Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Night Foxx 11-11-2009 08:48 AM

Brown Algae
Ok, so I've had my 29 gallon tank approx 2 months now.. I have 5 juvenile cichlids that seem happy, water is crystal clear, levels all good. Approximately two weeks ago I noticed brown algae growing & eventually covering the majority of one of my rocks. I checked the nitrites and it was pretty high so I performed a 50% water change and figured I'd give it another week to see how it reacted.

Well... I don't think it's spread on the rock, but now I see some brown algae starting to grow on my plastic plant (please don't rip me on this one). It looks like I'll need to take the rock & plant out to give them a good cleaning.. & correct/re-test the levels again.

My question is.. am I going about this the right way? Anything else I should do? I thought about adding a sucker or otocinclus to help keep that in check, but I think I'm stocked at the max right now.

Any thoughts/suggestions would be appreciated.

mollies 11-11-2009 08:52 AM

are you planing on upgrading your tank? You will be way over crowed when they start growing.

aunt kymmie 11-11-2009 08:56 AM

It sounds like brown diatoms and that's very common in a new tank. Eventually it will fade away and disappear. At least this is what happened in my tanks.

Night Foxx 11-11-2009 09:30 AM


Originally Posted by mollies (Post 272141)
are you planing on upgrading your tank? You will be way over crowed when they start growing.

no.. but I don't intend on keeping them all either. There is plenty of room now, but presuming they all survive my inexperience to maturity.. I'll give a couple away. On that subject, how many can I keep in a 30g? I was thinking no more than 3.

Back to the algae, how long does it take to 'fade' away? Is this a part of a natural tank cycle?

Angel079 11-11-2009 09:35 AM

My best suggestion to you atm is: Take any rock & plastic decor out, scrub with a hard bristle brush (NO CLEANERS just hot water), let it dry out in the sun ideally if you can. Then place it back in the tank.
Ensure that you do a weekly water exchange at about 30% of the total tank volume. Ensure checking your nitrates and if they rise again, make a instant larger water exchange.
That's the advantage of live plants, in a heavy planted tank you don't have these nitrate issues once established (cycled) properly.
And no this is not part of the 'standard' cycling process to have algae like this.

Night Foxx 11-11-2009 09:42 AM

Sounds like a plan..

Any other suggestions/thoughts?

aunt kymmie 11-11-2009 09:49 AM


Originally Posted by Angel079 (Post 272165)
And no this is not part of the 'standard' cycling process to have algae like this.

Not to disagree but to throw in my 2 cents: Based on everything I've read (and experienced) brown diatoms are a natural part of a newly cycled tank and will eventually die off. Not sure how to hasten this die off but I'm sure Byron will have a suggestion(s).

Angel079 11-11-2009 09:49 AM

Any other suggestion is your tank size vs the stocking you have. What kind of Cichlid's do you have exactly?
Any I know would be ideally kept at a tank size 55 gallon and up as a group, hence I'd not be suggestion to keep any in a 29g (which is also why mollies asked you about upgrading). Its just the wrong fish in the wrong size tank. Alternatively sell them and buy the right fish for your tank and water.

Byron 11-11-2009 11:25 AM

Diatoms (brown algae) are common in new tanks, though sometimes they don't appear; I've had it both ways. Thinking back, when I have used large plants from an existing tank to plant the new tank, and added fish the first day, I have never had diatoms. But in brand new tanks with new (small) plants, I have. It should disappear after the first round. It can also occur in low light and with excess of silicates (minerals). I wouldn't buy a fish just to handle this, as it will be gone (assuming your maintenance and stocking is balanced) and you haven't room for more fish as others have noted.

Which brings me to a more serious matter: your statement that there is plenty of room now until they mature. This is not actually true. Keeping a potentially large fish in a small tank frequently does affect its growth. But this is not a benign process that creates a perfect miniature version of the fish. It is termed "stunting."

Fish growth is affected by a number of different things, and one of these is water volume or tank size; this has two impacts, water quality and actual space for the fish to properly develop. As a fish grows, the internal organs develop towards the adult fish. During this process, if the fish is confined to a small tank for its adult size, the growth rate is affected. Health problems arise. Most commonly this affects the immune system which can lead to other problems down the road. Behavioural problems are common when the fish is growing in an unsuitable environment.

Aside from very short-term tanks for fry, fish should always be housed in an aquarium that will provide the requirements of the particular species when adult. This is a good way to ensure proper development and that means healthier fish.


mollies 11-11-2009 11:38 AM

I wouldnt recomend any Cichlid in a 30 Gallon as iv raised them and still have them. I dont keep them in anything smaller then a 55 gallon. If you could tell us what kind of cichlid you have it would better tell us what you can do. With that said. if you could get a bigger tank within the next month or 2 then you would be fine. If not rehome them and get fish that are more suited for your tank and water. like angel had said. We are not trying to be rude. We have experianced these fish for some time. And know the limitations of them. Best wishis

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