Brown stuff on substrate - Help!!! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 02:14 AM Thread Starter
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Brown stuff on substrate - Help!!!

Hello all!

I'm newer to the community and am starting my first planted tank. I have been setup now about 3 months and my tank has fully cycled. I noticed today that I have this weird brown stain like stuff on my gravel substrate. I'm not sure what it is? I did however buy some aquaeron liquid plant food from my local fish store and dosed my 30g accordingly with 30ml of the product. I noticed the liquid is brown but seemed to dissapate into the water and didnt like settle all at once on the bottom.

I'm not sure what i have. Could this be some kind of algae or could it be from my plant food?... Do i even need the plant food as all i have planted is elodea anacharis. Will the fish waste and nitrate by products be enough for them?

Thanks,

Rob
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 02:25 AM
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The fish waste won't be enough, what you're seeing is normal, as your substrate is also a bio bed (grows bacteria) don't remove it just turn it over if it's that bothersome, could be diatoms which is brown algae, nothing to be alarmed about. How much plant food do you add weekly?

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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 02:51 AM Thread Starter
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I am dosing as per the instructions on the bottle based on my tank size, 30gallons.

I end of dosing about 30ml once per week.
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 03:02 AM
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I use Seachem that doesn't have water added to it and has more nutrients than the aqueon. Aqueon has water added to it, I dose 10 ml a week, aqueon wants 10 ml per 10 gal, Seachem flourish comprehensive is 10 ml per 60 gallons.

edit : flourish comprehensive is 5 ml per 60
Aqueon plant flood has
98.5% Deionized water

Also comprehensive has way more ingredients in it to make a long post short, your best bet would be to switch to Seachem flourish it will save you money in the long run, don't fret over the diatoms they aren't harmful just an eye sore, I see your light looks very bright what is your lighting?

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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 03:18 AM Thread Starter
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I was given the light strip by a friend of mine. Im not sure the brand of name of it. It is a LED light strip with mostly white lights and a few blue led lights, as for settings it only has on, off, and a blue moonlight light setting or poor mans UV.
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 03:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robertg8887 View Post
I was given the light strip by a friend of mine. Im not sure the brand of name of it. It is a LED light strip with mostly white lights and a few blue led lights, as for settings it only has on, off, and a blue moonlight light setting or poor mans UV.
Does it have a brand name

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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 04:29 AM Thread Starter
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i think its a marieland led light bar. This is the closest that i can find on google that matches what i have. Like i said it was given to me and no where on it does it say what it is or who makes it.

however the light pattern and blue led placement on my bar is that same as shown in this picture.
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 05:15 AM
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I use a fractional EI dosing with dry fert from NiloCG.it's about 20 bucks for a couple years worth.Comes with the bottles and premixed packets and you add the distilled water.

Both the aqueon and seachem are mostly water.It looks like form checking the ingredients list of both,the aqueon has macros and the seachem does not.


check this thread:

Seachem Flourish Comprehensive enough?

MTS? no,I just need one more tank...
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 06:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MtAnimals View Post
I use a fractional EI dosing with dry fert from NiloCG.it's about 20 bucks for a couple years worth.Comes with the bottles and premixed packets and you add the distilled water.

Both the aqueon and seachem are mostly water.It looks like form checking the ingredients list of both,the aqueon has macros and the seachem does not.


check this thread:

Seachem Flourish Comprehensive enough?
"Flourish Comprehensive is sometimes labeled as just Flourish and it is an all around fertilizer with a little of everything including a small amount of macro ferts (Nitrogen-N, Phosphorus-P, and Potassium-K) and some of the micro ferts (iron, magnesium, boron, etc). It is a great all around fert to start with and will do well for most easy low-tech and low light tanks."

That's from a different forum , I see nothing on my bottle of flourish for Water im sure it does as fertilizers are dry so they need water, Seachem is a much better product than aqueon, he's not growing heavily, the EI is cheaper yes but I don't think he needs to go that Route I will be soon but in my post no one told me what I need to get from the website.


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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robertg8887 View Post
i think its a marieland led light bar. This is the closest that i can find on google that matches what i have. Like i said it was given to me and no where on it does it say what it is or who makes it.

however the light pattern and blue led placement on my bar is that same as shown in this picture.
Okay well that's not a"junk "light, what is your light cycle, it's not the best light or even close but if left on to long im sure diatoms will form.

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Last edited by Darkblade48; 04-21-2017 at 05:34 PM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 06:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by p0tluck View Post
"Flourish Comprehensive is sometimes labeled as just Flourish and it is an all around fertilizer with a little of everything including a small amount of macro ferts (Nitrogen-N, Phosphorus-P, and Potassium-K) and some of the micro ferts (iron, magnesium, boron, etc). It is a great all around fert to start with and will do well for most easy low-tech and low light tanks."

That's from a different forum , I see nothing on my bottle of flourish for Water im sure it does as fertilizers are dry so they need water, Seachem is a much better product than aqueon, he's not growing heavily, the EI is cheaper yes but I don't think he needs to go that Route I will be soon but in my post no one told me what I need to get from the website.


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The thread I linked is from this forum.Flourish comprehensive "Does not contain significant levels of nitrogen or phosphorus" that's from seachem's website.

http://www.seachem.com/flourish.php

Since no one mentioned,here's the EI package: DIY EI Liquid Fertilizer| Premium Aquarium Fertilizer | NilocG Aquatics


I've been using the DIY EI package in low-tech tanks dosing 1/3,and the DIY pack has lasted 2 years so far in 7 tanks from 5 to 55 gallons.

MTS? no,I just need one more tank...
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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 09:39 AM
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His post is about brown stuff on his substrate it could be the ferts but I'm not thinking so, I'm trying to find out what's causing it, im pretty sure it's just the natural thing that's happening when it grows bacteria, or could be diatoms.

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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 03:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by p0tluck View Post
His post is about brown stuff on his substrate it could be the ferts but I'm not thinking so, I'm trying to find out what's causing it, im pretty sure it's just the natural thing that's happening when it grows bacteria, or could be diatoms.

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Diatoms for sure. The beginning of them...

- - - - - -
29g Freshwater
30" Finnex Planted+ 24/7
Fluval 206 Canister
Fish: Angelfish/Fancy Guppies/Yoyo Loach/Ghost Shrimp/Fire Shrimp/Neon Tetras/Assassin Snail...somewhere
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 03:46 PM
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A few small ramshorn snails will make short work of diatoms.

MTS? no,I just need one more tank...
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 03:48 PM
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It's a white substrate, it's going to reflect a lot of the overhead lighting and cause some diatoms and possibly other algaes. No way to get around that.

BTW, OP, did you use aragonite or coral sand for your substrate, and do you know your tap water parameters if you're using tap water? Reason I'm asking is that Seachem uses Ferrous Gluconate in their Iron fert supplements, which is best used in tanks that can be counted on to run slightly acid in pH. You are throwing money away using this iron supplement if your tank is anywhere North of 7.2~7.6 pH

You're going to be headed down the water chemistry versus possibility of your plants not growing well, rabbit hole here. The learning curve climbs steeply from this point onwards...

Bump:
Quote:
Originally Posted by MtAnimals View Post
A few small ramshorn snails will make short work of diatoms.
Well except that they don't normally turn the individual gravel grains over and clean diatoms from both sides, MTS would work but would be a bit of an aesthetic shocker, especially if they started to overpopulate.

Starting small, keeping it simple..(?)
85 gallon stock tank, "pond"
5g low-tech Java Fern jungle.
2.5g +1.2g satellite stream-clay crypt and Fern tank.
20 GallonH Streamsoil dirt tank
Pendant-hooded, LED A19 bulb lighting.
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 11:53 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you everyone for the replies, after looking into diatoms I think that may be what i am facing. Is nutrient reduction through more frequent water changes and feeding less the only cure? I don't want to go nuclear and dose my tank with anti algae products as i dont know how that will effect my plants, fish, or beneficial bacteria as well as water chemistry.

As for my substrate i just used plain aquarium gravel. Since im not adding Co2 or any other high maintenance plants for this tank i opted to avoid it. I am only interested in beginner level plants as this is my first ever tank. I don't want to go way over my head and end up overwhelmed. Im starting slow and learning.

My water parameters are as follows:
Ammonia 0ppm
Nitrite 0ppm
Nitrate 20ppm
PH 6.6

When i first introduced the elodea anacharis to my tank i did the whole 1% bleach wash on them for about 10 seconds, I dont think it killed all the snail eggs as i ended up with a pond snail explosion during my cycling. At one point i had almost close to 100 of them on the tank walls and substrate. I soon invested in a turkey baster and started sucking them up. Well after a week of that and not seeing a end in sight to their population i ended up buying 3 assassin snails (whelks) they instantly went to town and ate their hearts out. now 4 weeks later i have the occassional pond snail here or there but no where like it was. These guys are beasts. For the diatoms i would introduced mts or ramshorns but i dont want another snail infestation so the assassins are here to stay. I need another option for diatom removal.

Also a sidebar question i have two corys out of 6 that are turning this dark grey color and just laying still on the substrate. I originally stocked 4 and was told they need groups of 6 or more so I went out and bought two more. When i got all of them they were all kind of white with green metallic look to them, they are emerald corys. However two have started just laying on the substrate and turned dark grey. Pic attached, I cant for sure say these darks are the ones i bought seperate 2 weeks after introducing the original 4 as they were all around the same size and color. thanks!
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