Brown Spots on my plants and cloudy water

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newgills

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??? My fish tank has become cloudy all of a sudden after about a month of beautiful clear water. I am noticing there are brown stains on some of my plants that are made of a fabric of some kind. The fish all seem to be fine but I am concerned. Any ideas on what I should do? I tried the removal of 20 percent of the water and still the same. Should I change the filters in the bio filter?

THe tank is a 30 gallon given to me by a friend and I have a few tiger barbs and what I thought to be giant danios but are actually rainbow fish. HEP ME!
 

Fishface

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my humble opinion:

the brown stains are algae (there are many ways to deal with this - i personally despise fake plants, and recommend that you get some real ones and learn how to care for them(STILL is for me), although its hard and isnt for everyone)


the cloudy water - is it green cloudy or brown or yellow or slightly grayish? if its slightly grayish/milky, which i think is what you mean, then you have a bacteria bloom. this is a normal part of cycling, but in your case youve probably been overfeeding. when too much food is put in the tank, it rots and releases ammonia. the bacteria feed off of the ammonia, and release nitrates and nitrites into the water, which are very dangerous to fish at the right levels. i had the same problem a week ago; get something that gets rid of the ammonia, like Amquel+ Plus, do a water change and siphon the bottom, and dont feed as much itll be gone very soon
 

Luniyn

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It sounds like you are still cycling but without readings of the quality of your water it is hard to tell. If you don't have a water testing kit then most of us would suggest getting . If that's not an option then take a sample of your water to the local pet store and have them test it and make sure to get what your ammonia level, nitrite level, nitrate level, and pH are. Let us know those values and it will make it easier to figure out what's going on in your tank.
 

COBettaCouple

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I agree that the brown stuff sounds like algae. The suddenly cloudy water could also indicate an sudden spike in ammonia and/or nitrites - with the numbers luniyn asked for, that can be determined more than a guess. Have you recently added any meds or water conditioners, etc to the tank? what do you treat your tap water with?

I either change the filter every 4 weeks or clean it as well as i can in a bowl of tank water and replace the activated carbon in it with new activated carbon so if you've not done that in the last 4 weeks, i'd definitely say yes to changing it.
 

Gunnie

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It sounds like your tank was either not completely cycled or is going through a mini cycle. The brown stuff is probably what a lot of folks just call brown algae, and is common in new tanks. It's really not algae, but is something called diatoms, and has to do with the silicates in your water. It is ugly, but temporary, and can actually clear up quicker with stronger and more frequent light. Once silicates are consumed in the tank, you will wake up one morning and all the brown stuff will be gone, just as the cloudiness will disappear overnight.
 

COBettaCouple

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Gunnie said:
It sounds like your tank was either not completely cycled or is going through a mini cycle. The brown stuff is probably what a lot of folks just call brown algae, and is common in new tanks. It's really not algae, but is something called diatoms, and has to do with the silicates in your water. It is ugly, but temporary, and can actually clear up quicker with stronger and more frequent light. Once silicates are consumed in the tank, you will wake up one morning and all the brown stuff will be gone, just as the cloudiness will disappear overnight.
hmm.. that's interesting to learn. where do the silicates come from? are those present in all water?
 

Luniyn

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Diatoms like the silicate the most, but will grow if there are other chemicals present as well. The silicates are present in tap water, they can also come from having the wrong kind of sand or substrate in your tank, and certain salts when added to the tank can add too much of this as well. Diatoms will also occur if you have phosphates in your tank. Phosphates (PO4) come from tap water, certain activated carbons, and the foods that we feed our fish among other things. And they will also occur if... wait for it... you have nitrates in your tank. And I think we all know where those come from... hence why you usually get them during your cycle process. One thing you can do to help keep them away during the cycle process is have good aeration in your tank. Or if you have a hang on back filter you can lower the water a bit and get some splashing to increase aeration and also get the circulation of the tank moving a bit.
 

COBettaCouple

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thanks for the great answer! the cycle is starting to make more sense to us as we learn more details about it.
 
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newgills

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I did a partial water change and it seems to have cleared up the water so I think it was over feeding but the brown on the plants is still there and I think getting worse. I would like to get real plants but am afraid of how it will affect the tank.

THanks for all of your answers and sorry I didnt get to check on them sooner.
 
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newgills

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PS, I dont think the brown on the plants is an algae because it is only on the plants that are made of a fabric material. The normal plastic type do not have anything on them.
It almost looks like a rust on them.

If I buy real plants do I just add them into the tank as is now or do I have to prepare the tank in any way?
 

Fishface

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there are quite a few things you should do, actually. Live plants are more expensive in the end, but healthier and very rewarding.

1. research - make sure you have the proper lights. Lowlight plants need 1-2 watts per gallon. Lowlight [plants are your best bet because they are way easier to keep.
2. some lowlight plants include java fern, java moss, and anacharis. here's a good list of plant species:
3. use a fine gravel. some people pit their aquarium plants. Google some choice keywords for more info on that.
4. DONT USE ROOT TAB FERTILIZERS. THEY SUCK BECAUSE THEY ARE MESSY.
5. Get some seachem liquid plant fertilizer.
6. I put my plants directly in the gravel. I use laterite and root tabs (because I bought them and I'm stuck with them - but trust me - they're a white cloudy mess in the substrate is EVER disturbed)
7. Throw a piece of driftwood in there too if you get java moss or fern..itll stick to it if you tie it on with some hemp string for a while.

good luck!
 
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