Brown Algae

Nicole B

We are starting to get brown algae everywhere. All over our plants and growing on the heater and filter and a little bit on the rocks and the tank.

What causes this and how to get rid of it?
 

Rojer Ramjet

It is caused by combining nutrient (fish poop and uneaten food), light, and a growth medium, water.

Removal is best done with a magic eraser and elbow grease.

Welcome to fish keeping! Enjoy!
 

LindseyAquamarine

I've found that a sponge brush on the tank glass & ornaments as well as a gravel vacuum help to keep brown algae at bay. It's grown up in my 10 gal tank a few times. Usually a good cleaning, fresh filter, and 25% water replace (with water conditioner & bacteria starter) work to clear it out for a while!
 

CanadianFishFan

My 2 zebra snails cleaned everything in under a week and I have never scraped it again!
 

Nicole B

My 2 zebra snails cleaned everything in under a week and I have never scraped it again!
Weird! I have 4 zebra snails and their not doing a good job! Lol

I've found that a sponge brush on the tank glass & ornaments as well as a gravel vacuum help to keep brown algae at bay. It's grown up in my 10 gal tank a few times. Usually a good cleaning, fresh filter, and 25% water replace (with water conditioner & bacteria starter) work to clear it out for a while!
Ours is a 10 gallon too! Our plants are fake and that’s where it’s growing the most. Do you take them out and clean them or do it in the tank?
 

Travis Bradbury

get nerite snails, 4 of them cleaned all my brown algae in like a week in my 75 gallon.
 

Nicole B

get nerite snails, 4 of them cleaned all my brown algae in like a week in my 75 gallon.
I have them /:
 

LindseyAquamarine

Ours is a 10 gallon too! Our plants are fake and that’s where it’s growing the most. Do you take them out and clean them or do it in the tank?

I have real plants in mine, which seems to really help the water levels, and I'd recommend getting real ones if you can! I mainly got them because I was too lazy to clean fake ones I think it would probably be best for your tank to clean the fake plants in the tank. If you can't clean in the tank without startling your fish too much, maybe scoop some tank water into a bowl and clean them out of the tank that way?
 

CanadianFishFan

Weird! I have 4 zebra snails and their not doing a good job! Lol
crazy! Maybe send a photo of the algae, it might not be the right algae that the snails eat.
 

Nicole B

crazy! Maybe send a photo of the algae, it might not be the right algae that the snails eat.
Will send one on my lunch break!
 

FriarThomasIII

I'd get a some live plants and let them establish themselves. This will lower the algae levels, or you could get a few amano shrimps, as they eat pretty much every kind of algea. (even the hair algae fish don't usually eat.)

Also forgot to mention, you could also do a blackout for a couple of days to kill it off.
 

Nicole B

crazy! Maybe send a photo of the algae, it might not be the right algae that the snails eat.

More pics
 

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FriarThomasIII

Plants, amano shrimp and otocinclus algae eaters are wonderful for algae problems.
 

Nicole B

Plants, amano shrimp and otocinclus algae eaters are wonderful for algae problems.
Would those be ok with mollies and in a 10 gallon?
 

Travis Bradbury

I have them /:
Just seen the pictures you posted, its next to nothing compared to what I had.. my tank looks like a big poo because of all the brown on the glass, rocks, fake plants etc.
Give the snails time if there's brown algae on those surfaces, but don't expect them to reach tops of plants like you show in your picture. With them just wipe off with your hands. Eventually all the brown will go away its self, brown algae isn't uncommon, people typically get it once in their tanks life.
 

75g Discus Tank

Mollies are not fit for a 10 gallon.

That’s why the algae is growing like it.

There is too much ammonia production.
Mollies are a huge pooper and can grow to around 5 inches so they really aren’t a good candidate for a 10 gallon.
 

Nicole B

Mollies are not fit for a 10 gallon.

That’s why the algae is growing like it.

There is too much ammonia production.
Mollies are a huge pooper and can grow to around 5 inches so they really aren’t a good candidate for a 10 gallon.
We know that.
 

FriarThomasIII

We know that.
To answer the first question, amanos are really large for shrimps. They 2 inches long and fast and darty when disturbed. Honestly though, you should rehome them and get something else, like maybe guppies? Or some sort of tetra? And endler guppies pick at algae and eat it, so that might help.
 

LindseyAquamarine

Plants, amano shrimp and otocinclus algae eaters are wonderful for algae problems.
Otocinclus are decently fragile fish, though, from what I've read. I had one that died after only a few days, and I think it was just from the stress of moving into a new tank.
 

FriarThomasIII

When we got our otocinclus, we drip acclimated them for about an hour and turned off the lights when we put them in to minimize stress.
 

LindseyAquamarine

When we got our otocinclus, we drip acclimated them for about an hour and turned off the lights when we put them in to minimize stress.
I wish I would've known when I got mine how careful you have to be Oh well.
 

FriarThomasIII

It's best to do that for just about any fish you get, always acclimate them like that if you can, even just adding a little bit of the water added from a cup into their bucket.
 

LindseyAquamarine

It's best to do that for just about any fish you get, always acclimate them like that if you can, even just adding a little bit of the water added from a cup into their bucket.
Good to know! I'll have to try that next time. I always acclimate them to the water temperature and turn off all the lights. I just didn't realize it was okay to combine the water like that. Great! #themoreyouknow
 

FriarThomasIII

JUst don't pour the bag water into your tank, even if it's mixed with the tank water, always pour through a net.
 

LindseyAquamarine

JUst don't pour the bag water into your tank, even if it's mixed with the tank water, always pour through a net.
Yeah, I definitely know not to pour it into the tank like that! That's why I didn't think it would be okay to mix.
 

Travis Bradbury

If you get ottos, watch them. If there's not enough food they WILL start eatting your fish.. literally. At night they will suck onto a fish, and basically suck them to death.
Ottos also die very easily, and are extremely sensitive. 80% of people can't keep them alive.

Those 2 reasons is why I never got them. TBH it makes it not really worth having them.
 

FLDawna

It sounds like it is just the diatoms that come with a newly maturing tank. From my understanding it happens to nearly every new tank somewhere around 1-2 months after it cycles. I have 3 tanks I started within a 6 week period and they all have the brown (algae) diatoms. It is unsightly, but will clear on its own in a couple months. In the meantime, you can scrub the fake plants when you do water changes. I pretty much just vacuumed the gravel and wiped down the glass. My 75 gallon tank has the least amount of the brown gunk, but I have 2 comet goldfish that are constantly picking and cleaning around the whole tank. My oldest tank is my 20 gallon and doesn't produce much new brown gunk, but I got 2 bristlenose plecos about a week ago and they've cleaned up a lot of the stuff that had been hanging onto the stones and driftwood. I think that one has just about ran its course.
 

DoubleDutch

If you get ottos, watch them. If there's not enough food they WILL start eatting your fish.. literally. At night they will suck onto a fish, and basically suck them to death.
Ottos also die very easily, and are extremely sensitive. 80% of people can't keep them alive.

Those 2 reasons is why I never got them. TBH it makes it not really worth having them.
Sorry Travis but this is ridiculous information. Otos and even the hungry ones aren't vampires. They won't suck fish to dead.

second thing is they are often wild caught and arrive starved in our tanks not used to "our" food. When they've passed the first periods they are great little fish.

 

Nicole B

It sounds like it is just the diatoms that come with a newly maturing tank. From my understanding it happens to nearly every new tank somewhere around 1-2 months after it cycles. I have 3 tanks I started within a 6 week period and they all have the brown (algae) diatoms. It is unsightly, but will clear on its own in a couple months. In the meantime, you can scrub the fake plants when you do water changes. I pretty much just vacuumed the gravel and wiped down the glass. My 75 gallon tank has the least amount of the brown gunk, but I have 2 comet goldfish that are constantly picking and cleaning around the whole tank. My oldest tank is my 20 gallon and doesn't produce much new brown gunk, but I got 2 bristlenose plecos about a week ago and they've cleaned up a lot of the stuff that had been hanging onto the stones and driftwood. I think that one has just about ran its course.
Thank you! I have heard this from a few other people. Ours is a 10 gallon. We don’t have much. It’s mostly on the fake plants and a few rocks. We want to get a Pleco but don’t think they are suitable for a 10 gallon.

Is this the diatoms?
 

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FLDawna

That looks like the beginning of it to me. It'll get much worse, but it's harmless. It just looks awful. I scrubbed the decorations and stirred up the gravel good when I vacuumed it while doing water changes. Alternate them though...not both at the same time so as not to reduce the beneficial bacteria too much in one whack. After a while I just cleaned the glass and let the muck go on the decorations. I recently got 2 bristlenose plecos and they've cleaned it right up. I don't have any new muck showing up so I'm pretty sure it has just about ran its course. When the plecos have finished their quarantine stint they'll move to the 75 gallon tank where I have always had less of the diatoms, but more plants and rocks to clean so they'll have their work cut out for them. Don't get discouraged with this...it just means your tank is maturing and going through its stages. I actually enjoy the maintenance part of the hobby as well so I didn't mind it at all.
 

Nicole B

That looks like the beginning of it to me. It'll get much worse, but it's harmless. It just looks awful. I scrubbed the decorations and stirred up the gravel good when I vacuumed it while doing water changes. Alternate them though...not both at the same time so as not to reduce the beneficial bacteria too much in one whack. After a while I just cleaned the glass and let the muck go on the decorations. I recently got 2 bristlenose plecos and they've cleaned it right up. I don't have any new muck showing up so I'm pretty sure it has just about ran its course. When the plecos have finished their quarantine stint they'll move to the 75 gallon tank where I have always had less of the diatoms, but more plants and rocks to clean so they'll have their work cut out for them. Don't get discouraged with this...it just means your tank is maturing and going through its stages. I actually enjoy the maintenance part of the hobby as well so I didn't mind it at all.
Yeah it’s starting to grow everywhere!
 

Travis Bradbury

Yeah it’s starting to grow everywhere!
As I said before just keep rubbing it off places your snails can't reach, eventually it will all go bye bye.
It will take awhile tho.
If you wanna try to reduce the amount of it, try reducing the time your lights are on.

Trust me brown algae isn't all that bad, it just looks terrible, and easily removeable. As stated above its completely harmless.


Be thankful you not dealing with worse algae blooms, I had to deal with this green algae for a month, no amount of water changes or light reducing would fix it. Finally a 4 day blackout did.

20180315_214307.jpg
 

Nicole B

As I said before just keep rubbing it off places your snails can't reach, eventually it will all go bye bye.
It will take awhile tho.
If you wanna try to reduce the amount of it, try reducing the time your lights are on.

Trust me brown algae isn't all that bad, it just looks terrible, and easily removeable. As stated above its completely harmless.


Be thankful you not dealing with worse algae blooms, I had to deal with this green algae for a month, no amount of water changes or light reducing would fix it. Finally a 4 day blackout did.

20180315_214307.jpg
Wow! Does a black out mean just keep the lights off for 4 days? I try to reduce the lighting a little bit. Our snails don’t get to much of it. They have been moving around the tank a lot lately though so maybe they’ll get some of it. Lol
 

Travis Bradbury

Nerite snails are very hard workers, and they LOVE brown algae. Remember as I said, 4 of them cleaned my 75 gallon in a week!

Yes that's a blackout, however you also cover your tank completely, 0 light at all for 4 days. Though you don't need it for the brown algae you have.. it will go away on its own
 

BaraYoukai

I got a tank with fish off of criegslist that had this stuff. I was able to reduce it by scrubbing with a bristled bathroom scrubber and reducing the amount of time the tank light was on...I think the previous owner left it on all the time, was overstocked, and overfed.
 

Nicole B

Nerite snails are very hard workers, and they LOVE brown algae. Remember as I said, 4 of them cleaned my 75 gallon in a week!

Yes that's a blackout, however you also cover your tank completely, 0 light at all for 4 days. Though you don't need it for the brown algae you have.. it will go away on its own
I noticed they took care of a little bit on some of the ornaments we have. I know it probably won’t come off the rocks by the snails but that’s ok. It just looks super ugly. Lol our rocks are also white. We failed at picking out rocks.
 

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