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Is There Nothing To Be Done About Brown Algae?


fredct

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Short of planting or chemicals that is...

I've tried to read various threads on here and on other sites, but it seems to me the most advice rounds out to 'its common in newer tanks and hopefully will go away'. This is the first time we've had a glass tank - its been set up for just over a month now - and I've read that brown algae is more common in glass since silicates apparently help it grow.

The nitrates have been < 10 for quite a while, amm & nitrite at 0. pH is ~7.4, GH at 120-150, KH at ~80, give or take. It gets about 12 hours of light per day from a 20W (?) flourescent and water comes from an occassionally open verticle blinds and the lights we have on when we're home - but not a lot of light beyond the tank bulb.

Some articles say less light, some say more - I'm tending to believe that more is actually better, since that promotes green algae growth, which takes the resources brown algae needs. But that's not so great, cause I don't really want green algae either!

Its not like we have epidemic levels or anything - nor is algae a bad thing for fish anyway, right? - but its pretty ugly, its on many of the riverrocks, and the growth on the glass seems to be increasing. With the weekly water changes I've been using the magenetic glass cleaner to wipe off the glass, and taking out and rinsing off the dozen or so worst looking rocks.

Is there anything to do or should I just be hoping that after any excess silicates leave the glass, it will eventually go away?

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If I recollect correctly (that's a mouthful!), there's nothing that can be done about brown algae, other than scraping it off when it gets too thick/bothersome. The bottom feeders won't eat it unless it's green (also, if I remember correctly), so there's really no way to get rid of it "naturally".

I noticed direct sunlight excells it in my 5 gallon tank (it gets window sun a few hours a day), but I only get it in my 55 on the back wall. I just let it grow until it gets too much...which can take a very long time. I don't think it does any harm in small quantities.

What I don't know, is if brown algae turns into green algae.....again, I don't think so. I believe they are two different types.

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I have 4 - 5 different types of algae in my tank!! its a nightmare. I have green, brown, bush, hair. . . lol

The brown doesnt chnage to green in my tank, it takes over more ften than not. I have to clean the glass 2-3 times per week. With the bush algae I have to use a plastic scraper to get it off.

It is a pain, I was told Phosphates can make a big difference. I know I have high phosphates, so this doesnt help. I dont like using chemicals in my tank either, I just stick to cleaning the glass when it gets annoying. Although it was quite dirty yesterday, and some firemen came round to fix our smoke alarms and they came to admire the tank and commented that they liked the algae and it still looked clean!! lol. You cant win.

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As far as brown algae goes - yes - there are lots of ways you can reduce or eliminate the brown stuff - but mostly they are more work/expensive/dangerous than simply wiping it away.

Brown algae, unlike its "better" cousin, green, is VERY easy to wipe away. Much of it will literally brush away with the slightest touch. It is easy to remove, thank goodness.

You can have less light - but..... that will not do it all. You can have more light and have green instead, but if you do not like the look of a green fuzzy tank and/or do not want "green water", that is most likely not the way to go. The green algae can be exceedingly difficult to scrape off of tank sides and equipment.

I just swish a dedicated piece of floss pad around the tank each time I clean. The brown stuff swishes away with little problem ..... and usually only collects in corners and such between cleanings.

It is not a big deal, but is certainly unsightly!

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Brown algae, unlike its "better" cousin, green, is VERY easy to wipe away. Much of it will literally brush away with the slightest touch. It is easy to remove, thank goodness.

Agreed, its very easy to wipe away. Its just that its alright a bit difficult to have the time for water testing, water changes, and feedings in our already busy lives. Brown algae cleaning is yet one more thing! I will most certainly do it, but if there was a better option, I'd take it.

You can have less light - but..... that will not do it all. You can have more light and have green instead, but if you do not like the look of a green fuzzy tank and/or do not want "green water", that is most likely not the way to go.

Thanks for confirming my understanding.

As far as brown algae goes - yes - there are lots of ways you can reduce or eliminate the brown stuff - but mostly they are more work/expensive/dangerous than simply wiping it away.

Could you run down the other options, just so I can knowingly make a decision whether or not to embark upon any?

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Brown algae tends to favour low level light as far as I remember - This means low wattage p/gal.

You could try

(a) increasing the strength of the tubes and decreasing the the length of the photo period. I'd say 12 hours is quite long. I try to keep it at around 8.

(b) get yourself a mag-float - you can whip around the glass in no time and not even get your hands wet!

Perhaps this might help.

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Brown algae tends to favour low level light as far as I remember - This means low wattage p/gal.

You could try

(a) increasing the strength of the tubes and decreasing the the length of the photo period. I'd say 12 hours is quite long. I try to keep it at around 8.

(b) get yourself a mag-float - you can whip around the glass in no time and not even get your hands wet!

Perhaps this might help.

I do have a mag-float! It makes the scraping off the glass much easier, but it also grows on the cannister filter, the intake tube of the HOB filter, and, most notibly and annoying to clean, the riverrocks.

On the bright side, I've been reading up, and my measurements confirm, that it seems to keep the nitrates down. In a week they've gone from ~7 ppm to maybe 9.

Although for now I guess I'll keep up with the weekly water changes and weekly or semi-weekly glass/some rock cleanings, and hopefully the silicates will drop over time, we'll see.

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