Brown algae problem
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Brown algae problem

This is a discussion on Brown algae problem within the Beginner Planted Aquarium forums, part of the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium category; --> Hi, I got 20 and 55 gallon planted tanks. I light them up for 12 hours. They both have brown algae on the substrate. ...

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Old 08-18-2011, 10:12 AM   #1
Ami
 
Brown algae problem

Hi,
I got 20 and 55 gallon planted tanks. I light them up for 12 hours. They both have brown algae on the substrate. I was wondering if I am lighting it up too much and should reduce the hours to 8 or 10 instead. I have 5 otos in my 55 gallon tank and they just can't keep up. I also got 2 otos in my 20 gallon.

Also, the 20 gallon tank has been having algal bloom that makes the water murky. When I clean the tank, it is brown.
A related fact is that about 3 weeks ago I had put some plastic plants above the sponge filters (on the water surface) to entrap the air bubbles. The reason I put it wa to protect the glass covering from having scale build up. Anyways, there is a significant build-up of brown algae there as well. Any ideas on how else I can entrap the air bubbles? Or is my flow rate too high?

I had heard that snails also clean algae up really well. However, I don't want to have my tank overpopulated with them. Are mystery snails good for this purpose? Any ideas or suggestions would help.

~Ami
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Old 08-18-2011, 10:26 AM   #2
 
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First, in new tanks it is very common to have algae issues. The tank is not biologically stable, and water chemistry is fluctuating, nutrients are here and there, organics are increasing, and so forth. For at least 2 months one should expect algae issues. We don't ignore them though, since they can get out of control. But they are common.

Diatoms (brown algae as it is called) is very common in new tanks. Otos will devour it, give them time. Snails also help, long term because snails, especially the small ones like Malaysian Livebearing, pond and acute bladder snails, do a tremendous job of cleaning. Well worth having. They will not over-populate unless they are getting too much "food" which means organics from waste and fish food.

Live plants help tremendously in stabilizing a tank, and they will work to keep algae in check long-term. Light duration depends upon what live plants, what type of light, and nutrient availability, but reducing it to 8-10 hours may be advisable whatever. I can expand on this if you provide me with data on the light you have. Be specific.

To address the filter issue we need to know more about the tank. Which filter, fish, etc. By the way, algae will naturally build up next to the filter flow, it is the strong current that does it. Expect to deal with this regularly.

The cloudy water in the 20g may be an issue. What is the maintenance schedule (water changes, how much and how often), what fish load, and what do you mean by "brown?"

Byron.
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Old 08-18-2011, 11:01 AM   #3
Ami
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Byron View Post
First, in new tanks it is very common to have algae issues. The tank is not biologically stable, and water chemistry is fluctuating, nutrients are here and there, organics are increasing, and so forth. For at least 2 months one should expect algae issues. We don't ignore them though, since they can get out of control. But they are common.

Diatoms (brown algae as it is called) is very common in new tanks. Otos will devour it, give them time. Snails also help, long term because snails, especially the small ones like Malaysian Livebearing, pond and acute bladder snails, do a tremendous job of cleaning. Well worth having. They will not over-populate unless they are getting too much "food" which means organics from waste and fish food.

Live plants help tremendously in stabilizing a tank, and they will work to keep algae in check long-term. Light duration depends upon what live plants, what type of light, and nutrient availability, but reducing it to 8-10 hours may be advisable whatever. I can expand on this if you provide me with data on the light you have. Be specific.

To address the filter issue we need to know more about the tank. Which filter, fish, etc. By the way, algae will naturally build up next to the filter flow, it is the strong current that does it. Expect to deal with this regularly.

The cloudy water in the 20g may be an issue. What is the maintenance schedule (water changes, how much and how often), what fish load, and what do you mean by "brown?"

Byron.
55 gallons --
The left half has 1 15W full spectrum tube and the right half has 2 15W full spectrum tubes. The diatoms on the substrate and glass is in the right half.
I change 10 gallons once a week.
The plants are a clump of Java moss, 2 bunches of camboba, 2 water lilies, 3 bunches of moneywort, 1 amazon sword, 1 melon sword, 1 moss ball torn up into 6 smaller pieces, dwarf hairgrass, lots of green cryptocoryne wendtii, 1 red c. wendtii, some 10-12 aponogetons (sold as betta bulbs), 1 anubias, and 1 onion plant.
The onion plant has a couple of leaves that are on the surface and they also have bron algae...however the leaves are right next to the HOB outflow.
The fish currently are 5 zebra danios, 20 neon tetras and 5 otos. Thanks for telling me to be patient with the otos. They have definitely grown and are constantly eating Can I get apple or mystery snails instead? I've seen those at Petco and Petsmart and even Walmart (I've never shopped for fish there, but I might get my snails there). I'll have to see if the ones you mentioned are available here. Since I dose with flourish Excel, can I keep shrimp?
I dose flourish comprehensive once a week into the 55 & 20 gallon tanks (as per directions).

20 gallons --
1 15W aqueon full spectrum tube.
I change 5 gallons of water in the 20 gallon once a week. The fish in it are 4 adult platy, 8 platy fry about 0.25 inches, 2 otos and 5 albino corycats. I change the water using a white 5 gallon bucket. The water used to be clear, now its turbid, like having fine silt. The water in the aquarium itself is murky. That being said, I did add Ick attack for 3 weeks to cure my platies of ick. It had a similar brown color. However its been 3 weeks since I stopped. May the substrate, driftwood etc. is leaching out what ever it had absorbed.
Plants are 4-5 aponogetons, 1 anubias nana, 1 java moss clump, and 1 java fern.

If you want details on the tubes, let me know and I'll send that too.

Thanks a lot Byron!
Ami

Last edited by Ami; 08-18-2011 at 11:08 AM..
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Old 08-18-2011, 11:44 AM   #4
 
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Quote:
55 gallons --
The left half has 1 15W full spectrum tube and the right half has 2 15W full spectrum tubes. The diatoms on the substrate and glass is in the right half.
I change 10 gallons once a week.
The plants are a clump of Java Moss, 2 bunches of camboba, 2 water lilies, 3 bunches of moneywort, 1 Amazon Sword, 1 melon sword, 1 moss ball torn up into 6 smaller pieces, dwarf hairgrass, lots of green cryptocoryne wendtii, 1 red c. wendtii, some 10-12 aponogetons (sold as betta bulbs), 1 Anubias, and 1 onion plant.
The onion plant has a couple of leaves that are on the surface and they also have bron algae...however the leaves are right next to the HOB outflow.
The fish currently are 5 zebra danios, 20 neon tetras and 5 otos. Thanks for telling me to be patient with the otos. They have definitely grown and are constantly eating Can I get apple or mystery snails instead? I've seen those at Petco and Petsmart and even Walmart (I've never shopped for fish there, but I might get my snails there). I'll have to see if the ones you mentioned are available here. Since I dose with flourish Excel, can I keep shrimp?
I dose flourish comprehensive once a week into the 55 & 20 gallon tanks (as per directions).
I'd like to see a photo of the brown "algae" on the substrate, just in case, but from what you describe I wouldn't worry, if it is diatoms it will dissipate in time. If you're not seeing green/red algae, I would leave the light alone, no need to reduce duration.

I have never had the larger snails. The smaller ones I mentioned are the beneficial fellows, well worth having in my opinion. One sometimes gets them with plants, although the Malaysian usually have to be bought, they are sought after by many planted tank aquarists.

I am not a fan of Excel, so I would not recommend using it. If you do, the light duration may have to be cut back a bit.

Quote:
20 gallons --
1 15W aqueon full spectrum tube.
I change 5 gallons of water in the 20 gallon once a week. The fish in it are 4 adult Platy, 8 Platy fry about 0.25 inches, 2 otos and 5 albino corycats. I change the water using a white 5 gallon bucket. The water used to be clear, now its turbid, like having fine silt. The water in the aquarium itself is murky. That being said, I did add Ick attack for 3 weeks to cure my platies of ick. It had a similar brown color. However its been 3 weeks since I stopped. May the substrate, driftwood etc. is leaching out what ever it had absorbed.
Plants are 4-5 aponogetons, 1 Anubias nana, 1 Java Moss clump, and 1 Java Fern.
I suspect the cloudiness is a bacterial bloom. Probably associated with the ich issue, treatments often affect bacteria and biology in tanks in some manner. I would do weekly water change of 50% and see.
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Old 08-18-2011, 02:05 PM   #5
Ami
 
Thanks Byron. I meant comprehensive, not excel.
Also, the algae is NOT green. It seems brown, but I'll post a pic.
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Old 08-18-2011, 03:02 PM   #6
Ami
 
By the way, thanks for the tip to get neons. They only had jumbo neons...they're supposed to grow to 1.5 inches. They are really lively, and are all over the place. The only time they school is when I open the top to feed them.
I hope to get my 2-3 honey gouramis today.

Last edited by Ami; 08-18-2011 at 03:21 PM..
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Old 08-18-2011, 03:24 PM   #7
Ami
 
Here is a shot of the gravel in my aquarium with an oto working away
I am having problems with my camera, so the picture isn't as bright as it really looks. I can use a flash if necessary.
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File Type: jpg DSCN0801_1.jpg (71.0 KB, 26 views)
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Old 08-18-2011, 04:23 PM   #8
 
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That looks green to me, but it may be the camera/film/light.
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Old 08-19-2011, 10:32 AM   #9
Ami
 
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That looks green to me, but it may be the camera/film/light.
I'll see if I can get another camera. But lets say it is green algae. What can I do? Do otos eat green algae?
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Old 08-19-2011, 10:48 AM   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ami View Post
I'll see if I can get another camera. But lets say it is green algae. What can I do? Do otos eat green algae?
Otos eat common green algae and diatoms. That "appears" to be common green, so they should. If it is green, reducing the light duration is needed. Once you find the balance it will settle itself.

Byron.
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