Brown hair algae? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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post #1 of 16 Old 06-17-2012, 02:44 AM Thread Starter
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Brown hair algae?

I posted this a while ago and didn't get any feedback, but the stuff is growing more prolifically now so it's maybe easier to see in photos. It basically grows on java fern leaves, some of it is seen on java moss and on some of the stems of hygrophila, particularly on older leaves.




Can somebody identify it for sure? From my reading it seems it might be a form of brown diatoms, which you can also see the brown powder form of it growing like crazy on some of those leaves. What can I do to remove it?
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post #2 of 16 Old 06-17-2012, 03:04 AM
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I would see about finding some oto catfish to clean it up, pretty sure they will eat brown algae

That would make sense. Haven't you heard? We make yogurt, not sense.

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post #3 of 16 Old 06-17-2012, 12:34 PM
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Otos and indeed all of the "algae" fish like Bristlenose pleco, Farlowella, and such will eat diatoms. But I see more here than simply diatoms, there are some plant issues that are likely related.

How long has this tank been running? What is the light? And what if any fertilizers are you using and how often?

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 #4 of 16 Old 06-17-2012, 05:31 PM Thread Starter
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I've been doing 25% water changes weekly, putting in a micro-nutrient fertilizer (dennerle V30 complete, I posted the specs for this in another thread before..) and since there is no fish load I've been dosing small amounts of P and N liquid ferts becuase the Dennerle explicity says "no nitrates, no phosphates". I'm dosing the ferts every time I do a water change. The Dennerle I add as according to the instructions, and I added enough nitrate fert to get 5ppm nitrates, and enough phosphate to get .5 ppm. I did a nitrate test today and the value is between 0 and 10 ppm, looks closer to 0. This is 2-3 days since last dosing of nitrate fert. The tank has a slight bio-load due to the small colony of Malaysan livebearing snails. They seem happy to just feed off dying leaves and also the diatoms, I'm not adding any other source of food into the tank. The tank has been running over a month, and plants went in on May 24. The lighting is T8 fluorescents, 2 tubes @ 18W 6500K. The tank size is 112L or about 30 gallons. Water hardness is 15dGH, ph ~8, probably a bit under since the official numbers from the water supply folks says up to 7.9 pH.
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post #5 of 16 Old 06-17-2012, 08:03 PM
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Are the plant leaves really as yellowish as the photos show, or is this just a camera/photo distortion? I would suggest you not add nitrogen fertilizer.

[I'll come back to this tomorrow, as I have some ideas, but have to be off now.]

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 #6 of 16 Old 06-18-2012, 02:05 AM Thread Starter
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I wouldn't say the leaves are yellowing no, it must be the camera and the tannins in the water making it appear more yellow than it is. Everything is showing good growth including the java fern. Stem plants are growing steadily and pygmy chain sword putting out runners everywhere.
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post #7 of 16 Old 06-18-2012, 02:12 AM Thread Starter
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Adjusted the white balance in an attempt to get more accurate colour rendering, but meh, it's not so great still, the substrate looks seriously yellow in the pic, but it's not quite so bad in real life. The new piece of wood is still putting out considerable amount of tannins it seems, so it might take a while before the tank water clears up a bit. I think the big piece of wood actually will never really stop putting out tannins, so maybe I should concede that the water will look tea-stained and embrace it. By the way you'll note that I put a smaller piece of wood to the left of the large one as you suggested. ;)

Oh, and the Hygrophila Polysperma stems are seemingly short because I did some aggressive pruning yesterday.
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post #8 of 16 Old 06-18-2012, 03:57 AM Thread Starter
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Did a 50% WC to clear up the water a bit and let me suck up some of the mulm left behind by the snails:


Edit: adding pics of individual plants:

Brazilian pennywort:


H. polysperma


Pygmy chain sword


Java fern, you'll note that although some old leaves are in rough shape, plantlets are forming on leaf tips on the right side, and in the middle there is a new leaf growing. There is actually a rhizome that is doing better with producing new leaves, but it's at the back of the tank and rather hard to get a good zoomed photo.

Last edited by eug; 06-18-2012 at 04:15 AM.
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post #9 of 16 Old 06-18-2012, 04:08 PM
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That's looking fine. What fish are intended?

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 #10 of 16 Old 06-19-2012, 02:21 AM Thread Starter
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Once I'm back from holidays I'd like to, after making sure everything's in good order and plants are still healthy, add some Corydoras. I worried that my water at hardness 16 dGH and pH a bit under 8 woudl be a bit hard for them, but it seems there are enough tank-bred species out there that should cope fine from what I've read (and what you told me in my first thread here). Apart from them, I am not decided. Pristella tetras seem like a nice shoaling fish that do well in hard water, or I might put in some livebearers. The only thing is that I don't really want to deal with endless fry, so is putting in a group of all-males a good option? Please throw out other suggestions for a mid-level swimming fish.
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