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Old 10-17-2018, 01:01 AM   #1
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Brown algae

In the last week my tank has been being consumed by brown algae. As far as I can tell there is no direct sun, and plenty of o2 in the water. Any suggestions on how to help eliminate it?
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Old 10-17-2018, 07:30 AM   #2
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A dusting of cyanobacteria. Increased flow and nutrient export will take care of things.
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Old 10-20-2018, 01:17 AM   #3
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A dusting of cyanobacteria. Increased flow and nutrient export will take care of things.


Thanks you so much!
Super helpful!
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Old 10-20-2018, 08:47 AM   #4
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Keep in mind that nutrient export is important in our systems. Besides flow to assist with filtration to take care of uneaten food and poop, having 1 lbs per gallon of rock is very important as it is the basis of the biological filtration in our systems. Looking at the pictures it appears to be a tad short possibly.

Also, diatoms will also be a brown dusting you will see on your sandbed. You can tell the difference from the cyanobacteria you have as that cyano becomes 'slimy', which is why it is also known as red slime bacteria...even though cyano can be seen in brown, green... you get the idea.
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Old 10-22-2018, 11:59 AM   #5
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Cyanobacteria, AKA Red Slime Algae - Aquarium Advice
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Old 11-11-2018, 03:56 AM   #6
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I agree with the others cyano can be a bunch of different colors
Flow helped me i also covered the spots of rock with corals and that helped as well i also have a cleanup crew that moves the sand not letting anything grow there

What did you do and is it helping
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Old 12-07-2018, 04:56 AM   #7
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Keep in mind that nutrient export is important in our systems. Besides flow to assist with filtration to take care of uneaten food and poop, having 1 lbs per gallon of rock is very important as it is the basis of the biological filtration in our systems. Looking at the pictures it appears to be a tad short possibly.

Also, diatoms will also be a brown dusting you will see on your sandbed. You can tell the difference from the cyanobacteria you have as that cyano becomes 'slimy', which is why it is also known as red slime bacteria...even though cyano can be seen in brown, green... you get the idea.


Thanks so much, sorry for the late response have been really busy recently and havenít had a chance to check...
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Old 12-07-2018, 04:58 AM   #8
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I agree with the others cyano can be a bunch of different colors
Flow helped me i also covered the spots of rock with corals and that helped as well i also have a cleanup crew that moves the sand not letting anything grow there

What did you do and is it helping


Iíve done more water changes and keep the lights off for a while, seems to be working. How do I know if there is too much flow? I donít want to have my fish working super hard against the flow 24/7.
Sorry for the late response Iíve been really busy with school work and have not had the time to check this post
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Old 12-07-2018, 04:59 AM   #9
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Keep in mind that nutrient export is important in our systems. Besides flow to assist with filtration to take care of uneaten food and poop, having 1 lbs per gallon of rock is very important as it is the basis of the biological filtration in our systems. Looking at the pictures it appears to be a tad short possibly.

Also, diatoms will also be a brown dusting you will see on your sandbed. You can tell the difference from the cyanobacteria you have as that cyano becomes 'slimy', which is why it is also known as red slime bacteria...even though cyano can be seen in brown, green... you get the idea.

That you so much, that was really helpful

Sorry for the late response Iíve been really busy with school work and have not had the time to check this post
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Old 12-07-2018, 05:02 AM   #10
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I donít think you can have too much flow
Unless your fish are in the rockwork 24/7
The issue you might get is sand all over so you need to see the balance between good flow and not destrying your coral and sand
Keep in mind blasting certain coral with too much flow would kill some coral

Another option is to use flow and sand sifters or movers like a diamond goby, sand sifting star, large nassarius snails
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Old 12-07-2018, 05:22 AM   #11
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I donít think you can have too much flow
Unless your fish are in the rockwork 24/7
The issue you might get is sand all over so you need to see the balance between good flow and not destrying your coral and sand
Keep in mind blasting certain coral with too much flow would kill some coral

Another option is to use flow and sand sifters or movers like a diamond goby, sand sifting star, large nassarius snails


Ok, just to recap for myself...

The fish wonít be affected by too much flow, but the sand/corals might be.

I already have a yellow watchman goby, but he doesnít like to dig his holes in the area where the Alge is the worst. Iíll try increasing the flow tomorrow morning.
Thank you so much for your help
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Old 12-07-2018, 05:28 AM   #12
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Ok, just to recap for myself...

The fish wonít be affected by too much flow, but the sand/corals might be.

I already have a yellow watchman goby, but he doesnít like to dig his holes in the area where the Alge is the worst. Iíll try increasing the flow tomorrow morning.
Thank you so much for your help


Sounds about right
if fish are not swimming properly its too much its normal for them to get pushed around a bit but if its a constant struggle or hiding then its too much

Watchman gobies are nice and sift a bit of sand but diamond gobies are constant sifters so i would recommend one of those if your tank isnít big enough you might need to rehome the watchman gobie

Diamond gobies need a top as they can (probably would) jump in the beginning

I would highly recommend the sand sifting star and large nassarius snails
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Old 12-07-2018, 05:31 AM   #13
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Ok, Iíll look into it and see if any of my fish dealers have any of those animals.
Thank you so much! Youíve been lots of help
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Old 12-07-2018, 08:26 PM   #14
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Don't add additional livestock for this. It is cyanobacteria that feeds off of nutrients in the water column and in low flow areas. Adding more eating and pooping creatures only adds to nutrients in the water column, that and there isn't anything that eats cyanobacteria.

The issue will get better with the lights out due to cyano needing a light source as well. It will simply show back up once the lights come back on.

Keep going with the water changes. Add a power head and adjust it so it isn't creating a sandstorm. Things should be just fine without adding anything else.
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Old 12-08-2018, 07:30 PM   #15
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Don't add additional livestock for this. It is cyanobacteria that feeds off of nutrients in the water column and in low flow areas. Adding more eating and pooping creatures only adds to nutrients in the water column, that and there isn't anything that eats cyanobacteria.

The issue will get better with the lights out due to cyano needing a light source as well. It will simply show back up once the lights come back on.

Keep going with the water changes. Add a power head and adjust it so it isn't creating a sandstorm. Things should be just fine without adding anything else.

Its a old argument

i have seen cyano in extremely low nutrient tanks
cyano grows on detritus that doesnít move, getting that detritus to move would help the problem and using flow is ideal, flow can be tricky though you need enough to move the detritus but not make a sand storm, flow canít reach all areas of a tank behind rocks etc thats where a cleanup crew comes in they move the detritus to areas that the flow will pickup and filter out

A diamond goby is a great sand sifter that doesnít get sand all over

Im a firm believer that snails and sand sifting stars clean more than they poop and if cyano is on a sand bed they will turn over the sand in places flow canít get too, so in my opinion getting a couple nassarius snails and a starfish wonít add to the problem
Diamond goby

If it was a question of cyano on rocks i would suggest different options
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Old 12-18-2018, 01:49 AM   #16
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Brown algae

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Originally Posted by OurCoralReef View Post
Its a old argument

i have seen cyano in extremely low nutrient tanks
cyano grows on detritus that doesnít move, getting that detritus to move would help the problem and using flow is ideal, flow can be tricky though you need enough to move the detritus but not make a sand storm, flow canít reach all areas of a tank behind rocks etc thats where a cleanup crew comes in they move the detritus to areas that the flow will pickup and filter out

A diamond goby is a great sand sifter that doesnít get sand all over

Im a firm believer that snails and sand sifting stars clean more than they poop and if cyano is on a sand bed they will turn over the sand in places flow canít get too, so in my opinion getting a couple nassarius snails and a starfish wonít add to the problem
Diamond goby

If it was a question of cyano on rocks i would suggest different options


Thank you so much... the cyano bacteria has been getting worse on the glass and rocks now. Iím planing on getting a power head next weekend.
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