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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 10 gallon porcelain bowl set up that receives very little light. Until recently, the only plants were a couple of anubias. About six months ago I noticed the sudden appearance of what to me looked like brown algae around the surface of the bowl. The funny thing it seemed to favor one side of the bowl over the other so I imagined it had something to do with the amount of natural sunlight that hit the bowl. Research revealed that brown algae isn't really algae at all but a single-celled organism that establishes itself in colonies to anything containing silica, which of course, is contained in porcelain. But, now I am learning that beneficial bacteria also cling to the surface of ornaments and similar things in an aquatic environment. The fish don't seem to be bothered by it at all, but it does make the tank appear "dirty". So I wiped it away. Was that a mistake?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I took a look at a snapshot of the bowl taken shortly after I introduced a small number of danios (I'd like to gradually increase the number to 7) and it's pretty obvious now that it was bacteria. It came off pretty easily with a paper towel, not in sheets the way I would expect diatoms to do.

The interesting thing is that it seems to be competing with the Wolffia that I introduced almost month ago under the mistaken belief that it was duckweed. I took a week's vacation once I got my second vaccine shot and when I came back yesterday the wolffia seemed greener and more plentiful while the bacteria that I had fully expected would be darker and more widespread, was actually in full retreat.

Incidentally, this wolffia strain is the only floating plant that has ever been able to adjust to my bowl's low lighting conditions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Gosh, the "interesting things" just keep piling up. A month ago, I didn't know the difference between biofilm and just plain bacteria. Now, I think I really do have some level of biofilm where most people find it - on the surface of the water. It seems to have coincided with the introduction of duckweed/wolffia to the bowl. Am I wrong or could this be part of a denitrification process with the duckweed absorbing nitrates nutrients and forming little puddles of protein along the surface?
 

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Gosh, the "interesting things" just keep piling up. A month ago, I didn't know the difference between biofilm and just plain bacteria. Now, I think I really do have some level of biofilm where most people find it - on the surface of the water. It seems to have coincided with the introduction of duckweed/wolffia to the bowl. Am I wrong or could this be part of a denitrification process with the duckweed absorbing nitrates nutrients and forming little puddles of protein along the surface?
The duckweed probably provided an ecosystem for protozoan and bacteria. The puddles of protein are dead and living microbes.
 
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