What is this stuff? It wont go away!

Dezbian

So I've had my tank for over a year now, the water parameters are perfect, I do not over feed and I do biweekly waterchanges. This tank is a 20 gallon long with aquasoil undulata, pennywort, javamoss and anubus.

This Black stuff has been plaguing my plants since an early algae bloom and I can't get rid of it! What is it? I don't think it's black beard bc it isn't fuzzy. Someone help please I've tried using algae killers to no avail. It isn't killing my plants but the poor guys look rough.
 

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ppate1977

I think that is diatomaceous algae. It is usually caused by a phosphate imbalance. Easiest to clean, but hardest to fully eliminate IMO.
 

Nopsu

My nerite snails completely eliminated almost all visible diatoms in a month when I got them.. Before that i could reduce the algae by cleaning the worst of it and keeping up water changes and trying to siphon all poop/food residue on top of plants weekly
Could it be that you are overfeeding?
You say you are not tho, maybe the flow is not good enough and plants collect fish poop on them?
Main causes are:
1 nitrogen and or phosphate imbalance (too little plants, not enough water changes)
2 high levels of silica in water
 

leftswerve

Test your nitrate levels, I would almost bet they are consistently on the high side.
Good luck
 

SparkyJones

How much light are you doing, including the ambient light of where the tank is, not just the light over it?

that can be starting as the brown dust algae and turning dark and it layers up on itself. too much light will make it turn up heavy, and technically everywhere but if you disturb the substrates some, wipe the glass, or the fish are pretty active around, it doesn't settle anywhere except on leaves and stuff where there isn't much movement. You'd think iut was a sick plant because it's not turning up on everything just places it can settle and hold on to.

I have this stuff, when it's on rocks or glass a gentle wipe makes it particleize and drift off in like a fine brown mist but allowed to build up it gets pretty thick gets darker as it thinkens and harder to remove, and then green as green algae grows on top of it. keeping the lighting short seems to keep it minimal, i don't know if this is what's on your plants for sure, but looks like that's what's going on to me.
Diatom algae. most times just messing with the decor, brushing through the plants and flipping things over to the dark sides keeps it from settling and getting bad it's sort of a fine powder at first. and wipes away really easy.
 

Dezbian

How much light are you doing, including the ambient light of where the tank is, not just the light over it?

that can be starting as the brown dust algae and turning dark and it layers up on itself. too much light will make it turn up heavy, and technically everywhere but if you disturb the substrates some, wipe the glass, or the fish are pretty active around, it doesn't settle anywhere except on leaves and stuff where there isn't much movement. You'd think iut was a sick plant because it's not turning up on everything just places it can settle and hold on to.

I have this stuff, when it's on rocks or glass a gentle wipe makes it particleize and drift off in like a fine brown mist but allowed to build up it gets pretty thick gets darker as it thinkens and harder to remove, and then green as green algae grows on top of it. keeping the lighting short seems to keep it minimal, i don't know if this is what's on your plants for sure, but looks like that's what's going on to me.
Diatom algae. most times just messing with the decor, brushing through the plants and flipping things over to the dark sides keeps it from settling and getting bad it's sort of a fine powder at first. and wipes away really easy.
Maybe I'm doing too much light? I leave it on almost all day most days and there's only a little sunlight that hits it in the afternoons. I gravel vac up what I can and wipe the sides down every water change.

I feel like I've tried wiping it and it didn't help...maybe it's too thick?
My nerite snails completely eliminated almost all visible diatoms in a month when I got them.. Before that i could reduce the algae by cleaning the worst of it and keeping up water changes and trying to siphon all poop/food residue on top of plants weekly
Could it be that you are overfeeding?
You say you are not tho, maybe the flow is not good enough and plants collect fish poop on them?
Main causes are:
1 nitrogen and or phosphate imbalance (too little plants, not enough water changes)
2 high levels of silica in water
The nitrate levels always test low and I use the api kit to test but I will test more frequently to see. If it is a phosphate balance what's the best way to remedy?
 

Nopsu

I think you should start by cutting the lights to be 8-10 hours. There can be an optional 2-4h break in the middle if you wish to. (like the walstad 5-4-5). Timer switches are best solution and quite inexpensive at least here.
 

FishDin

Snails. Nerites are best for this IMO. One nerite snail is all you need in a 20g with a mild problem.

Lighting is probably contributing as others have said. If you want your lights on all day you will need to decrease the intensity. If your light doesn't allow you to do that, you can raise the light and/or put a bunch of floating plants in the tank to cut down on the light reaching the tank.

I have a programmable light on one tank. The lights are on for 12 hours, but they ramp up and down for 6 of those hours. During most of that time there is plenty of light for viewing, but not enough for the plants, including algae. To do this you have to know the par levels of your light.

Optionally you can reduce the duration of the light period. I would start at 6 hours until the problem is resolved, then you can try increasing it.
 

Dezbian

I think that is diatomaceous algae. It is usually caused by a phosphate imbalance. Easiest to clean, but hardest

Snails. Nerites are best for this IMO.
But the little buggers leave Eggs everywhere :/ I have a rabbit snail will she help at all?
I think you should start by cutting the lights to be 8-10 hours. There can be an optional 2-4h break in the middle if you wish to. (like the walstad 5-4-5). Timer switches are best solution and quite inexpensive at least here.
Sounds good to me I'll try this, I'm assuming these timers can be retrieved but amazon?
 

SamMe

I have this problem in one of my tanks as well. If the plants aren't too delicate, a toothbrush works well. I have mostly anubias and java fern and it works great for them. As you stated, rubbing just isn't enough.
 

SparkyJones

But the little buggers leave Eggs everywhere :/ I have a rabbit snail will she help at all?

Sounds good to me I'll try this, I'm assuming these timers can be retrieved but amazon?
Nerite snails need salt water to reproduce viably. Yes they will leave eggs around.
Nerite is about the only one that will eat brown diatom algae. Others won't do the job, yeah you'll have nonviable eggs around but you won't get overrun by nerite snails.
 

Dezbian

I have this problem in one of my tanks as well. If the plants aren't too delicate, a toothbrush works well. I have mostly anubias and java fern and it works great for them. As you stated, rubbing just isn't enough.
I thought about using a toothbrush but I didn't know if it was going to be too rough for the plants thanks for suggestion. :)
Nerite snails need salt water to reproduce viably. Yes they will leave eggs around.
Nerite is about the only one that will eat brown diatom algae. Others won't do the job, yeah you'll have nonviable eggs around but you won't get overrun by nerite snails.
Yes but the eggs mess with the aquascaped look. I know they're good I'd just like to see if I can get rid of it some other way first because I worked hard for the tank to look like it does without White dots everywhere lol including my rabbit snail!
 

SamMe

As stated above, if you can put up with the eggs, nerites are amazing at getting rid of the nasty stuff and they come in such a variety of pretty shell patterns.

An old credit card is great to get the eggs off the glass.
 

FishDin

I have a very reasonable nerite in my 29g. She doesn't lay eggs on the glass even though she cleans it constantly. Seems like she goes weeks sometimes without laying eggs. I guess I got lucky.

Yeah, the egg thing is an aesthetic issue for many. I like to keep my tanks like natural biotopes, so snails and their egss are seen as part of the natural environment. They don't effect me negatively when I see them. It's just not an issue for me. Other fish keepers, like yourself, have other approaches and preferences.
 

Nopsu

My nerites don't lay eggs on the glass but on driftwood yes..


Sounds good to me I'll try this, I'm assuming these timers can be retrieved but amazon?
I bought mine from local hardware/department store
 

Holaitshunter

Not to try to take over this thread or anything but I’m thinking I might have the same algae problem, just want to see if you guys think it’s the same as OP and if so then imma try the nerites
05315872-7E88-4D5A-A27A-9AA3BB7DFD62.jpeg
 

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