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Freddy 01-18-2010 06:00 PM

What is this brown fuzz?
There's some brown fuzz in my aquarium, and a brown-greenish haze over the bottom of my aquarium. The brown fuzz only grows on the rocks, even though everything else is artificial. It is also only growing in little dots that are pretty flat. I have had many people tell me not to use algae killing chems in my aquarium, so what should I do?:-? I made the rocks into a cave with aquarium silicone sealant, so there are some hard to reach places on it that would make it hard to scrub.

Angel079 01-18-2010 06:07 PM

Googel image results for black brush algae, see if that looks like yours, from the sounds it is.
Most if not all algae are caused by imbalance in the tank, not having live plants in there would be one, cause nothing is absorbing the excess in your tank.
Poor water flow can be another trigger for BB. And low CO2 levels (few fish for the size tank).
On rocks its best to mechanically remove it, meaning take them out and scrub it down good with a hard bristle brush (but NO!!! cleaners!!!!).
If its already spread over the gravel, about the only thing to do is dose with Flourish Excel, its a liquid bio carbon, works well to eliminate BB.
And last but not least as always good, regular w/c maintenance :-)

Freddy 01-18-2010 07:26 PM

Yep, it looks like the first stages of that. I only see it on the rocks, so I'll scrub it off. But there are also some things waving in the current on the suction pads of the heater. They're white. Any idea what they are?

Byron 01-18-2010 08:13 PM

I sometimes think aquarists are too quick to panic and start taking action to eliminate this or that algae. You shouldn't expect to have a pristine aquarium--it isn't all that healthy for the fish to begin with. You may see photos of these in magazines, but they are not the norm. And it is quite possible those aquaria do not normally look like that anyway.

There are a number of biological processes at work in any aquarium. Algae is a fact of nature, and it is going to appear. The trick is to keep it in balance with everything else, not eliminate it completely. This is almost impossible to do, unless you take measures that in my opinion do more harm to the fish than a bit of algae.

I never bother over algae on rocks and wood. The bogwood in all my tanks is quite thick with brush algae. Fine; it looks natural, it is natural, and it is a source of food for snails, fish and bacteria--not the brush algae itself, but it traps food particles and fish love to sift through it, at least mine do.

When it appears on plant leaves, I pay closer attention. If everything is in balance, it will not overtake the plants. Only once back in 1997 did I have what I consider a heavy infestation, and with a bit of re-balancing with the light and nutrients, it went away. I have noted that it often appears around filter outflows, probably related to more current which seems to promote it.


Angel079 01-18-2010 09:00 PM


Originally Posted by Freddy (Post 308484)
Yep, it looks like the first stages of that. I only see it on the rocks, so I'll scrub it off. But there are also some things waving in the current on the suction pads of the heater. They're white. Any idea what they are?

Personally I'd take the rocks and suction cups off and scrub them down. As I said earlier, balance is the key in tanks, unless you change the imbalance in your tank its likely to grow back, personally was this my tank I'd start by adding plants adequate lights (so no high end lights) and carefully review my feeding schedule.

Freddy 01-19-2010 04:08 PM

I'm still doing a fishless cycle, so my problem is that with no fish to eat it, I think the algae may take over the tank before fish have a chance to get to it. Will algae slow down the cycle at all?

I couldn't scrub the cave - too many nooks and crannies, but I left it out to dry, and the algae is dead now. But the water is still brown!:-(

Angel079 01-19-2010 04:45 PM

Algae won't speed up nor slow down the cycle.
That said, that's your problem right there what is out of balance to cause this, its a new set up, needs time to balance (once fish and all plants are added).
Water being brown has nothing to do with BB algae - That's usually caused by driftwood added, mostly then when its not been boiled/ soaked for a few days prior to adding to the tank.

Freddy 01-19-2010 09:29 PM

Don't have any driftwood, someone told me it was diatoms - free drifting brown algae.

And for anyone who doesn't know, if you put in driftwood and your water turns brown, that's tannins from the driftwood. Rinse it well!

Angel079 01-20-2010 10:36 AM

Hm...I only know Diatoms to form brown patches on the glass, substrate and plants. Not appearing as green dust algae where your whole water would look green.
Really all together sounds to me like your tank isn't balanced at all yet between lights, available nutrition and plants and fish.

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