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Old 02-20-2013, 01:28 PM   #1 
OrangeAugust's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Connecticut
When will my brown algae go away??

They say brown algae is often a problem in newer tanks... I've had my tank set up for about 2+ months now and I still have a big problem with brown algae. My nerite snails help a lot but it's a divided tank so I have to move them between sections when they clean one out. and by the time I've moved them to the third section the first section needs cleaning again. (I keep my two snails together because the one time I put them together, they seemed to become attached to each other and one rides on the shell of the other one 75% of the time... so I felt bad splitting them up again. hehe. The shell-rider is actually not a very good cleaner on its own, anyway).
Last week I spent 20 minutes rubbing algae off my fanwort and got my water all cloudy with algae. I've read two different things- algae indicates something being off in the tank, often not enough CO2... I don't do any CO2 so it's a possibility. But I've read that it often happens in newer tanks and usually disappears after a couple of months. So I'm a bit past 2 months and there's no improvement. Should I wait longer or should I try adding CO2? I don't really have that many plants, though. It's a 10 gallon divided three ways and one section has an amazon sword, another section has a rosette sword, and the third section has a corkscrew vallisneria. And all sections have some floating fanwort.
Any advice/ideas? Thanks!
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Old 02-20-2013, 06:46 PM   #2 
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: NYC
what size is the tank? I would get a pair of otos...they loooove the stuff...

frankly I'm jealous :<
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Old 02-20-2013, 07:16 PM   #3 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Ohio

What sort of substrate do you use? Is it a NPT? If so, might have an issue with silicates. It's present in sand and natural gravel, and silicates are what feed diatoms (brown algae). Your tap water might also have silicates in it, which contributes to it. Hopefully it won't be a problem for much longer. You will find it mostly on the sides of the tank, some leaves, and it'll look like goldeny-brown circlish spots, and wipes off easily.

If it is real brown algae (or black beard/brush algae), it'll look hairy, either long or short. Then it's a combination of nitrate (up your WCs), phosphate (maybe, this is added to tap water and is produced by rotting fish food), and not enough CO2. You could always do flourish excel or something like that instead of a fancy Co2 system. Excel got rid of my BBA problem fast.

If the algae feels slimy and is dark brown or blue green, that's's actually closer to a bacteria, and it's a whole 'nother ball game. I have this in my big tank and it's terrible.

So anyway, hopefully this helped a bit. I totally know how annoying algae is.
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Old 02-21-2013, 08:05 AM   #4 
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Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Connecticut
Thanks, bethy! Yeah, It's the first one- diatoms. It's mostly on glass and leaves and it does rub off easily. I use regular, natural-colored gravel as substrate... so maybe it's natural gravel with silicates.

aokashi- it's a 10 gallon, but it's divided into 3 sections so I can't get otos. One of my two nerite snails does a pretty good job, though. I might get a 3rd one, though. If it wasn't divided I think it would be more under control by my snails, but I have to move the snails to another section once they get one clean.
Why are you jealous of my algae problem? lol

Last edited by OrangeAugust; 02-21-2013 at 08:07 AM.
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