Algae in new tank? - no fish? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 3 Old 10-02-2012, 06:01 PM Thread Starter
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Algae in new tank? - no fish?

I have had my 200l Tropical freshwater tank full of water and cycling for nearly 3 weeks now and when I went to top up the water tonight ready to get our first lot of fish tomorrow I noticed that there is brown algae(im guessing its algae) particles everywhere, on the gravel, plants (silk), heater and filter! Last time I had a good look was a week ago and it was clean - the light hasnt been on and it isnt in direct sunlight.

The algae isnt on the glass and will float around if disturbed. There is also what looks like mould on the filters air-in tube (below water level only)

Can I put fish in the tank with it like this? A clean up will require a huge amount of the water be changed and there is no guarantee it won't come back?

Please help, I'm on the verge of emptying it and starting again! :(

Thank you!
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post #2 of 3 Old 10-02-2012, 06:13 PM
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Algae will naturally occur in any environment under water in the presence of light if nutrients are available. And plain old tap water is full of organics. The intensity of light will determine the type of algae, and in low light the brown (or more correctly, diatoms, not a true algae) will be prevalent.

Diatoms often appear in any new tank, usually during the first 2-3 months. After this they should be gone. I won't go into what can keep them around, as that is not directly relevant to your question.

Clean the diatoms off as best you can, but if you don't have live plants, this is not going to harm anything, including the fish. But if plants are intended, diatoms will multiply on the leaves and smother the plant, just as any green or red algae can, so that is why we aim to keep algae of any sort under control. But without plants, algae of any type is natural and actually good, as it is performing some of the same functions that plants do, namely using nutrients including toxins like ammonia, and producing oxygen (the green types).


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #3 of 3 Old 10-02-2012, 06:41 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you Byron! I was starting to stress out! I googled diatoms and even though most of the images are of marine tanks it looks similar to what I have. I'll give it a gravel-vac and go get my fish as planned tomorrow :)
I have never had a problem with green or red algae in my other tank and neither have my friends who live close by I dont know if its in the water but brown algae is the most common.

Thanks again! :)
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