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Results 1 to 10 of 11
  1. #1

    Default Seriously Please help me restore this tank

    0 Not allowed!
    Ok enough is enough i have had this tank for 4-5 months now and no matter what i do this brown algae will not go away. It slowly builds on the sides of my tank but what is killing me is the plants. I had 6-7 wisteria in my tank and i ended up getting more. The original 6-7 were always getting algae on them well the new plants which have been in my tank for over 2 months havent got any growth of algae while the older plants keeping turning brown black after 2 weeks if i dont run my fingers on them. This is killing my plants because the wisteria leaves are thin and long and they keep breaking off. Should i throw out the black leaves???? i already cleaned my ehiem tubing and filter and decorations. its unsightly and very annoying and i dont know what to do
    29 gallon tank
    8 cherry barb
    5 cory catfish
    5 ghost shrimp
    3 snails
    about 12 wisteria
    2 new stems of hornwort
    1 anubias plant

    fish get fed 1 pinch of flake food that i crunch between my fingers in the morning and i drop in 1 sinking pellet for the catfish at the same time. I do a 50 percent water change every week. I do not use fertilizer. Tank gets 48 watts of t-5 ho light 1 10k bulb 1 6.7k bulb 8 hours a day. every week i have to gravel vac rub the algae off my plants scrap the sides then do a water change or two to get the debris out. What can i do

    Used to look like this:

    NOW my tank looks like this on a GOOD day. SOme of the leaves are almost black they are so caked with it.

    Last edited by Lady Hobbs; 08-19-2012 at 04:41 PM.

  2. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    Hey - been there - brown algae is a pain - as you are not using co2 - ferts prob wont help the plants out compete the algae so the best way to balance your tank out is probably - buy some rowaphos and put it in a filter bag in your filter to knock down the phosphate levels and control the algae - I would double up on the amount recommended at the start as it is likely you have a store of phospate in your gravel - also buy 4 Otocinculus Catfish- they are very cheap and wont harm the plants but eat brown algae like mad. I would also consider adding Easylife Easy Carbo as this will boost your plants and help kill the algae (dont try algicides they dont work and kill everything else too) - last thing is check you change your flourescent bulbs every year or so and that they are bright enough - lastly make sure you hoover the gravel deeply when you do your water changes - this is what got my algae well under control - you will still need to wipe the glass now and again - but apart from that you should have little algae probs

  3. #3


    0 Not allowed!
    +1 to the above. I had brown algae problems on all my slow growing plants (anubias) and it was a nightmare to clean. Otos cleared it all in days. They are brilliant little fish and I now wouldn't be without them.

  4. #4


    0 Not allowed!
    Before you go off and buy a whole bunch of stuff for your tank, you should consider a few other options that might solve the problem from the root instead of dealing with it later on.

    You have 48 watts of T5HO light on your tank (I have the same on my 29) which is too much for plants without fertilizers and CO2. You're seeing the plants melt away because they do not have enough of the proper nutrients to utilize all the light they are receiving. Your plants certainly aren't receiving any nutrients from that pebble substrate.

    You should be trimming the dead leaves off of your plants, they will only foul your water.

    To combat the algae problem (brown algae is actually diatoms), you should either limit or break up your photo-period, that is the amount of time your lights are on. You say you're at 8 hours which is usually a minimum for most people but if you're still seeing problems you might want to go lower. You could try either doing six or breaking up your period into four hours on separated by two hours off. This negatively affects the algae without having much effect on the plants.

    As previously mentioned, phosphate scrubbers might help the problem but they also remove nutrients that your plants need.

    The best move is to first try changing your lighting for a period of a few weeks and then invest in a quality plant fertilizer. This will help your plants soak up all the available nutrients in the water and therefore limit the amount available to algae.

  5. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    The only thing I would add to the above comment is that Brown diatom algae is a low light algae which out competes green algae in low lighting conditions and so limiting or interrupting the light cycle is likely to have little to no effect on it. Ferts will help only if backed up by CO2 as CO2 is the most likely limiting factor. Plants are rarely affected by phosphate removal although algae is which is why it is a method used in many planted tanks. Also cutting off the dead leaves isnt solving the problem of them dying in the first place an is not likely to be what is causing the nutrient overload - you should remove any dead organic material as a matter of course. Rowaphos costs around £10, ...4 otos about £1.50 each and a bottle of easycarbo around £6 - £22 is not a big outlay for an algae free tank.

  6. #6


    0 Not allowed!
    I have a bottom layer of fluorite and I dose 1 dose of flourish comprehensive, over 1 week and api's version of excel every other day. Me splitting the light will be an issue in not home 10 hours a day only time lights run is from 5pm to about 12 pm

  7. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    My tank

    I feed beef heart so have lots of nutrients going in but the combination of phosphate removal, otocinculus catfish, good bright lighting and easy carbo works for me (I also use a fertiliser easylife profito because i am adding CO2) - If I wasnt adding CO2 I would cut back on this a bit, lighting really isnt the issue because you have brown algae and not green.

  8. #8


    0 Not allowed!
    High phosphates was my problem and I started using a phosphate/silicate sponge in my filters. Phosphates should only be about .25-.50 and it come from my tap at 2. In addition, fish food contains phosphates. Without knowing what your phosphate levels are, it's hard to know if a phosphate sponge (Phos-Ban) would be beneficial to you.

    I think you need to dose at least half doses of ferts and sword plants require root tabs because they are iron hogs. But I think I would remove one of those bulbs in your fixture. None of your plants are high light plants. That would eliminate your need for CO2. You could also use some Siamese Algaer eaters.......Not Chinese.

    Diatoms is simply an imbalance of nutrients. You have high lights, no ferts and no CO2. Cut down on the light and that will eliminate all need for CO2.
    Last edited by Lady Hobbs; 08-19-2012 at 04:56 PM.

  9. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    Causes of brown algae:-

    -Excess silicates, nitrates, phosphates (Rowaphos removes phosphates and silicates, good tank maintenance keeps nitrates low).
    -Inadequate light
    -Low oxygen levels

    If lighting was the problem the algae would be green

  10. #10


    0 Not allowed!
    How do I check for levels of silica and phosphate? Well I want sure what to get fish wise to combat it because I didn't know how stocked my tank is at the moment. How often do you change the phosphate sponge

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