Jump to content

Brown Algae-trying to diagnose cause


Josie

Recommended Posts

  • Regular Member

Hey everyone.  Sorry, I know this is a super common problem, but I am hoping to find help in determining what the cause might be specific to my aquarium.  Here's the deal.  I have three tanks, all set up around the same time (within the last 6 weeks).

 

-60 gallon with 3 small goldfish, 10 nerites, 1 mystery snail, lights are a 36" marineland double bright LED and 2 hidden 21" marineland LEDs

-10 gallon tropical tank with 1 molly, 4 platys, 5 neon tetras, 2 nerites, lighting is a 18" marineland LED and a 17" hidden LED

-2.5 gallon betta with 1 nerite, lighting is a mini marineland LED

 

So all tanks have basically the same lighting, the same number of snails per gallon (roughly) and all are heavily planted.  The only tank with the brown diatoms is the goldfish tank though.  The other two are sparkly clean all the time.  The goldfish tank has quite a lot of brown algae.  I do a large (75%) WC weekly, where I scrub the glass and wipe off all the plant leaves and the filter intakes.  Within a few days the diatoms are back!  The parameters of this tank are usually as follows:

 

Ammonia=0

Nitrite=0

Nitrate=5 or less

KH=150ppm

pH=8.2

Lights stay on 11-12 hours per day (same in all tanks)

 

I am trying to figure out what is different about the goldfish tank that might be causing the diatoms.  The only real difference I can think of is that the lights are higher since the tank is taller, so it is probably considered lower light even though it has the same lights as the other two tanks.  I know most new tanks get brown diatoms, but I just want to know why only one of mine does.  Does anyone have any thoughts?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

This is just a suggestion, I would reduce the lighting to 8-10 hours a day instead of the 11-12 and see if that helps at all.

Personally, I don't think a tank ever needs 10 nerites. Is there a reason you have that many? Is there a way you would possibly be able to get it down to 3? Maybe 4 at most? All those snails (2.5 gallons each) tank up 25 gallons of water. And then the goldfish now only have 12 gallons per fish. How big are the goldfish?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

This is just a suggestion, I would reduce the lighting to 8-10 hours a day instead of the 11-12 and see if that helps at all.

Personally, I don't think a tank ever needs 10 nerites. Is there a reason you have that many? Is there a way you would possibly be able to get it down to 3? Maybe 4 at most? All those snails (2.5 gallons each) tank up 25 gallons of water. And then the goldfish now only have 12 gallons per fish. How big are the goldfish?

The goldfish are about 3" each.  I have a lot of snails because I like them, and I was going by what aqadvisor said.  I could give the snails their own tank.  So if I have the lights on too long then why don't the other tanks have algae???  I have also heard not to reduce your photo period for brown diatoms since they thrive in low light environments.

Edited by Josie
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

This is just a suggestion, I would reduce the lighting to 8-10 hours a day instead of the 11-12 and see if that helps at all.

Personally, I don't think a tank ever needs 10 nerites. Is there a reason you have that many? Is there a way you would possibly be able to get it down to 3? Maybe 4 at most? All those snails (2.5 gallons each) tank up 25 gallons of water. And then the goldfish now only have 12 gallons per fish. How big are the goldfish?

The goldfish are about 3" each. I have a lot of snails because I like them, and I was going by what aqadvisor said. I could give the snails their own tank. So if I have the lights on too long then why don't the other tanks have algae??? I have also heard not to reduce your photo period for brown diatoms since they thrive in low light environments.
how heavily planted are you? I can't see 5ppm nitrates being possible with that much of a bio load. How are you testing it?

I don't like going by online calculation websites. They can't determine the bio load fish/snails will produce.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

Maybe the intensity of the double bright LED?  I had a similar problem in my 55 gallon goldfish tank and tried all kinds of stuff.  Getting 2 Female Bristlenose Plecos solved it completely within one week of adding them :)

 

If you get a Bristlenose, remove the snails to keep the bioload acceptable.  Females are more docile whereas males may fight with other male Plecos (not Goldfish) for territory.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

 

 

This is just a suggestion, I would reduce the lighting to 8-10 hours a day instead of the 11-12 and see if that helps at all.

Personally, I don't think a tank ever needs 10 nerites. Is there a reason you have that many? Is there a way you would possibly be able to get it down to 3? Maybe 4 at most? All those snails (2.5 gallons each) tank up 25 gallons of water. And then the goldfish now only have 12 gallons per fish. How big are the goldfish?

The goldfish are about 3" each. I have a lot of snails because I like them, and I was going by what aqadvisor said. I could give the snails their own tank. So if I have the lights on too long then why don't the other tanks have algae??? I have also heard not to reduce your photo period for brown diatoms since they thrive in low light environments.
how heavily planted are you? I can't see 5ppm nitrates being possible with that much of a bio load. How are you testing it?

I don't like going by online calculation websites. They can't determine the bio load fish/snails will produce.

 

I use API drops and my Nitrates are not higher than 5 ever.  I used to have more fish in there and then they would get to about 10 ppm.  Here is a picture from after the WC last week.

 

 

KKdf0of.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

Maybe the intensity of the double bright LED?  I had a similar problem in my 55 gallon goldfish tank and tried all kinds of stuff.  Getting 2 Female Bristlenose Plecos solved it completely within one week of adding them :)

 

If you get a Bristlenose, remove the snails to keep the bioload acceptable.  Females are more docile whereas males may fight with other male Plecos (not Goldfish) for territory.

Ok, I didn't realize that the double brights were actually brighter LOL.  The brightness looks about the same to me, but I know a lot of it is probably light that may not be in the visible spectrum.  The other difference I realized was that the goldfish tank does not have a cover, so maybe the covers on the other tanks filter out some of the light?

 

I had a tiny BN but it died during QT, I am not sure why.  If I can't solve the problem I may consider what you said-switching out the snails for a pair of BNs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

I have diatoms bloom when new sand is introduced or a new tank. They thrive off silicates found in new aquarium silicone and in sand. Phosphates can also be a big contributor which happens when you are either overstocked, overfeeding, under filtering, under cleaning, or have a natural presence in the tap. It can also come from foods high in phosphates.

If the tank or sand is young, that might be your cause. I'm going through it with my tank which is a newly upgraded 75 with additional new sand. Diatoms are super excited to have new silicates.... Unsightly but I just keep it off my plants leaves I allow for proper light absorption. It's not harming anything.

Just wipe it down before each water change and drain it all out.

Stock properly and clean your filters monthly (this is just my opinion on how often to clean even canisters. I don't really wish to debate it...)

Edited by Chai
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

I have diatoms bloom when new sand is introduced or a new tank. They thrive off silicates found in new aquarium silicone and in sand. Phosphates can also be a big contributor which happens when you are either overstocked, overfeeding, under filtering, under cleaning, or have a natural presence in the tap.

If the tank or sand is young, that might be your cause. I'm going through it with my tank which is a newly upgraded 75 with additional new sand. Diatoms are super excited to have new silicates.... Unsightly but I just keep it off my plants leaves I allow for proper light absorption. It's not harming anything.

Just wipe it down before each water change and drain it all out.

See, that is what I thought but the sand in all three tanks is exactly the same, and all of it is new.  So maybe I should just be happy that the other two tanks don't have brown diatoms and stop complaining about the goldfish tank LOL  :rofl

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

I just rechecked the parameters and they were Ammonia-0 Nitrite-0 Nitrate<5 pH-8.2  I even opened a brand new Nitrate test kit to confirm.  Is it bad that I have so many snails?  I thought since my parameters were fine that it was okay...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

Why can't aqadvisor determine the bioload that fish and snails will produce?  Is it because the person who wrote the program had a different opinion of how much space a goldfish or snail needs?  If a person were to make a rigid statement that all fancy goldfish require 20 gallons per fish, and all nerites require 2.5 gallons of water per snail, no exceptions, why is that different than the same type of rigid calculation a computer program can make?  I understand the x gallons per fish/snail as a general rule of thumb, but unfortunately many of the people who are advocates of these types of rules do not adhere to them.  I was under the impression that being overstocked meant that your water parameters were not able to be maintained at safe levels.  Sorry, I don't mean to get defensive or pick on anyone, but I get a little frustrated at how the word "overstocked" gets thrown around so often.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

 

Maybe the intensity of the double bright LED?  I had a similar problem in my 55 gallon goldfish tank and tried all kinds of stuff.  Getting 2 Female Bristlenose Plecos solved it completely within one week of adding them :)

 

If you get a Bristlenose, remove the snails to keep the bioload acceptable.  Females are more docile whereas males may fight with other male Plecos (not Goldfish) for territory.

Ok, I didn't realize that the double brights were actually brighter LOL.  The brightness looks about the same to me, but I know a lot of it is probably light that may not be in the visible spectrum.  The other difference I realized was that the goldfish tank does not have a cover, so maybe the covers on the other tanks filter out some of the light?

 

I had a tiny BN but it died during QT, I am not sure why.  If I can't solve the problem I may consider what you said-switching out the snails for a pair of BNs.

 

I think the problem will diminish as the tank ages.

 

New sand releases a lot of silicates which leads to more diatoms.  There are silicate reducing compounds available, but they have received mixed reviews.

 

Some people manage diatoms by reducing/changing their photo period.  I like having my lights on for a long time (12+ hours), so I use BN Plecos to manage the algae.  I didn't find Nerites to be that effective.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

Why can't aqadvisor determine the bioload that fish and snails will produce?  Is it because the person who wrote the program had a different opinion of how much space a goldfish or snail needs?  If a person were to make a rigid statement that all fancy goldfish require 20 gallons per fish, and all nerites require 2.5 gallons of water per snail, no exceptions, why is that different than the same type of rigid calculation a computer program can make?  I understand the x gallons per fish/snail as a general rule of thumb, but unfortunately many of the people who are advocates of these types of rules do not adhere to them.  I was under the impression that being overstocked meant that your water parameters were not able to be maintained at safe levels.  Sorry, I don't mean to get defensive or pick on anyone, but I get a little frustrated at how the word "overstocked" gets thrown around so often.

The 15-20 gallon recommendation is intended to provide adequate space and bioload consideration for the fish once they reach adulthood.  This saves people from having to upgrade tanks and equipment, rehome fish or uphold an exhaustive maintenance schedule.  Someone may start with great water parameters with 5 small fish in a 55 gallon and then be surprised when they experience problems once the fish grow into monsters :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

 

Why can't aqadvisor determine the bioload that fish and snails will produce?  Is it because the person who wrote the program had a different opinion of how much space a goldfish or snail needs?  If a person were to make a rigid statement that all fancy goldfish require 20 gallons per fish, and all nerites require 2.5 gallons of water per snail, no exceptions, why is that different than the same type of rigid calculation a computer program can make?  I understand the x gallons per fish/snail as a general rule of thumb, but unfortunately many of the people who are advocates of these types of rules do not adhere to them.  I was under the impression that being overstocked meant that your water parameters were not able to be maintained at safe levels.  Sorry, I don't mean to get defensive or pick on anyone, but I get a little frustrated at how the word "overstocked" gets thrown around so often.

The 15-20 gallon recommendation is intended to provide adequate space and bioload consideration for the fish once they reach adulthood.  This saves people from having to upgrade tanks and equipment, rehome fish or uphold an exhaustive maintenance schedule once the fish are large.  Someone may start with great water parameters with 5 small fish in a 55 gallon and then be surprised when they experience problems once the fish grow into monsters :)

 

Right, but it is exactly the same type of function that a website like AqAdvisor is programmed to do.  Just saying.  Obviously the person who created AqAdvisor just may have had a different opinion about how many gallons a nerite snail needs.  It doesn't mean that the website can't determine bioload, it just means that there are differing opinions on how many gallons you need per species, which could be argued is an arbitrary number anyways, since there are so many factors a simple function like f(x)=c*x (which is essentially the function used for any "gallons per fish" calculation) does not take into consideration.  Either way, my nitrates are very low, so I feel that at least for the time being my stocking level is acceptable :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

The calculator does not calculate the amount of food fed and what kind, which is a heavy contributor to bioload. I find calculators useless because they don't take things like that into account. I'd rather listen to the advice given on here, which has 10+ years of hundreds of people combining experience to back it up vs. a simple math problem any day. 

 

As far as the 'experts' go that overstock, they also have exhaustive maintenance schedules to go with that overstocking. This is how they can maintain it over long periods. I've been in plenty of fishrooms enough to know that that kind of thing gets really expensive and laborious really quickly. I don't envy them. 

 

10 nerites create quite a bit more waste than is visible. While they're very entertaining to look at, you're keeping quite a bit of bioload in one tank. I know this from experience: the 2.5 gallons per snail thing has basis in reality. I've QT'd 10 nerites in a 5 gallon bowl before... two to three times daily WCs were a must even with light feeding. And since they're noshing away at Diatoms in your tank, I'd go so far as to say they're probably eating 10x what I was feeding mine in QT. I can't imagine what the mound of crap they produce in a day looks like.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

Why can't aqadvisor determine the bioload that fish and snails will produce?  Is it because the person who wrote the program had a different opinion of how much space a goldfish or snail needs?  If a person were to make a rigid statement that all fancy goldfish require 20 gallons per fish, and all nerites require 2.5 gallons of water per snail, no exceptions, why is that different than the same type of rigid calculation a computer program can make?  I understand the x gallons per fish/snail as a general rule of thumb, but unfortunately many of the people who are advocates of these types of rules do not adhere to them.  I was under the impression that being overstocked meant that your water parameters were not able to be maintained at safe levels.  Sorry, I don't mean to get defensive or pick on anyone, but I get a little frustrated at how the word "overstocked" gets thrown around so often.

The 15-20 gallon recommendation is intended to provide adequate space and bioload consideration for the fish once they reach adulthood.  This saves people from having to upgrade tanks and equipment, rehome fish or uphold an exhaustive maintenance schedule once the fish are large.  Someone may start with great water parameters with 5 small fish in a 55 gallon and then be surprised when they experience problems once the fish grow into monsters :)

Right, but it is exactly the same type of function that a website like AqAdvisor is programmed to do.  Just saying.  Obviously the person who created AqAdvisor just may have had a different opinion about how many gallons a nerite snail needs.  It doesn't mean that the website can't determine bioload, it just means that there are differing opinions on how many gallons you need per species, which could be argued is an arbitrary number anyways, since there are so many factors a simple function like f(x)=c*x (which is essentially the function used for any "gallons per fish" calculation) does not take into consideration.  Either way, my nitrates are very low, so I feel that at least for the time being my stocking level is acceptable :)

I think defining the gallons/fish/snails is all subjective.

You will get difference of opinions depending on the person you ask.

Most will base it on personal experience.

If you prefer one guideline over the other, I personally think there is nothing wrong with that.

Only becomes an issue if the guidelines you set aren't working for you in some way, like this brown algae.

When that happens to me, maybe try a different method.

...the bn plecos Jared suggested to replace the snails might work.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

Well I will just say agree to disagree for now on the snails.  As long as my parameters are fine I will keep them.  If the parameters get out of control I have a spare 29 gallon tank I could move the snails to.   For now I will lower my photoperiod to 8-9 hours.  If I don't have success I may consider trading my snails for a BN :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

Well I will just say agree to disagree for now on the snails.  As long as my parameters are fine I will keep them.  If the parameters get out of control I have a spare 29 gallon tank I could move the snails to.   For now I will lower my photoperiod to 8-9 hours.  If I don't have success I may consider trading my snails for a BN :)

Sounds like a good plan :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

Well I lowered the photoperiod and it has already made a big difference, I don't notice any new algae forming.  I gave away two of the snails, which means I still have 8.  Some of my tropicals had babies, so in the near future I will be rehoming them and I may include some of the nerites with the platys that I give away.  Thanks to everyone who gave me input even if it was not the type of input I wanted to hear :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...