post #9 of 39 Old 11-03-2013, 10:40 AM Thread Starter
One other thing. Im noticing it seems to be worse on the plants in the rear corners which would lead me to believe it is a filtration issue(?) as these are also out of direct lighting. Im hoping the new Power head sponge filter will help eliminate any dead spots. I usually rinse the filter cartridges every few days and replace them every 2 weeks. Oh and im in the market for a new tooth brush
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post #10 of 39 Old 11-03-2013, 11:21 AM
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Yes, sounds rather cyano like to me. Reduce your lights back to 9-10hrs. I'm pretty sure it's elevated nitrates given your run down of your setup and maintenance. While battling the cyano(which yes is often a clay reddish brown color is freshwater setups) you'll be needing to change your water at a much higher volume to both get rid of the C. and lower the nitrates.
Running your setup 5-6 yrs I'll not consider you a newbie so I wouldn't worry about getting any other tests unless you just want to know. But Nitrates just happen in between water changes regardless and higher with a higher stocked tank. You are feeding the bloodworms a bit often so overfeeding is probably contributing to this. Are you willing to cut back on that a little?

BTW, whats your treatment for Ich? One of the cause for ich is also water quality issues so both could have been caused but the very same thing.
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