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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

I'm a newbie currently working on 2 tanks--a 5 gallon, set up about 2 months ago, and a 29 gallon which is still cycling. All was well in the 5 gallon until recently, when I started getting brown algae. Some info:

-It's a Fluval Spec V, and I am using the stock lighting, which has been enough for my java fern, anubias, and pennywort, all of which are growing steadily. I also have 3 moss balls and a large piece of driftwood in the tank.

-No CO2, no ferts except regular Flourish, which I stopped dosing when I saw the brown algae, so a couple of weeks ago.

-Lights on 9 hours per day.

-One betta in tank, nothing else.

-I cycled using Tetra Safe Start, and have always had readings of 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite AND 0 nitrate which I find pretty weird...not sure what is going on there. I've never had a high reading on any of these, in 2 months. I use the API kit.

So my questions is: I know brown algae is common in new setups but what is the best way to deal with it? Reduce lighting? Add lighting? Just keep cleaning it off the leaves? I've read a lot of conflicting advice on different sites. But this forum is always the most helpful and sane, so I thought I would ask for your help. Any advice you can give would be greatly appreciated!

Hayden

p.s. The pennywort has grown very quickly...maybe it's blocking the light a bit...would that be an influence? Also, I really want to put some of it in my 29gallon as a floating plant but I'm afraid that would just introduce the algae into the new tank, even if I use a "clean" looking piece...
 

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Cut hours of lighting for now, ensure you have good flow over all leaves, and wait. It will be gone before long. Snails are very good at cleaning brown algae off leaves.
 

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Since this is a new tank, it is likely brown diatoms (a picture would help). If so, snails, otos, and shrimp will eat it up. It is normally a new tank issue and self corrects with time and proper tank maintenance.

Ben
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks, Ben and Nordic,--I will try all of these suggestions. When I set up the tank, I slowed down the filter current quite a bit for my betta using a prefilter sponge, so I will take that off for a bit and cut the lighting time and see how things go. Due for another partial water change soon, too. I had been thinking of getting a snail as well--any recommendations for types? A nerite snail, perhaps?
 

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With just one Beta in a 29 gallon tank it will take many months to cycle, especially a planted tank since what little ammonia the Beta produces is being used by the plants rather than feeding a colony of bacteria. In fact if you did not feed them with additional ammonia then the Safe Start bacteria have likely died.

I suggest you put the Beta in a bowl for awhile, get some pure ammonia from Ace hardware and start a fishless cycle. Diana has a good summary of the cycle or you can search for fish less cycle. I would post a link but am having computer issues. Good luck.
 

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Personally, I waited for the diatoms to get really crazy then didn't feed for 3 days (or didn't introduce any extra nutrients) and then they just poofed. There were some left inside a cup I have moss in, but a few pond snails cleaned that out in two days.

For type of snail, if you plan on keeping it, I hear nerites can be nice. I just found out I have some nerites I picked up from a brackish river accidentally and they're leaving a nice collection of eggs speckling my driftwood with white. Some here might say they either produce too much waste OR won't have enough food in such a small tank. But- you can always move it to the bigger tank when it is done cleaning the little one, right? I like my red ramshorns personally- and my family loves to watch them more than my fish... they're weird (family is weird, not the snails). It's really going to depend on what you like and your plans long-term. Short-term, a few pond snails will do and you can give them to your LFS to feed a pea puffer when you're done with them or squish them for your betta to eat, or something.
 
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