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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well i've had this annoying brown algae slowly forming in my tank for a couple weeks now. It mainly covers my substrate and foreground plants. Almost none of my other plants are effected. It seems like it's trying to form a mat over my substrate if it wasn't for my daily poking and stirring of my substrate.

I thought it might be diatoms at first but it's not a dust like algae. It kind of clumps together and slowly forms a mat. Plus, i have two otos and they don't seem to affect it.

Please help me out. This stuff is ugly and annoying. Since i can't seem to find an algae similar to mine...i'm wondering if i might be a bacteria or something?

Here's the best pics i could get- it looks a bit different in real life.





Tank Specs:
-tank- 5.5g aga
-light- DIY canopy with 26w
-filter- Tom Rapids mini canister and a Red Sea Nano
-substrate- Eco Complete
-Co2- DIY 2x20oz bottles
-Fish- 4 neon tetras, 2 otos, and 2 ghost shrimp (my 3rd jumped this morning )
-Ferts- Flourish Comprehensive, Flourish Iron, and Flourish Excel (occasionally); I have the ingredients for the PPS pro system on the way
 

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I've got the same stuff in my tank. I don't know the ID, but I am attributing it to some organic soil beneath my substrate coupled with "too high" micro-nutrient fertilizing...especially since I'm getting micros from the soil underlayer.

I noticed you are dosing all micros currently. That may be the problem. Once you start the PPS pro it will help, but being patient with it will also help. These things just take time.

-Dave
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
phew, i'm glad to hear i'm not the only one going through this- that stuff is just plain ugly. I think your right about the micros that's why i stopped dosing a few days ago to see if it stops spreading as fast. My PPS ingredients should be here tomorrow so hopefully it'll clear up in the next week or two. Thanks for the info davemonkey!
 

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I really don't think it's cyano. That is unmistakable. It BLANKETS things.

I'm with Zapins, just looks like crud.
Is your circulation good?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
At first, i thought it was just crud accumulating on the bottom but i've seen many other tanks with less filtration than i have and their tanks are crystal clear (i have a tom rapids mini canister and a red sea nano HOB). Plus, it's starting to spread and grow, not just build up. I started feeding my fish less and less starting a few weeks ago but the problem is still getting worse. I've also tried moving my spraybar into many different positions for the best flow but nothing helps. I guess i'll give it some more time after i start dosing PPS-pro style and see how it does.
 

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It does look like mulm build-up, like Zapins said. But I wonder if some algae can grow on slight films of mulm or protiens or other organic debris. I have some of this same stuff in my current set-up, but there are nearly no fish (5 otos and 1 zebra loach in a 50 gal) and I do not feed (they only survive on algae and snails for right now) .

I've noticed when the loach leaves "leftovers" that algae quickly covers the mess if I don't get it out right away.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
But I wonder if some algae can grow on slight films of mulm or protiens or other organic debris.
I think that's exactly what happened. I siphoned my tank about a week ago but i was in a rush so it wasnt a very good job. Since i left some crud on the bottom i think some kind of algae is taking advantage of it. I'll siphon my substrate soon and aim my spraybar directly at my foreground and see how it goes.
 

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You can easily tell if it is an algae or not.

Simply scoop a good amount of it out, and keep it in a container in total darkness for a few days (4). If it changes, or dies then it is algae. If it is essentially the same, then its mulm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
You can easily tell if it is an algae or not.

Simply scoop a good amount of it out, and keep it in a container in total darkness for a few days (4). If it changes, or dies then it is algae. If it is essentially the same, then its mulm.
good idea. i'll have to give it a try
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Well, whatever i have in my tank is definitely an algae. It's spreading like crazy now and it's starting to hit my plants hard. It's kind of a brown fuzzy algae like the pictures vaguely show but i dont think it's diatoms because my otos arent doing much to it. I'll get some pictures up soon. Any ideas?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Ok here's some pictures. Basically, my whole tank has a brown tinge to it. I hate it.

Some on my glass. I'm glad my algae enjoys my co2








 

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Hehe, its funny but I have the exact same algae growing in my newly setup 90g tank. I think the algae growing on your glass is thread algae. It is usually green, but I've seen it brown several times.

What I am doing for my algae: increase nitrates and degrease metal halide lights from 7 hrs to 5.5.

By the way, what is your tank temperature? Mine is 82-83, perhaps that has something to do with the brown color.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I think your right about the thread algae. It looks like i have diatoms on my substrate and thread algae on my plants, glass, and equipment. Will raising my nitrates get rid of both? My otos need to kick it in gear too. My nitrate testing kit isn't too accurate so could i make a formula of diluted potassium nitrate and dose that in addition to PPS? I also lowered my photo period by about 3 hours today. It's still a long time (10 hours) but i'm hoping it will help. I may drop it even more if i need to.

My tank temperature always sits between 76-78.
 

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Diatoms should work themselves out on their own. They aren't usually a permanent nuisance like other kinds of algae. You might want to try doing some more water changes and upping the nitrate levels a bit. I'll post on my tank's progress too :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I do a 20% water change once a week. I guess i'll start doing that twice a week? I'll start getting my nitrate levels up tomorrow.

Definitely let me know how your tank is doing too. If this treatment works for you, it should work for me...should.
 
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