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Someone please explain this to me again


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  • Regular Member

Ok, is there a way to give me a detailed, but easy to understand explanation about what causes brown algae?

Because I am currently having bad brown algae problems again, interestingly this is happening when I have cut the fish feeding in half for the last few weeks (since I am using most of my spare time to take care of my sick dog).

So what are the factors that cause brown algae? Because it surely is not overfeeding, considered I get it now that I feed less than before.

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I've noticed that as the winter solstice approached and the sun is at it's most southern point in the sky, it is now shining in my tank in the afternoon. (which is actually across the room from the windows) Now on sunny days, I'm trying to keep the blinds a bit closed, which is crazy, considering it's cold out and the sun helps heat the house. Plus, my cats love laying in the sunshine. The things we do for our fish! I'm not even sure that sun would cause brown algae, but thought I'd throw this out there. Do you suppose that this could be happening in your house?

I have been wondering how your dog was doing? I've been thinking of both of you.......

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One good thing to remember. Your lights on your tank will fade after about 6 months. Meaning they are admiting the high amount of light. This lower light the brown algae like and will grow crazy.

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do you think there is a difference though between natural light and tank light? Because I have the same issue in my tank since moving it next to a window... the brown algae is driving me crazy!

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If you tank is in the window and not getting Green water, then I would say you have alot of Phosphates in the water. See brown algae isnt a true one, its diatoms. Little skeletons. In a case like that I would try putting in some fast growing plants to out compete the brown :thumb:

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Koko, I got the freaking huge pothos on the tank which is doing great! And the lights are old. I mean, OLD. Significantly older than 6 months. I got them used in September 2010 and never changed them since the tank has no live plants. I had bad brown algae like this before, it was around very early this year.

Now I do wonder if it additionally has to do with the season and light? Similar to kaytee, I am now getting some more light in my living room. In the morning hours the light doesn't shine directly in the tank, but it still gets a lot more indirect sunlight than during the rest of the year.

What else besides phosphates and crappy light is needed for brown algae? And how do I get rid of it, besides plants? Or do I have to keep scrubbing? I just cleaned this tank on Monday, and today it was covered in brown algae already. I'm happy it doesn't grow on the TMS, but it grows on the black river rocks. I'll have to remove them, they are impossible to keep clean in the tank right now.

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Brown algae usually crops up in new tanks or older tanks that have had a disturbance. A disturbance can be considered something as small as adding or removing one fish or something large, like adding or removing gravel. It can take a while for your tank to level out again.

My angelfish tank was overtaken by brown algae when I replaced the gravel. I bought a new light system with 2x the wattage and the brown algae was gone in a week.

Sent from my DROID2 using Tapatalk

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  • Admin

Well you could try blocking off the natural light coming in since the light coming now in the USA is pretty dull. :(

I would also change the lights.

Are you feeding any plant food hun?

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Hmmm. The only recent things added was the TMS and then a bit longer ago the pothos. Interestingly for the very first time I am also getting small patches of GREEN algae. I'm not talking about cyanobacteria (which is actually growing on the air line to the bubble wand), but two real green algae patches of about 3-4" in diameter. I am carefully scrubbing around these :D

EDIT: Nope, no plant food at all!

Edited by Oerba Yun Fang
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Not so much a PITA really. It's easy, but it's annoying to know that in 24 hours I will already see the first ugly brown spots in this tank. And it's only this one tank. I barely get any brown algae at all in any of my other setups.

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So Kokos you would recommend upping the tank lights???? I am looking into brighter lights on my tank as I feel the ones that came with it are too dim for fish viewing. What do you recommend?

Oh and Ashlee too :) What lights did you change to?

Edited by molbert73
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I am also having a terrible diatom problem in my 100 G planted tank. I my case, it started when I added the fish (3 in there now--there were 5 until two went into QT last week). When I had just plants in there (after fishless cycling), I had no problem. So, I guess the fish affected, and maybe the light, too. I have a 4' T5 light system with two bulbs and I had it on for 12 hours a day (there is no natural light that gets to this tank to speak of). I cut it back to 9 hours a day and it is not quite as bad (could be the tank balancing better, could be the lesser amount of light), but I am still getting it. I also found it was heavier in the part of my tank that did not have the eheim intake, where there was less water flow around the plants, when I just had teh one 2217 set up. I have now got the other canister up, too, so there is an intake in each back corner. Once I wipe off the plants again this weekend, maybe it will be better.

I am going to buy some nerite snails this weekend as they apparently eat the stuff. I wanted the horned ones, as they are smaller so can clean smaller leaves, but apparently they can injure curious goldies with their spikes--is that true??

I also heard that diatoms bloom where there are silicates in the water, but if you did not change your water sourse, and have plants using up the phosphates, seems it probably is the light or some other change in the tank conditions. When I had brown diatoms in my old tank where I used to live (no plants, no regular lighting, but I got some diatoms every week for two years, not too heavy, but ever-present) I think it was the silicates in the water there. I used Phosban for phosphate control, but it did not really make a difference in that case.

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So Kokos you would recommend upping the tank lights???? I am looking into brighter lights on my tank as I feel the ones that came with it are too dim for fish viewing. What do you recommend?

Oh and Ashlee too :) What lights did you change to?

Mars upgraded her lights, got the lights for a Planted tank and now Well she has green water :lol

I would say the first thing to fix is the lights. Im getting brown in the back now cause the lights on the back of my tank are a year old. The ones in the front are 3 months old, and i got green on the front of the tank :lol

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Sucks. I'd really hate to upgrade, because I'll probably have to get all new light fixtures. I only got two 18watt T8 bulbs fixtures on this tank. I am not sure if I want to spend all that money just to get rid of the brown algae, especially since I don't need new lights to see the fish. Pffffffffft.....

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Ok depending on your tank size, you will need to figure our how many watts you want. i got this light to go with the Reg Floresent lights that came with the tank. This light was pretty cheep and WOW its bright :thumb: Oh and very flat, just make sure you have a glass lid or something to keep the water from getting in :thumb:

http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=11248153&lmdn=Fish

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I saw that one at my store, but it's STILL $ 90 for a 48 inch tank, and then I need to additionally buy glass lids, which my Petsmart does't even carry. That would be $ 36.

And then replacing the two bulbs twice a year costs an additional $ 40. That would be a total of $ 126 plus tax to change the fixture, and then an additional $ 80 each year for bulbs.

I would rather do that on my planted tropical tank so I could give the live plants better lighting.

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Long sentence is long! :D

At least one of the lights on my planted tank technically needs replaced already! :rofl I need to move these tanks into direct sunlight :rofl

EDIT: Maybe I should arrange some mirrors in my living room to reflect the sunlight right into the tanks! You know, like in the movie Legend HAHAHA

Edited by Oerba Yun Fang
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