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Old 04-28-2011, 12:47 AM   #1
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Getting rid of brown algae - more light or less light?


There seems to be a lot of contradicting info on this. I'm having a brown algae problem.. I had started a really nice patch of UG, and slowly this brown algae has almost eliminated it. I have been doing 20 - 40% water changes every other day, and vacuuming what I can off the plants/rocks/substrate. Unfortunately the roots on my UG have not been well estrablished yet, so I'm losing it (with the vacuum) slowly bit by bit.

If I dont vacuum it though, it dies anyway from being smothered.

Do I need more light? I noticed that there is green algae growing now on some of the rocks (before it was brown only).. one thing that I read was that the green algae needs to grow which will compete with the brown and kill it off, so solution: more light.

Also, I read that Brown algae will thrive in very low light. My plants would probably die before the algae, if I tried a blackout.

My tank is under a window, which has a solid blind over it (no sun gets through).. should I open the blind slightly, just letting a few rays of sun in a few hrs per day?

It's only 9" deep, (3 feet long), with two Marineland LED fixtures. The plants seem happy, aside from the algae, so I think there is enough light.

Thanks!
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Old 04-28-2011, 01:20 AM   #2
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Is this tank newly set-up? Brown algae -- Diatoms -- usually grow in a newly cycled/established tank, but they will go away on there own. How many total watts are on the tank?
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Old 04-28-2011, 01:49 AM   #3
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I'm glad you brought this up, its exactly what i am trying to figure out!! I will be sticking around to see more answers!
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Old 04-28-2011, 02:20 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Regenesis View Post
Is this tank newly set-up? Brown algae -- Diatoms -- usually grow in a newly cycled/established tank, but they will go away on there own. How many total watts are on the tank?
^^^ This..

That's exactly the problem I had... It has to do with newly cycled tanks, they will go away on their own. I hear Otto's are goo for this type of job.. they will rid your tank of Diatoms in no time.
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Old 04-28-2011, 02:30 AM   #5
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I have the diatom problem too for a newly set up and cycled tank (cycle completed 1 week ago), and there's brown diatom algae all over my plant leaves. If I'm waiting for it to go away on its own, roughly how long will this take?
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Old 04-28-2011, 02:44 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oscarsx View Post
^^^ This..

That's exactly the problem I had... It has to do with newly cycled tanks, they will go away on their own. I hear Otto's are goo for this type of job.. they will rid your tank of Diatoms in no time.

Not always. My tank had been cycled for a year and has never had an algae problem, its completely established yet i have a huge diatom problem now. My ottos don't help, and i have had this problem going on 3 months. I wipe- it comes back and so on.

My problem is the silicates in my local water are rather high, so filter your water before adding it, R/O (i wouldn't bother with this though, doesn't always work, is expensive etc.) or add some kind of silicates/ phosphate remover....I have no idea if any of that works...but its worth a shot.

OH! And i have added an extra filter to the tank so increased water flow with carbon. This will help take away extra nutrients and help stop extra diatoms from establishing.
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Old 04-28-2011, 02:46 AM   #7
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But again i would love to hear what others say about the light, i have heard so many conflicting opinions, and so would love to hear some hard evidence about this topic...Would be super helpful for the OP, me and MANY others!!
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Old 04-28-2011, 02:50 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VeeSe View Post
I have the diatom problem too for a newly set up and cycled tank (cycle completed 1 week ago), and there's brown diatom algae all over my plant leaves. If I'm waiting for it to go away on its own, roughly how long will this take?
Really, It just depends on different things, but It will go away.
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Old 04-28-2011, 03:56 AM   #9
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What? no! don't let any sunlight fall on your tank, that's bad!
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Old 04-28-2011, 04:06 AM   #10
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Get some otos they take care the rest. Further read here
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Old 04-28-2011, 05:48 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Joraan View Post
Get some otos they take care the rest. Further read here
Thanx for that link.
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Description Forms in brown patches on the glass, substrate and plants. Cause Usually found in newly setup tanks due to silicates and ammonia as the filter and substrate have yet to mature. Removal Can be vacuumed out or wiped of the glass with a soft cloth. Usually disappears after a few weeks when the tank has matured. Otocinclus will eat it.
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Old 04-28-2011, 06:17 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oscarsx View Post
^^^ This..

That's exactly the problem I had... It has to do with newly cycled tanks, they will go away on their own. I hear Otto's are goo for this type of job.. they will rid your tank of Diatoms in no time.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Regenesis View Post
Is this tank newly set-up? Brown algae -- Diatoms -- usually grow in a newly cycled/established tank, but they will go away on there own. How many total watts are on the tank?
About 2 months running.. Not sure of the wattage, I'm running LED light strips from Marineland (2 fixtures, each one is the "Doublebright" model.)
I have 4 otos, not touching it.
The problem is, even if they go away on their own, by the time they're gone, so are most of my plants, from being smothered.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bree View Post
Not always. My tank had been cycled for a year and has never had an algae problem, its completely established yet i have a huge diatom problem now. My ottos don't help, and i have had this problem going on 3 months. I wipe- it comes back and so on.

My problem is the silicates in my local water are rather high, so filter your water before adding it, R/O (i wouldn't bother with this though, doesn't always work, is expensive etc.) or add some kind of silicates/ phosphate remover....I have no idea if any of that works...but its worth a shot.

OH! And i have added an extra filter to the tank so increased water flow with carbon. This will help take away extra nutrients and help stop extra diatoms from establishing.
Maybe I'll try running an additional filter. Thanks.


Quote:
Originally Posted by btimmer92 View Post
What? no! don't let any sunlight fall on your tank, that's bad!
Even just a sliver of sunlight, for about 30 mins/day? hehe.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Joraan View Post
Get some otos they take care the rest. Further read here
I have four otos. All they do is (when I turn the light on in the morning) FREAK OUT and smash through as many of my delicate plants as they can in the least amount of time, uprooting. I think they get extra points for each uprooted plant. It's like a sport for them. Smashing their faces into the dirt, finding a nice patch of UG or HC that's just delicately managed to attach to the substrate, and then wiggling as violently as possible right on top of it.
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Old 04-28-2011, 06:33 PM   #13
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Ottos and cleaning my filter pipes cured my brown algae problem. Went completly over a weekend.
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Old 04-28-2011, 07:00 PM   #14
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I dealt with this issue as well. It started at almost two months of running and lasted about three weeks. This is a good time to buy ottos as they need a good deal of it to help with the transition. You could use a silicate remover, but again, it will clear itself out with time.
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Old 04-28-2011, 09:08 PM   #15
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More light just means more algae. Also make sure you don't have them on for too long, max 10 hours per day. Direct sun light can easily be a problem even if it's only for an hour a day.

Are you sure the "brown algae" is diatoms? Sounds like your tank has cycled so it could be Rhizoclonium which is also brown. But Rhizoclonium is more like hair strands or clumps of long strands.. smothering everything. That you can get if you don't have enough of CO2 or fertilizers but lots of light. (You don't really mention if you have CO2 and what fertilizers you use)

When I first started with a tank I switched on all the lights that came with my fittings, 4 x 39w of T5HO.. the result was a huge outbreak of all types of algae including Rhizoclonium. So trust me, too much light will always = Algae! It's all about keeping a balance. The more light, the more CO2 and fertilizers you must have.

Have a look here to ID what you have and see the cause:

http://www.jsctech.co.uk/theplantedtank/algae.htm
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