Brown Algae - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-22-2020, 07:07 AM Thread Starter
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Brown Algae

Hi, we have recent issues with algae outbreak.
Tank is planted, low-tech established setup with 6 Discus, 10 Otocinclus, 7 Corys and 2 Pleco.
Tank is established since 9 months and all was well till we skipped the regular bi-weekly cleanup, so problem was definitely related to un-eaten Discus food (ground beef harts).

Here attached are the pictures of the algae; looking at all the articles I am not really sure if this is actually a brown algae; looks darker (almost black) than pictures of brown algae I seen in the articles.
They are totally choking Java Moss (which was growing really well before) and also Anubis are really effected!
When trying to remove them by hand from Anubia leaves they are pretty hard (almost impossible) to get off; algae is stuck very strong to the leaves.

We have since tried to help by daily 25% water changes, but seems algae keeps winning and killing other plants.

Could someone help with few questions:
1) Are those algae on the photos actually brown algae?
2) Other than regular water changes and removing all un-eaten food what would be other things to help?
3) At the moment we run 12h daily of full spectrum LED lights which plants seem to like; would reducing or increasing the light intensity or duration help suppress the brown algae?
4) There is no CO2 added to the tank, but have been adding some seachem excell to help the plants; should I increase or reduce or stop using?

Would really like to find a way to bring the tank back to equilibrium without taking out the decor and cleaning it outside of tank.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-22-2020, 10:05 AM
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This looks like a case of Red Algae: "Red Slime" or Red Algae - The Aquarium Setup, Filtration, and Maintenance Site

The link also says it mostly occurs in saltwater tanks and not freshwater. I do not believe its brown algae or diatoms in your case.

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-22-2020, 12:20 PM
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It’s not a brown algae, not sure what it is. Remove it with toothbrush and see if it appears again. With 10 auto I don’t think brown algae will grow.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-22-2020, 06:08 PM
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Hit it with Excel with a syringe. Don't OD though. Don't know how it will affect the Discus

The Green Stuff
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-22-2020, 08:17 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestions, will try to remove as much as i can using toothbrush and siphon out.

Probably will have to sacrifice all the Java Moss that was growing on the wood piece; the algae choked it almost completely.

You mentioned "hit it with the Excel with syringe"; you mean use some pure Excel in a syringe and try to release (spray) it directly over algae?

Also, could someone share the opinion is increasing or reducing the lightning could/should help?
Would using Flourish fertilizer have positive or negative effect on algae?
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-24-2020, 05:25 AM
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Excel will most likely melt that stuff if you fog with it. I've had BBA which if I recall is a type of red algae and if you turn your filter off, then spray a layer of excel over the algae with a syringe, you'll see it die in about 3 days. Make sure you turn your filter off prior to the dose and let the water settle, then leave off for about 10 minutes after the dose.

Discus are a bit more sensitive so not sure how much you can overdose, but I've gone as high as 1ml per gallon in my tank with no ill effects. I have Amano shrimp that were never bothered.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-07-2020, 09:46 PM Thread Starter
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Hello, really still struggling to solve the problem.
I checked all the water parameters and it all looks perfectly fine.
I am doing daily 1/4 tanks water changes, using toothbrush to remove some of this algae and then siphon them away during the change.
Unfortunately they just keep growing back.
I am really scared using the Excel method as after I did add the recommended initial dose (0.5ml/gallon) our stick-pleco died a day after; he was well established and always happy in the tank prior to that; also my other BN pleco started acting strange, is much less active mostly hanging on glass in back of the tank and no longer comes to eat the wedgie pallets.

I am still adding Excel but at the recommended dose of 5ml/50 gallon.

Here are few photos of how the anubias, moss and wood are looking; please keep in mind I am actually trying to remove at least some of the algae.

I am really desperate not knowing how to proceed as I was hooping the mechanical removal combined with water changes would help but situation does not seam to improve.
One thing to note, I was using Melafix for last two weeks as one of the Discus had some fin root problem but this is luckily improved so I can stop the treatment.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-09-2020, 11:20 PM
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Looks like Blue Green Algae that has advanced and is killing the plants. Did you have any Green gloppy looking stuff at first on the plants. This happened to me a long time ago when I was growing out plants for sale in plant only tanks. Went away for a long vacation and csme home to something similar. Only way I was able to salvage some plants was to remove the fish to a spare tank with a the filter and its media. I removed by hand everything that was covered. Unfortunately, that wiped out about 85% of the plants. A complete black out for 1 or 2 months and some e.m. erythromycin. That stuff will kill the biofilter. Anyway, it was a major PITA and looking back it was not worth the fight. Easier to just toss the plants and reset the tank.

Walk the Red Road
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-09-2020, 11:41 PM
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If it is blue green algae this removed it in a week for me. 4 months later there are a few small patches that have started making an appearance. Might have to hit it again.
If it never was teal green, it probably isn't blue green algae (cyanobacteria).
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-11-2020, 07:00 AM Thread Starter
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I am not sure if those are actually blue-green algae; they always started as dark brown, almost black.
Did another major cleanup today and notice that from some leafs it was really easy to remove them while on the other leafs (in particular anubias) they ware almost impossible to remove.
Also, removed some from the bottom; they would come in clumps together with some gravel.

I now removed bad anubias and some other plants that were really effected to a bucket so I could try to treat them there without danger for the discus.
On rest of the plants I did a very extreme pruning trying to remove most of the infected leaves.

Is that Ultralife blue-green stain remover also for fresh water?
Would it be safe for the plants and how about the fish?

I could try it in the bucket with the plants and if it works then use it in the tank as long as it is OK for the discus?

Thanks everyone for suggestions; I am really feeling as loosing a battle....
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