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PaperclipGirl 04-19-2010 01:10 AM

Brown Algae and Lighting Questions or do I buy a Pleco?
I'm really not sure where to post this -

I have a rather bad break out of brown algae and have some questions:

1. Should I just clean the decorations or will that kill any beneficial bacteria?
2. Should I get a pleco or add otocinclus that will eat brown algae?
3. Should I buy better kelvin rated lights?

I read that brown algae can be solved with getting better lighting -

My tank is 55g takes 2 - 18 inch lights right now I have aquarium lights from wal-mart in them (810k) there are some on the internet that go up to 20,000k (but are $20+ per bulb) I was hoping to grow some green algae to "choke" out the brown.

I have four otocinclus in my betta tank - could I transfer them to eat the brown algae. I did buy a snail, but other than skywriting his name in the algae, it has not improved.
Any suggestions?

Mikaila31 04-19-2010 01:31 AM

Brown algae is a sign of a unbalanced tank. Your lighting should be fine IMO. Algae is not normally caused by one issue it is generally a number of contributing factors. You don't want green algae, brown or diatom algae is readily eaten by many things, very few will eat green algae. If the tank is fairly mature adding a oto should be fine. Cleaning the decorations will not harm the cycle. To reduce the algae I would also do more frequent gravel vacuuming and larger or more frequent water changes.

Oldfishlady 04-19-2010 09:40 AM

What are your water pram numbers for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH and water temp
How long has the tank been set up and is it cycled
IME diatoms are often seen in newly set up tanks or from old bulbs, diatoms are easily wiped off during a water change
How much and how often are your water changes?
Any live plants, if so what kind and how many
What is in the tank now besides the snail
What kind of additives used if any....

PaperclipGirl 04-19-2010 06:59 PM

This tank was converted from a mature tropical tank to a bare bottom goldfish tank about 1 month ago.

Temp - 72-74F
Current readings are 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, and about 5 nitrates (maybe a little less but not a 0). These have been steady readings for a long time on this tank (there was a small mini-cycle that lasted a few days where I had high ammonia readings - this was shortly after removing all substrate) oh and yes - I use a liquid test kit from API.

I am faithful on the 20% weekly water changes - I have snuck a couple extra in there when I had issues with trying to add anacharis to the tank. It was after I added the anacharis to the tank that the "brown" and some "green" algae started showing up. Anacharis has since been removed.

I read somewhere that not all algae is "bad" for your tank and that goldfish love the green algae - which is actually a sign of a balanced tank (according to this article). The same article said that brown algae will go away with stronger lights - which is why I asked the light question because I do not know anything about lighting (full spectrum vs kelvin... etc).

I currently have a moss ball, some camboda, and another unidentified floading plant bought from pet store and I have 8 (very small) goldfish (4 or 5 of which are going into the pond next month) so I know there are too many fish in here but its temporary. The snail was sold to me as a nerite, but I'm sure its an MTS.

I have ottos in the other tank and I just thought maybe I could throw them in the goldie tank for a while (since they are about the same temp) and let them eat the brown algae or diatoms - which I read that otto cats love. Because the goldfish are small I'm not worried about my goldies eathing them...
but if the brown stuff is just going to come back because of my lighting then I need to fix that.

Oh - and I keep the lights on for 10 hours a day (on a timer)

MoneyMitch 04-19-2010 07:16 PM

im going to have to agree with whoever said the algae is from a imbalance in the tank, in your case it just sounds like it may be caused by undetectable amounts of ammonia in the tank which is causing the algae this is very common in new tanks where i saw you said it was converted to a goldfish tank. to help with the algae i would cut feeding down a lil bit and maybe do some more h20 changes if that doesnt work then ill revisit the topic .


Mikaila31 04-19-2010 11:38 PM

your tank is young, give the brown algae some time to clear up on its own. I would just do manual removeal and increase cleaning. Step water changes up to 50% weekly. I've used really old bulbs and I don't believe that would cause brown algae. Brown algae is easy to remove, especially with a bare tank. Just take some filter floss and use it to clean the glass.

aunt kymmie 04-19-2010 11:43 PM

+1 to Mikaila. Every single tank I've set up has developed a case of serious brown diatoms, then one day it just magically disppears. Hang tight, it'll go away once your tank matures, in the meantime just wipe it away as Mikaila suggests.

PaperclipGirl 04-20-2010 06:37 PM

wiped a lot of it (brown algae) off with the last water change - I do want the green algae to grow on the bottom, back and sides - my ultimate goal is for a "carpet" of algae - maybe not attainable

Still any advice on the lighting? I ask this in part because of I have some floating plants too... and I'd rather have them grow than decay because of lack of lighting/spectrum/brightness/etc.

Oldfishlady 04-20-2010 09:24 PM

You want 6500k and 40w daylight bulbs for best low to mod light plants growth...I use the GE brand from walmart for 5 buck each on my 48 inch tanks (55g and 75g tanks) daylight bulbs and get great plant growth and use 2 to 3 bulb with a shop light for 10 bucks...I toss the the lights from the 55g kit and use over my 10 and 20g tanks......I have 9 heavy planted tanks that are growing great with these set-ups.....I also change out the bulbs every 6 months due to my photo period of 12 hours on the bulbs

PaperclipGirl 04-20-2010 09:51 PM

Thanks! I have the kit light set up - and those take the 18in bulbs which I found limit my bulb selection. I guess that will be the next tank up grade!

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