The Planted Tank Forum banner

Why do my plants look dirty?

1747 Views 13 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Darkblade48
My plants just look dingy with discoloration which I might guess is algae?

I am running CO2, my lights are on for 4 hours in the morning then off for 4 hours then on for another 8 hours.

It's a 7ft tank running 2 48" T5HO lights that overlap in the center. There is an acrylic brace in the center so that cuts the light in the center.

What if anything can I do? I have (cant remember the name) tons of snails in there to help clean that can't breed in fresh water and I have placed shrimp and the shrimp just disappear and/or get eaten by what I am guessing are my YoYo Loaches.

Any other info needed let me know.

As a side note.....snail eggs suck. Plants are covered in them lol.
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Is it Mulm or algae. If you shake them a little and it falls off its mulm, and youre lacking flow. If not its algae and a pic would help to identify it so we can help you further.
Here is an image. I do have particulate matter on my leaves which shakes off and I try to do that when I clean the tank....not really sure how to fix my current issue to prevent that.

The brown stuff i can rub off with my finger which to me makes me think algae as it doesnt shake off.


See less See more
Brown diatom algae is my guess. Is your tank fairly new? This is common in new tanks and usually goes away if treated with Patience.
Maybe 4-5 months? I do regular water changes.

Why does patience cause it to go away?
Lots of otos might help. A UV sterilizer will definitely help.
from what I read this algae feeds off silicate. how would a UV system help?
I read that this algae does better with red to yellow light.

I am running 6500k bulbs currently, if I switched to 10k bulbs so I had more of a white light....would this technically cut the algae as well?

initial looks on a uv sterilizer that can handle 500-600gph effectively would be pricey.
In my 25g low light, low-tech, moderately planted tank, 3 oto's took care of slightly "dirty" leaves within 48 hours. Not sure how many "lots of otos" is (ty mistergreen, I'm actually curious about recommended oto populations), but if it really is diatom algae, oto's will fix your problem. They're small enough to hop around from leaf to leaf, and are honestly the favorite fish in my tanks :)

Also, I don't think that 6500 vs. 10k will make much of a difference in plant or algae growth. They're both in a good plant growth range, so the only real difference I think you'll notice is how things look.
Some oto's will definitely take care of that as long as they can easily reach it.
I will try some oto's, thanks guys

Plants look "Clorotic" :confused: is that a word?
Are you perhaps looking for the word "chlorotic"?
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.