Attack of the Brown Algae!!!

  1. iLikeFish0918 Member Member

    Hey everyone, i need your help!!!

    In what seems like over night, most of centerpiece coral decor, the top of the substrate, and fake plants have been swallowed up by brown algae. I had noticed traces of it a week, two tops, ago.

    What can i do?!?!

    To help you, help me, i have provided some hopefully helpful information:

    I started my tank of 2/09 with TSS. It was cycled after the two week period. Its been running just over four weeks now. I have read brown algae is a common occurrance in newly established tanks and will go away in time. Well, if this is the case, how long do i wait for it to go away before i have to take action??

    My tank houses 5 Glofish, 5 Black Skirt Tetra, 2 Mollies, a few Ghost shrimp, and a Mystery snail. My mollies are always picking at the decor and substrate for food and my snail has been active, but i doubt it will be enugh to get rid of the algae.

    The water parameters are as follows; 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, and 15-20 nitrates. I read high levels of nitrates can cause brown algea or diatoms. My weekly water change is scheduled for tuesday. I change 25% every week to keep nitrates at around 15-20 ppm.

    I use LED lighting. Daylight and nightlight options. I usually leave the day light on for roughly 10-12 hours and the night light for about 2 hours before completely turning the lights out. I have read lighting can also be the cause for brown algae growth.

    With all that being said, what can i do?

    If you need anymore information, i would more than happy to supply it for you.

    Thank you!!!

    Pee dot ess; the tank is in the corner of my room and gets no direct sunlight, just the tank light.

    Sigh, all the algae makes my tank look dark... =[
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Wendy Lubianetsky Well Known Member Member

    Brown Algae is usually a sign of a newly cycled tank. As soon as the tank ages the brown algae goes away and green algaes grow. You can take the decorations out and dip them in a 10% bleach solution . make sure all the algae is dead and gone rinse thoroughly and replace in tank. If you plant other things in the tank it takes the nutrients away from growing algae. Make sure you do plenty of water changes to keep the nutrients down in the water (nitrates for the algae. Good luck getting totally rid of it, I had to do the same thing today.
     

  3. Lexi03 Well Known Member Member

    Sounds like diatoms, they're common in new tanks, and will usually go away on their own with time.
     
  4. AlyeskaGirl Fishlore VIP Member

    Diatoms can show up in tanks up to a year old.

    Wipe some of it away, leave some, Extra water changes, gravel vacs will help but will go away on its own. Needs to run its course. Tank needs to mature. I know it's ugly. Be patient.

    Increasing light intensity sometimes makes it go away.
     

  5. iLikeFish0918 Member Member

    I dont think i can increase light intesity without buying a new light fixture. =[

    I am a busy college student, instead of extra water changes, would a larger water change help?

    I think i shall clean off the decor...its so unsightly, i hate it.

    But if it is in my best interest to leave well enough alone, i will...
     
  6. catsma_97504 Fishlore Legend Member

    Diatoms typically go away on their own in a month or two.

    As you have minimal algae eaters, I recommend picking up a couple of nerite snails. They are great algae eaters!

    Also, in a fish only tank, you need much less lighting. Try cutting the lights back to 4-6 hours. It might slow down the diatoms as well.

    :;fMoving thread from the Freshwater Beginners forum to the Aquarium Water/Algae forum
     
  7. iLikeFish0918 Member Member

    Hmm Netrite snails? They dont sell them at Petsmart, any ideas on where i can get them? Also im worries about population control with them??

    And i will most definitely cut back on the lights. I did realize always wanting to see my tank would do this!!!! Anything to get my pretty tank back!!
     

  8. Wendy Lubianetsky Well Known Member Member

    What I meant by brown algae was diatoms.... I am sorry I used the wrong term. http://saltaquarium.about.com/cs/algaecontrol/a/aa091100.htm (this also applies to fresh water).:;rocker

    Try this website. It does say that diatoms are prevelant in newly clyced or cycling tanks and that as the tank ages it will go away. The major reasons for diatoms is light and food, Kinda what we all need. Over lighting your tank will increase the growth and so will improper or high nitrate content in your water. Also phosphates in unfiltered tap water feed them, but I am not going to process all the water when I am doing huge water changes every day for my Oscar.:;dogrun
     
  9. catsma_97504 Fishlore Legend Member

    The beauty of nerite snails is that they are unable to reproduce in a saltwater tank! So no worries about a population explosion. And, they are excellent algae eaters.

    You'll need to call around asking for nerite snails. Even call local saltwater shops. Just acclimate them to freshwater and you are set.

    Lack of light will always slow down diatoms. You could even go so far as to cover your tank for 3 days before your next water change.

    Saltwater and freshwater algaes are not the same, nor are the common causes the same. There is no documentation I've seen stating that high nitrates or high phosphates can cause algae. That about.com article you are referring to contains more myths than truths in regards in how to deal with algae. This site is not a good reference in my opinion. It recommends switching over to RO/DI water. While this is valid for a saltwater tank, doing so will kill the fish as the water chemistry is completely different from tap water.

    Bottom line, all algae forms are caused by an imbalance between lighting and nutrients. The rules are completely different in a fish only tank as well as in a planted tank. Further, if phosphates or high nitrates caused algae, my 125G tank should be completely over run! And in 9 months I have yet found any algae needing to be removed.
     
  10. Jaysee Fishlore Legend Member

    I thought that a low photo period encouraged diatom growth.
     

  11. AlyeskaGirl Fishlore VIP Member

    Come to think of it I cut the lights downd to 6 hours from 8 on my largest tank due to a minimal diatom outbreak. Tank is over a yr. old. It seemed to do the trick with extra water changes. Unless it was the water changes. Then cut down to 4 hours this past week actually for some green algae. Lol

    When I had my 20g tall up and running changing out the light to make it brighter made it go away quickly but green spot algae appeared on the glass. Live and learn.

    So that's why I mentioned increase lighting helps.
     
  12. Wendy Lubianetsky Well Known Member Member

    Thank you for your correction. Most of what I do learn is not the internet. Sorry if I Woopsed.
     
  13. iLikeFish0918 Member Member

    Thank you Catsma. I only have a few conflicting notions. I keep getting mixed signals on which causes diatoms, too much or too little light?? I believe you have told you me that DECREASING lighting will help me out. But ive read you saying to another member that doing just that should encourage diatom growth. So im a tad confused...

    Also very interesting to know Nerite snalis cant reproduce in saltwater, but i have a freshwater tank...so what then??

    I do also know the diatoms are a sign of a new tank and i will give it some benefit of the doubt to go away on its own...but only SOME benefit of the doubt lol
     
  14. Lexi03 Well Known Member Member

    I had diatoms in some of my tanks when they where new, they went away in a few weeks.
    Nerite snails cannot reproduce in freshwater tanks, I have one in most of my tanks, some times they will lay eggs, but they won't hatch in freshwater.
     
  15. catsma_97504 Fishlore Legend Member

    Thank you for clarifying Lexi! Nerite snails are perfect for freshwater tanks because they need salt to reproduce.

    There are so many schools of thought on how to rid a tank of diatoms that it's enough to make your head spin. In offering advice I may suggest a different tactic based on what I know about a given tank. Plus methodology is different when dealing with live plants or with an uncycled tank. Sorry if this confused you.

    All forms of algae are caused by an imbalance between lighting and nutrients. The trick is to figure out what is out of balance. I believe with your tank it is safe to say that the uncycled period got the algae started. Now that your tank is cycled and your parameters are under control you should begin to see a reduction in algae. The next step is to look at lighting.
     
  16. iLikeFish0918 Member Member

    oh ok, thank you.

    my tank has only been cycled for a few weeks now, if thats what you mean by the uncycled period got the algae going. ive actually noticed a reduction in the last day or two. ive cut the day lighting down to 6 or 7 hours and make more utilization of the night lighting. i think its helping???

    im doing a water change on thursday..should i leave the algae be or should i rub some of it away before gravel vacuuming it up?
     
  17. AlyeskaGirl Fishlore VIP Member

    You can wipe some away if you like or leave it.

    Think of it as the after affects of cycling. But now going through a different cycle.

    Be patient. It will decend. :)
     
  18. Jayha68 Member Member

    Diatoms can grow with or without light, but from what I've read cutting down on the light cycle will help slow it's growth.
     
  19. orandagal Member Member

    I'm glad other are having the same problem. My new tank has been up and running now for 9 weeks and I'm also starting to see Diatoms on my decorations, plants and heater. At first I thought my anubis were dying and after cutting a leaf off and removing it, I took a really close look at the leaf and wiped off the Diatoms, my anubis aren't dying just look really dirty. I'm going to do a good cleaning this weekend on my plants and heater and leave the decorations alone. All of my test's still look great PH 8.0 (this has always been high, but remains steady), Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0 and Nitrate 20 ppm so I'm happy.