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equatics 07-11-2012 03:53 PM

I Have A New Kind Of Algae!
The algae is spreading across the bottom third of the front of the tank. It is brownish, almost invisible but makes the glass look smudgy (no, it's not really smudgy - it's the algae. Promise.) I have the back side blocked out - not a problem. The front of the tank is facing a big south window but it's probably 20 feet away.

I am wondering if the the fluorescent might be hitting it and also bouncing off the gravel. I started fertilizing last week, once, a very small amount. The plants haven't responded majorly. I also added 4 Pristella Tetras for a total of six, but I feed them once a day and very sparingly. They are the only fish in my 10 g tank, plus a population of pond and Malaysan Trumpet snails. The lighting is one 18" 17W Radeon that came with the canopy - I am told the color temperature is 8,000 K, if you can believe that. Water temperature is 78-79F. The tank was started 2-3 months ago.

I really don't want to get into scraping the front glass every time I do a water change, but I would really like some suggestions about how to get rid of the algae. Probably the first one should be, "Get more plants!"

Thanks for the help,


eug 07-11-2012 04:27 PM

Brown smudgy stuff on the glass sounds like diatoms. I have the same on a ~2 month old tank and have been told that it tends to go away as the tank gets established.

eug 07-11-2012 04:28 PM

Also, your lighting isn't very high and diatoms are more common in lower-light type setups, so it seems to confirm my suspicions.

Byron 07-11-2012 06:15 PM

There are various algae that will readily grow on the glass if this is not done. And it varies from tank to tank how fast/thick this can be. Some tanks will develop the green dot algae which is very tough and hard to remove if not caught every week. Others get a green or brown film. Others get nothing.

I clean the inside of the glass at every water change, using one of those sponge-type scrapers.

When you get close to the substrate, be careful not to pick up any sand or gravel with the sponge as it will scratch the glass. I usually use one of the stiff scrapers at the substrate.

Pearl2011 07-11-2012 07:13 PM

Probably diatonm. I get it and I hate! Would rather any type BUT that.
I just wipe it off with a paper towel. That works fine for me.

equatics 07-11-2012 08:16 PM

Thank you for your help. I guess I'm buying a brand-new algae cleaner :) But I'll buy another plant or two while I'm there. I still hold out hope that something will change in the tank and the algae will fade out. I think I neglected to mention that I added some Water Sprite floaters and I also cut back the photoperiod from 10 hours to 9 hours. A lot of playing around I guess. It's a little counterintuitive, the light and all. Maybe when the planted Water Sprite starts to kick back in from the pruning.



equatics 07-11-2012 09:19 PM

Correction: the name of my fluorescent bulb is Aqueon, not Radeon.

Byron 07-12-2012 11:57 AM

Perhaps I should expand a bit on my prior comment that you can't avoid these issues, since there seems to be some thinking here that changing light or whatever will affect it. And while it may, it also may not.

I don't know that what was initially mentioned is true algae. It may simply be a biofilm. Biofilms form on all surfaces, and they attract bacteria, algae, microscopic plankton and other critters, etc. Depending what the biofilm attracts, it may appear a specific colour. Or it may be relatively clear such that on wood or a plant leaf you still see the wood/plant colour. But the biofilm may darken.

We are dealing with a natural system, and one that is closed within itself. So natural processes will (hopefully) occur. If you have ever touched rock or wood in a natural stream, you probably know how slippery it is...that's your biofilm collecting whatever. We are bound to see these in aquaria, and cleaning the glass weekly will keep the glass clear.


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