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Old 04-26-2020, 11:06 AM   #1
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Undergravel Filter/Brown Algae

I have a 20 gallon tank with 3 small clown loaches that I've had for about 2-3 years now. The overall tank has been in operation for about 5 years, maybe a bit more. I have a hob top fin 40 power filter and an undergravel filter with a small power head. ( I have had the undergravel since starting this tank) I also have an air stone at the opposite end of powerhead.

For about over a year now ive been having issues with brown algae that accumulates on the walls, gravel, but mostly on the decor... I try to do water changes every 2 weeks but sometimes it goes a bit longer. I also clean gravel when i do the changes. I usually only take out about 4-5 gallons when doing the change. The brown algae ussually comes back very quickly, sometimes after only 2-3 weeks. The tank looks very clean and clear except until the brown algea gets bad...

Yesterday i did a water change and cleaned all the algae. I really got the vac down against the undergravel filter plates all over and pulled out a LOT of crap, making the water pulled out in the bucket BLACK... I even did a double water change so to take time with the undergravel filter crap.. ( i usually do not go that far down to the plates)

I started to think that maybe my brown algae problem is being caused by the undergravel filter being so dirty. So i decided to test this out and disconnected the undergravel filter to see if the algae returns as fast, and just run the hob filter for a few weeks to a month.

I am starting to think that maybe that is not a good idea to let all the crap that i didn't get out just sit under there without the undergravel filter running? If anyone can chime in on this id appreciate it! Thanks!
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Old 04-26-2020, 02:57 PM   #2
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I have that exact same dťcor piece the rock stack thing only mine isnít white min is till itís original color.
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Old 04-26-2020, 04:04 PM   #3
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I have that exact same dťcor piece the rock stack thing only mine isn’t white min is till it’s original color.
Lol....I've had that rock for a long time. Yes, it is discolored from all the cleaning and bleaching i had to do to get that brown algae off it over the years...The other day it was totally light brown. Ive been thinking of replacing it with another or something else similar to fit right in that spot... I have a barrel on the other side (half in the pic) that still looks ok and the clowns love going in there to rest or hang out... I was thinking of adding something else for them to hide in like a hollowed tree stump on its side. Just not sure i want to crowd it... Surprised no one else commented about my issue yet...
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Old 04-27-2020, 11:53 AM   #4
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I'd reconnect your undegravel filter BUT you should be doing 50% water change with a gravel clean weekly. Algae loves waste and if you keep this schedule up you *should* see a reduction of the brown algae. A little algae is probably always going to be there but the majority ahould disappear. Light could be an issue too but I'll let someone else chime in on that
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Old 05-08-2020, 12:21 PM   #5
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Well, i guess my brown algae has nothing to do with the undergravel filter.
I have it starting again. It has only been 2 weeks and ive done 2 water changes since! Im starting to think it may be due to my city water...? I wonder if filtering the water before adding it to the tank would help?
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