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Green Algae vs. Brown Algae


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Something interesting (to me at least :lol3) is going on in my two tanks. One is having lots of noticeable brown algae on the plants, driftwood, and even the glass, while the other has just started having a little bit of bright green algae on the lights and filter sponges.

The tanks have a lot of differences, and I'd like to figure out what makes one grow green and the other brown, so I can get rid of the brown! :D

Green Algae Tank

29 gallons

Led lights that came with the kit

South-East natural light

No ferts

No plants (while algae occurred at least; I just put 1 anubias in the other day)

Sparkly rock & Fluval moss rocks

AC110 filter

Bubble disk

Two fish

0/0/5 - most common parameters, has had higher nitrates occasionally

pH 8.2

Usually 50-80% WC (depending on params) approx every 5-7 days - just started doing daily 50% to use water for fry tank wc

algae on the lights and filter sponges

Brown Algae Tank

60 gallons

Marineland Double Bright (recently downgraded to an Aqueon light to experiment)

North-West natural light

Seachem Flourish

A few plants - anubias, crypt, water sprite, java fern

Large mopani driftwood

AC110 x 2

Bubble wall

Two fish

0/0/5 - most common parameters, has had higher nitrates occasionally

pH 8.2

Usually 50-80% WC (depending on params) approx every 5-7 days

algae on the plants, driftwood, and even the glass

That's all I can think of to compare... anyone want to help me figure this out? I wonder if it could be the direction of the natural light? Or the lights themselves? Or the live plants and ferts?

Edited by SweetMamaKaty
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My water can't seem to grow algae. The brown I see is usually "filter crap" when I'm overdue for a filter cleaning.

I'm curious to see input on this, though.

If I remember correctly, the brown isn't algae.

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Oh, another difference between tanks -

Green Tank

Carib Sea Super Naturals Sand

Brown Tank

Carib Sea Super Naturals Sand Tahitian Moon

and Petco black sand, because there wasn't enough Tahitian Moon

:o Could the Petco have more silicates maybe? Just trying to figure why it's in one tank and not the other.

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Diatoms (brown algae) aren't actually an algae and tend to be more prevalent in newly established aquaria. The major factor for green algae here would probably be the light (more powerful?) and not dosing fertilisers. If you have healthy and fast growing plants they can curb green algae. Usually the moment plants begin to suffer and dosing a bit lazy is when people see algae outbreaks in planted tanks. The general consensus is a healthy planted tank will just grow the plants.

I thought I would also mention that brown algae is seriously perplexing. If you do a Google search you'll find hundreds of conflicting reports about how it forms and how to get rid of it. There are a few aquatic plant botanists that have taken a shine to algae research, but from what I've read even they're not sure at this stage.

Edited by dan in aus
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Diatoms (brown algae) aren't actually an algae and tend to be more prevalent in newly established aquaria. The major factor for green algae here would probably be the light (more powerful?) and not dosing fertilisers. If you have healthy and fast growing plants they can curb green algae. Usually the moment plants begin to suffer and dosing a bit lazy is when people see algae outbreaks in planted tanks. The general consensus is a healthy planted tank will just grow the plants.

So the plants and Flourish in the 60 gallon are likely what is keeping the green algae out of that tank? I really wouldn't mind the green if the diatoms would just go away... and I don't understand why there are no diatoms in the 29 gallon, any ideas? :)

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So the plants and Flourish in the 60 gallon are likely what is keeping the green algae out of that tank? I really wouldn't mind the green if the diatoms would just go away... and I don't understand why there are no diatoms in the 29 gallon, any ideas? :)

My guess would be the light is more powerful and allowing it to grow. Frankly I'd rather attempt to answer the meaning of life than why some people end up with diatoms and others don't. :rofl

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Will someone please tell me where they got the information that diatoms are not algae? Algae are photosynthetic protists -- typically green, gold, brown, or red. Diatoms are photosynthetic protists, and are usually placed among the golden algae. The only people I have heard this from are aquarists. But none of them have ever explained WHY diatoms are not algae (or "true algae," whatever that is).

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Hmm, but just your biggest tank, like me? Your others don't have it? Is that your only tank with live plants, and may I ask which direction of natural light the room gets? :)

No, I get them in the other tank, too. But I don't have aquatic plants in that one...just wood. and, I just put a baby BN pleco in there, too :rofl

Edited by jmetzger72
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Will someone please tell me where they got the information that diatoms are not algae? Algae are photosynthetic protists -- typically green, gold, brown, or red. Diatoms are photosynthetic protists, and are usually placed among the golden algae. The only people I have heard this from are aquarists. But none of them have ever explained WHY diatoms are not algae (or "true algae," whatever that is).

You are correct, Sharon:
The Division Bacillariophyta, or diatoms, are algae with a distinct silica cell wall called a frustule.
Edited by jmetzger72
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Hmm, but just your biggest tank, like me? Your others don't have it? Is that your only tank with live plants, and may I ask which direction of natural light the room gets? :)

No, I get them in the other tank, too. But I don't have aquatic plants in that one...just wood. and, I just put a baby BN pleco in there, too :rofl

Well, that kills the plants idea then. How about the lighting - are your light fixtures the same? :idont

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Hmm, but just your biggest tank, like me? Your others don't have it? Is that your only tank with live plants, and may I ask which direction of natural light the room gets? :)

No, I get them in the other tank, too. But I don't have aquatic plants in that one...just wood. and, I just put a baby BN pleco in there, too :rofl

Well, that kills the plants idea then. How about the lighting - are your light fixtures the same? :idont

Yes, they are the same and both tanks get diatoms. I do believe that diatoms benefit from the silicates that can leach from new sand.

Just get a bristlenose :rofl

Edited by jmetzger72
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Hmm, but just your biggest tank, like me? Your others don't have it? Is that your only tank with live plants, and may I ask which direction of natural light the room gets? :)

No, I get them in the other tank, too. But I don't have aquatic plants in that one...just wood. and, I just put a baby BN pleco in there, too :rofl

Well, that kills the plants idea then. How about the lighting - are your light fixtures the same? :idont

Yes, they are the same and both tanks get diatoms. I do believe that diatoms benefit from the silicates that can leach from new sand.

Just get a bristlenose :rofl

I don't think you're hearing me, can't you see I'm doing everything in my power to avoid getting a pleco? :rofl

4-8" max size, is that right? :scared

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I think you must have stock in plecos :tomuch:

I am just amazed at how quickly the plecos work. I am enjoying having plants again. I was really hating how they looked and having to clean them leaf by leaf.

Edited by jmetzger72
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I know, that's the thing. :undecided: I have broken off so many leaves removing the anubias to clean them. But I can't handle leaving it looking like that. And if you're having diatoms, and Yafashelli is too, I'm afraid it's not something that will just go away either. Unless we somehow figure out the cause! :D I never had it with my old stock fluorescent bulbs, which is why I downgraded to this Aqueon light - trying to see if it's my light.

How about snails - would a snail do the trick, I might be able to manage that! ;)

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I know, that's the thing. :undecided: I have broken off so many leaves removing the anubias to clean them. But I can't handle leaving it looking like that. And if you're having diatoms, and Yafashelli is too, I'm afraid it's not something that will just go away either. Unless we somehow figure out the cause! :D I never had it with my old stock fluorescent bulbs, which is why I downgraded to this Aqueon light - trying to see if it's my light.

How about snails - would a snail do the trick, I might be able to manage that! ;)

I have Zoo Med Fluorescent plant bulbs and my Anubias are thriving. When I did a shorter photo period, the plants declined. So, I leave the lights on from about 9:00 am to 11:00pm, now.

I didn't find Nerites to be that effective. They also climbed out of the tank and they laid eggs everywhere that I had to scrub off.

Edited by jmetzger72
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