Another "brown" algae question - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 11 Old 12-08-2009, 03:53 PM Thread Starter
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Another "brown" algae question

My tank gets lots of what looks like brown algae. (brown spots, spreading to whole areas; slimy feeling.)
The strange thing is that my tank is not newly setup, nor does it have an ammonia problem.
It's a 65g tank and I have two 4" Plecos and 4 Ottocinclus. I would've thought that they would be enough to keep it at bay, but they do virtually nothing. I get noticeable spots on the walls of the tank within a week after cleaning.
The tank has two florescents -- "natural sunlight" (20W) and the original "All Glass Aquarium" (25W) that came with my hood. Both run about 14 hours/day. In addition, the room gets good daylight all day with the tank receiving up to an hour of direct sun every day.

This is about the best picture I can get. You can even see where it grew around a couple of suction cups that have since been removed.

Any ideas?


Jim
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post #2 of 11 Old 12-08-2009, 03:57 PM
Joe
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I had an algae problem in my small tank at work and picked up a gold snail from petsmart. I had both a brown and green algae problem and the snail cruised around eating all the brown algae but none of the green stuff. Could help out with your brown algae problem.
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post #3 of 11 Old 12-08-2009, 05:23 PM
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Brown algae usually indicated lack of light. And I'd have to say the 20W over the 65g tank is very little light - Am I assuming correctly that you do not have live plants in there?
If this was my tank: I'd get a unused/ new sponge, wipe down the glass (filter will pick up what's floating around) exchange the light bulbs for something more intense and then go from there.

~ Life Is Too Short, Break The Rules, Forgive Quickly, Kiss Slowly, Love Truly, Laugh Uncontrollably And Never Regret Anything that Made You Smile.
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post #4 of 11 Old 12-08-2009, 07:50 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Angel079 View Post
Brown algae usually indicated lack of light. And I'd have to say the 20W over the 65g tank is very little light - Am I assuming correctly that you do not have live plants in there?
If this was my tank: I'd get a unused/ new sponge, wipe down the glass (filter will pick up what's floating around) exchange the light bulbs for something more intense and then go from there.
I'm running two fluorescent lights -- 45W total.
Yes, no live plants.

Here's a pic -- it seems well enough lit to me.

Jim
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Last edited by langod; 12-08-2009 at 07:56 PM. Reason: Added photo
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post #5 of 11 Old 12-08-2009, 08:10 PM
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I'm running 32W and 40W each 4 ft over mine.
The problem with algae is: You have access nutrition that aren't absorbed by plants and a light that enables their growth more then others.

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post #6 of 11 Old 12-08-2009, 09:36 PM
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brown algae is a sign of low levels of undetectable ammonia and/or light factors coup[led with a nutrient imbalance. im going to assume you have two florecents one for each side of the tank. i would upgrade to a fixture that spans the entire length of your tank and houses two t8 bulbs.

from the amount of sunlight and coupled with the floro light though just sounds like a nutrient imbalance which is causing the algae to bloom.
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post #7 of 11 Old 12-09-2009, 10:55 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by MoneyMitch View Post
brown algae is a sign of low levels of undetectable ammonia and/or light factors coup[led with a nutrient imbalance. im going to assume you have two florecents one for each side of the tank. i would upgrade to a fixture that spans the entire length of your tank and houses two t8 bulbs.

from the amount of sunlight and coupled with the floro light though just sounds like a nutrient imbalance which is causing the algae to bloom.
Thanks.
So do you think the nutrient imbalance is caused by too much feeding? The water is crystal clear.

regarding lighting...
I have two full-length florescents now. (actually two individual single tube fixtures)
As I said above, one is a GE natural daylight and one is All-Glass Aquarium "Aquarium light" (kind of purple-ish compared to the other light, so probably more of a spread-spectrum bulb.)

What K (color) rating bulbs would you recommend for this tank?

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post #8 of 11 Old 12-09-2009, 11:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by langod View Post
Thanks.
So do you think the nutrient imbalance is caused by too much feeding? The water is crystal clear.

regarding lighting...
I have two full-length florescents now. (actually two individual single tube fixtures)
As I said above, one is a GE natural daylight and one is All-Glass Aquarium "Aquarium light" (kind of purple-ish compared to the other light, so probably more of a spread-spectrum bulb.)

What K (color) rating bulbs would you recommend for this tank?
First, "clear" water and "clean" water is not the same thing. Water can be clear but be a toxic soup killing off fish. And similarly the water may be cloudy but be very clean and of no consequence to the fish. Your filtration handles the "clear" part as it removes particulate matter. It should also help (along with bacteria) in the "clean" part. Just worth remembering there is a distinction.

As for tubes, since you have no live plants it makes little difference; choose what you like to look at, remembering that various tubes will give various colour hues to the tank. For a natural fish colour appearance, full spectrum is best, as it replicates the sun at mid-day. Warm white tubes will create more of a reddish or "warm" look, while cool white results in a bluer "cooler" look. Your natural daylight is full spectrum. The All Glass is purplish, as it is high in red and blue but no green to speak of.

45 watts over a 65 gallon tank is not excessive, but as you have no live plants you could reduce the light and the fish would thank you. Fish do not need light at all, the daylight in the room or the night-time lights in the room would suit them fine. It is only to view the aquarium that you need a tank light (unless you had plants which you don't). I would run only the one tube, the daylight, and see how it looks. You may find the fish are calmer and more colourful. Most come from dimly-lit streams with dark substrates and in such an environment can be quite stunningly brilliant in colouration. Also perhaps reduce the light period; 14 hours with no live plants is a lot of light, and algae will use it with the nutrients (from ammonia produced by the fish, fishfood, fish waste, bacterial processes, etc) to grow.

Which brings me to the brown algae. From your photos I am not sure this is diatoms, or normal brown algae. But whatever it is, reducing the light will probably have an impact.

Lastly, live plants; with your light you could easily grow plants like swords, Java Fern, Anubias, crypts, not to mention floating plants that being fast growers consume nutrients and use the light rapidly. In planted tanks algae is always at a disadvantage because the plants are better adapted to use the nutrients in the presence of light. And of course, plants keep aquaria healthier than any filter. Nature does it best.

Byron.

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 youíre going to take it under your wing then youíre 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 #9 of 11 Old 12-09-2009, 03:47 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Byron
That was very informative.

I will look into some live plants or reducing the light intensity.
One more question -- won't my two Clown Plecos eat the plants up?

Jim
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post #10 of 11 Old 12-09-2009, 04:17 PM
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If you have very FINE stem plants, maybe they'd mess with it. But if you'd get plats such as Hygrophilia or Swords you won't have a problem.
Here's 2 good site with names & pictures of plants
Sweet Aquatics
Aquarium Plants

~ Life Is Too Short, Break The Rules, Forgive Quickly, Kiss Slowly, Love Truly, Laugh Uncontrollably And Never Regret Anything that Made You Smile.
Life May Not Be The Party We Hoped For, But While We're Here, We Should Dance. ~
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