I've had this trouble for weeks >.< I can't figure out how to get rid of it. I've tried extra light, no light, scrubbing it off, etc. My tank is cycled, it contains one betta and 10 (previously 11) ghost shrimp. Its got only live plants, gravel substrate, one fake rock, and some real driftwood (purchased from Petco).
I didn't have this problem when my tank was new. In fact, I didn't have it for several weeks. My plants were set up, my betta had been in there for some time, as were the shrimp. The only thing I can think that might have caused it was an overdose of API Leafzone. However, I haven't used it since my first outbreak (probably a month ago or more), and its just as bad as it was the first time. It clings to the glass, gravel, plants (and thus killing some of the leaves by blocking out the light), decorations, everything.
Anyone have any suggestions as to what I could do? Its killing one of my aponogeton, some of my anubias, and even my amazon sword. I'm currently not feeding my shrimp because feeding them more than I should could have caused the outbreak, and I don't know if they eat the stuff.
I thought about snails, but I've heard their bioload is huge. And with my tank probably over stocked a bit as it is, I think a snail would just overdo it >.< and at the moment, I don't have anywhere else to put my shrimp.
DO NOT GET A NERITE SNAIL. Th reproduce like crazy! GOSH you can;t get rid of them! Yah, hey can you fill out the tank info in the diseases and emercies sectionn sticky? I just want to get an idea of what your tank is like so I can look for a source of the problem. when you do the water tests, can you give me results from within 24 hours? thanks ^_^ I have a feeling it is excess ammonia. Also, I know this sems irrelevant, but what saide of the room is the tank on? (north, south, east, west) and is it in sunlight? How long has it been setup?
I once got an explosion of algae every winter, and it turned out to be that the sun would be at the right angle in the winter to get into my tank. Me, beign too lazy to move the tank, planted a tree ^_^
Nerites can only breed in brackish water. (Brackish water is water that has more salinity than fresh water, but not as much as seawater.) And the young have to be placed in salt water, pretty much seawater, for them to mature. I've researched them and have had knowledgeable people on this this site tell me that they don't over breed. Apple or mystery snails like to over breed, as well as, Malaysian Trumpet Snails.
You have a diatom outbreak, and the little 'shells' the diatoms leave behind is the brown dust on everything.
They respond to lots of silicates in the water, and very often appear in tanks that are trying to cycle. Basically, don't panic - just keep removing them by hand where you can and increase your water changes a bit to dilute the stuff they're feeding on and they'll go away of their own accord eventually.
ETA: are you using sand as a substrate? Some sands leach a lot of silicate into the water, which encourages diatom bloom - if upping your water changes doesn't fix it in a few weeks, try changing the sand for something with less silica in it (LFS might help you there..)
If THAT doesn't work, then you may have to go a step further and look at silicate removal compounds for treating your tap water before adding it to the tank... but really that's not very common and water change increases usually will clear this up. Just make sure to scrub them off before siphoning, to remove as much of the 'dust' as possible.
Well it seems the diatoms are killing off the plants right now.
The plants OP has are rather slow growing plants. The plants I suggested are fast growing stem plants and more readily absorb excess nutrients from the water. The slower growing plants are more likely to be susceptible to algae overgrowth because they are unable to out compete the algae for free nutrients in water.
Maybe it's a bit anecdotal, but the brown algae that was smothering my crypts, java fern, swords, and anubias essentially disappeared 2 days after adding my bacopa caroliana and moneywort. The faster growing stem plants usually have higher light demands, but my moneywort and bacopa are growing like crazy with only 2 watts per gallon 65,000k bulb.