Help Brown Algae Frustration: Can anyone help?

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redbouche

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I've had a 70G tanks set up about 8 months now. It's been planted for the last 2 months. And I've got some brown algae (diatoms?) that I can't really identify or get rid of. It's fairly slow growing. Takes maybe a month to go from a brown haze to a complete covering. It's on the glass, plants, everywhere. Once it completely covers a surface it's starting to get fuzzy or even hairy on some of the java ferns (though this may be a different algae). The moneywart are like an algae calendar. The bottom leaves are 2 months old and are completely covered. The top half dozen pairs of leaves are algae free. It's pretty hard. I've got a generic algae magnet that doesn’t' do a very good job of getting it off of the glass, but the magfloat will take care of it. However, it definitely doesn't rub off via casual contact. I've tried to rub it off of anubia leaves, but it requires scraping with my finger nail to make a dent, to the point that I'm sure I'm damaging the plant. I've got 4 otos, and they don’t' even seem to make a dent in it. They are definitely losing ground to it. I see them grazing on it, but I never notice them get any off. I put a adult bristlenose in, and he mysteriously died the next day. Seems like it's too hard to be diatoms, but I'm not an expert any ideas on what it is, or how to kill it?

Other Stuff to Know:
-Low light about 1.3wpg
-I dose with the recommended daily amount of excel.
-Ammonia 0ppm
-Nitrite 0ppm
-pH 7.8
-Nitrate 20-30ppm (Fairly stable as balance by the plants)
-Water changes every 2 weeks
-Water is crystal clear
-Add a Tetra fertilizer occasionally
-large bio-wheel filter
-Plants (Java Fern, Java Moss, Anubias, Amazon Sword, Dwarf Sag, Crypts)

Sorry, I don't have a picture of the algae. Any help would be appreciated.
 

catsma_97504

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Welcome to FishLore.

Your nitrates are a bit too high, which can lead to brown algae/diatoms. Diatoms always go away once the tank has stabilized and the correct water chemistry is met.

One fairly common reason for diatoms is not keeping the tank clean enough. I believe that the nitrates should never go over 20 PPM to keep both the plants and fish healthy. Doing house cleaning every other week is probably the cause of this. I'd suggest you start doing 10-20% water changes 1-2 times a week, depending on how heavily your tank is stocked. More water changes will help to keep the nitrates down. By keeping the nitrates in the 20-30 PPM range, your fish may be affected....which may be why your BN died so quickly.

How often do you clean the gravel? If you are over feeding, then there will be uneaten food that needs to be removed to help improve the water balance.

I am not a plant expert, so will leave the Excel and fert dosing to the more experienced. I know that with less lighting, you'll also need less CO2/fert dosing.

Occasionally when diatoms appear in an established tank the phosphates or silicates could be out of balance. Do you test for these? Silicates can leach from the tank itself or come with your water supply. And, phosphates may be in the water supply or a component of your food. I have a problem with my city water chemistry as it changes with the seasons and I need to adjust accordingly. I also recently discovered that the flake food I use had a small amount of phosphates which polluted the water over time.

Lighting typically does not affect diatoms, however, it may lead to other unexpected situations. How long do you leave them on? Most leave their lights on 10-12 hours.

Once you figure out what is out of balance, I suspect the brown algae will go away on its own.

Good luck.
 

kit_frisk

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I think lighting plays a detrimental part in diatom algae. Whether it may be coincidence, when I installed an adequate light fixture my diatoms started disappearing. Like what catsma_97504, too much lighting will induce other algae concerns like green spotted algae.

The best maintenance advise I can give is, to constantly clean and wipe of the algae from the plants, deco, glass, and vacuum the gravel. Instead of using a magnet algae window cleaner, which just mixes the algae in the water, use an algae scrubber to scrub it out of the tank.

You can also invest in a Diatom filter, but they can be costly...
 

Jack Schiffer

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Buy two golden algae eaters they cleaned all my diatoms form my 10 gal and I am about to transfer them to my 30 gallon tank. The only problem is that I heard that they stop cleaning diatoms when they mature to adult hood.
 

jerilovesfrogs

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i have new(ish) tanks, a few months, and i have those brown diatoms. what really takes care of them are my nerite snails! small, non-aggressive, low bioload, and so cute! that's one way to help with algae. of course that doesn't give you permission to overfeed, leave the lights on for 18 hours a day and do other kinds of abuse in the tank.....but those snails certainly do help. oh, and they cannot reproduce in freshwater. what's not to love?
 

jnm401

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My my nerite snails cleaned my tank up in a matter of days. I had brown algae startin in creep up and man, they knocked it right out. They even cleaned my Anubias plants! Now if you parameters aren't right, the snail really won't SOLVE the problem, they will just help control the effect. Get the snail to help in general (I also love to watch them!) and work on your parameters.
 

jerilovesfrogs

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hmmm, i don't think angels would eat nerites. probably not the cichlids, but i'm far from an expert concerning those fish. maybe someone who knows those fish will help out?!
 
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