Question Diatoms/brown Algae

Kalyke

Well Known Member
Messages
615
Reaction score
335
Points
53
Experience
5 years
I have been struggling with diatoms/brown algae for months. Everything I read says it is the silicates in my water. Okay, I am struggling to see how this works. First of all, I have 2 tanks, both the same age as far as the biofilter, I started the second tank with the filter media of the first tank. They both use exactly the same water-- the water that has so-called silicates in it. And yet, only one tank has brown algae. So the whole silicates explanation is rather ridiculous. So, the only difference in the 2 tanks is, the one that is at low light and has slower growing plants does not have brown algae, the tank that has medium light has faster-growing plants, and it has brown algae. This means the rate of growth of the plants has nothing to do with brown algae. Since I have shrimp in the low light tank, I hardly ever clean it, and yet, there is no brown algae, while the tank I clean a lot has brown algae.


Are there any other explanations for brown algae?
 

BettaNgold

New Member
Messages
23
Reaction score
4
Points
1
I am having the same issue with a tank that is about 5 weeks old. It’s a goldfish tank so only a couple of Amazon swords and an Anubis’s plant. Rest of plants are fake so not the plants. The brown algae only shows up after I do weekly tank cleaning. By next day it is all over the fake plants and sides of tank. I scrape it off and it stays away until next cleaning. So it has to have something to do with the fresh water change.
 

fjh

Well Known Member
Messages
2,276
Reaction score
1,101
Points
198
Experience
5 to 10 years
Your shrimp and snail are likely eating some of it. Bright light for extended periods will also cause diatoms to grow faster. If you can, keep the light dimmed or off for a few days and move the snail and some shrimp to that tank. It should help. Also if you have access to RO/DI water, a few WCs with that should help after scrubbing off the existing diatoms.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #7

Kalyke

Well Known Member
Messages
615
Reaction score
335
Points
53
Experience
5 years
I'm changing my cleaning method. I have been using this HOB type thing that sucks the water up and then filters it and then sends it back like an HOB. I am thinking it is just sending the diatoms back. (I don't know, that is a theory). I am going to use more of a python style cleaner where the water is not recycled back into the tank. That might work. I also bought some even faster growing plants (ludwigia) and I am hoping it can out-compete the algae, but I am not holding my breath. I probably just wasted all that money.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #9

Kalyke

Well Known Member
Messages
615
Reaction score
335
Points
53
Experience
5 years
Your shrimp and snail are likely eating some of it. Bright light for extended periods will also cause diatoms to grow faster. If you can, keep the light dimmed or off for a few days and move the snail and some shrimp to that tank. It should help. Also if you have access to RO/DI water, a few WCs with that should help after scrubbing off the existing diatoms.
So are you saying you think they both have diatoms and that 8 shrimp (and no snails) are eating all the diatoms (algae) in the tank without, and the pleco and 15 nerite snails are not eating the diatoms (algae) in the tank with? That is an interesting theory. The "high light" is actually just medium light. It is for Amazon Swords.

I have phosguard in the filter, I have been using if for a few months and have seen absolutely no change. (I forgot to add that to the original post).
 

yinoma2001

Valued Member
Messages
441
Reaction score
190
Points
53
Experience
1 year
I have phosguard in the filter, I have been using if for a few months and have seen absolutely no change. (I forgot to add that to the original post).
Oh dang. I was about to get some for my own brown algae issues (though it seems to be going down in my tank...it's about 2.5 months old).
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #11

Kalyke

Well Known Member
Messages
615
Reaction score
335
Points
53
Experience
5 years
Oh dang. I was about to get some for my own brown algae issues (though it seems to be going down in my tank...it's about 2.5 months old).
Yeah. Sorry to say, I am not impressed. And also, since I had the 2 tanks to compare (if you read the whole post) and one has no diatoms, and one has diatoms. They both have exactly the same water. So the phosguard taking phosphate or silicates out of the water is not effective in my case. Now, you, I don't know. Maybe it would work with your water? Maybe you have phosphates in your water? I get my water from the "High Plains Aquifer."
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #12

Kalyke

Well Known Member
Messages
615
Reaction score
335
Points
53
Experience
5 years
I just took out all the largest plants, washed them, and put them back. it was sad because the roots were so well established.
 

Donthemon

Well Known Member
Messages
771
Reaction score
482
Points
98
Experience
4 years
Do both tanks have the same substrate? I have two tanks, one with sand and the other gravel. The sand has had diatoms but not the one with the gravel. I believe the silicates in the sand caused it....
 

Vishaquatics

Well Known Member
Messages
1,096
Reaction score
866
Points
308
Experience
More than 10 years
In my personal experience, diatoms appear for two reasons.

1) Silicates in the sand. This is a temporary issue.
2) Imbalanced High light

Number 1 is usually the most common. Number 2 is more likely in your situation. If you have a high light tank without CO2 AND no proper fertilization, it's likely to have algae issues. What type of plants do you have in the high light tank? Are you fertilizing your plants at all? If so, what type of fertilizer and how often/how much?

If you're not using fertilizers, I recommend using Thrive by NilocG or use the NilocG EI starter pack for dry ferts. Your plants need proper nutrition to properly grow. Diatoms on the plant leaves are usually signs of plant weakness due to lack of proper nutrition. Also, try dialing back the light. Try a split photo period. (Ex: 4 hours on, two off, 4 hours on, rest of night is off).
 

Vishaquatics

Well Known Member
Messages
1,096
Reaction score
866
Points
308
Experience
More than 10 years
No sand in either tank. No High Light in either tank.
Tank with diatoms: Carib Sea Eco-Complete, and Seachem Flourite . Plants: Amazon Swords. Medium light.
Tank without diatoms: Fluval Stratum mixed with some Seachem Flourite. Plants: Anubias, java fern, some aponogentons.
Fertilized by Osmacote home made root tabs in 00 sized jellcaps.
Thank you. I'm sure this is an easy fix. Diatoms are easily wipeable from the surfaces they attach to. First, wipe off as many diatoms as you possibly can with your fingers. Do a huge, 75-80% water change.

Then split your photoperiod. Use a timer to make the photoperiod on for 4 hours, off for three hours, then on again for another 4 hours. Then the rest of the night off. Total photoperiod is 8 hours, but is split. This worked for me on lowtech tanks when dealing with diatom issues.

If the diatom issue comes back, continue to wipe them off with your fingers and perform massive water changes. The problem ideally should go away in two weeks or less if the photoperiod is adjusted and the diatoms are removed all at once.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #17

Kalyke

Well Known Member
Messages
615
Reaction score
335
Points
53
Experience
5 years
I'll just lower the light. Splitting the photoperiod sounds like a difficult way to do something simple.
 

angelcraze

Fishlore VIP
Messages
4,136
Reaction score
2,569
Points
348
Experience
More than 10 years
I use a siesta in tanks with algae if they are LED. Works like a charm just saying.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #19

Kalyke

Well Known Member
Messages
615
Reaction score
335
Points
53
Experience
5 years
I understand, but logically I am not seeing it. Why not turn them on later, and off earlier. Same time period. Having them off and on like that is bound to mess with the fish's circadian rhythms, which might lead to stress and sickness. The plants will also be confused I am sure. It goes against everything I know about biology. However, I appreciate that you are giving your input. I am sure if this was an easy problem, no one would have brown algae.
 

angelcraze

Fishlore VIP
Messages
4,136
Reaction score
2,569
Points
348
Experience
More than 10 years
Ok, you have a point. I wasn't expecting that when you said it sounded difficult lol. Yes I've thought about that, but a 2 hour siesta really doesn't seem to affect my fish in the slightest and cleaned up all the algae. Totally your decision of course!

The idea of a split photoperiod is to not give algae a chance for photosynthesis. Plants resume photosynthesis faster than algae, so with the lights on for only 3hrs (for ex) then off, the algae has to start all over again for the next series of light, whereas plants can just take a break, resume photosynthesis and complete it.
 
Last edited:
Toggle Sidebar

Aquarium Calculator

Follow FishLore!





Top Bottom