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Fighting the brown algae


Burbotlips
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I've had BBA in my tank that my nerite snail has not gone after. The biggest thing you can do to elminate your algae problem is to elminate the source of the algae.

The algae is growing from a inbalance of nurtients in your aquarium. Too much light, Nitrogen, etc. 

The best way to find what your problem is to do a water test. What are your nitrates at? do you have live plants?

If you have live plants in your tank and your nitrates are around 20-30, perfect! If its any higher I would do a waterchange and decrease the amount of plant fertilizer you put in your tank.

second, whats your lighting like? I have a 5 galllon with an extremely bright light, which is why I always have algae problems in the tank. I've decreased the time each day that the light was on for as well as dimmed the light a little.

You can manually remove the algae, and then fix the problem. Once the problems been fixed the algae should stay limited. If you remove all the algae but dont fix the problem, its only going to come back again.

Heres a video I found helpful when dealing with this issue:

 

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I would learn what you are dosing before changing anything. Your tank is pretty new and I wouldn't do anything drastic, change wise, for at least 6 months. 

The best thing you could do is keep up large water changes, gravel vacuuming and learning about water parameters. I would also double/ triple the plant load in the tank. 

Diatoms are pretty normal in such new tanks.

Edited by Mmiller2001
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All that is good advice. Follow it. But...I had a brown algae problem a while back that got weird. If it gets so bad you can smell something weird like old sweaty socks, then you may need to do something else. Brown algae is not actually algae but a bacteria that has learned to photosynthesize. I got rid of it with e-mycin which is an antibiotic which is cool for plants. It's actually in the quarantine med trio. Maracyn is the one you are looking for. But don't do it unless it gets bad. The weird smell is a dead give away. "Brown algae" is usually part of all tank cycles. But for some reason it is the only one that makes me intervene. Maracyn fixes that quick.

Edited by Buckman
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On 1/12/2022 at 5:09 PM, Buckman said:

All that is good advice. Follow it. But...I had a brown algae problem a while back that got weird. If it gets so bad you can smell something weird like old sweaty socks, then you may need to do something else. Brown algae is not actually algae but a bacteria that has learned to photosynthesize. I got rid of it with e-mycin which is an antibiotic which is cool for plants. It's actually in the quarantine med trio. Maracyn is the one you are looking for. But don't do it unless it gets bad. The weird smell is a dead give away. "Brown algae" is usually part of all tank cycles. But for some reason it is the only one that makes me intervene. Maracyn fixes that quick.

Hmm, and here I thought that was blue-green algae. Interesting. I have a funny smelling tank that is doing something weird. I may have to give this a shot.

BTW, the fish seem completely healthy.

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Brown diatom algae is a normal part of new set ups as MMiller said.

Cyanobacteria (aka the misnomer of 'blue-green algae... yet is not an algae) is an indicator that something is out of balance. It will smell almost like bad seaweed. 

Try to be patient, the [brown] diatom algae is letting you know you are on the right track toward having a well seasoned tank.

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On 1/12/2022 at 5:51 PM, Buckman said:

Nope. I am totally wrong. My mistake. Wow, now I feel dumb. It is blue green. Brown is not the gym sock variety.

Pay no mind to my rambling. However, I will admit mistakes if that helps. Thanks for the correction.

I honestly was wondering if I had forgotten something, lol.

And I had.

"Blue-green algae" is not algae at all, of course. Most commonly it is actually blue green, and it looks like algae, hence the misnomer. It is actually Cyanobacteria, and it CAN be other colors. I don't think that is what is in the pic @Burbotlips posted, but it might be what is going on in my tank, or I could have both...The "blue green" kind, and some other type of real algae. Definitely funky smelling.

https://www.cnrs.fr/en/green-orange-where-does-diversity-cyanobacteria-colours-come#:~:text=Cyanobacteria%2C which are often called,the cells of particular species.

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Ha! Then my absent minded mistake is fortuitous. And actually the reason I made that mistake is because this bacteria is usually the culprit when someone is freaked out about a tank that hasn't cycled yet. Your complaint sounded a bit like this and I got tunnel vision. That's still dumb on my part, but if that stuff stinks then chances are you have a nice big culture of cyanobacteria. Maracyn wouldn't hurt here unless someone else has another idea. 

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@Burbotlipsanother issue that pops up every once in awhile is that silica promotes diatom algae formation. So your newish substrate can play a role as it breaks in and it is more about maturation of the tank to see this settle down. As the silica breaks down and the biome is created you can hopefully find a balance. There are some fish and inverts that are preferential toward diatoms. Amano shrimp, otocinclus, and bristle nose plecos come to mind. True siamese algae eaters will eat some but have a preference for hair, red and black beard. I agree with @Mmiller2001and @Torreypatience is important but if the imbalance continues into the 4-6 month period you could consider a natural solution vs chemical warfare. 

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