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Brown Algae?


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This is not about my goldfish tank but the tropical tank. As it is not a problem with the fish themselves I think it is better to post it here.

Anyway, over the last few weeks I noticed that the gravel in the tropical tank seems to turn tan-ish. I wasn't sure if it really did as I remember that the gravel in the goldi tank - the same type gravel - started to change color too, the white coating just rubbed off over time. But now I notice that this golden brown tint shows up on the ornaments and part of the glass too. On the glass only on the seams from the silicone. It doesn't look as fuzzy as green algae growing, but it sure is not pretty and I don't know if it is good or bad for the fish.

I would take a photo but the battery just died on me, so I first have to charge the battery before I can take a photo of it.

So what is it and what can or should I do? And how does it come anyway? The water params are decent, 0/0/10, temperature about 75.

20 gallons with 1 angelfish, 2 platys, 2 dwarf gouramis and 1 rubberlip pleco, a bunch of plants, mainly amazon swords.

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Oh and my hubby got those fish for about 2 months now. The tank was previously used for the goldfish, but I used most of the filter media for the big goldi tank and seeded the media for the tropical tank.

A few days ago I had to remove the old media though as it was disgusting and falling apart. I didn't know this material (an empty cartridge from the original filter, not the filter floss that I am using in my goldi tank) would disintegrate within 2 months, so I had to take it out completely and start all over with new fresh media and nutrafin cycle.

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Yes and no. Seems similar but in my case it is a golden brown, almost like a very dark yellow.

Here are some photos. I can't even see any fuzziness to it as you see it with green algae growing. It almost looks STAINED. It also only shows where light is. The gravel under the big cave looks fine, and it also is interesting how it does not show up on the sides of the cave but only where it can lay "on top" if that makes any sense.

BrownAlgae01.jpg

BrownAlgae02.jpg

BrownAlgae03.jpg

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yeah.. that's pretty much how it starts and then it turns brown.. everyone pretty much gets it.. my white stones show to have the same as yours..

i have questioned this before.. i was told that unless i want to use algae fix or something of that nature, it won't go away.. so i tried algae fix, the recommended dosage and i found that it affected the slime coat of my goldfish.. so i stopped using it..

now, every few months, i collect my white stones and i just scrub them. i also take the annibus out and scrub the leaves too.. it is the only way, without chemical to get rid of it..

others say, reduce the amount of time you have your overhead lights on. or, keep the blinds closed if you have the tank near the window..

that's all i got for ya fang.. perhaps someone else may know more and post here for you.

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Maybe I'll keep the lights off for a while. The room is quite bright half of the day, even with the blinds closed (like white blinds keep out light when the sun shines right on them.... ).

So it is not harmful for the fish? Is it a kind that the rubberlip pleco will feast on? If so, he got quite a buffet there.

Should I temporarily move my common pleco in the tank for a couple days? I know that might be kind of tight since she is about 6 inches long, but she is - so far - a very friendly fish. Never bothered the goldis, keeps my other tank completely clean of any kind of algae.

She could help out cleaning most of it out of the smaller tank and then move back in with the goldis? I guess?

Can the brown algae be caused by overfeeding? My hubby takes care of feeding his tropicals (which is actually ALL he does for his tropical fish LMAO ) and I never had brown algae in my goldi tank, although they get the same amount of light.

Edited by Oerba Yun Fang
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not sure if it's caused by over feeding.. but it's definately NOT harmful for the fish at all.. well in all my experiences with it..

re the peclo.. if he's never caused a problem, i wouldn't bother moving him (unless you're overstocked).. i have never owned a pelco as i don't believe they mix well with goldfish.. the only advice i have on it, is if one of your fish shows weak or ill, i would remove him immediately.. they take advantage of weak fish and strike at night time.. by morning it's most likey too late.

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Yeah, I read that. He'd have to move in with the tropicals temporarily if something like that would happen.

But I was just thinking about having him in the 20 gallons temporarily for a couple of days now so he can clean up some of the brown algae.

It just gets me that when I do a water change in hubby's tropical tank there is so much more waste in it than when the goldis lived in there, so I wonder if he feeds them too much. Then again not even I know how much to really feed them. I try to keep it low.

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I find that these diatoms (they are commonly called brown algae, but they are actually diatoms) happen in a tank that is about 1-2 months old. In my tanks the brown algae will stick around anywhere from a week to a few weeks, and then be gradually replaced by green algae.

Other people tend to struggle with the brown constantly. I'm not sure why, but for some reason it's normally replaced by green algae in my tanks. If you have a plant food like flourish excel you can try adding that. It will encourage the growth of green algae which will hopefully out-compete the diatoms. I've been dosing my tank with Excel because of the few anubias I have and I swear it's also helping the green algae to grow :) (not green water algae, just on the rocks)

P.S. I did a little searching and found this:

http://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums/f12/do-plecos-eat-brown-algae-65380.html

Apparently plecos don't eat brown algae, but otocinclus catfish do. You could look into getting a few of those for your tropical tank.

Edited by Sakura
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Thanks Sakura! I might try this. Well, with the tank being maybe 2 months old with this new setup (I started more or less uncycled as mentioned in the first post) this might be the case. I think I see the platys picking on it right now, but I got the tank light turned off so I am not 100% sure about what they are doing on the side of the cave right now.

So if Excel will help green algae grow on rocks, could I theoretically add a bit in my unplanted goldfish tank to get more green algae as food for the pleco? Not sure if it is necessary though as the river rocks offer a lot of surface for algae to grow. Every bi weekly water change I keep turning some of the over so the pleco can get the algae off the other side. Although he likes trying to get at it himself and upside-downs himself to get as far under the river rocks as possible.

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I edited my last post to share a link with you- make sure you check that out :) It was about otos eating the diatoms.

Yeah I think you could add it to the goldfish tank. I haven't done a full dose because I don't have that many plants. I think I just did like 3 capfuls when it called for 5. Something like that. I was just nervous about doing a full dose plus I didn't think it was necessary. So I think you could do that.

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Nice idea with the otos, but I don't want to overstock this tank. Right now everything goes perfectly fine in there and otos... I think Lupin said you need at least 3 of them as they live in groups. Maybe I remember it wrong. Right now the 20 gallon tank has 6 fish all together, adding 3 more...? Especially considered it is not my tank and - not trying to be mean - I do the entire maintenance of my hubbies tank. Having my goldi tank a bit over stocked but taking double care of them is MY problem, taking double care of HIS tank... you know?

As said in the "HOW MUCH FOOD TO THEY NEED" thread I just opened, his tank is kind of a mess already. In comparision there is at least 3 to 4 times more waste in his tank than in my goldi tank when I gravel vac because he apparently feeds too much.

One thing that makes me wonder though is this as reasons for brown algae:

Inadequate light - I got the tank lights on for 12 hours a day plus the room is very bright as it has 3 large windows and we get direct sunlight most of the day

<li>Low oxygen levels Brown algae is a common occurrence in a newly set up aquarium. It is generally caused by too little light, an excess of silicates, an abundance of nutrients, and too little oxygen. - partly planted tank with 6 fish in 20 gallons and a 10 inch bubble wand is low in oxygen? :huh:

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I am glad you asked this, I noticed it in my 6 month old 55 gallon tank too. It just appeared suddenly in the past few weeks. I have a similar tank ornament and the brown stuff is just like yours, only on certain surfaces instead of all over. It's also on the front glass. And I also question the light thing... I live in sunny south Florida and the tank is in a room with a 3 panel wide glass door and another huge window that goes up to the second story ceiling. I had to buy an $80 folding panel to put up in the afternoons during summer because the sun shone directly into the tank as it was going down. It's not shining straight in this time of year though.

I'm concerned about too much silicates and too little oxygen parts though. The tank does have 2 air stones and a pump that is rated for up to an 80/gallon tank. How would you know if your tank had too many silicates or too little oxygen? Aside from the fish dying, of course.

I suspect I might be overfeeding all my fish. I've had fish off and on for years and frankly I still have no clue if I'm starving them or stuffing them most of the time.

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