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Stuff happening.....what does it mean?


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My elodea and hornwort (floating) are looking sad and brown. I have some type of brown algae going on (and an angry fish. See photo. Lol). It has been 12 days since i did maintenance on this 5.5. One betta. 3 snails (the first i noticed 12 days ago the third just tonight). Some flat worms on the glass (rhabdocoela i think..definitely not planaria). Ammonia has been definitely zero but looked like the api test might have a green tint tonight..or maybe im seeing things the more paranoid i get. Im totally new to plants and never had a snail...i guess they came free with the elodea....they poop a lot!. Nitrite zero...nitrate around 10ppm. pH around 8.3. Temp about 78.

Questions (see photos): 

1. Whats up with this brown algae on stuff...is thats whats up with my plants or are they dying?

2. My plants are pearling with little bubbles (see teal circles) what does this mean with all else going on..they are pearling and dying?

3. What is this white hazy fluffy fuzzy..idk stuff on my hornwort and at the surface line on that elodea? (See purple circles)

4. Are these pest snail eggs? (See orange circles..they are grouped..not pearl bubbles)

Please any info? Did i wait too long to do a water change? Is my tank gonna crash if i clean the glass now? Is there something i need to watch out for? Change? Any info on how i move forward would be appreciated.

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Edited by Ramie
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How old is the tank? The brown algae is probably diatoms; this happens in newer set ups, usually popping up after a few months. It's caused by extra silicates in the water and will eventually run its course. If it's easily rubbed off, its definitely diatoms and isn't much of a concern. 

Pearling means photosynthesis is happening and is a good thing, they're releasing oxygen and are doing well. 

The orange circles look like snail eggs, yes. 

Not completely sure what the purple circles are. Could be biofilm or uneaten food or some other type of debris. I wouldn't worry about it. Lots of weird organic stuff happens in an aquarium, and is typically just natural processes of absorbing nutrients and such. Maybe someone else will recognize it. 

As for water changes, with a nitrate level at 10 you're doing great. I only ever water change if nitrate reaches 40, or if I just want to clean up mulm; and if it's for the later reason, I do a very small water change, just enough to vacuum a little. You don't want to starve the system by not providing enough waste to keep the nitrogen cycle going or make your plants too hungry. You might even want to add some nitrates with liquid ferts to help out your plants.

And you can clean off the glass anytime, that wouldn't hurt anything. 

Hope that helps! 

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41 minutes ago, H.K.Luterman said:

How old is the tank? The brown algae is probably diatoms; this happens in newer set ups, usually popping up after a few months. It's caused by extra silicates in the water and will eventually run its course. If it's easily rubbed off, its definitely diatoms and isn't much of a concern. 

Pearling means photosynthesis is happening and is a good thing, they're releasing oxygen and are doing well. 

The orange circles look like snail eggs, yes. 

Not completely sure what the purple circles are. Could be biofilm or uneaten food or some other type of debris. I wouldn't worry about it. Lots of weird organic stuff happens in an aquarium, and is typically just natural processes of absorbing nutrients and such. Maybe someone else will recognize it. 

As for water changes, with a nitrate level at 10 you're doing great. I only ever water change if nitrate reaches 40, or if I just want to clean up mulm; and if it's for the later reason, I do a very small water change, just enough to vacuum a little. You don't want to starve the system by not providing enough waste to keep the nitrogen cycle going or make your plants too hungry. You might even want to add some nitrates with liquid ferts to help out your plants.

And you can clean off the glass anytime, that wouldn't hurt anything. 

Hope that helps! 

Its a few months old. Set it up at the end of November. Fish in cycle. Added the hornwort after it cycled. Then a week later the elodea. I do have a peice of filter media that i need to change out...its the white and blue stuff..i have it in there the entire time. I did add some filter floss and matrix a few weeks ago that im hoping seeded enough by now i can replace the other stuff. Its brown and slimy. The algae showed up recently..i think it started because i have been feeding a type of food that he doesnt get all of so it sinks...figured the snail(s) might get it. Not really the sides of the glass. But good to know nothing too crazy is going on. I use flourish as a fertilizer..but only during water changes which are usualy once every 7 to 9 days...just because..never had my nitrate hit 40..close but not quite...my nitrates have been rising more slowly since i put the plants in there. Tomorrow is gonna be water change day. Thank you for responding.

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Yeah the brown stuff is most likely diatoms. I have had my quarantine bin running pretty much the same length of time as your tank and it's deeply in it's diatom phase (I've left it running because it'll soon have a bristlenose in it to quarantine). 

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It's all diatoms and snail poops right now. And that's completely normal and fine. When I get my bristlenose, I'll do a vacuum to clean it up and a water change. Diatoms are just an ugly phase.

3 minutes ago, Ramie said:

Good point. Though the bubbles are on the parts of my plants that still look half alive....but one or the other is photosynthesizing. How to i keep the algae down and the plants healthy?

You can rub the diatoms off the plants with your fingers to help them. But really the key is just to be patient. The tank is still developing it's ecosystem and balancing out. 

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2 minutes ago, Ramie said:

Good point. Though the bubbles are on the parts of my plants that still look half alive....but one or the other is photosynthesizing. How to i keep the algae down and the plants healthy?

I'm just starting, with plants, so I can't be much help.

A lot of mine look just like yours. They started pearling, then a week later, there was visible algae on them. 

I am still working on it. I reduced the lighting and increased both fertilization and water changes. Plus, I'm removing plants that look hopeless.

It looks like things are turning around, but it's too soon to tell. 

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27 minutes ago, Frank said:

I'm just starting, with plants, so I can't be much help.

A lot of mine look just like yours. They started pearling, then a week later, there was visible algae on them. 

I am still working on it. I reduced the lighting and increased both fertilization and water changes. Plus, I'm removing plants that look hopeless.

It looks like things are turning around, but it's too soon to tell. 

Well...it seems like we may just be on a normal track. Still though i didnt think about the algae causing the pearling. 

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