what exactly is brown
algae? I can't tell
what is growing on the
inside wall of the tank
as for now it is just
a film that i can see
when looking from the
side diagonally out
are many species of algae with various colors
such as green, red, brown, and black. The stuff
growing on the glass inside your aquarium is
probably mostly bacteria, but here are usually
many types of algae growing among the bacteria.
The combination of the bacteria and the algae
may appear to be brown especially when viewed
from the side.
At least once
a month you should take a scrubber, that is
labeled for use in aquariums, and scrub the
glass inside your aquarium until the glass is
squeaky clean. Click
here to see a scrubber and read more about
cleaning your aquarium.
The stuff growing
on the glass usually does not cause problems
but is unsightly, and most conscientious aquarists
clean it off the glass at least once a month.
The stuff growing on the glass feeds on the
waste in your aquarium water.
You can minimize
the rate at which this stuff grows on your class
by removing 20% of the water from your aquarium
and replacing it with fresh water at least twice
a week. Click
here to read more about aquarium water.
Hi, I've already written
to you before Tom, so
you know how excellent
I find your site. This
time I have a question
for you: In my 20-gallon,
I'm starting to see
small spots of brown.
It clings to the glass,
to the plants.
At first I thought it
was too much food, so
I made really sure they
don't get extra and
they don't. All the
food is gone within
2 minutes, it doesn't
even sink to the bottom.
It scrapes easily with
the sponge you recommended
for algea (thanks!)
but my problem is that
is coming faster and
faster all the time.
I do change the water
twice a week (like you
recommend again, very
good advice by the way)
and it's really clear
and smells good. But
it's not pretty. I never
had this in my other
aquariums, what could
again Sylvie. The brown stuff you see growing
is bacteria and algae. They are feeding and
growing rapidly on something in your aquarium
water. In this way they are a sign that there
is probably too much dissolved waste in your
water. Here are some recommendations.
of the water once each day and see if this helps,
by that I mean do the "brown spots" grow more
slowly or even disappear. Click
here for more about changing water.
A filter with
a BIO-Wheel will help, because the beneficial
bacteria living on the BIO-Wheel will digest
most of the waste from the water and improve
the water quality. Click
here for more about BIO-Wheels.
I am also wondering
how much gravel you have. If you have a layer
of gravel more than 1/4" thick, then you should
be washing your gravel and removing it, until
you get down to 1/4" or less. Click
here for more about aquarium gravel.
I also wonder
if you have any suspicious rocks in your aquarium.
Some rocks contain minerals, like various forms
of iron, that will often cause various types
of bacteria and algae to grow more rapidly.
here for more about avoiding contamination.
Be sure you
have the light on in your aquarium at most a
couple of hours each day, unless you have live
plants, and they need more light.
Hi Tom, Just a quick
follow up about my problem
of "brown spots". I
removed some of the
gravel (I have about
1/4-inch now) and also
the bubble wand (which
kept covering with the
stuff even though I
washed it twice a week).
It's now practically
gone! My fishies and
me thank you for the
again Sylvie, thank you for your email reply.
I enjoyed reading that your aquarium has improved
and the brown stuff is almost gone. Keep changing
20% of the water each day, and when the brown
algae is gone, you can taper off to changing
20% twice a week.
Hello, I have seen products
at pet stores that claim
to prevent algae growth.
Do you recommend such
products? Would using
an algae reducing chemical
hurt the balance of
Steve. We do not recommend chemical products
to prevent algae. Click
here and follow the advice about how to
harmlessly get rid of algae, and you will not
need any other chemical products.
algae is harmless, but the presence of algae
indicates that your water contains too much
fish waste. So you will need to make partial
water changes more frequently in the future.
I have a 20-gallon tank
that I have had for
about 7 years. It has
both an underground
filter as well as a
powered tank filter.
Currently, I have two
angels and one plecostomus.
While all the readings
for Ammonia, Nitrate,
Nitrite, PH are all
within acceptable limits
I cannot get rid of
the black algae that
grows on my plastic
I change the water regularly.
My local fish guy, whom
I trust dearly (when
I first got the tank,
he wouldn't sell me
a fish until my water
was right) has sold
me several products
to eliminate the black
algae, but to no avail.
Other then removing
and replacing the plants,
do you have any solutions
Philip. You can reduce the amount of algae that
grows by reducing the amount of light in your
aquarium and by reducing the amount of nutrients
in the water.
Most fish prefer
dim lighting. Your fish will do fine with just
the lighting in the room, so turn off the aquarium
light as much as possible. You might also change
the bulb in the lighting fixture in your aquarium,
because most types of algae seem to prefer the
light from one type of bulb.
The best way
to reduce algae is to reduce the concentration
of nutrients in the water. Do this by doing
a 20% water change each day. This will reduce
the amount of fish waste dissolved in the water
and starve the algae, unless your gravel contains
lots of waste.
If your gravel
is very dirty, the waste in your gravel will
continuously dissolve into your aquarium water,
and dissolved fish waste is the nutrient that
will make the algae grow faster.
So you should
be sure to clean your gravel each time you remove
water from your aquarium. But do not remove
and replace more than 20% of the water from
your aquarium in one day. Click
here for more information about cleaning
here for more about aquarium gravel.
is probably an example of the problems caused
by undergravel filters, and this is the reason
that we strongly recommend that you get rid
of your undergravel filter and replace it with
a filter with a BIO-Wheel. Click
here for more information about BIO-Wheels.
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