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Stubborn brown algae, what more can I do?

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Stubborn brown algae, what more can I do?
Old 04-28-2011, 11:52 AM   #11
 
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I would caution anyone on using any form of "algicide." Algae is just a plant, and any chemical strong enough to kill algae is likely going to have some effect on plants. Not to mention, any chemical in a fish tank will affect the fish in some manner. I am not saying plants or fish will be killed (though they might eventually), just somehow affected.

If this product is something like liquid carbon, that is another matter.

It is always preferable to find the cause and fix that, rather than "band-aid."
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Old 04-28-2011, 12:13 PM   #12
 
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Originally Posted by Byron View Post
I would caution anyone on using any form of "algicide." Algae is just a plant, and any chemical strong enough to kill algae is likely going to have some effect on plants. Not to mention, any chemical in a fish tank will affect the fish in some manner. I am not saying plants or fish will be killed (though they might eventually), just somehow affected.

If this product is something like liquid carbon, that is another matter.

It is always preferable to find the cause and fix that, rather than "band-aid."
i agree but its working for me. with NO side affect. did not want to but got tired of fighting a loosing battle. trust me i read all your posts to . its not do to not enough light either. i got plenty of that .
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Old 04-28-2011, 12:20 PM   #13
 
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i agree but its working for me. with NO side affect. did not want to but got tired of fighting a loosing battle. trust me i read all your posts to . its not do to not enough light either. i got plenty of that .
Yes, these things can "work." But with respect, to say there are no side effects is not accurate. The truth is you have no idea, nor do I, as to what effect these products actually have. A chemical is a chemical, and the fish are being exposed to it, that is all we know for certain. Claims by manufacturers cannot always be trusted.
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Old 04-28-2011, 09:31 PM   #14
 
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Yes, these things can "work." But with respect, to say there are no side effects is not accurate. The truth is you have no idea, nor do I, as to what effect these products actually have. A chemical is a chemical, and the fish are being exposed to it, that is all we know for certain. Claims by manufacturers cannot always be trusted.
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Old 04-28-2011, 09:33 PM   #15
 
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That is true my fish and plants are doing good so far and no more brown slime Ye ha.
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Old 05-15-2011, 09:15 PM   #16
 
Well after a few weeks I can tell the phosphate remover is not working at all. In fact I've noticed new kind of algae (cladophora) growing on my plants. The plants are dying now, I had to get rid of a bunch of them tonight. I bought a phosphate test and it's well within the normal limits. So it's not the water.

One thing I've noticed 'though, it that two of my piece of wood seem to be rotting. Well I don't know if it's rotting but it's noticeably softer than when I bought it. Could it be responsible for the algae disaster? It doesn't change my water parameter but they were advertised as 'terrarium wood' when I bought them.
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Old 05-16-2011, 11:02 AM   #17
 
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Well after a few weeks I can tell the phosphate remover is not working at all. In fact I've noticed new kind of algae (cladophora) growing on my plants. The plants are dying now, I had to get rid of a bunch of them tonight. I bought a phosphate test and it's well within the normal limits. So it's not the water.

One thing I've noticed 'though, it that two of my piece of wood seem to be rotting. Well I don't know if it's rotting but it's noticeably softer than when I bought it. Could it be responsible for the algae disaster? It doesn't change my water parameter but they were advertised as 'terrarium wood' when I bought them.
Terrarium wood is not meant to be under water, and if it is rotting (getting soft and mushy is a sign of this), it can leech substances into the water, and who knows what may be in the wood. I have killed a tank of fish from something leeching from wood. I would remove it. I've no idea if this is the source of the algae (diatoms) issue. But I do know that the normal water tests (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH) will not alert you to any other water/toxin issues.

Here is some detailed info on diatoms. [This is longer than one post, so it will be continued in a second.].

Brown/Diatom Algae


Brown Algae is not considered a true algae as per many biologists, rather a diatom. However under the 5 Kingdom classification system both Brown Diatoms and more common algae fall into the "grab bag" Kingdom; "Proctotista", although Brown Diatom Algae fall into the division Bacillariophyceae.

Diatoms also single-cell organisms but are significantly larger and more complicated than cyanobacteria. They have cell walls containing silica. The individual cells are yellow-green to brown. They contain two types of chlorophyll and at some stage in their life cycles have motile stages which move by the action of one or two tiny beating hairs called flagella.

Most diatoms show very limited mobility and exist primarily as groups of cells growing a film over the surface of objects. In low concentrations they probably don't have any noticeable effect in aquarium systems, and indeed they are probably always present.
These diatom cells are encased within a unique cell wall made of silica (hydrated silicon dioxide). The yellowish-brown chloroplasts within Brown Diatom algae are what give this “algae” its typical appearance.
Brown Diatoms are found in fresh and saltwater as well as soil. Diatoms are a major component of plankton, free-floating microorganisms of marine or freshwater environments. Not all diatoms float freely though; many may cling to surfaces such as aquatic plants, gravel, décor, molluscs, and crustaceans. Brown Diatom Algae are dependent upon silicates and high DOC (dissolved organic compounds) in the water and thrive in conditions where the minerals and Redox are out of balance. Brown diatom algae also out compete more desirable green algae in these conditions when light is poor for healthy photosynthesis due to lack adequate amounts of light in the proper PAR.

With the above points in mind, I will again emphasize that Brown Diatoms MUST have silicates present to reproduce, although removal of al silicates is often not feasible, in many of the methods (outlined in the removal tips below) the aquarist can lower the available silicates including by simply adding plants or encouraging green algae to grow which will out compete the Brown diatoms.
From the Aquarium Answers article; “Aquarium Test Kits” here are some silicate parameters: Natural seawaters contain silicates around 10 ppm however due to differences in a closed system (which an aquarium is) and the ocean it is best to maintain silicates under 1 ppm in an aquarium to prevent diatom blooms and aid in uptake of essential elements such as Strontium by corals.
In freshwater, silicates are generally between 4-20 ppm and should be kept under 4 ppm in an aquarium, although usually this is not a problem in healthy established freshwater aquariums where lighting is good to encourage plants or green algae (both of which will starve also consume silicates limiting diatom growth).

This is a common algae in new aquariums (including marine tanks), especially aquariums that have not fully cycled as this leaves many available nutrients for these diatoms.
If an established aquarium struggles with these diatoms, this is often an indicator of excessive silica, poor mineral/electrolyte balance, an unstable biological aquarium environment (often caused by poor filtration, poor cleaning procedures, Redox Balance, Aquarium Lightingor over medication).
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Old 05-16-2011, 11:03 AM   #18
 
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[Continuation of previous post on diatoms:]

Here are a few tips (suggestions) for eradication of Brown Diatom Algae (in no particular order of importance):

• Use re-mineralized RO water if silicates are high in tap water.
For saltwater 100% RO or DI water use is fine for both mixing with marine salt mix or topping off for evaporation.
HOWEVER in freshwater I do not generally recommend 100% use of RO or DI water, rather blended water and even then it is best to re-mineralize with products such as Wonder Shells, and check the KH and adjust accordingly with products such as SeaChem Buffer or even SeaChem Cichlid salt which has other important minerals and KH enhancing carbonates as well.

• Correct proper mineralization with products such as Wonder Shells or other mineral blocks. Maintaining a correct KH, pH, and GH balance is a good place to start as well. The use of balanced buffers in marine tanks such as SeaChem Marine Buffer is highly suggested.
• Along the same line of thought as the previous points, the use of products such as SeaChem’s Phosguard which removes silicates (and of coarse phosphates as well) can help rid your tank of the silicates brown diatom algae must have to survive

• Turning over gravel daily by hand and/or with a gravel vacuum slow the spread

• The use of UV Sterilization will also slow the spread of free floating diatoms and aids in the improvement of Redox Balance which is also important.
If UV Sterilizers are employed in your aquarium it is also important that these devices have their UV Bulbs replaced every six months, otherwise your UV Sterilizer will cease being effective.

• A healthy, established nitrogen cycle is essential for control of Brown Diatoms.

• Correct lighting as per the amount in lumens and the correct PAR often usually found at about 6500 Kelvin (an incorrect PAR is often the problem when lighting is the reason behind Brown Diatom Algae growth in established aquariums). Generally around 9-12 hours per day is adequate. This will allow green algae and plants to out compete the Brown Diatoms. Please see this article for more information: “Aquarium Lighting, how it works”
In marine tanks this may also indicate inadequate lumens of this high PAR light energy present in the aquarium, so even if the correct lighting is used, you may need higher energy lights (for both fresh & saltwater) such as LED or SHO

• Live plants (or green marine to algae in saltwater tanks) “out compete” diatoms

• Cut back on feeding or switch to higher quality foods that is less likely to produce high amounts of wastes and may also be high in silicates.

• Use near boiling water on décor, rocks (not gravel), plastic plants, etc. This is VERY effective in killing brown diatoms while at the same time allowing the establishment of healthy green algae that will often survive this procedure. I have used this method for years with excellent results.

• For freshwater aquariums, the addition of salt (sodium chloride) can aid in the control of many algae (not just Brown Diatom), however too much salt can interfere with your live plants (if you have them in the first place). I would recommend starting low, especially if live plants are present at 1 tablespoon per 5 gallons and then slowly increasing if needed.

• Snails, especially Nerite Snails (for FW OR SW). Please see the section on snails for further links/information in this article: "Aquarium Plants"

• Oto Catfish, Otocinclus affinis , or Bristlenose Plecsostumus are fish that MAY remove and keep this algae in check in a planted tank ( I prefer Nirite snails though)

• Patience and time (about 8-12 weeks) for new tanks, often this is all it takes for a new tank.

• Please note that the suggestions using boiling water, algae eaters, and snails are methods to bring Brown Diatoms under control, however after the being "patient" with a new tank for a few months or in the case of established aquariums, these suggestions are meant for control and if their continued use is still needed this indicates other issues that need to be addressed such as organic load (DOC), lighting, mineralization, Redox, etc.
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Old 05-16-2011, 12:29 PM   #19
 
I've done everything in that text save adding new fish or snails and UV sterilizing (no funds for that rigt now). Snails are not possible because my water isn't mineralised enough for them, their shell end up soft. The water treatment plant in my city gives almost osmosed water so I have very soft parameters right out of the tap (although ideals for some fishes, I have natural killifishes and tetras reproductions with no efforts.) I am getting more and more puzzled everyday by the freaking algaes!

Right now I've reduced my lighting from 10 to 8 hours and I will replace the offending wood pieces by real aquarium wood today. It's really the most logical reason...I'm lucky it didn't kill my fishes :(
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Old 05-16-2011, 12:35 PM   #20
 
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Originally Posted by Freddiesbuns View Post
I've done everything in that text save adding new fish or snails and UV sterilizing (no funds for that rigt now). Snails are not possible because my water isn't mineralised enough for them, their shell end up soft. The water treatment plant in my city gives almost osmosed water so I have very soft parameters right out of the tap (although ideals for some fishes, I have natural killifishes and tetras reproductions with no efforts.) I am getting more and more puzzled everyday by the freaking algaes!

Right now I've reduced my lighting from 10 to 8 hours and I will replace the offending wood pieces by real aquarium wood today. It's really the most logical reason...I'm lucky it didn't kill my fishes :(
I have to go out momentarily, so no time to pursue this now. But if you could give me some data, I'll review it later. A link to your watger supply people would help, i want to see what's in it. Also, tank size, light specs, plants and fish. You know the drill; without the data we can't diagnose.
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