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Old 12-19-2012, 09:22 AM   #1 
Mandykinz2008
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Levels in Aquarium

My aquarium keeps growing brown algae and I have no idea why. It's a steady 78-80 degrees F. I change 50% of the water once a week. Sushi (my fish) is quite healthy and it doesn't seem to effect him at all..but it's UGLY!

I bought API 5 in 1 Aquarium Strips and tested everything. The results are as follows:
General Hardness: 160
Carbonate Hardness: 240
PH: 8
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 30

Any ideas? My next step is to take a small cup to Petsmart and have them analyze it.
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Old 12-19-2012, 10:17 AM   #2 
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Algae has almost nothing to do with those numbers.

Light + Nutrients = Algae

Nitrates are used by plants for Nitrogen (algae photosythesizes just the same) but they'll use Ammonia first. 30 ppm is higher than I'd allow myself.

Live plants are excelent for this, as they'll use the nutrients and outcompete the algae. All my tanks are planted, and my Nitrates are <5 ppm.

How long is your light on? How bright (type and wattage)? Any windows where sunlight gets in the tank (even indirect)?

Algae is natural and will be in all tanks, even planted tanks, but it can be kept to a minimum with proper control (balance) of light and nutrients.

Keep up your 50% per week, that's good (assuming 5g+ size tank).
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Old 12-19-2012, 10:18 AM   #3 
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It's common and normal in newer aquariums.. unsure if anyone has yet to ever find a way to stop it from growing. All that can be done really is just clean it out each week until the tank matures, which could be a while. Even changing the amount of time the lights are on doesn't seem to affect it. My live plants are growing it on them too.. I have it growing in one of my 6g tanks that I've been battling for weeks now.
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Old 12-19-2012, 10:23 AM   #4 
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Diatoms (brown 'algae') is common in new tanks yes, but it usually doesn't get out of hand. A picture could help with this.

I rejoyce in my new tanks when it shows up, it means I can add my oto catfish :) They'll clean a tank of Diatoms in under a day. However, you must have 10g+ for them (they are a schooling fish and need numbers) and a mild tempered Betta. I should also say, never add a creature (any creature) for the sole reason of 'algae'. You should always only get them if you want and like them.
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Old 12-19-2012, 10:29 AM   #5 
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Have to agree.. I just wish my mystery snails would munch on it. Tank isn't over run, but I can see it here and there.
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Old 12-19-2012, 10:52 AM   #6 
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I'll see about getting a picture. Thanks for the input! It's not over-run or anything, but enough that it looks gross. My tank is 3g as it's on my desk at work and much larger would get obnoxious. With it being that small I'm not real comfortable with adding "tank-mates"

The light is what came with the tank. It's an LED light with 16 LEDs. It's typically on during the day while I'm at work and turned off at night. I can't find any other descriptors on the box. There isn't any direct sunlight. There is a window behind my desk, but the blinds are always closed and about 10 feet away. I do have a Hydor heater in there that's keeping the tank at the right temperature. I don't have any live plants in there at the moment, but can get some if people have a recommendation for it.

Last edited by Mandykinz2008; 12-19-2012 at 10:54 AM. Reason: Adding some info I forgot to include
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Old 12-19-2012, 11:03 AM   #7 
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Here are some pictures of what I'm referring to
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Old 12-19-2012, 11:07 AM   #8 
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It may just be the normal Diatoms, they go away after a couple weeks. Almost all new tanks get these. The light is probably fine, so what 8-9 hours a day? That isn't too much.

You are right, in 3g there isn't room for anything else. However, I would do more than a single water change a week to keep those Nitrates (and other nutrients) down.

For live plants, I'd find some stem plants. You don't need many for that size. The usual 'easy' plants like moss balls, java fern, and anubias are very slow growers and don't do much for water quality. Just let the stem plants float, or you can plant them if you wish. Anacharis is a popular one, or go for a bacopa or a hydrophila. Floating is best, those LED things usually are not very bright, just make sure your Betta can breath!
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Old 12-19-2012, 11:13 AM   #9 
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Thanks! Yeah about 8-9 hours a day for the light. So how often and how much water do you think I should change?

I will check on those plants you listed. Sushi can breath fine. It is a covered tank but chunks of it are plastic mesh so lots of air flow :)
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Old 12-19-2012, 11:38 AM   #10 
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I re-tested with another strip after realizing I hadn't tested it correctly and the results were as follows:
No3: 10
No2: 0
PH: 7
KH: 230
GH: 180
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