Brown Algae

Byron

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I leave the lights on for roughly 12 hours a day and have been dosing fertilizer once a week for the past few weeks.

This is the issue. The light is on for too long, and the additional "fertilizer" is feeding algae. There is more than just diatoms (brown algae) here, so this needs to be rectified (the light/nutrients/plants balance).

New tanks take time to establish the biological stability. During this initial period, algae is always waiting to take advantage of light or nutrients. A good planting of higher plants, and even just some good floating plants, can help a lot in this.

Reduce the light period to 8 hours; it may have to go lower, my tanks are on 7 hours and I have no algae issues, but it took some trial and error to get this sorted out. Use a timer, so it is the same 8-hour period every 24 hours. Make sure there is a continuous period of total darkness as well, which would normally be the 11pm to dawn time of day.

As for fertilizer, Leaf Zone is not sufficient. You want a complete product that includes the 17 necessary nutrients for the plants; some come from the tank/fish, others may need to be supplemented. There are liquid products and substrate tabs. If you can provide the plant names and numbers (a photo of the entire tank planted) we can suggest which.
 
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crupp29

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I have this light and it's a really great light for the price. Out of the box, it is far too bright and is an algae growing machine. If you get the corresponding dimmer, you can dim the light. I've found that 50% brightness or so is the right number. Algae is no longer a problem either.
I have the corresponding dimmer and have had it set at 50% brightness.
 
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crupp29

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This is the issue. The light is on for too long, and the additional "fertilizer" is feeding algae. There is more than just diatoms (brown algae) here, so this needs to be rectified (the light/nutrients/plants balance).

New tanks take time to establish the biological stability. During this initial period, algae is always waiting to take advantage of light or nutrients. A good planting of higher plants, and even just some good floating plants, can help a lot in this.

Reduce the light period to 8 hours; it may have to go lower, my tanks are on 7 hours and I have no algae issues, but it took some trial and error to get this sorted out. Use a timer, so it is the same 8-hour period every 24 hours. Make sure there is a continuous period of total darkness as well, which would normally be the 11pm to dawn time of day.

As for fertilizer, Leaf Zone is not sufficient. You want a complete product that includes the 17 necessary nutrients for the plants; some come from the tank/fish, others may need to be supplemented. There are liquid products and substrate tabs. If you can provide the plant names and numbers (a photo of the entire tank planted) we can suggest which.
Thank you. I will reduce the light period and take a couple of pictures as soon as I am able to. Will the decrease in light and the elimination of the fertilizer I am currently using get rid of the algae or will I need to do something in addition to this? As for the names of the plants, I have one of each: Amazon Sword, Java Fern, Java Moss, and Ludwigia.
 

Byron

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Thank you. I will reduce the light period and take a couple of pictures as soon as I am able to. Will the decrease in light and the elimination of the fertilizer I am currently using get rid of the algae or will I need to do something in addition to this? As for the names of the plants, I have one of each: Amazon Sword, Java Fern, Java Moss, and Ludwigia.

The algae that is present will remain. The aim is to prevent it from increasing, and this we do by establishing the light/nutrient balance so the plants benefit but no more. I don't mind algae on hardscape, it looks quite natural, but on plant leaves it can smother them. Once things are under control, leaves can be trimmed if necessary. We can decide on appropriate fertilizers when we have the photos. Also, what is the GH?
 
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crupp29

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The algae that is present will remain. The aim is to prevent it from increasing, and this we do by establishing the light/nutrient balance so the plants benefit but no more. I don't mind algae on hardscape, it looks quite natural, but on plant leaves it can smother them. Once things are under control, leaves can be trimmed if necessary. We can decide on appropriate fertilizers when we have the photos. Also, what is the GH?
I agree. I don’t mind it on the wood/rocks, I just don’t want it on the plants or filter/heater. The GH is somewhere between 150-300ppm.
 

Byron

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I agree. I don’t mind it on the wood/rocks, I just don’t want it on the plants or filter/heater. The GH is somewhere between 150-300ppm.

I asked about GH because that is a major source of calcium and magnesium, so no issues there. Helps sort out the best fertilizer (if one is needed).
 

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I don’t have any artificial light, I’m trying to go low- tech...I’ve kept half of the blind down today so it’s been reasonably bright, but not full sun bright ? 3B003C28-221C-4FD8-AF9C-3260456E6223.jpeg
 

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I've had brown algae issues specifically when using API Leaf Zone before. I discontinued its use and switched to Flourish Comprehensive and the brown algae went away. You usually get brown algae or Diatoms as the algae type when there's a combo of high nitrogenous wastes plus low light, high silica, and/or high phosphates. Brown algae specifically can make do with much less light than other types, too. I've found lowering light works well for getting rid of green and black beard algae, but generally doesn't help with brown algae. Brown algae is also the kind of algae that most often shows up in new tanks, and will often start to disappear naturally as the tank matures, usually by 3 months set up it may start to vanish on its own. It is also a very soft algae, and can easily be removed from plants and decor by rubbing it off with your fingers or by using a soft (never used for anything else) tooth brush. Diatoms are also apparently very tasty, and the preferred food of almost any type of algae eater, from Nerite to Otos to Bristlenoses.
 

NannaLou

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I've had brown algae issues specifically when using API Leaf Zone before. I discontinued its use and switched to Flourish Comprehensive and the brown algae went away. You usually get brown algae or Diatoms as the algae type when there's a combo of high nitrogenous wastes plus low light, high silica, and/or high phosphates. Brown algae specifically can make do with much less light than other types, too. I've found lowering light works well for getting rid of green and black beard algae, but generally doesn't help with brown algae. Brown algae is also the kind of algae that most often shows up in new tanks, and will often start to disappear naturally as the tank matures, usually by 3 months set up it may start to vanish on its own. It is also a very soft algae, and can easily be removed from plants and decor by rubbing it off with your fingers or by using a soft (never used for anything else) tooth brush. Diatoms are also apparently very tasty, and the preferred food of almost any type of algae eater, from Nerite to Otos to Bristlenoses.
I’ve been looking at the Otos and due to their small size think they would go in my tank, but I’m not sure about the water hardness. My plan was to have about 18 Endlers in the 54 ltr tank as my water is very hard. Would a few Otos mix well with the Endlers? How many would I need for them to be happy? I can’t cope with the look of the ‘bristles’ on the Bristlenoses ?
 

Byron

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I’ve been looking at the Otos and due to their small size think they would go in my tank, but I’m not sure about the water hardness. My plan was to have about 18 Endlers in the 54 ltr tank as my water is very hard. Would a few Otos mix well with the Endlers? How many would I need for them to be happy? I can’t cope with the look of the ‘bristles’ on the Bristlenoses ?

What is the tank size (dimensions and volume)? And by "very hard" do you have an actual number for the GH?

Earlier in this thread play sand was mentioned as the cause of diatoms, this is not at all the case. It is light and nutrients that feed algae (and higher plants). I also saw evidence of green algae in the earlier photos, and that is more important than the diatoms (brown algae).
 

NannaLou

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What is the tank size (dimensions and volume)? And by "very hard" do you have an actual number for the GH?

Earlier in this thread play sand was mentioned as the cause of diatoms, this is not at all the case. It is light and nutrients that feed algae (and higher plants). I also saw evidence of green algae in the earlier photos, and that is more important than the diatoms (brown algae).
@Byron, the tank size is 24 x 12 x 12 inches and is 54 ltrs.

The water is 16 dH and 281 calcium carbonate (@Essjay worked that out for me) ?
 

Byron

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@Byron, the tank size is 24 x 12 x 12 inches and is 54 ltrs.

The water is 16 dH and 281 calcium carbonate (@Essjay worked that out for me) ?

The GH is a td high for otos, which will be wild caught. I would hold off on them for the present until the algae issue is resolved. There is more than just common diatoms (so-called brown algae) here, and fish that do eat algae are fussy as to what algae species they will eat.
 

NannaLou

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The GH is a td high for otos, which will be wild caught. I would hold off on them for the present until the algae issue is resolved. There is more than just common diatoms (so-called brown algae) here, and fish that do eat algae are fussy as to what algae species they will eat.
The last thing I need is fussy fish ?
 
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crupp29

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This is the issue. The light is on for too long, and the additional "fertilizer" is feeding algae. There is more than just diatoms (brown algae) here, so this needs to be rectified (the light/nutrients/plants balance).

New tanks take time to establish the biological stability. During this initial period, algae is always waiting to take advantage of light or nutrients. A good planting of higher plants, and even just some good floating plants, can help a lot in this.

Reduce the light period to 8 hours; it may have to go lower, my tanks are on 7 hours and I have no algae issues, but it took some trial and error to get this sorted out. Use a timer, so it is the same 8-hour period every 24 hours. Make sure there is a continuous period of total darkness as well, which would normally be the 11pm to dawn time of day.

As for fertilizer, Leaf Zone is not sufficient. You want a complete product that includes the 17 necessary nutrients for the plants; some come from the tank/fish, others may need to be supplemented. There are liquid products and substrate tabs. If you can provide the plant names and numbers (a photo of the entire tank planted) we can suggest which.
Here is a photo. From left to right, I have Java Moss, Ludwigia, Java Fern, and an Amazon Sword. I might still move some things around, but the plants will stay where they are so they can get established. As you can see, all of the plants are melting to some degree (that‘s how I bought them because that was all they had).
 

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Byron

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Here is a photo. From left to right, I have Java Moss, Ludwigia, Java Fern, and an Amazon Sword. I might still move some things around, but the plants will stay where they are so they can get established. As you can see, all of the plants are melting to some degree (that‘s how I bought them because that was all they had).

My suggestions back in post #16 still apply. The sword in the right rear corner will greatly improve with a Flourish Tab inserted near the crown once every 3 months. The Java Fern is in direct light and being a low-light slow growing plant, this can cause problems. Floating plants will help here.
 

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