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Old 09-22-2013, 01:32 PM   #1 
summersea's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Carlisle, KY
Brown Algae = Diatoms? Need help to get rid of it!

I have recently developed a brown algae problem in my 10g cycled, divided tank. My tank has been set up for about a month but just noticed the algae beginning to show up this week. It was a crazy week for me so I didn't have time to deal with it before now.

After doing some research I think it may be diatoms. My problem comes in trying to get rid of it. Most sites suggested taking everything out and doing a bleach disinfection or something to that affect while doing a 100% water change. However, my tank is divided into 5g sections with a DIY divider. Some of the diatoms have begun to grow in the grooves. My newest boy Artie freaks out when cupped and continuously attempts to jump out of closed cups (his head and fins are atill healing from his last episode). So I really can't do a 100% change.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to what can be done? Today was water change day so I have already done a 50% water change, scrubbed the sides of the tank, plastic plants, real plants, and divider to the best of my ability. But there is still some even after all my efforts :(

Thanks for any and all help!
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Old 09-22-2013, 03:22 PM   #2 
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Join Date: Sep 2013
Do you have any other tanks or possibly even a bucket to store Artie in for a water change? You could always go buy something bigger for him to comfortably wait until you are ready to put him back in. However, getting him to acclimate might still be a problem. I hope you figure this one out. Good luck.
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Old 09-22-2013, 04:02 PM   #3 
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Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Brigantine, NJ
Diatoms are normal in a new tank and will go away on their own, in due time. While not particularly attractive, it poses no threat to your fish or your tank so I would just leave it be and wait.
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Old 09-22-2013, 04:09 PM   #4 
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Rhode Island
You can't get rid of it until they burn themselves out as jaysee mentioned. It takes roughly 3-5 months or somewhere around there to burn out and until then you just have to deal with it. If you've got plants (which I assume you do) if they get lots of diatoms on the leaves you can just gently rub it off with your thumb because they will try to choke out your plants but they come off so easy as well. So just do that before each water change, you can rub the sides of the tank as well so you can see in at least but there's nothing you can do, just wait it out is all.

Try using a solid colored cup to scoop him out? No matter what you do, he's going to be stressed out though, that's just normal and not really something you can avoid. But you shouldn't have to do a 100% change on a fully cycled tank, that would ruin or at least give you a mini-cycle and that's never fun.
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Old 09-22-2013, 04:16 PM   #5 
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Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Carlisle, KY
Thanks for all the replies!

Phew, glad I don't have to do the whole bleach treatment. The idea of taking Artie out of the tank or ruining my cycle (which I worked diligently to get setup) was not a happy thought! At least it isn't harmful to my plants or my boys! Will just stick with rubbing it off my walls and plants before each water change like I did today. Thanks again guys!
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Old 09-22-2013, 04:25 PM   #6 
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Lafayette, Louisiana
Hey I got those in my tank about 2 months after setting it up. They were very annoying. I got tired of cleaning them knowing they would come back the next day.

Here's how i fixed it.
Make sure the tank is cycled
Scrub as many off as possible.
Clean the gravel and walls.
Do a 50% water change.
Remove activated carbon from filter and add tetra algae control (was about four dollars at walmart).
I also added more light as some say low light can help them prosper.
Repeat the algae control if necessary.
By now the diatoms were all grey and dying, i scrubbed them, did a water change, and cleaned the filter.

I also cut down on plant fertilizer and water clarifiers, not sure if you use any. They are pretty much gone now. Just showing you what worked for me, i'm not sure if it will work for others.
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