Brown Algae Problem

hannarrlouise

Member
Which leads me to my nano reef.
I’ve had it up and running for around 4 weeks now. It’s currently cycling with a Bacto start bottle which recommends I dose my tank 2 times a week for 5 weeks and then once a week from there on out to maintain the bacteria. I have a fluval u2 filter (it’s a 15 gallon tank) and the lady at my local aquarium shop said to remove the biomax as my live rock would act as filtration. We also were told to get phosphate packs for that too.
So today, low and behold. I turn my fish tank light on (I have the Fluval Sea Marine Nano Bluetooth LED) and I see the start of what appears to be brown algae growth. I’m terrified for it to end up like my fresh water tank. So I grabbed a new, unused sponge and gently removed the algae from the wave maker, and small parts that were on the glass.


I don’t want to freak out.. but I literally am, and have no idea if it’s just a spike that will go away, or if it’s going to be impossible to get rid of like in my fresh water tank.

Note that I literally did a water change 2 days ago
I currently buy all my salt water in store, I thought it was silicates from my tap water, but I only did one top up in my salt water tank with treated tap water 3 weeks ago and haven’t done it again since.
I also have an emerald crab in my salt water.
I don’t over feed, and I leave lights on for 6 hours a day and then turn them off. I have natural day light in the room, but the sunlight doesn’t touch the tanks, could that be the problem? Somebody help!
 

SeanyBaggs123

Member
To me, it sounds like you're not giving the tank time to balance. My 60 gallon was covered in diatoms for a couple of months (exaggerating a little, but compared to what you have pictured it was covered). I added some nerite snails, and did nothing else. I would scrub the glass with an algae brush at water changes... that's it. Don't see any traces of it now.

I don't know much about saltwater fishkeeping, but it sounds to me like you're reacting and scrubbing everything at first site which may be the very thing that is prolonging your problem.

Just my opinion.
 
  • Thread Starter

hannarrlouise

Member
SeanyBaggs123 said:
To me, it sounds like you're not giving the tank time to balance. My 60 gallon was covered in diatoms for a couple of months (exaggerating a little, but compared to what you have pictured it was covered). I added some nerite snails, and did nothing else. I would scrub the glass with an algae brush at water changes... that's it. Don't see any traces of it now.

I don't know much about saltwater fishkeeping, but it sounds to me like you're reacting and scrubbing everything at first site which may be the very thing that is prolonging your problem.

Just my opinion.
I had 3 nerite snails, which did very little for my problem, and as someone with Trypophobia when I found they laid their eggs.
The fear is the same thing happening in my saltwater tank, and that’s why we got my emerald crab, which I’m starting to think I may need another.
 

Jesterrace

Member
*EDIT* okay I get why this is in the salty section now. I found the post confusing at first.

Okay with salt water tanks, brown algae aka Diatom Blooms are a rite of passage so to speak. It is very common for a healthy marine tank to have this at the end of the initial nitrogen cycle. It will get worse before it gets better but once it consumes the excess nutrients it will die off and go away. As long as your salinity, ammonia and nitrites are all in check you should be safe to add a few snails and hermits which will help clean up the brown stuff for you.
 
  • Thread Starter

hannarrlouise

Member
Jesterrace said:
*EDIT* okay I get why this is in the salty section now. I found the post confusing at first.

Okay with salt water tanks, brown algae aka Diatom Blooms are a rite of passage so to speak. It is very common for a healthy marine tank to have this at the end of the initial nitrogen cycle. It will get worse before it gets better but once it consumes the excess nutrients it will die off and go away. As long as your salinity, ammonia and nitrites are all in check you should be safe to add a few snails and hermits which will help clean up the brown stuff for you.
Thank god! I have been non stop thinking about it all day! I think my panic is that it has covered most of my live rock and the sand and all I can think about is how I’ve had the on going problem with my fresh water tank! So do I just clean up the sand, glass, and the outsides of the wave maker and filter and it will just go away on its own? Or get a few more crabs? It’s a 15 gallon nano reef which I eventually want a pair of clowns and a few soft corals! Currently have an emerald crab so maybe one more crab to help clean it up? I’m still very new to saltwater.
 

Jesterrace

Member
You need snails in there as well (ie Trochus, Astrea) as they will clean the glass and rockwork (and to an extent the surface sand) for you as well. One emerald crab isn't going to do it as they really don't do much for brown algae. It's generally recommended in saltwater to have 1 snail or hermit per gallon of tank, although few can keep up with this rate. I would say 5 snails and 5 red hermits would be good. Personally I would get rid of the emerald crab as it's not going to help with much in a tank that small and is more likely to cause problems with the clean up crew that will do the work that you want.
 

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