How to remove brown algae - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-03-2019, 10:34 PM Thread Starter
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Question How to remove brown algae

I forgot to do my daily dose of Excel for a while, and brown algae just exploded. I had some grass-like carpet I was trying to grow, and it covered everything above substrate with brown algae that I couldn't wipe off. The roots and bases look fine, and it saddens me to have to remove any of the plants. All of my plants are suffering slowly--It's been a problem I've had for years with this particular tank. I just can't seem to get anything to thrive. Not dwarf sag, cryptocoryne, amazon swords, even my anubias nana petite is looking a little sad.

Details:
CO2: No/Low tech
Tank: Fluval Spec V (5 gallons)
Planted: Moderately
Substrate: ADA Aquasoil
Temperature: 78 F
Filtration: Carbon, Sponge
Light: 7500K LED (on for 8 hours)
Water Changes: 50%, weekly
Dosing: Excel (supposed to be daily), Once a week: Thrive (ferts), Stress Coat, Nite-Out II, GH+ Mineralizer
Occupants: Male betta, horned nerite snail, 1 amano shrimp
Features: Heater, 1 Airstone, Pre-filter sponge, Driftwood, Slate rocks
Plants: Cryptocoryne, Amazon Swords, Anubias Nana Petite, Dwarf sag, Bacopa Caroliniana, Dwarf hairgrass
Other: 1 Indian Almond Leaf

Note: I have a good portion of my window blocked off, so sunlight should not be hitting the tank.

The frustrating thing is I have two other nano tanks by this one, a 2.5g and a 3.7g, and the plants always seem to do well. They use the same aquasoil, same dosing (though I don't have to dose the Excel as much for these), and yet it is the 5 gallon in the middle that always gives me the most trouble. If it weren't for the fact that I had a fish living in it, I would tear it down and build a terrarium.

There has to be some underlying cause why the plants never thrive to begin with, because I know their slowly failing health is what is making the algae go crazy. For now, I think if I get back to dosing Excel daily, the algae should die down.

What I want to know is, how do I remove it off smaller pieces of plants like the bacopa and hairgrass? When it was lighter I could just rub it off but now it really seems to be on there. I'm hesitant to just pull out all the plants because I need them to fight the algae (what an ironic circle this is).

get out of my house
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-04-2019, 05:52 AM
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Hello, I think your best bet is to make enough time or do it in phases of water changes. Rub the brown algae off each plant. During this time you may want to lower your photo period to 6 hours. Do a real good tank, filter, gravel, filter hose cleaning. I believe once you rid all or most the algae and your plants start to grow at there peak. The algae won't come back. This process can take a month maybe less, depending in the amount of effort you can put into it. Good luck enjoy the ride


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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-04-2019, 02:10 PM
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Or try PhosGuard.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-04-2019, 11:28 PM
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Whatís point of stress coat and nite out weekly? Neither of those should be needed in healthy cycled aquarium.

Also what filtration system do other 2 tanks use?
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-05-2019, 07:48 AM Thread Starter
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@KZB I went to work cleaning as best I could yesterday. Algae off the glass, scrubbed some rocks and driftwood, and the hardest part: I very carefully rubbed algae off the leaves, though it was much harder on the bacopa caroliniana and hairgrass (I couldn't get it all). I added some new echinodorus and anubias plants to try and help battle the algae. I'd love to plant a carpet plant but I never have luck; tried monte carlo, glosso, dwarf sag, hairgrass, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OVT View Post
Or try PhosGuard.
@OVT I've got a phosphate test in my online shopping cart, so I can first see if phosphates are high enough to be triggering the algae. If the phosphates are higher than preferable, I'll definitely check out PhosGuard!

@DaveKS The Stress Coat is my dechlorinator and helps increaes the slime coat of the fish. The Nite-Out II is supposed to stabilize and maintain nitrification in the tank and reduce ammonia. I don't really have a problem with nitrites or ammonia, but I don't know if that's Nite-Out II working or if there's no issue to start with. I could stop dosing with it, though, and find out.

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-05-2019, 08:47 AM
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Quote:
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@OVT I've got a phosphate test in my online shopping cart, so I can first see if phosphates are high enough to be triggering the algae. If the phosphates are higher than preferable, I'll definitely check out PhosGuard!
PhosGuard also removes silica, which is a major building block of diatoms.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-06-2019, 05:13 AM Thread Starter
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Mods, please delete this post, there's been an update.

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Last edited by Ryan Mosby; 06-13-2019 at 10:52 PM. Reason: please delete me
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-13-2019, 10:52 PM Thread Starter
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Silicate test: My 5 gallon with the algae problems registered as 3.75-5 mg. My other two nano tanks (2.5g and 3.7g) that aren't having big algae issues registered as 2-2.5 mg.

Phosphate test: The 5 gallon registered as 0.25 ppm, which according to other threads, isn't problematic. Tested my tap water and it's 0.50 ppm.

Ideas: I've been dosing fertilizer (NA Thrive) in the water column weekly, but I'm going to start using root tabs as well. With luck that'll give the rooted plants some more nutrients.

I'm also looking into maybe replacing my Thrive with APT Complete.

I'm using ADA aquasoil but it's been in for four months. Occasionally as I vacuum the top soil out, I add more in. Would this be enough, or am I supposed to remove all the aquasoil and replace it?

After trying to clean out as much of the brown algae as I can, it has exploded again. There's also now a lot of bubbles all over the tank gravel and plants.

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-14-2019, 06:21 AM
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I forgot to ask how long has your tank been set up brown algae is typically related to new tanks. Another thing I would reccomend is to shorten your photoperiod to 6 hours for the time being. While continuing very thorough cleaning routine, during water changes. Goodluck and enjoy the ride.


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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-15-2019, 12:05 AM Thread Starter
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@KZB I'm so sick of this stuff constantly coming back after I clean it off. I'm going to use the one-two punch.

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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-15-2019, 12:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan Mosby View Post
@KZB I'm so sick of this stuff constantly coming back after I clean it off. I'm going to use the one-two punch.
It's coming back because of an underlying problem. The one-two punch treats the symptom not the cause
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-15-2019, 01:01 AM Thread Starter
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@jcoulter But I haven't figured out the cause and it's getting so bad, plants are starting to die. It doesn't seem to be the silicates, phosphates, lights, tank gets algaecide daily, ferts once a week, parameters are reading fine (except nitrates get high when this stuff starts to kill the plants), no ammonia. The brown algae just comes back and gets so bad, it starts creating tiny bubbles everywhere, and then blocks the photosynthesis off the leaves.

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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-15-2019, 01:06 AM
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I hear you, it can be frustrating. I am also dealing with a (albeit smaller) brown algae problem.

The one-two punch could buy you some time to find the cause and deal with it, but surely it is stressful on the fish. Be careful!
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-15-2019, 01:14 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcoulter View Post
The one-two punch could buy you some time to find the cause and deal with it, but surely it is stressful on the fish. Be careful!
That's honestly what I'm hoping for; that I can give the plants some time to hopefully recuperate while I try to figure out what the cause is of the algae. My fish is always stressed, too. I just wish I could figure out what's wrong with this particular tank, while my even smaller tanks seem to do better. I'd be so tempted to dismantle it and start over but then my fish would have nowhere to live while the new tank cycles.

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