brown algae problem. - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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post #1 of 22 Old 02-05-2013, 01:07 AM Thread Starter
brown algae problem.

i never had a brown algae problem before. just in the last two weeks its been taking over my tank. covering the glass. ive had the tank up and running for almost a yr now. ive been reading it could be from my sand which i had just put in like 3 weeks or a month ag o. i dont leave my lights on very long between 9-11 hrs a day. is that to long? it doesnt seem to be getting on anything else besides the glass. my plants all look fine. i did notice my snails were eating it but they arent cleaning it completely. what can i do to get rid of this crap? ive been waiting for a magnet glass cleaner for a week should be here tomorrow. other then wiping it off every could days is there some special trick to get this stuff to stay out?
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post #2 of 22 Old 02-05-2013, 02:07 AM
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Would have to post a picture to be sure. But normally it is diatoms, which are a symptom of new tanks. Now your tank isnt new, but you may be experiencing a mini, or major i suppose, cycle due to you changing substrate. As its likely something like 90% of your tanks 'good' bacteria was in the gravel.......sheer surface area....... and this being removed for sand, which will house no bacteria of this purpose, your tank is probably just adjusting.

Thats my GUESS anyway, but post some pics, and then someone more experienced would most likely be able to give you the definite s.

55G tall planted community
15G Dwarf puffer tank
15G plant propagation tank
5G Snail breeding tank
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post #3 of 22 Old 02-05-2013, 02:12 AM Thread Starter
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Would have to post a picture to be sure. But normally it is diatoms, which are a symptom of new tanks. Now your tank isnt new, but you may be experiencing a mini, or major i suppose, cycle due to you changing substrate. As its likely something like 90% of your tanks 'good' bacteria was in the gravel.......sheer surface area....... and this being removed for sand, which will house no bacteria of this purpose, your tank is probably just adjusting.

Thats my GUESS anyway, but post some pics, and then someone more experienced would most likely be able to give you the definite s.
sounds like a plan. im at work right now ill post up a picture when i get home in the morning. oh some added info. im using 48 inche dual t8 40watt bulbs 55g tank. lightly planted. dose mondays with flourish comp.
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post #4 of 22 Old 02-05-2013, 08:39 AM
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What kind of sand are you using? Play sand and pool filter sand can cause diotoms ( brown algae) for awhile. I've had PFS in my aquarium for close to a year and it's still leaking them out.
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post #5 of 22 Old 02-05-2013, 09:46 AM Thread Starter
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What kind of sand are you using? Play sand and pool filter sand can cause diotoms ( brown algae) for awhile. I've had PFS in my aquarium for close to a year and it's still leaking them out.
im using pool filter sand from ace hardware. it even turned my water brown. almost coverd my swords leafs as well. heres some pics.




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post #6 of 22 Old 02-05-2013, 11:20 AM
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Just wipe it down . It's an eye sore but completely harmless. It's the silca from the sand that's causing it . My tank has looked the same at times. It will eventually be less and less of it. I may have to wipe down once every couple months now. Nothing to worry about.
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post #7 of 22 Old 02-05-2013, 02:04 PM
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Just wipe it down . It's an eye sore but completely harmless. It's the silca from the sand that's causing it . My tank has looked the same at times. It will eventually be less and less of it. I may have to wipe down once every couple months now. Nothing to worry about.

Brown Algae is common in new tanks. It can come and go even months after a tank has been set up, and will go away for good once the tank becomes fully established.

Sand does not cause this; silica does not leach from sand any more than it does from the glass an aquarium is made from.
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post #8 of 22 Old 02-05-2013, 02:58 PM
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What's causing my diatoms then? My tank has been going over a year with pool filter sand and I still have to wipe down sides of tank from time to time
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post #9 of 22 Old 02-05-2013, 06:07 PM
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What's causing my diatoms then? My tank has been going over a year with pool filter sand and I still have to wipe down sides of tank from time to time
My understanding is no tank will ever be 100% algae free. Without a cleaning crew and left untouched, almost all tanks will show some type of algae development over time. I've heard people say "an algae free tank is only possible with no lights and no water".

Causes for yours could be several; but the most common are elevated nitrates, lights on too long (or ambient light from a window), bulbs need replacing, excess nutrients...

I had brown algae off an on my tank for about 8 months. First I changed the bulbs and lowered my light schedule down to 10 hours and it seemed to lessen. I also noticed a window was letting light into the tank early morning, basically meaning the tank was still lit for over 12 hours a day. I just make sure to keep the blinds closed on that window now.Then I started feeding less and added a few more plants, and it lessened more. Last I started dosing small amounts of fertilizer and it was hardly noticeable.

I finally added a cleanup crew and never saw brown algae again. For me it was a few oto's, MTS, and a couple zebra nerite snails. I add some blanched cucumber once a week to supplement just in case .

That's not to say I have been algae free (BGA fight recently, my fault), but the battles are fewer and further between now. Just have to try and keep things balanced, every tank is different.
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post #10 of 22 Old 02-05-2013, 06:20 PM
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Only cause could be excess nutrients, as I replace my bulbs every six months, nitrates are 5-10, lights on only 7hrs. Maybe I'll skip a dose on my seachem flourish from time to time.
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