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Old 03-17-2006, 05:48 PM   #1
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Brown algae driving us crazy!

We have a 36-gal FOWLR tank with 4 fish - 5" green speckled puffer, 4" maroon clown, 3.5" yellow tang & 1.5" zebra damsel, no inverts. Lots of LR and some dead corals. Fish have been thriving. We feed 1/3 cube of frozen angel food (main ingredient is marine sponge as I understand it), & a pinch of marine fish flakes nightly, and every other night put some seaweed on a clip for the tang (and damsel picks at it a little).

Our problem is the rampant brown algae. it covers everything rapidly, and we have to clean tank walls 2x/week. We've started using RO water from dispensers at local market, changing 5-7 gal/week. NH3, NO2 & ph all OK, keeping salinity in 1.023-1.025 range, tank ~ 81 degrees. We have 3 24" fluorescent lights that we keep on ~ 6:30am-10:30pm. I've tested nitrates (NO3?) and they are moderate ~= 15ppm IIRC. Don't have a way to test phosphates - is there a kit for that? The protein skimmer is filling its catch cannister a lot faster than it used to.

Appreciate any suggestions.
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Old 03-17-2006, 06:00 PM   #2
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You have a pretty heavy bioload for such a small tank and you are feeding daily. This will add the nutrients that the undesireable diatoms and algaes feed on. You also are running your lights alot longer than I would recommend. There is a test for phosphates.

To remedy your situation, I would make the following suggestions.
Feed every other day
Lights on from 8:0 am to 9:00 pm (adjust it for your viewing convenience if needed)
Up the water changes to 30% per week until the problem is resolved.

Hope this helps.
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Old 03-21-2006, 08:33 PM   #3
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Advice dont get any better than that.
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Old 03-22-2006, 12:03 AM   #4
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Water changes can actually help algae. The new water replaces the nutrients that the algae is feeding off of. They help also just a little tip. But I agree with everything said by hara. Wait awhile and see if the algae dies off on it's own.
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Old 03-31-2006, 11:50 PM   #5
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That sounds like good advice, but I'm having trouble selling the concept of feeding every other day. Our fish feed so enthusiastically, and devour everything within a few seconds.

Wife & daughter are afraid the fish would starve.
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Old 04-01-2006, 12:16 AM   #6
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my fish are ok after 8 yrs of every other day.They will be Ok
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Old 04-01-2006, 06:51 PM   #7
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Feeding schedule, effect on brown algae

That's useful ammo, and I will use it.

I just worry about the puffer getting hungry and going after other fish. I know that's what my wife & daughter will say. He's been cool with them for a long time, but he has attacked other fish. When we first got him he killed a clownfish - we think he was starving from being underfed at the LFS. More recently he killed a blenny, a goby, and a dragonet. We think he just looks at those bottom-dweller fish as food.
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Old 04-01-2006, 08:33 PM   #8
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How is the flow in your tank? Do you have any power heads moving water around in the tank?
If you do not, then I would suggest two, one at either end of the tank. Something in the 100gph to 150gph. Top of the tank pointing down across the tank and sand bed. This has helped with my algae problems.
With a higher flow rate algae can't "stick" long enough to grow.
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Old 04-01-2006, 08:42 PM   #9
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We have two PH's but I don't know their flow rate. The filter return also generates current.

The brown algae settles on top surfaces of everything. I can sweep it off with current from a vigorous hand sweep, but I don't think it's practical to have enough constant current to keep it off the rocks etc - tank would be like a washing machine & fish couldn't take it nonstop, IMO.
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Old 04-02-2006, 04:17 PM   #10
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Studies have shown that fish live longer and are healthier (as are most species) on a 30% reduced diet. It would seem that hunger is a good thing. Sad truth is that it does not seem to hold true for humans, though I'm sure it would help with the weight loss.

I feed the tank every 2-3 days.
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