Brown algae

Discussion in 'Algae' started by Squirrelmanajh, Dec 19, 2012.

  1. Squirrelmanajh

    SquirrelmanajhValued MemberMember

    I just got back from college to find my parents 55 gallon tank covered in brown algae. What is the cause of this? And what should I do to take care of it? Should i consider ottos? Thanks for the help!
  2. Eienna

    EiennaFishlore VIPMember

    First step is checking the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate readings, most notably nitrate.
    Is this FW or SW? That will have a bearing on which algae you're dealing with.
    What is their water change and cleaning schedule like? Lighting? Plants?
  3. OP

    SquirrelmanajhValued MemberMember

    Ill get those readings tomorrow. Its a freshwater tank. They really dont do water changes, im working on them to get it more consistent. The last one was a month ago. There are no plants and im not sure on the lighting yet but i think its a t8 bulb.
  4. Eienna

    EiennaFishlore VIPMember

    That could be the problem right there. A buildup of nitrates and other matter from a lack of water changes will cause algae growth.
  5. OP

    SquirrelmanajhValued MemberMember

    Now that weve figured out the cause what should i do to get rid of it? Just scrub it, ottos, or something else?
  6. fishaddiction

    fishaddictionValued MemberMember

    Scrub it and then for it to stay away do more consistent water changes Otto's won' t help it their specialty is green algae. Also I would recommend small plecos Otto's will clean all the algae rapidly and then will starve to death. Mine died a month ago I had him for 3 to 4 months.
  7. Eienna

    EiennaFishlore VIPMember

    Basically your formula. :)
    Give it a run-over with one of those mag-cleaners, maybe rub it off plant leaves...and do more water changes. Live plants would also help use the nutrients currently feeding the algae.

    Now, there is a chance it could be diatoms. These will pass in time and are common in newly-cycled tanks for whatever reason. Basically the same treatment, though an increase in light may help. For some reason diatoms seem to like low-light conditions.
  8. catsma_97504

    catsma_97504Fishlore LegendMember

    Before considering adding to the population, knowing that the tank is not given much in the way of maintenance, is a formula for disaster.

    Is this a light dusting of brown that is easily removed by swishing your hand near a covered object or with a light rubbing? If so that is definitely diatoms. If this is a newer tank, then it can be expected. However, it sounds like the tank has been running for some time now. With that in mind I would:

    *Replace the light bulbs if T8 or T12 and it has been longer than 6 months. Do not use actinic or 50/50 type bulbs. Actinic phosphors are used to grow algae on purpose. Also, purchase a timer and set it so that the lights are not left on all day and night.

    *While you are at home do partial daily water changes, with a deep gravel cleaning to lift all the built up debris.

    *If tank has any measurable ammonia or nitrite, consider purchasing another filter to help create additional areas for bacterial colonization.

    Good luck helping your parents gain control over their tank.
  9. OP

    SquirrelmanajhValued MemberMember

    I was able to test the water. The results were 8.2 ph, 0 amm, 0 nitrite, 80ish nitrate. I havent tried to clean it yet but i will soon.
  10. Eienna

    EiennaFishlore VIPMember

    Yeah, that level of nitrate will feed algae growth and eventually make fish sick.