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Brown algae problems...


Black

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I did have the same issue in my previous tank but no where near as bad. I was living in a different house then and the room was darker. I dont know if that has anything to do with?

It srapes off very easily from the glass but impossible to wipe off the leaves

What kind of plants do you have? It wipes off of my Anubias leaves very easily, I use a soft toothbrush to softly scrub them off about every other week.

Edited by Ms.Jenny
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Black, I did forget to ask something. What type of lighting do you have on this tank and does it receive any direct sunlight? Thanks! :)

This is what the instructions say about my tank lighting:

Lighting – this aquarium has two 20w T8 lamps - one white, one blue plus 3 additional LED built into the hood itself. The white tube simulates natural daylight and will encourage plant growth, the blue is for aesthetic purposes. You can adjust this combination if you wish.

It doesn't receive much direct sunlight as the nearest window has the curtains closed. The tank light is on 11 hours a day (it's off for an hour in the afternoon)

Thank you everyone, sorry if I have missed any questions :)

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I did have the same issue in my previous tank but no where near as bad. I was living in a different house then and the room was darker. I dont know if that has anything to do with?

It srapes off very easily from the glass but impossible to wipe off the leaves

What kind of plants do you have? It wipes off of my Anubias leaves very easily, I use a soft toothbrush to softly scrub them off about every other week.

I used to have swords and java ferns, it destroyed them completely. The one in my photo is an onion plant.

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Thank you, Black! Yes, it looks like BBA (black brush algae, some call it black beard algae) and it does destroy plants. Despite being called 'black', it actually can be a variety of colors. Do you know what the 'k' is on the white bulb? It should be printed somewhere on the bulb though not all manufacturers do this. The blue bulb is actinic bulb. Although they are aesthetically appealing, they can cause havoc in a planted tank and are generally more suitable for sw/reef tanks. The spectrum of plant suitable light from actinic bulb is minimal but it unfortunately can do wonders for growing algae. Does your light have seperate switches or plugs for the white and blue bulb? Is the onion plant the only plant you have left right now? Where would you like to go from this point- would like to try & fight the BBA and continue with plants?

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You're right, they are algae, but diatoms are not brown algae, and vice versa. Jessica is right in pointing out that what we typically call brown algae in the aquarium are actually diatoms. :)

I respectfully disagree, primarily because I detest pedantry (unless I am the pedant, of course). "Brown algae" can refer toPhaeophyceae, but it can also mean "algae that are brown in color." Since the phaeophyceae are multicellular and almost exclusively marine, there is no possibility that someone who says they have brown algae in their goldfish tank is referring to phaeophyceae, and thus they clearly mean "algae that are brown." It would be ridiculous to have to say all those words instead of simply "brown algae". Yes, most of us know they are diatoms, but it's a perfectly good descriptive term, and in no way incorrect.

Right now the local newspaper has been talking about a serious bloom of "brown algae" in a river in Florida. The algae are neither diatoms nor phaeophyceae, but they are brown and turn the water a muddy brown. How else would you describe them?

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You're right, they are algae, but diatoms are not brown algae, and vice versa. Jessica is right in pointing out that what we typically call brown algae in the aquarium are actually diatoms. :)

I respectfully disagree, primarily because I detest pedantry (unless I am the pedant, of course). "Brown algae" can refer toPhaeophyceae, but it can also mean "algae that are brown in color." Since the phaeophyceae are multicellular and almost exclusively marine, there is no possibility that someone who says they have brown algae in their goldfish tank is referring to phaeophyceae, and thus they clearly mean "algae that are brown." It would be ridiculous to have to say all those words instead of simply "brown algae". Yes, most of us know they are diatoms, but it's a perfectly good descriptive term, and in no way incorrect.

Right now the local newspaper has been talking about a serious bloom of "brown algae" in a river in Florida. The algae are neither diatoms nor phaeophyceae, but they are brown and turn the water a muddy brown. How else would you describe them?

Thank you :clapping:

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Thank you, Black! Yes, it looks like BBA (black brush algae, some call it black beard algae) and it does destroy plants. Despite being called 'black', it actually can be a variety of colors. Do you know what the 'k' is on the white bulb? It should be printed somewhere on the bulb though not all manufacturers do this. The blue bulb is actinic bulb. Although they are aesthetically appealing, they can cause havoc in a planted tank and are generally more suitable for sw/reef tanks. The spectrum of plant suitable light from actinic bulb is minimal but it unfortunately can do wonders for growing algae. Does your light have seperate switches or plugs for the white and blue bulb? Is the onion plant the only plant you have left right now? Where would you like to go from this point- would like to try & fight the BBA and continue with plants?

Hi Jessicalee,

I have removed the onion plant and just have the pothos roots in there now. I have enough on my plate with an illness prone fish to have to worry about keeping plants alive too.

For probably the first time, I have some green algae growth on the fake plant I have in there as well as some brown stuff. Should I let that grow and just clean off the brown?

Thank you for all your help

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RO water stands for reverse osmosis water. A reverse osmosis is a filtration system that uses a membrane to remove large molecules and ions from water such as lead, nitrates, etc. I have a system set up to clean up my drinking water, but I also mix the RO water with my tap water to reduce the nitrates since my tap has nitrates present. The reason that we don't typically use all RO water in our tanks is that the filtration also removes all the good buffers like calcium and potassium that we want in the water for the fish.

I use all RO Plus water in my tank now and the "brown algae" is WAY down, to almost non-existent so it makes me think the algae either starts in my well or its the high nitrates as my well water alone has about 40ppm.

Regarding RO, you can add the PLUS cartridge which puts minerals back into the water after it is made, raising the ph to an acceptable level and making it much more healthy for the fish and much less bitter by taste for us. It also leaves my kh alone which is naturally quite high, somewhere around the 250-300 range. I had a system installed in the basement which can produce about 15g a day I think. I actually didn't do it for the fish I swear LOL as it was very expensive. It was the only way I could get it to both the kitchen faucet and the refrigerator as the basement was already finished. The fish appreciate it I think though ;)

Edited by cmclien
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  • 2 years later...
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I know this is an old topic, but it is still a valid one for me.

I am thinking of keeping live plants again, but I suspect nothing has changed in my tank to allow me to do this.

I still get diatoms and I still have to clean the Pothos roots to get rid of what I think is still BB algae.

Any ideas?

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Some people have reported that intense light with a short photoperiod (8 hours of light a day) helps.  Diatoms are happy with low light, but their competitors, such as green algae, grow better with high light levels.  

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I am not a plant expert by any means, so I apologize if I misname something. If your problem is indeed what sounds like the black plague of plants, none of this will be useful, but I thought I might share what I did to try to deal with diatoms as a total, but frustrated, novice.

 

I had a big problem with diatoms growing on my plants and tank walls, although I decided to leave some of the diatoms on my walls at the time since Duchess (especially) and Queenie liked to eat it and I was desperate for any and all BB. However, then I started to get really annoyed after it wouldn't go away for *years.* (I looked up what it looked like and was convinced it was diatom growth, short of buying a microscope to confirm.) Especially since the tank was established, I was very confused about what to do, since literally after scraping it off it would grow back within a day or two. At the time I was not using water column fertilizers like the Flourishes. 

I increased my lighting to, in my case, just under 2 watts per gallon at around 7,500K T5-HO lamp. Not helping, but the other plants I had recently put into my sand substrate with Flourish tabs seemed to like it (java ferns, wisteria, dwarf sagittaria--all of which are managing to stay alive--woooo!). I also added water column ferts. Did not help, but green algae started to grow a bit. Then, FINALLY, I realized that the problem was probably my tap water, so I bought Seachem PhosGuard that I put in the filters for 4 days at a time due to the possibility of rapid exhaustion and BOOM no new diatom growth, and no subsequent new growth after a couple of weeks doing it. This happened a few months ago. I think it gave the good algae and plants some time to suck up the excess nutrients. The remaining diatom algae has stayed exactly where it I left it and is looking more and more anemic, and I am planning to scrape it gradually as not to foul up the water. 

Normally I don't like adding things like cleaning filter media (I rarely use carbon) but in this case it really did help. My fish did not seem to mind whatsoever (and one was quite sick at the time, and both are not spring chickens) and my water chemistry did not change (in terms of cycling or pH). If someone else suggested this on the thread and I misunderstood an abbreviation (I don't understand all of the fishy shorthand yet--it took me a day or three to even understand what "BB" was at first  :wall ), I apologize for the redundancy. There are other phosphorous removing products, but I like Seachem and trust them so that's what I picked PhosGuard. 
 

Edited by QandD
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