Lots of brown clumps sticking to everything 55 Gallon Tank 

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dchild

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After six months of building my 55-gal tank with several varieties of freshwater fish, I now have a problem beginning with what appears to be algae ??? or at least clumps of redish brown junk that is sticking to the plastic plants and laying on the bottom on top of the gravel. I probably went too long without a partial water change-out and now that I have done one, the problem still exists. Is there anything I can do to quickly eliminate the junk or is there a fish or snail I can purchase that will help me keep this mess cleaned up?

Thanks ahead of time for any info

Dave
 

angelfish220

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Welcome to fishlore!

I read your post and looked at your aquarium info to see what fish you have... 80 Nitrate is toxic! I would change your water about 50% minimum and use a siphon to see if the gunk can be sucked up, it might be that waste is building up. You don't ever really want to have your nitrate level higher than 10 or 15, I try to keep mine around 5.
 
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dchild

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I'm certain I've waited too long between water changes (about 6-weeks) but the material in my tank is not fish waste. It's more like a feathery brown muck that has in some places spiderweb appearances between the plastic plants. I have moss living in the top end of my aquarium and it tends to die on the underneath side away from the light. Whatever it is, I did a second syphoning and cleaned most of it out. It is easily removed with the syphon. Thanks for the hint about taking out that much water. I was under the impression you should not take out anymore than 10% at any given time. I also removed another 5-gals making it a total of 15-gals for the day. I'll check the nitrate levels again this evening to see what they read. I assume by what you said I could continue to change out water until I get to a desired nitrate reading?

My tank actually look great right now. It's perfectly clear with only a few spots of muck left. My pH level has always read around the 8.4 mark and I was also wondering how one might control that better, or is 8.4 OK?

Thanks again,
Dave
 

claudicles

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You don't have to go as low as 5 on the nitrates. Most people are happy with 20, some with 40.
If your fish are happy with 8.4 and it has been stable at that you are better not to mess with it chemically as you can get swings which fish tend to be more sensitive to.
Frequent small changes are likely to keep your water more stable which fish prefer but a toxic situation is better fixed with a big chnge, than letting the fish swim in potentially harmful water.
 

angelfish220

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I would keep changing about 30%-25% of the water daily until the nitrate is down to about 20, as claudicles says I'm kinda OCD about my water levels, it doesn't have be as low as 5.

I wouldn't mess around with pH. If your fish are okay with it, you should be too.

Once your levels are are below 20 you can do a smaller waterchange less often, say 20% weekly?
 

blkdeath75

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Might be diatoms? Does it look like algae only brown? I had an issue with this in my 10 gallon with plastic plants. Tossed in a CAE and it was gone in 3 days spotless. Note a 10 gallon is very small for a CAE but I wasn't aware at the time we thought it was an Oto cat(thanks LFS employee!), but CAE's are quite efficient with diatoms if that is what it is. Pics may help.

And welcome to Fishlore!
 

mosin360

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Diatoms happen to new tanks and will eventually go away on it's own. Its not harmful to the fish. You can scrub it off to keep the tank clean. I don't bother with any type of algae eater.
 

Kopeth

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If you can avoid putting your tank near any natual sunlight that may help reduce the algae some.
 
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