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A considerable amount of algae (patchy and brownish) is starting to appear on the inorganic surfaces in my community tank, which has been running for about five weeks.

This 20-gallon high tank contains gravel substrate, some smooth river stones, one live banana plant, several artificial plants, and a resin decoration. The hood lamp is a single-bulb 17W fluorescent, which is illuminating the tank about 10hrs per day.

The algae are colonizing the artificial plants as well as a resin decoration. Nothing visible on the banana plant.

I'm looking for suggestions on how to eliminate the growth I can see and control future growth.

The tank is stocked with Red Phantom Tetras and Zebra Danios. I was planning to install additional live plants. I'm thinking small scale, for now, using something that thrives in moderate light. Java Fern?

I had also been hoping to add a bottom dweller to the tank, in order to add some energy at that level and do a bit of substrate clean-up. I was thinking some kind of Cory Cat. I didn't intend specifically to have an algae eating fish down there, but now it seems I need to rethink the whole balancing act.

So where should I start? Plant? Snail? Shrimp? Fish?
 

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the brown stuff you are seeing is diatoms.they are common in new set-ups. it will go away on its own. cory cats do not eat algae.
 

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I'm not an algae expert and the pictures are a tad blurry. You have a few options of its diatoms. There are nerite snails which are algae eating beasts. But, they leave zig zags of the algae they eat and don't exactly get it all sometimes. There's also otocinclus catfish that are hard to keep alive -- I've never had them really but apparently they eat algae well. Not sure how much they like diatoms but you can also get Amano shrimp they are small too and would do well in your 20 gallon.
 

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yup,diatoms.they show up at the end of your tank cycling.high silicates in your tap/tank water and nitrates produce them.manual removal with a sponge,cleaning brush etc,coupled with good tank maintenance and water changes usually take care of it. otoclinclus catfish and nerite snails clean it up pretty fast.just make sure you have a back up plan for feeding these cleaners as they will take care of the problem rather quickly.remember to quarantine any fish for 4 weeks before introducing them to your current tank.snails generally do not need the same qt period.2 weeks is long enough imo.
 

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you can remove and clean the hardscape,plants etc.if you do not want to do that, you can clean them in-tank,wait for tank to settle after and do a good vac.i never really bothered with all of that.i have nerites in every tank.they are like the scrubbin' bubbles from the commercials,just in slow-mo.
 

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diatoms can be removed in time, ... they'll do their thing, they'll dissapear
change your filters regularly and there won't be an issue

in time it will pass.

hmmm, there's a lot of algaes out there that are little more than tests of a persons patience.

i've never ever heard of a diatom outbreak that lasted
i've never heard of a diatom outbreak that got out of hand.

it will pass, have patience :)
 

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I had one that lasted months and only went away when I got a bristlenose pleco and nerite snails. :( my nitrates weren't high and it was cycled....
 
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