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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In my 15 gal community tank, I seem to have had a sudden explosion of brown algae in the last month.

Lighting is two old CFL UVB bulbs, on for about 11 hours a day, maybe a bit less. Only thing I can think of that may have changed in the last little while is that I used to have some ghost shrimp, but the last one disappeared a little while ago. Would ghost shrimp eat that stuff?

It's also a weird kind of brown algae too... It's kind of like slime algae, in that it comes off in clumps.

I gave the tank a good clean, stirred the sand a bit, a week ago, and was away, and I looked at it when I got back and it was just looking nasty with the stuff.

Any ideas what could have caused this, and how to get rid of it?
 

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If the tank is established, it would seem odd that you would get a diatom explosion. If you just changed the substrate, this could be the cause. If it is in fact diatoms, Ottocinclus will quickly eradicate these guys.

Best Regards,

Stuart
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Stuart. The tank has been up and running for about a year. Haven't added or removed anything major for several months. Gave the sand a stir about 2 months ago.
Haven't been having much luck with otos recently :( Currently I've got one surviving in there.
Will otos eat diatoms off the sand?
 

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it usually indicates a rise in phosphates in the tank, are you adding buffers of any kind to your water? or did you recently change food? If you EI dose, try cutting back on the phosphate until it clears up.

As CRS fan said, otocinclus will be in heaven if you got an outbreak, if you can't keep otocinclus with a diatom outbreak, theres some other water parameter thats out of whack. Whats your hardness on the tank like? The only other way to beat the diatoms is to plant some aggressive growing plants that'll suck the water column clean of nutrients
 

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As neven pointed out, are you using any buffers? Many target PH buffers use phosphates as their buffering agent. Stirring up the substrate may have also triggered a 'new tank syndrome' (re-cycling). Please keep us posted on the prognosis.

Best Regards,

Stuart
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Nope, not adding anything at all to the tank. No buffers, ferts, or anything else.
Only thing I've ever added to the tank is Aqua Plus when I do a water change.

Not sure of hardness, don't have a hardness test.

I've got a big clump of Java moss in there, which usually does a good job sucking up lots of nutrients.

I did recently add a clump of water hyacinth and water lettuce. The hyacinth just died, but the water lettuce is doing alright.

Haven't changed food for a while... I've been giving omega one tropical, alternated with some aqueon tropical which I got as a sample. Plus the usual betta pellets, and on occasion, blood worms.

My bad luck with the otos was before this outbreak. I could try adding another oto.
 

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You could try to lower your lighting periods too.11 hours with just a plant or two leaves them playing catch for nutrients in the water column.The more plants you introduce(low light in this case) the less algae forms.A few other points add to this too( ferts,substrate,feeding,occupants,water changes and so on).
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Had a better look at it tonight, and it kind of looks like brown coloured slime algae... The way it is on the java moss.

I wonder if the tank is getting a bit more sunlight than before. The room is north facing, so it doesn't get any direct sunlight, but I did notice at a certain time in the afternoon it does get a bit of light.

I'll try having the lights on for less time, see if that helps.
 

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I agree with Neven with the phosphate. I needed daitom to grow in one of my tanks. Bumped the phosphate up and within 3 to 4 days I had an increase of diatoms.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
It's been a while since I posted, I thought I'd do an update with a bit more info.

This stuff is very much like a brown coloured slime algae. It peels off in chunks like a slime algae.
The other thing, is that the waste water smells sort of fishy. I've never had any real problems with smell before. I always keep up on my water changes.

One thing that crossed my mind is that I used to have at least 1 shrimp on cleanup duty, and now the shrimp are gone. Could it be partly caused by excess junk on the bottom?
 

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You could vacuum the substrate,wipe down the algae off the glass,wood, or any rocks or pebbles if you have any of these. Follow that by a large water change.Remove or clip any dead plant matter and close the lights for a day or two.Ease up on the feedings for the same time and see where that takes you.Check your bulbs on the hood and see if they need a change , and limit the amount of sun that hits the aquarium.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for the suggestions Luke :) I've tried wiping up as mush as possible, with a large water change (60%). It took longer to come back, but it still came back. Haven't yet reduced the time the lights are on. And I'll try to think about closing the blind in the late afternoon to prevent that little bit of light hitting it.
 

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It could be a BGA of some sort and not all blue green algae is blue or green sometimes it's brown.... which would make it a bacteria and not an algae..... not sure though.... sure sounds like it from the way you discribe it...


any pictures?
 

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Is not slime algae similar to what we call cyanobateria in sw? It seems to be an indication of poor water quality from overstocking and/or overfeeding. I never had a cyanobateria outbreak in my fw yet. In sw, a strong flow will help (just help) prevent/slow down the outbreak.

Am having that in my sw tanks now - too busy setting up bew fw tanks :eek:. I will have to suck them out when doing the water change and improve the overall water quality.
 
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