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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Rural South West Australia

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    Exclamation Brown algae on everything

    0 Not allowed!
    My tank started off fine and for ages it was all smooth sailing, all of a sudden i have been getting a layer of brown algae over everything! i haven't changed anything in routine. could it be feeding too much?
    i have 10 neons. 4 black widows and 5 kuhli loaches. the kuhli loaches get one small sinking pellet at night when lights go off and the others get one small pinch of flakes in the morn and another small pinch at night. the neons tend to nibble at the kuhlis sinking pellet as well. by next day there is no sign of any left over food.
    i have an undergravel filter, tank is 65L (17.17G).

    i have read it could be lack of light, if so what price range am i looking at for fluro globes (can opload pics if needed) also read that live plants can help, i am all for giving this a go, what do i need to know about using live plants.

    Also it seems i had an issue with my filter. something was blocking the flow. it looks like we have fixed the flow blockage and my tank now has water movement which it didn't before. it's all quite confusing as previoulsy there was next to no water movement but the fish all appear perfectly healthy and happy. even the kuhli came out of hiding on a regular basis. so basically we weren't sure there was a problem. could the filter blockage have caused the algae build up.

    Thanks ahead of time and if i have posted in the wrong section, i am so sorry. brand new to this forum, new to the whole world of tanks really :P

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jan 2009

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    0 Not allowed!
    Hi Clare! This is a good spot for your question!

    Quite often brown algea is caused by a high amount of silicates and nitrates, sometimes not quite enough light and low oxygen levels. The silicates can come from your tap water, sometimes it can leech out from the glass and or the substrate. The nitrates as you probably know are from left over food, and of course fish poo!

    What I would suggest you start by doing - if possible - is swap the undergravel filter for something like a HOB filter (hang on the back filter). What the idea is, is that the HOB filter will remove any floating stuff in the water, like leftover food, some of the fish poo, and anything that gets stirred up in the water when you do your cleaning work. Undergravel filters have a bad problem of forcing everything to be trapped in the substrate, and they're terrible things to maintain. HOB filters are easy to maintain - just rinse the cartridge in some of the tank water that you take out, when you do your water changes, and there goes most of the stuff that an undergravel filter wont remove. They also add a nice amount of oxygen to your water, which will help get rid of that particular type of algea.

    Second thing is to give your substrate a really good vacuume, while you're doing a 30% - 50% water change. You should really do this once a week. Remember to use your dechlorinator on any new water - we don't want your tank falling into a mini cycle because the untreated water has killed off some of the good bacteria in your filter media.

    It's right what you hear about plants helping with this problem too. They live on nitrates! So they will help to remove some of them for you. If you decide to plant your tank, then you have to be a little careful when you vacuume the substrate. Stay away from the base of the plants with the vacuume, so you don't disturb the roots and take away to much of thier food.

    A light will help as well. I wouldn't give a tank any more than 8 - 10 hours light a day. I think my tank only gets about 4 - 5 at the most. Shop around for your lights - the prices vary.

    So, try all that out, and see how you go! If those few changes don't work properly, then we might have to look at using something to remove the silicates and phosphates that could be in your tap water, or are leaching into your water from the substrate or glass.

    I forgot to mention, that if you swap filters, keep some of the filter media that you have, so that you can put it into the new filter. That will keep your tank cycled.
    Last edited by escamosa; 04-14-2012 at 07:38 AM.
    Three-fourths of the Earth's surface is water, and one-fourth is land. It is quite clear that the good Lord intended us to spend triple the amount of time fishing as taking care of the lawn. ~Chuck Clark

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Cadillac, MI

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    0 Not allowed!
    Diatoms are a natural process many new tanks go thru and generally it will go away on it's own. The above poster is correct in saying it comes from silicates/phosphates/nitrates. Generally once the silicates are used up and the nutrients in the tank balance themselves, the Diatoms will disappear.

    I have high phosphates right out of my tap and made the mistake of using play sand.....silicates......and had a heck of a problem. I had to use a phosphate/silicate remover like phos-ban but finally had to get rid of the play sand as well.

    I agree to get rid of the UGF. The gravel is probably high in nitrates. The filter is pulling the rotting food down thru the gravel and there's no overhead filter to help so it's just being circulated thru the tank again. I'm sure your nitrates are probably high, as well. I would spend more on a light but spend more on a filter for that tank.

    Get yourself an Aqua Clear 30, let it run for about 3 weeks then slide that UGF out of there. For now, do large water changes.

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