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Old 09-15-2010, 01:13 PM   #1 
BlueHaven
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Brown algae in my bettas tank...or something else

The past couple of days i've noticed this light - medium brown colors appearing on the gravel in Thai's tank. I haven't been doing anything unusual, thought I have been using a water conditioner for bettas that has almond leaf extract in it, and going back and forth to that one to the regular water conditioner. That shouldn't be a problem though, but could it? Today I noticed it's appeared more on the walls of the aquarium and now I've noticed it is showing up in the goldfish's home too. The only thing that is used for both aquariums is the water conditioner and plant food. I read that some plant foods can cause algae to grow, could it be this? It is API leaf zone plant food. The lighting is the same too, it is a fluorescent 10 or 15 watt bulb for aquariums that I got from walmart.
How can I get rid of it?

I did read that overfeeding can cause this, but i've only been feeding Thai 5-6 pellets a day, and I admit, I will give him a very small piece of bloodworm once a day (and he is very healthy), but since this has happened I lowered the food to only 4 pellets a day and occasionally giving him a blood worm, not everyday.
He doesn't look bloated either, I don't think. But the brown has still been growing.

I forgot to mention, there have been problems with the aquariums itself. The light switch broke and quit working on it, so I have replaced it with a lamp next to the aquarium. I only put the lid on at night. The filter has been acting weird to, it's running but not as well. I'm going to get a new tank soon, a 5 gallon, so he won't be in this one much longer. But I need to fix this problem anyway because i'll probably need to cycle the new tank first before putting him in. Could this filter be producing oils or something? Because I noticed there was an oily substance on the surface of the water 2 days ago, which I removed and it hasn't shown up since.
Or that might be because there hasn't been a lid on during the daytime.

Last edited by BlueHaven; 09-15-2010 at 01:24 PM.
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Old 09-15-2010, 01:52 PM   #2 
JorgeBurrito
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueHaven View Post
The past couple of days i've noticed this light - medium brown colors appearing on the gravel in Thai's tank. I haven't been doing anything unusual, thought I have been using a water conditioner for bettas that has almond leaf extract in it, and going back and forth to that one to the regular water conditioner. That shouldn't be a problem though, but could it? Today I noticed it's appeared more on the walls of the aquarium and now I've noticed it is showing up in the goldfish's home too. The only thing that is used for both aquariums is the water conditioner and plant food. I read that some plant foods can cause algae to grow, could it be this? It is API leaf zone plant food. The lighting is the same too, it is a fluorescent 10 or 15 watt bulb for aquariums that I got from walmart.
How can I get rid of it?

I did read that overfeeding can cause this, but i've only been feeding Thai 5-6 pellets a day, and I admit, I will give him a very small piece of bloodworm once a day (and he is very healthy), but since this has happened I lowered the food to only 4 pellets a day and occasionally giving him a blood worm, not everyday.
He doesn't look bloated either, I don't think. But the brown has still been growing.

I forgot to mention, there have been problems with the aquariums itself. The light switch broke and quit working on it, so I have replaced it with a lamp next to the aquarium. I only put the lid on at night. The filter has been acting weird to, it's running but not as well. I'm going to get a new tank soon, a 5 gallon, so he won't be in this one much longer. But I need to fix this problem anyway because i'll probably need to cycle the new tank first before putting him in. Could this filter be producing oils or something? Because I noticed there was an oily substance on the surface of the water 2 days ago, which I removed and it hasn't shown up since.
Or that might be because there hasn't been a lid on during the daytime.
Since you are adding plant fert I assume this is a planted tank. The bad news is that the same conditions that cause plants to grow are what causes algae to grow. In the short term cut down on the amount of time your lights are on and stop dosing ferts. If your Betta is eating all the food you present to him, you can keep his feeding at the same levels. Once the algae lessens (this will require some manual scraping as well) you can start dosing ferts (at reduced levels) and increase your photoperiod. Your ultimate goal is to get to the point where the plants are using all the nutrients in the water, leaving nothing left for the algae. You may actually need to increase your photoperiod to make this happen.

All the above assumes that you are dealing with a true algae bloom, and not diatoms. If it is brown, hairy, slime like lookingit might be a diatom bloom which comes from an excess of silicon. This is common in new tanks and basically you just need to wait it out until the diatoms use up the silicon at which point it will all die.
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Old 09-15-2010, 02:03 PM   #3 
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Hmm...thank you for the help, I will do this and see how it goes! :D
I do think it is true algae, it does not look hairy or slimy (lol).
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Old 09-15-2010, 04:19 PM   #4 
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Diatoms are usually easy to wipe off and brown in color-if this is what it is-as posted it is usually from a new set-up (3mo or less) and/or old light bulb (1yr and older)-new set-up it will go away and if it is an old bulb a new bulb is needed

If it is algae-by promoting active growth of the plants to out compete the algae is what can fix it-depending on what type of plants you have-if you have fast growing stem plants you want to increase your photoperiod not decrease it-decreasing will slow aquatic plant growth and give the algae a boost to take over

The oily scum is most likely organic and harmless, increase in water changes and removal of decaying plants and uneaten food, adding an airstone or increase water movement to break it up will help once you fix the problem/cause.
Common causes-decaying plants, food, oil on hands, fish food, oil in the air like from cooking when the tank is close to the kitchen, not enough water changes with vacuum etc........

What kind of plants and how many, how old is the set-up, how old is the bulb on the lamp you are now using, how big is the tank, how much and how often are the water changes, water temp?

Regardless-I would start making some water changes and wipe the diatoms and siphon them off, remove dead/dying plant matter, add more stem plants and/or floating plants, increase aeration/water movement, remove uneaten food after feeding, wash hand before and after working on the tank (I am sure you already do this-general information for others)

Since you bought a new bulb for the tank but it has a broken switch and you are using a desk lamp you may need to change that bulb if you will be using it for longer than a couple of weeks, for plants look for a 6500-6700k for best growth.

Also, the tannins in the almond leaf extract can be a cause, I know using Indian almond leaf or oak leaf in the tank the tannins will create what you describe, but not 100% sure on the extract as I have never used it.
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Old 09-15-2010, 07:15 PM   #5 
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Okay, thank you very much for the information! :D
Thai is in a 2.5 gallon (mini bow) aquarium right now. The temperature stays at 79-81. 79 at night and 81 during the day. The set up is about 3-4 months old. I have an amazon sword plant in there, but since I used rid ich when he got ich, it damaged the plant and I think it might be dying. Two of the leaves turned brown, and after I took those off the others growing back are turning brown too as well as the stems.
I also have an anubias nana, but it is doing just fine. And a marimo moss ball which is divided in two and they are doing fine too. The bulb i've been using is close to the same time frame as the aquarium set up is. With the water changes, I have been doing 10-15 percent everyday while I was treating him (1 weekand 3 days), but before and after that I do 20 percent water changes twice a week since there is a filter and on the weekends I clean the gravel. About once a month or less depending on how it is, I put Thai in a temporary home while I do 50-60 percent water changes with cleaning gravel.
If it helps, I will upload a picture of it (Hopefully it will load, my internet is randomly slow) It kinda happened quickly, so i'm thinking now that it might be the amazon sword plant. That is the one that started turning brown and then it went from there. I think it was a couple weeks ago (I really need to keep up with the long term time frames) that I did the medication, and after that I noticed this problem but it didn't get really brown on the gravel and tank sides till recently, it was just on the plant, which I thought would go away since I stopped using the medication and did a water change with dosing plant food in it to help.

I'll clean it up in the morning since I'm going to get a scrup pad for acyrillic tanks then (I haven't needed one till now) and do a water change now.
And I'm gonna stop using the betta conditioner to see if that makes a difference too.

I just checked it out to see if I could wipe off the brown stuff and it came off really easily, it looks liked watered down food, same with the stuff on the sides of the tank and on the gravel. The gravel, I took a piece out and wiped it off, I had to scratch it a little to get it off (the gravel isn't smooth, it's soft, just bumpy).
So maybe it is the new tank set up?
I will still do what you said, and post if anything changes, hopefully it will go away.
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Old 09-15-2010, 07:23 PM   #6 
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Nevermind the amazon sword! It's not dying, I rubbed the brown stuff on it to see it it would come off like the other brown stuff and it did. The plant is very green. lol
I don't know why I didn't think of doing that before.
The roots are a light brownish/yellow color, but I think that is normal, it's been like that when I first saw it in the store and took it home, it was very green and brightly colored.

Last edited by BlueHaven; 09-15-2010 at 07:25 PM.
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Old 09-20-2010, 09:01 AM   #7 
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Sorry for taking so long to reply!

I cleaned his home, but the stuff hadn't gone away yet. I have put him in his new home though, so I don't know if it will show up again since I used all the same decor and plants, but so far it's fine. At least I know what it is and that it isn't harmful, and I know what to do, so thank you again for the help! ^_^
I think he really likes his new home and it's easier on him to do water changes. He's protective of his space and since there is a lot more room in the five gallon, I don't take up a lot of space when cleaning which probably makes him happier about it. lol
I don't use a lamp anymore since there is a lid for the new one with a light bulb and cover.
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Old 09-20-2010, 09:24 AM   #8 
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Good to hear...we would love to see some pic...hint....hint.....lol.....
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Old 09-24-2010, 12:59 PM   #9 
BlueHaven
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Fish poo! >_<

lol....i've been trying to upload pics the past 2 weeks, for some reason it's not working. It's either something with my computer or the internet access being weird, but I hope I can figure it out soon, when it works again i'll post some...in the betta pictures section because I have lots of pictures!
Thai is happy in his new tank, the brown stuff has showed up in there but I will continue to keep it from spreading. Hopefully it will go away soon!
No oil or anything else, I think that happened because I had no lid before.
I think I have an artsy betta, because Thai doesn't just make a bubble nest (which he did yesterday!), he puts random bubble designs on the top of the water too. It's so cool. :D
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Old 10-02-2010, 09:22 AM   #10 
BlueHaven
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Yay! It's back up and working! X3
Here are 2 pictures of Thai....I'm sorry the view of the aquarium is off, but you can see his set up. I will add more later, because I am going to put 1 more plant in there...and a piece of hornwort.
http://www.bettafish.com/picture.php...pictureid=8578

http://www.bettafish.com/picture.php...pictureid=8579
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