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Old 11-01-2013, 10:33 PM   #1 
LadyVader
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Location: Tolleson, AZ
What's Up With the Algae?

Hello everyone!

I've had my tank for 8 months now and developed what looks like a brown algae issue. It's covering the plants and rocks and also on the glass here and there. Tank details are in my signature. I do weekly water changes (40% or so) and dose the plants with Flourish after water change. Two 15-watt bulbs on for 8 hours a day, which I just knocked down from 10.

Test results as of today courtesy of API:
Ammonia: 0 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 20 ppm
Phosphate: 0 ppm
pH: 8.2 (we have hard water here in AZ)
Temp: 78-80 F (no heater...again, I live in AZ )

Running a Hagen/AquaClear filter. Religiously change one of the filter media once a month on rotating basis (sponge, carbon, Biomax in that order). Any ideas what could be causing the algae and how to get rid of it? I just got the phosphate test today thinking it was that, but nope, it came out to zero. Thanks!
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Old 11-02-2013, 10:10 AM   #2 
Oldfishlady
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IME-sudden brown algae or diatoms in a somewhat mature tank is usually due to old light bulbs or bulb color temp changes or too short of PP or it can be due to the system failure or lack of the plants ability to photosynthesis.
Also-total of 30w over 10gal tank (3wpg) with slow growing plants might be some of the problem too, however, usually too high watts will cause other algae problems along with diatoms without injecting CO2- IME.

How old are the bulbs and what is the kelvin or color temp on the 2-15w bulbs on the 8h PP from the 10h PP

What kind of substrate and how deep
Number of live plants and growth state...are all the listed species doing well or thriving-especially the only stem plant.

If your florescent bulbs are going on 12 mo of age or the wrong color temp-I would change them- to a 6500k and add more stem plants and maybe some floaters is what I would recommend.
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Old 11-02-2013, 03:56 PM   #3 
LadyVader
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The bulbs are about 3-4 months old. They are very basic rookie bulbs so color temp and kelvin were not listed so I can't answer that question. I did change the color of bulbs from clear to blue. Hmmmm. Never thought of that because I believe that's when the algae problem started.

The substrate is just plain river stone-colored gravel 3-4 inches deep. The plants are doing great. I have 1 medium-grown Windelov java fern, 1 young anubias, 1 very long and mature water wisteria, 2 mature swords, and 1 younger sword. The fern and anubias have no algae on them. The wisteria and swords do, but they've been in the tank the longest. The others are fairly new additions. I planted some pogostemon helferi, but they died off right away.

Would changing to Flourish Excel help and possibly switching back to the clear bulbs?
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Old 11-02-2013, 10:43 PM   #4 
sandybottom
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do you by chance have incandescent bulbs?you said you changed them from clear to blue which makes me think they may be incandescents.you could try spiral cfl bulbs.7-10 watt and kelvin rating of between 5000-7000.this will give you between 1.4-2 watts per gallon.change them out every 6-9 months.if you do change to cfls you can start out at 6 hrs a day and slowly work your way up to 8-10 hrs/day.also you do not need to replace biomax,just rinse well in old tank water or new conditioned water.and the sponge can be cleaned much the same way by squeezing it in the same water.i only replace my sponges when they are falling apart.

Last edited by sandybottom; 11-02-2013 at 10:46 PM.
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Old 11-02-2013, 11:19 PM   #5 
sandybottom
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sorry should have asked if the bulbs are 2 small 4 inch long bulbs with screw in ends?
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Old 11-04-2013, 08:48 PM   #6 
LadyVader
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Yes, the bulbs are exactly what you described. I saw the CFL bulbs, but I was reluctant to get them because the wattage was so high. I didn't see any that were under 15 watt at the pet store. Perhaps I'll check online. Thanks!
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Old 11-05-2013, 02:57 AM   #7 
sandybottom
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i get mine at home depot/lowes /menards.
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Old 12-05-2013, 09:46 PM   #8 
JDOG808
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Brown algae and organisms (tiny white things on glass moving)

I am also having a bad brown algae problem. My 10g tank is about 4+ months old. 2 6500k cfl bulbs, the bulbs the kit came with were horrible so I put the cfl's in. The water always has lots of tiny particles floating in it and on top, but looks clear just looking at it. The brown algae is covering my plants and glass in spots. Waters readings are great. I change my filters one at a time every couple months, except the bio. 30-40% water changes weekly since this has happened. Also have tons of the little white coepods(whatever they r called) all over the glass. Should I just recycle the tank or can I still save it??? Please advise. I had a bad snail infestation the first month of the tank, they took forever to get rid of. Could they have destroyed the water with their waste and 3 months later it still has particles of waste floating???
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