Is this really brown algae? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
 
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post #1 of 9 Old 04-14-2011, 09:54 PM Thread Starter
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Is this really brown algae?

Hello, I really need your help. I have been having this tank-turn-brown problem and I want to know if it is brown algae or not.

Pictures are:











Cycling was completed two months ago. There is one betta living here. I thought the bacteria were dying, because after I scraped off the brown stuff, a film of clear bacteria started to colonize, then it became whitish, then brown. I get brown/gray sand-like dead material accumulating on the bottom.

Tank water is clear. No foul smell. The brown thing comes off sometimes easily, sometimes I need to rub the wall in circular motion with paper towel or a finger for a couple of times. It is not so slimy and has granular feel.

I thought low oxygen level might be causing this, so I increased the amount of bubble coming out of the pump but I do not see any change, at least as far as I know...

The tank is 6 galon Marineland Eclipse and I do 10%~15% water change once a week. I use Prime to condition water (two drops/gallon), and add a bit of aquarium salt (0.1TBS/gallon).

Thank you in advance for your knowledge and suggestions.
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post #2 of 9 Old 04-14-2011, 10:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by animalcrossing View Post
Hello, I really need your help. I have been having this tank-turn-brown problem and I want to know if it is brown algae or not.

Pictures are:











Cycling was completed two months ago. There is one betta living here. I thought the bacteria were dying, because after I scraped off the brown stuff, a film of clear bacteria started to colonize, then it became whitish, then brown. I get brown/gray sand-like dead material accumulating on the bottom.

Tank water is clear. No foul smell. The brown thing comes off sometimes easily, sometimes I need to rub the wall in circular motion with paper towel or a finger for a couple of times. It is not so slimy and has granular feel.

I thought low oxygen level might be causing this, so I increased the amount of bubble coming out of the pump but I do not see any change, at least as far as I know...

The tank is 6 galon Marineland Eclipse and I do 10%~15% water change once a week. I use Prime to condition water (two drops/gallon), and add a bit of aquarium salt (0.1TBS/gallon).

Thank you in advance for your knowledge and suggestions.
Yes, thats diatoms. Usually comes right after the nitrogen process...
How long do you have your light on? Is it an aquarium light or one you just bought from home depot etc?

Also post your water levels.
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post #3 of 9 Old 04-14-2011, 10:40 PM Thread Starter
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Hello Big Fate,

yes, the tank has aquarium light and I turn it on when I come home after work, then turn it off before I go to bed; thus, it is about 4~5 hours a day.

For a short period of time I gave the tank longer lighted time (like 8 hours) and I got green algae problem so thought to give it s shorter time.

Is that too short?

I just checked the water parameters.

pH 7.2~7.6
ammonia 0
nitrite 0
nitrate 0

Last edited by animalcrossing; 04-14-2011 at 10:55 PM.
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post #4 of 9 Old 04-14-2011, 11:14 PM
Get some snails.

.... I'm probably drunk.

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post #5 of 9 Old 04-16-2011, 10:51 AM
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Yes, snails will help. Also, the light should be on a timer so it is controlled and regular. Diatoms (brown algae) is usually seen in new tanks for a period, but when it occurs later in established tanks it is said to be caused by low light and/or excess silicate acids. The usual fix is to increase the light (intensity and/or duration). Of course, too much light causes green algae.

Algae is really not "bad" except when it covers live plant leaves since this can kill the leaf/plant. Algae is, like live plants, simply using the organics and light to create a better environment for the fish.
A substrate would also help. Organics feed algae. A shallow substrate of fine gravel or even sand would allow organics to settled into it and bacteria could then do its work. Live plants rooted in the substrate would also help immensely.

Finding the balance is the key. I would have the light on for 6 hours daily, timed for when you are most likely to be there to enjoy the aquarium. And some live floating plants would be beneficial to use the organics. Floating plants are easy, since they are close to the light so that is less of a concern, they assimilate CO2 from the air, and they grow fast and thus use nutrients quickly. Also, your Betta loves floating plants, it is their natural environment, plant-thick swamps and ponds and ditches.

By the way, I would not use salt with a Betta. This fish occurs in very soft, acidic water, and salt is detrimental to such fish long-term.

Hope this helps.

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 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 9 Old 04-16-2011, 12:22 PM Thread Starter
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Hi Byron,

Thank you for your comment. I will stop using salt. I will go to a fish store to get a timer, live floating plants, and gravel!

You guys are helpful and I am glad that I found TropicalFishKeeping!

Last edited by animalcrossing; 04-16-2011 at 12:25 PM.
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post #7 of 9 Old 06-13-2011, 12:22 AM Thread Starter
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Hi all,

I want to give you updates on my tank condition.

I added gravel, stopped using salt, added some live plants, increased photo period to 9 hours, start using a timer, regularly removed diatoms from the tank surface, but I still have the same problem although the growth rate is slower now.

I bought a silica test and found the silica in my tap water is higher than 2 ppm. I prefer not to purchase a reverse osmosis system since I need only two gallons per week for water change.

My question is, can I use bottled drinking water for aquarium?





Last edited by animalcrossing; 06-13-2011 at 12:26 AM.
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post #8 of 9 Old 06-13-2011, 11:47 AM
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I would use bottled distilled water or rainwater. This avoids whatever might possibly be in bottled drinking water.

For a 6g it wouldnot take much water for a weekly water change, and rainwater is easy. Or boiling water yourself to make distilled water. My mother used to do this for her steam iron. I assume boiling would also remove silica, it is a mineral.

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 #9 of 9 Old 06-13-2011, 12:55 PM
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Hey, i just got these diatoms (brown "algae") in my 20 and 10Gallon tanks. Get some otos, they're really cool dudes, and cleaned up my 20G in 2 days. And i'm gonna move 2 of them into my 10G to clean up as well. A plus is that they stay small too, around 1.5-2 inches at most. I'd suggest that. But if you get them, make sure there is still algae growth because that is basically all they eat, unless you feeed them some lettuce, cucumber, etc. but since you said you had some green algae growth when you turned the light up, i don't think that will be a problem.

Last edited by mjbn; 06-13-2011 at 12:58 PM.
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