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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
About a month ago I started my planted tank using the dry start method with Monte Carlo. Things are going great I guess. Growth and no death. Light is on about 14 hrs/day.

About a day ago I noticed some brown material at the top of the water which is just above the substrate. ADA Aquasoil. Is that normal? What is it?

There is also a little bit more of a tan color on some of the substrate that has appeared in the last day. That substrate is Eco-Complete

Thanks for the input.
 

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Please upload a picture of this if you can. In my planted tank I run a surface skimmer (eheim), and it works well to keep the surface clean. How often do you do water changes? In the past I have had this problem, and just one water change will remove the brown material. It will come back within a week unless you decrease light (say 8-9 hrs/day), or don't install a skimmer (only $30ish). Use a timer for your light and minimize the time to 8-9, or even 10 hours tops.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Harrison. I was told I could go with 12 or more hours during this dry start period. In about a month I am planning on planting the rest of the tank and filling it. I will then drop the lights to about 6 hours a day until I get the water, and CO2 parameters dialed in (more or less) and then I will slowly bump up to your suggestion of 8, but no more than 8hrs/day.

I want to say it is the substrate leeching nutrients, and the MC is doing really well, but my question is am I correct and should I care about its presence.
 

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Harrison. I was told I could go with 12 or more hours during this dry start period. In about a month I am planning on planting the rest of the tank and filling it. I will then drop the lights to about 6 hours a day until I get the water, and CO2 parameters dialed in (more or less) and then I will slowly bump up to your suggestion of 8, but no more than 8hrs/day.

I want to say it is the substrate leeching nutrients, and the MC is doing really well, but my question is am I correct and should I care about its presence.
I see what you're saying and I believe you are correct to have the light on as you do, as long as you plan on limiting it in the near future. In terms of the brown surface, this could be caused by oils (which enter the tank from your hand or from foods). Please attach a picture of this layer.

How often do you do water changes? It would definitely help to do a 30% water change to remove the layer.

If you want permanent results, like I said, purchase a surface skimmer. I use the eheim skimmer, and it works well. Here is a link to it: https://www.eheim.com/en_GB/products/accessories/cleaning/new-surface-skimmer

I wish you luck, and I encourage you to post a picture of the layer so I can give you more accurate advice.
 

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This is a dry start, the tank isn't full of water.

I suspect there is too much water in the tank and you are getting a diatom bloom same as in a newly set up flooded tank. Water level needs to be below the top of the substrate or you will get algae same as if the tank is flooded. Many people get rotted plants from allowing so much water to build up in the substrate as well. I'd dig a little hole so you can siphon water out. Remember the plants you are starting grow just fine in air and the point of this is to carpet the tank without danger of algae.

If it has been a month you might test the water to see if tank is cycling too. Maybe the Amazonia is leaching out the ammonia and bacteria have been developing to finish the nitrogen cycle.
 

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I'm kind of in the same boat except I'm doing a fully flooded tank. I have lily pipes that are far enough down in the tank that there's isn't much surface agitation and the brown kind of greesy stuff appeared a week ago. I'm also getting slight green algae on the side of the tank and in my lily pipes so I'm assuming this is all algae related so I'm going to turn down the lights. I think I'm less than 8 hours. I also saw a tip to turn the lights off for a bit like 30 minutes in the middle of the day and when it comes back on the plants work harder to grow and out compete algae.

I may also try some excel if my pet store has it, I know in the past it's been good for algae. I think I just have too much light for my baby tear carpet which isn't near full yet.

I'd say your 14 hours is too much, try less like 8 to 10.


Edit also just recently my tank cycled so it could be just more habitable for algae now.
Bump:
 

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I'm kind of in the same boat except I'm doing a fully flooded tank. I have lily pipes that are far enough down in the tank that there's isn't much surface agitation and the brown kind of greesy stuff appeared a week ago. I'm also getting slight green algae on the side of the tank and in my lily pipes so I'm assuming this is all algae related so I'm going to turn down the lights. I think I'm less than 8 hours. I also saw a tip to turn the lights off for a bit like 30 minutes in the middle of the day and when it comes back on the plants work harder to grow and out compete algae.

I may also try some excel if my pet store has it, I know in the past it's been good for algae. I think I just have too much light for my baby tear carpet which isn't near full yet.

I'd say your 14 hours is too much, try less like 8 to 10.


Edit also just recently my tank cycled so it could be just more habitable for algae now.
Bump:

It is more that it is detrimental to the algae... It takes them more than 4 hours to get their photosynthesis act together, and a 30 minute break forces them to start over...
 
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