Orange substance on the tank walls...

Michele

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Hi all,
I'm a beginner and am wondering what the rust colored stuff is on the inside of my tank. I cycle the water every other weekend and cannot seem to get rid of it. I have 3 goldfish and believe I have a 32 gallon tank, I got it from a friend. I don't have any live plants and the fish eat all the food quickly so no left over food is left in the tank. Not sure what other information is needed but any insight on how to keep that stuff out of the tank would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Cassy
 

Isabella

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Michele said:
I cycle the water every other weekend
What do you mean by that?

If you're currently cycling your tank, and if any of the 3 compounds (ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate) have a reddish color, it could be them accumulating on your tank walls. Though you'd have to research what colors they have because I don't know it for a fact (was just my guess). If you used any copper medication in your tank, it could also be copper accumulating.
 

Boxermom

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Ok, first, the rust colored stuff is most likely brown diatoms, a sort of form of algae. Simply wipe them off with a clean aquarium-only sponge (do not use a household sponge, they often have chemicals that will kill your fish). There are fish that can take care of it, too, but as you are probably already overstocked, I hesitate to suggest them. You cannot keep diatoms from appearing, they are very common in new tanks and will disappear on their own usually.

I'm not sure what kind of goldfish you have but you should be aware that they are most likely going to become very large, MUCH too large for your 32g tank. Either that or they will become stunted and will die a very nasty, premature death. Stunting means the outside stops growing but the internal organs continue to grow. If I were you, I would try to find a store to sell or give them to and find some other more appropriate fish. If, on the off-chance, that you have one of the smaller varieties, I take this all back, but that's unlikely. Common goldfish grow to be well over 2 feet long when properly cared for - most newbies aren't aware of that unfortunately.
 

Isabella

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Boxermom, if it's a relatively new tank, I doubt these are algae (though I may certainly be wrong). If the tank is still cycling, it could be ammonia (or nitrite, or nitrate) if its color is reddish. How long have you had this tank Michelle?
 

Boxermom

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Brown diatoms aren't exactly an algae. They ares usually present in new tanks, seldom in older tanks. Its not a "usual" type of algae that appears in planted tanks. It appears in tanks with no plants at all as well. I've never heard of ammonia, nitrites or nitrates creating any sort of residue on the glass. Its almost always diatoms. It grows on glass, gravel, fake plants, etc.
 

Isabella

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Seems like you're right Boxermom. The other suggestion I made was really just a guess. Thanks for the info about brown diatoms - never heard of that before. I remember when I was cycling my 10 gallon tank once, I also had some kind of reddish deposit on the walls and on the filter. I assumed it must have been one of the three compounds present during the cycle. But now I know it was the brown diatom deposit.
 

Boxermom

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No problem at all. Otos are wonderful for taking care of brown diatoms, but since it seems that tank is already overstocked, I really don't recommend them. They're easy to remove just with some gentle cleaning. The decorations can be removed and rinsed in some declorinated water, a gentle rubbing with the fingers works great. For the tank walls, a quick swipe with a clean, aquarium-safe sponge before doing a water change takes care of it. It may come back a little but will get less and less and eventually go away on its own usually.
 

Isabella

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I remember this reddish residue was very easy to remove. I just gently wiped it off with my algae scraper. It never came back. I suppose it's present only during the cycling process.
 

Boxermom

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Not sure but it seems they are in normal water columns. It actually occurs after the nitrogen cycle has completed. They are actually diatom skeletons. One site says this:

"It is a normal occurrence, as diatoms are one of the first to appear in the chain when the tank conditions are conducive for algae growth, and is usually a precursor to other forms of desirable and undesirable nuisance type green macroalgae."
 
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Michele

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Thanks all for the information. What I meant by cycling is that I change a percentage of the water every week or every other week I guess that's not cycling but a water change I've had the tank for a about three months now.The growth of the diatoms has slowed down and it is very easy to clean off; and does grow on the rocks and fake plants as well. I'd love real plants but read that goldfish have a very healthy appetite and would just devour them. I am holding a couple goldfish for my son who is getting his own tank soon, if I don't keep goldfish, what other fresh water fish would anyone suggest for my size tank. Are Otos freshwater fish? I did think that goldfish only get about 6 inches or so from what I read. I have a pompom, a bubble eye and not sure what the other one is, but it is not a "regular" one. Again, thanks for the info...I"m catching on!
 

Boxermom

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Yeah, that would be a water change, not cycling. Cycling normally refers to the nitrogen cycle that must be done and should be done before fish are introduced into the tank. https://www.fishlore.com/NitrogenCycle.htm

Yes, otos are freshwater fish. Cute little buggers, but be advised that they tend to be very sensitive and its not uncommon for some to die for no particular reason at all.
 
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