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Old 05-25-2011, 05:45 PM   #1
Grendel
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Brown algae help?


Currently battling some brown algae (diatoms?) and I need some feedback on how to beat it.

I have no idea why, but I seem to avoid the BBA, cladophora, and hair type algaes in exchange for the diatoms and GDA, which have been surprisingly challenging for me to deal with.

You can see what I'm talking about here...







I think this stuff is related to the fuzzy diatoms I've been dealing with, but I'm not sure. As you can see, it's affecting some of my plants pretty seriously. My staurogyne and HC are essentially dead because of it - they'll grow a few new leaves, but at that point everything else subsequently starts getting covered by brown gunk. When I trim the affected stuff off, the process just starts from scratch. One step forward, two steps back.

My C. willisii and a. nana have also been hit by it pretty hard, and while it's not killing them like my stauro and HC, they're not making any forward progress at the moment. My eichhornia and blyxa are growing great, and my r. nanjenshan seems unaffected by it too.


Here's my tank specs, in case anyone feels moved to help me troubleshoot...
  • 40G breeder (36x18x16), current set-up running 6+ months
  • 2x39 watts T5 retro-fit with AHS-equivalent, top end reflectors - approximately 25 inches above the substrate, 8 hour photoperiod (had to keep moving these higher to beat some GDA)
  • CO2 with in-line Rex reactor - 3+ bps (bright yellow drop-checker). 1/2 tsp N, 1/2 tsp K, 1/8 tsp P three times/week
  • 1/4 tsp Mg, 1/4 tsp Ca two times per week
  • 10+ ml CSM+B, 2x recommended Excel three times/week
  • weekly H2O change - 75+%
  • moderate (IMO) fishloadL: 13 cardinals, 7 c. habrosus, 5 dicrossus, 1 nannoptopoma
Any ideas on what to do to fight this brown crap? Am I right in thinking of it as diatoms? If so, I've seen people deal with it by both cutting and adding light - any suggestions there?

As an aside, "brown algae" is a term that seems to apply to any number of different things, so it's been hard for me to find good, solid information on this exact type...

As far as next steps, I'm leaning toward trying some window screen over the lights next, to see if maybe I'm still too photo-excessive, but I'm open to almost anything.

Thanks!


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Old 05-25-2011, 06:39 PM   #2
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Subscribed as I have much of these same issues.
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Old 08-11-2011, 05:58 AM   #3
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Found this on google but bumped from the dead by me cause I have the exact same problem right now on my HC.
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Old 08-13-2011, 08:14 PM   #4
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I'm have the same - see brown"ish" post...unfortuntely the post has gone silent after pics were posted....still hoping for input from a "guru", but not holding my breath..my thought is the algea is a form of diatom that is made worse by sub-par plant growth conditions...I use tap water for WC (not sure of silicate levels), and question wether RO would help??..with ur large WC maybe that's aprt of the problem..good luck..
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Old 08-13-2011, 08:54 PM   #5
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http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/al...pot-algae.html

we might have the similar issue.
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Old 08-13-2011, 09:13 PM   #6
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Is everyone having this problem doing large WC w/tap water?
Unless I get some better advice, on my next scheduled WC I plan to "prefilter" my tap water with "Phosphagard" to reduce the silicates/phosphates, then re-dose phosphates per e.i.......will report back if this helps...(p.s. will change no other parameters to try and make this somewhat scientific)....
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Old 08-13-2011, 09:45 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffHB View Post
Is everyone having this problem doing large WC w/tap water?
Unless I get some better advice, on my next scheduled WC I plan to "prefilter" my tap water with "Phosphagard" to reduce the silicates/phosphates, then re-dose phosphates per e.i.......will report back if this helps...(p.s. will change no other parameters to try and make this somewhat scientific)....
you will waste your time doing that, Nutrients isn't the problem here, if you read my thread you might get some ideas. i strongly believe that its the light if all the other things are being done correctly including co2, ferts etc.

i use complete RO water and add all the minerals back into the water and still my tank suffer from spot algae. in your case i will not waste time on Phosphagard.
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Old 08-14-2011, 04:42 AM   #8
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Maybe i wasn't clear - I'm not attemping to reduce nutrients, just remove/lessen silicates as there does not appear to be a simple silicate remover I was planning to use "phosphagard" on the tap water being introduced to the tank. Unfortunately it remove phosphate as well as silicates (very little in my tap water anyway) so i was going to re-introduce phosphate after the WC thu normal ei dosing. BUT knowing you use RO does raise questions...my algea problem does apear far worse however..
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Old 08-16-2011, 03:48 AM   #9
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I had this issue on my first tank, a 55gal and it was pretty gnarly, brown on everything, however no live plants. Few things worked for me: 75% water change from every week to every two, reduced light by ~2h, added golden algae eater. the first too reduced the algae after a couple weeks, algae eater takes care of the rest for the most part. Hope this helps, this is simply my experience with the stuff.....which I now have in my newly planted tank...subscribed!
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Old 08-16-2011, 04:57 AM   #10
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From my experience, brown diatoms are present only when I setup a fresh tank(i.e. Lack of plants/new filter).

I have never seen brown diatom algae in my 10g when I was using a carpet of HC, but I just switched over to DHG and it is everywhere.
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Old 08-16-2011, 05:16 AM   #11
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I have the exact same problem, it is so frustrating. Similar high tech setup, inline diffuser/yellow dropchecker, npk+micro dosing daily via bubble magus, 36W T5 over 14 gallon, tank up for a few months already.

50% of my DHG are covered with this brown algae while the rest are green (all mixed together). So is my driftwood, tank glass, and back of the tank. I have 3 otto all with full belly yet they barely makes a dent on the brown algae.

Have exhausted pretty much all options at this point, my only remaining thing is replace the light with a higher watt coralife CF.

This isnt my first tank, i never had this problem in the past. Not sure what is going on. And in all honesty all those threads are pretty useless in term of offering actual advise. All everyone says is your tank is not balanced, fix the root cause. That's brilliant...but how do you do that? what is the root cause? the only thing everyone seem to agree on is low co2 causes algae, but my tank is full of co2...

Anyway sorry for the rant, just so exhausting dealing with an ugly looking tank for months while trying to do everything right and still couldnt figure out what's going on.

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Old 08-19-2011, 11:04 PM   #12
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OK, My unscientific experiment is underway! 50% WC with filtered & some RO water...I have also stopped dosing Flourish due to the iodine (that some believe is a nutrient source for diatoms...and flourish is loaded with it) and will use CSM+B....hoping I have success and in any case can provide feedback to others with this issue.
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Old 08-19-2011, 11:18 PM   #13
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I certainly agree with your little scientific experiment. Only if you are in fact introducing silicates into your water through the tap. If it is actually diatom algae than they feed off silicates and will subside when they are depleted.

Gagaliya, sorry your situation is so frustrating. How long has it been going on? Sometime it can take a month or two to use up the silicates and infinitely longer if you are introducing them via your tap.

Happi, you mention that you suffer from "spot algae" this is entirely different from this kind of algae and the causes and treatments will differ as such. Your algae tends to be from too high of lighting.

While it may be a hassle, silicates must be removed from the tap or else they will do what they do best. Feed diatoms. Does anyone have a silicate test? Even if they aren't the most accurate, they can still detect the presence of them.
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Old 08-20-2011, 03:15 AM   #14
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Yes, I suspect the silicates are introduced thru tap water changes. The introduced silicates do not just go away as in my experience they took months to "build up" and created a diatom bloom (in theory) when coupled with (maybe) ammonia or other nutrient. The only way I know to remove the silicates from the tank is a "sponge", water changes (without intoducing more), or physically removing the diatoms. I suspect those with little silicates in their water changes create a limiter once ammonia, nitrite are gone from new tank which leads to a diatom die-off..just my guess..
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Old 08-20-2011, 08:48 AM   #15
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I have been battling this algae for months now. I have tried many things. One thing I noticed is that in more shaded areas or areas with higher water flow there was no algae present.

I thought at one point is was my high tech setup and my ferts so I stopped dosing, no change.

I started using.g posguard and it helped a little, as well as directing current on to the plants. Shrimps also eat these guys. But the thing is, is that my tank has been setup for over a year. I use silica sand that's contributing to the silicates and it wont go away.

Its slowly going away with a light adjustment, filter cleaning, flow control, and shrimps.
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