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Old 09-04-2021, 12:22 PM   #1
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Exclamation Water has yellow brown tint/brown algae present

So I have been running this aquarium for about 2 months now. Marineland C360 about half full 75 gallon tank. Occupant is a juvenile Razorback Musk turtle.

This is a recent development but the water has "tinted to a brackish" I honestly don't care about the color, I am just trying to understand why. (Unfortunately, the photos of the tank do really show the tint for some reason. It looks normal in photos, but I assure you there is most certainly a yellowish/brownish tint.

I get the driftwood could release tannins but I've had the driftwood in there the whole time and this tinted tank (and the brown algae) is a new development (past couple weeks).

The tank is otherwise clear other than the tint. Today is my weekly water change day, so I pulled out my API test kit to test the water first. Everything seems as it should be. Ammonia, Nitrites at 0. Some presence of Nitrates.

Important to note, this seems to have cropped up after REMOVING the sand substrate I had (which I obviously did a full water change) there are still some sand remnants you can see on the bottom of the tank. I also had to clean my filter because it got mucked up with sand and was barely flowing.

I assume its the brown algae (I can see it on parts of the tank glass and on some of the fake plants) From what I understand other than looking ugly it shouldn't be harmful, but I surmise that might be what is causing the tint. I am kind of hoping it will go away, because it most certainly makes the tank "look" dirty when it really isn't.

https://imgur.com/BAhhZLz
https://imgur.com/cOACQeO
https://imgur.com/erJyfR3

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Old 09-09-2021, 12:49 AM   #2
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How long is the light running?

The tannish color of the water could be from excess food and from the DW.

What color are the foods you are feeding?

Turtles are really messy and need lots of water changes to keep up with the water.

It sounds like the water parameters were okay, was that after a water change?

Has the filter pad been changed recently or washed with plain tap water?

How did you cycle the filter if you did cycle it?
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Old 09-09-2021, 12:57 PM   #3
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How long is the light running?

The tannish color of the water could be from excess food and from the DW.

What color are the foods you are feeding?

Turtles are really messy and need lots of water changes to keep up with the water.

It sounds like the water parameters were okay, was that after a water change?

Has the filter pad been changed recently or washed with plain tap water?

How did you cycle the filter if you did cycle it?
I took the water parameters before I did the water change. Because I wanted to see if it would explain the brown water, Alas everything looked as expected the Nitrates weren't even particularly high for it being 7 days since the last water change.

I do a water change every 5-7 days. I cleaned the filter the previous week.

So after I posted this, I did my water change, (vacuumed, exchanged about 30% of the water). Which obviously improved the water color. I purposely didn't feed in the tank for a couple days (I tried to feed him outside in another container, dont know if he actually ate, would do it all the time if I could but hes shy and just hides and only seems comfortable eating in his tank). The tank was brown again within 2 days of the water change.

Changing the water again today. I have a good cycle going because my ammonia/nitrites are always at 0ppm, but I might just do a 100% water change and give the tank and all the decorations a good scrubbing. I've been considering adding another filter or replacing this one. its rated for 100G, this is a 75G tank (half fullish) so the 100g filter is only filtering 40 gallons at most. (I keep getting told on other forums "better filtration". However, 1. the turtle is a juvenile only 2 inches long. 2. I have 2x the filtration for the amount of water. it doesn't seem to me filtration should be the issue (I guess I could be wrong).

Its so annoying because I have another turtle in another tank and it isn't having these issues (its a smaller tank, but similar lighting. I mean, I didn't have these issues in this tank either until recently.
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Old 09-14-2021, 03:03 PM   #4
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So I completely emptied the tank, cleaned the tubing in my filter (I didn't clean the filter again). I wiped down the inside of the tank with distilled white vinegar/water solution. Soaked the decorations in the vinegar water solution. Rinsed everything off and refilled the tank. It's been days. No sign of any brown algae anymore. Water is clear with no tint.
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Old 09-15-2021, 01:18 AM   #5
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That is good news. Maybe it will stay good, fingers crossed.
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Old 09-19-2021, 01:08 PM   #6
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That is good news. Maybe it will stay good, fingers crossed.
So my water turned brown again. lol. However, I think I narrowed down the culprit to in fact being tannins from my driftwood (even though it seemed weird it took so long for them to start leeching into the water).

Zero algae of any kind grew in the tank this week. It still tinted brown toward the end of the week. I didn't do a wholesale water change again, as clearly that didn't help. What I did do was move my driftwood to my other tank (which had none) and sure enough, that normally clear tank, turned brownish yellow.

Now that I know its just tannins, Im cool with it.
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Old 09-19-2021, 10:06 PM   #7
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Good investigation / problem solving!
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