Ongoing Brown Diatom Problems

Discussion in 'Algae' started by Julabean, Jul 16, 2019.

  1. Julabean

    JulabeanNew MemberMember

    I have a 55 gallon long planted tank that has been set up for 8 months. For the past few weeks I have been battling with brown "algae" all over my plants, decorations, and glass. I rub it off of my plants' leaves and clean the glass with paper towels. I've scrubbed the statues, too, but the brown devils keep coming back.

    The only thing I can think of that would have silicates are the lava rocks in the tank and in my canister filter. I plan to get some nerites and otocinclus catfish within the next week or so, but is there anything else I can do?
     
  2. PeteStevers

    PeteSteversWell Known MemberMember

    Is it possible that your tap water is the source? You could try using RO or distilled water for your water changes for awhile and if possible increase the water flow in your tank. How much water are you changing and how often?
     
  3. yinoma2001

    yinoma2001Valued MemberMember

    I see you're getting OTOS.

    I had major brown algae issue until I bought some OTOS. Within one weekend all brown algae gone. They are relentless.
     
  4. BottomDweller

    BottomDwellerFishlore VIPMember

    What are your nitrate levels?
    How long do you leave the tank light on each day?
    Do you use any fertilizers in your tank?
     
  5. Orion1066

    Orion1066Valued MemberMember

    YIKES!?
     
  6. angelcraze

    angelcrazeWell Known MemberMember

    I have silicates in my water because just about all my tanks have diatoms. I don't recommend fish to eat the diatoms usually, but if it's an ongoing thing (it's been ongoing for 10+ years for me), a diatom eating fish or at least inverts might be a good idea. My BN plecos keep my tanks diatom free as well as my nerite snails.
     
  7. OP
    OP
    Julabean

    JulabeanNew MemberMember

    I read the water report for the town I live in and tested my water and, luckily, it doesn't have silicates. My husband thought it might be caused by the lava rocks, but they don't contain silicates either. All of my water parameters are great.

    I plan to use distilled water for my next water change and I just bought a power head for the tank, which is already making a difference. I'm just frustrated with having to clean off all of my live plants by hand every few days so they don't die. I also have to keep scrubbing off all of my decorations. My husband does a 1/3 water change once a week.

    None of my fish eat brown diatoms so I'm going to my LPS tomorrow to pick up a few Otocinclus Catfish, which are supposed to chow down on the diatoms. For some reason my husband doesn't want snails.

    I have my light on a timer for 8 hours (8am-noon then 3pm-7) and use Easy Green fertilizer, Easy Iron, and Seachem Potassium on a schedule.

    Thanks for letting me know I'm heading in the right direction. I was told by Cory at Aquarium Co-Op to get a minimum of 3. How big is your tank and how many Otos do you have in it?

    pH: 7, Ammonia: 0, Nitrites: 0, Nitrates: 10
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 19, 2019
  8. Orion1066

    Orion1066Valued MemberMember

    I am not sure about the distilled water. I understand It is free of everything, and that may be your intent. As for m 2.5 gallon tank, I have been using natural spring water, nothing fancy.
     
  9. angelcraze

    angelcrazeWell Known MemberMember

    One more thing I just thought of, it's best to remove diatoms completely instead of rubbing off the dust. It will settle elsewhere. I remove it during a water change when water levels are lower and wipe upward, rinsing my sponge each time I raise it out of the tank.
     
  10. yinoma2001

    yinoma2001Valued MemberMember

    40 gallon breeder. I only got 3. They never seem to school and they all pick their spots and start cleaning. It's heavily planted so they're spending their days separate cleaning up the tank.
     
  11. PeteStevers

    PeteSteversWell Known MemberMember

    I have a 36 gallon bowfront heavily planted and I had 6. I've never seen them hang out together. They're usually spread out and I can hardly find them half the time.
     
  12. yinoma2001

    yinoma2001Valued MemberMember

    Yeah. The reason I only got 3 was that I was worried about having enough algae for them to eat if I got more than that. Plus, they NEVER school and they actually try to school with some tetras that I have instead!
     
  13. OP
    OP
    Julabean

    JulabeanNew MemberMember

    I brought home 3 Ottos yesterday from my LPS (not a chain store, a real one). As soon as they went in the tank they went to work. They are definitely relentless, voracious eaters. They have already made good work of the diatoms on my plants. Thanks for the

    My new Ottos joined my tank yesterday afternoon. I bought 3. They have already made a huge difference.

    I took everyone's advice and bought 3 Ottos yesterday. They are all making quick work of cleaning up the diatoms. The distilled water was a suggestion by another poster.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 25, 2019
  14. yinoma2001

    yinoma2001Valued MemberMember

    Awesome! And I only kept 3 b/c I was concerned about being able to have enough algae for them to eat. My plants were also struggling b/c of the brown algae on the leaves and once these guys cleaned it up, they have absolutely flourished and grown like crazy.
     
  15. angelcraze

    angelcrazeWell Known MemberMember

    You may have to supplement their diet at one point with algae wafers and veggies. But getting them to recognize it as food is the difficult part since most ottos are wild caught. If you have a serious case of diatoms like me, they might keep them fed. They keep my BN pleco fed, I know that. Just keep a close eye on the otto's bellies, they should be fat and plump. Also watch the cheeks, if they are red, they are stressed. But good luck with them! They are such cute little fish.
     
  16. Orion1066

    Orion1066Valued MemberMember

    I am glad you have the situation under control, and improving. As for the water, yes, it was just recommendations. There are many here to help. Your decision in the end, totally.
     
  17. yinoma2001

    yinoma2001Valued MemberMember

    Yes. I always leave algae wafers out for the fish to much on. Unfortunately I have a school of cories who are prolific eaters. I do keep the lights on a bit longer to help promote some algae to feed the fish. In worst case scenarios, may put a rock outside in a glass container to grow algae for the OTOS to eat.

    They OTOmatically eat that algae!
     
  18. angelcraze

    angelcrazeWell Known MemberMember

    Just my opinion, but since your tap doesn't contain silicates and all other parameters are ok, I don't see a reason to use distilled. Just keep up with regular water changes to replenish KH (carbonate hardness keeps pH stable) and minerals your fish and plants need. A pH of 7 is pretty low and at risk of crashing if your KH is used up.
     
  19. OP
    OP
    Julabean

    JulabeanNew MemberMember

    I put them in the tank yesterday afternoon and when I woke up this morning one of my statues, which was covered in so much algae that you couldn't tell what the original color was, was cleaned off half way! I love them, too! They're adorable. I think 3 is the perfect amount for my 30 gallon.

    Now, I read that they like algae wafers, blanched cucumbers and zucchini, and spinach leaves. Is this right? Do you feed any (or all) of them to your Ottos?

    None of my other fish, including my male angel, are bothering them and they have plenty of hiding spots for some down time. My poor plants were so covered in the algae that I had to wipe off each and every leaf (and I have A LOT of plants) by hand every other day. Also, the back of my tank is mirrored and it looked horrible. Thank goodness for the amazing Otto!
     
  20. yinoma2001

    yinoma2001Valued MemberMember

    Whenever I put out any food like cucumbers/zucchini I never see the OTOs actively eating them. Maybe overnight? But they seem to be munching on algae all day.
     
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