Brown algae for Months - Page 2 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #16 of 34 (permalink) Old 02-21-2019, 07:19 PM
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I'm wondering if the Nilocg Thrive contents of Potassium Phosphate could be adding to the supposed diatom problem I'm having?

an update, I've a Fluval Nano light for a week and it's way more lighted than the stock Aqueon led hood so... and this algae was growing before the new light so... .I've been vacuuming my substrate the best I can for the past week(5 times) and will do so again today. My elodea melted, it was planted but I disturbed it a lot and it never took hold for the 3-4 weeks I had it but it really started to melt in a bad way just recently. My week old bacopa seems to be ok although I moved it a lot vacuuming the gravel.

the vacuuming has taken most of the left over food, brownish algae? and watnots out of the gravel but the algae keeps coming back the next day. I'd like to hold back the Niclog Thrive but am afraid the new bacopa needs the nutrients from it. I do notice this algae is more pronounced where there was a concentration of the [email protected] and the recent elodea placement. I'll try to keep on vacuuming the substrate for another week or so to see what happens. "sigh" Luckily it's only a 5gallon tank.

I would have thought my swordtail and neon tetra would have gotten used to my hands in their habitat by now, lol they should know I'm not out to get them

Started out, thinking it's a 5gal. tank chore for my grandkid want, now, it's turned into a expensive hobby that I've got only myself to blame fer.

Last edited by Pocho; 02-21-2019 at 07:38 PM. Reason: added wording
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post #17 of 34 (permalink) Old 02-25-2019, 02:25 PM
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JAH410 let me say 1st that I'm a newbie at this

okay now that I got that off my shoulders I'm thinking at least in my case having bga. Again, I'm no expert but from looking at your pics, I've have that same dark greenish shadow on the glass around the substrate, could that be bga too. idk? or maybe we both got more than diatoms. What makes me think it is is when I wipe off the supposed algae off the glass it comes off green on my mitt and it also looks black too near and under the substrate glass like a thin mat/slime, the water smells but doesn't aquarium water smell? I've also read bga can come in different colors so
Another thought I have is that I don't give the algae the time to grow much before I clean and maybe it was a bloom in 2 days time that made me realize it may not be diatoms. idk

my Ammo, Nitri, Nitra 0,0,5 ph 7.8 temp near 80 as yours and the API Phosphate test shows what seems to be 0 readings. I use Phosguard but still this algae pops up on the gravel and glass overnight and it's pretty good in 2 days time.

I have had Erythromycin on hand since day one of this hobby and will try that to see if this cures this unwanted growth.

Started out, thinking it's a 5gal. tank chore for my grandkid want, now, it's turned into a expensive hobby that I've got only myself to blame fer.

Last edited by Pocho; 02-25-2019 at 02:42 PM. Reason: wording
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post #18 of 34 (permalink) Old 02-25-2019, 06:48 PM Thread Starter
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Definitely let me know if that helps clear stuff up. It is possible it's not all diatoms that's the problem. I wish I had a microscope to be able to view a sample with.
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post #19 of 34 (permalink) Old 02-25-2019, 09:54 PM
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Definitely let me know if that helps clear stuff up. It is possible it's not all diatoms that's the problem. I wish I had a microscope to be able to view a sample with.

will do, I just did my 2nd dose of erythromycin today. I had the same thoughts of a microscope but was thinking it may have to be a powerful expensive one. On the other hand there's alot of info on the net that shows pictures of the different types of algae that one may have. Green water, green spot is easy, diatoms maybe another easy one to distinguish, although there are others where you may have to be well versed to know what it is when it's in it's early stage of growth, lol. that's just my opine there.

I'm now seeing bba and will deal with it using h2o2(peroxide), will try to hold off doing that after the Erythromycin treatment. Geez, the outer leaf edges are black on my nana petite and windelov.

How this can spin one's mind wondering of the bba, ferts/light/plant combo, too many water changes creating unstable parameters. man i tell you.

I'm thinking logically that I have no base settings to go back on to where my tank was stable without algae and with some plant growth. Introducing to many variables trying to fix algae problems, ferts, excel, lighting, etc., if there weren't the 2 inhabitants I'd start all over again with just a planted tank and getting it somewhat balanced before adding fishes. As it is now, it's just trying to rid the algae(s) not knowing the source of what causing all this unwanted growth. LOL, there's a lot to be had to know what you have and learn here. This is NOT not so easy of a hobby. YIKEs!

I'm LOST! but it's keeping this old man's mind whirling about. Beats lying down and becoming a couch potato watching tv all day.

Started out, thinking it's a 5gal. tank chore for my grandkid want, now, it's turned into a expensive hobby that I've got only myself to blame fer.

Last edited by Pocho; 02-25-2019 at 11:01 PM. Reason: wording
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post #20 of 34 (permalink) Old 02-27-2019, 07:56 PM Thread Starter
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Update

So I am approaching 2 weeks since I first made this thread. You can read throughout my previous posts what I have been doing in the meantime (mainly lots of gravel vacs). Since I cleaned out the gravel well, I have seen no diatoms emerging. I decided to replant a single SR during this waiting period about a week ago. I have not seen any diatom growth on the leaves. Perhaps a slight amount of green algae, but not serious, and not diatoms.

It make be too early to say this was successful but it is showing promise. Even though I was filtering my addition water through phosguard to remove phosphates and silicate introduced to the tank, perhaps all the additional junk in the gravel was still adding these nutrients to the water column. It would explain why using DO water did not seem to help at all. After vacuuming, I've been adding and replacing phosguard to my filter to hopefully remove anything kicked up during vacuumes.

I will continue to monitor and update again when I am more confident in the results.
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post #21 of 34 (permalink) Old 02-28-2019, 01:59 AM
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thanks for the update!


I'm done with the erythromycin treatment, cleaned the tank and disturbed the gravel substrate and there was still a lot of [email protected], not only that but it seems my colored gravel may be flaking(not sure). My newly planted bacopa is growing roots in the substrate(yay!) as I uprooted them to try to clean the substrate. I'll change my substrate in the weeks ahead.

yeah! I think it's the filty substrate that's causing our problems, we'll see.
as like in your case cleaning the substrate well has stopped the onslaugh of that brownish algae(diatoms?) from returning in a day or two.

like in your pic the algae on the front glass under the subtrate, I have gravel as you may have too and I can see the light penetration into that areas of glass. Makes me think the algae grows because of the filth, the light and no water flow in the gravel. But what do I know?


JAH410 good luck and I hope everything clears up for you

Started out, thinking it's a 5gal. tank chore for my grandkid want, now, it's turned into a expensive hobby that I've got only myself to blame fer.

Last edited by Pocho; 03-02-2019 at 03:25 AM. Reason: added wording
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post #22 of 34 (permalink) Old 03-06-2019, 04:08 AM
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Jah410, Hows everything going on with algae?
did stirring up your substrate cause anymore probs?

Started out, thinking it's a 5gal. tank chore for my grandkid want, now, it's turned into a expensive hobby that I've got only myself to blame fer.
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post #23 of 34 (permalink) Old 03-07-2019, 02:06 AM Thread Starter
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It's difficult to say so far. I planted a single SR and then about 5 more 5 days later. The one I first planted had a little brown algae on the leaves (I mostly rubbed them off). The brown algae grew back about within 10 days and slowly spread to leaves that were new and had no algae. The other SR which had no alage on the leaves is now 6 days in with no alage signs whatsoever. Will continue to monitor.
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post #24 of 34 (permalink) Old 03-10-2019, 04:20 AM Thread Starter
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It's been about 10 days now and unfortunately I'm seeing brown algae growing on the SR again.

I'm gonna pull it out again and plant it back in cups under a light so that it doesn't get choked out by the alage. I don't really know what to do at this point. I found that my well water has a high amount of nitrate present (20-30ppm). I'm back to using RO water and hoping that I just need to wait out the alage, I'm not too hopeful though. My aquarium is obviously cycled, I get no ammonia or nitrite readings even after a week. Using the RO has pushed my nitrate back down to 5ppm and I can probably go lower than that if I keep using pure RO. I just don't wanna stunt plant growth because of the total lack of nitrate.

Does anyone have any more ideas? There really shouldn't be any reason for me to still have diatoms with this mature of a tank. Getting very close to quitting the planted aquarium hobby and just back to the fish...
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post #25 of 34 (permalink) Old 03-10-2019, 05:58 AM
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I am experiencing the same issue. I have a 4.4 gallon tank with Cuba, S Repens, Rynekii mini and java moss. The tanks been running for 3 months with only minor stunted growth issues. After removing some hardscape I must have started this whole debacle. Absolutely everything is covered in this thick brown muck. I’m only now starting to research how to tackle this as above and beyond frequent water changes and experimentation with photo period, filter media and Co2 admission I haven’t done much else. It’s be my preference to take care of this with livestock and maintenance but I’m not sure that’ll do the trick.
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post #26 of 34 (permalink) Old 03-10-2019, 06:36 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah I have not found that livestock help much in the matter. I see often where people say they got a single Nerite snail that cleaned the whole tank in days. I've found that my 4 Nerites in my 10 gallon do nearly nothing to combat the alage...every few days a see that they nibbled a little off of a leaf but otherwise nothing else.
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post #27 of 34 (permalink) Old 03-13-2019, 03:39 PM
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according to my journal it's been about 16 days without a breakout of diatoms/brown algae. I've done alot of maintenance(filters/hoses(twice since this started), deep disturbing gravel vacs, etc.), used bleach dip, hydrogen peroxide, erythromycin and continue to use Excel(3x dosage) to combat other types of algae. I've also decreased light intensity, decreased time "on" and "peak light" hours. I do notice at least for me it's best to do a wc and light gravel vac at most by the 3rd day. Doing this I haven't come across a blooming diatom/brown muck outbreak on substrate. When I had the muck on substrate I noticed it grew faster in the dips of the substrate or behind hardscape and I believe it was due to less water flow in those areas by the 1st-3rd day after cleaning. It's a 5gallon tank and I read many comments it's harder to take care of than larger gallonage tanks. Maybe it's easier to unstablize water parameters and/or harder to control that having less water?

I believe my system is out of balance and there's still something that's contributing to it but it's not blooming.

from my perspective, the dirty substrate and having had someone dump in fishfood flakes abetted the diatom hence the bloom and other algae. A good cleaning has brought my tank back to where it was prior to all these problems. No more diatom or substrate brown muck overnight or of today before my wc at 3 day intervals.
I've read diatom is not an algae... light may or may not be a factor and seeing that the muck grew while I slept with lights out... and it even grew with lights on during the day... . I can conclude, at least in my scenario, with light or lack of didn't deter or enhance my diatom growth(as far as a bloom). Kind of unscientific but...

Started out, thinking it's a 5gal. tank chore for my grandkid want, now, it's turned into a expensive hobby that I've got only myself to blame fer.

Last edited by Pocho; 03-13-2019 at 07:22 PM. Reason: added wording
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post #28 of 34 (permalink) Old 03-14-2019, 01:54 AM Thread Starter
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Interesting findings, keep us updated as to how the tank performs once you stop with the vacs and all the other changes you've made.

How do you think the antibiotic helped? Did you find it made a difference?
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post #29 of 34 (permalink) Old 03-14-2019, 02:53 PM
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For the most part of the chemicals used, it worked! I don't think it affects diatoms(idk), that's just my opine because I cleaned everything and the diatom "blooming" cleared up before I stated using the chemicals.

From the readings I've done, it seems you folks are on the right track trying to rid diatoms/brown algae as I've read many articles stating the same steps in a quest to rid it. I may never be able to stop diatoms in my scenario as I'm not considering using ro or deionized water or introduce algae eaters, etc.

There's one addition that I was considering, UV light, read up on what that does but have no experience using it myself so ymmv.

imo, I have to do water changes by the 3rd day or diatoms will start to show up. I have to keep my cleaning/vacs up or else... . I solved my diatom "blooming" cleaning substrate very well, filters and tubing, glass, etc.. Now it's a matter of keeping my tank clean, doing what I have to do to keep diatoms in check as I may never go the whole 9 yards(steps below) to see if all that will work keeping diatoms out of my tank. That is "my" problem, lol, there are steps I won't take at this time.

one author wrote:
1) remove 20% water shifting through substrate to remove fish waste that feeds diatom/brown algae, use ro, deionized water
2) use phosphate absorbing resin (Phosguard, etc. ?)
3) install UV
4) introduce algae eaters
5) monitor nitrates, keep it low
6) physically remove brown algae by hand/vac
7) cleaning filter, keep water clean

and it's conclusion: "What you have to do is to ensure that your fish tank is clean always. So, you need to change the water tank frequently and evacuate all the key factors that contribute to the growth of algae"

I have a feeling the Masters of Planted Tanks may not have to go thru all this. I think you need a lot of plant life and almost be a scientist to be in balance that keeps algae in check.

Started out, thinking it's a 5gal. tank chore for my grandkid want, now, it's turned into a expensive hobby that I've got only myself to blame fer.

Last edited by Pocho; 03-14-2019 at 09:58 PM. Reason: wording
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post #30 of 34 (permalink) Old 03-14-2019, 06:57 PM
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My brown algae problems have improved so well in one of my tanks that I have to really look in order to see any.

I up'd my photo period to 12 hours I new light doesn't effect diatoms however my hope was to get green algae to compete with the diatoms.(I think this worked as I had green algae grow where I wiped brown algae off the glass)

I also stopped cleaning the tank as much as I read somewhere that beneficial bacteria competes with diatoms and me stirring up the substrate may not have been helping.

I then fed my fish less only 2-3 times a week.

Currently my tank has almost got rid of all diatoms and my tank is cleaner than ever and tends to hold its own for longer periods between water changes.

All this may just be a coincidence and they faded over time lol but I think the steps I made worked. Hope this helps any thoughts
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