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What's going in my tank?

August 16th, 2006, 12:22 PM
There is this brownish rusty colour stuff on the insides of my tank. Is this algee? It looks like droplets running down the one side of the tank.
If this is algee, do I have to get some kind of algee eater or just clean more often or better?
Can I put an algee eater in the tank (10g with 5 zebra danios and one female beta) or is there too many fish in there already?
If I do need an algee eater, what one would be good for my tank?

August 16th, 2006, 08:13 PM
Hi there,
the stuff you are describing is probably Diatoms.
Its commonly found in tanks with poor water conditions,
or tanks that are overfed and undercleaned.
No algae eater will eat it, as its not actually algae but a
microscopic living critter.
The best way to reduce Diatoms are to reduce feedings
to two times a day and no more than the fish will eat in
2 minutes time, and increase water changes.
35% with a 50% of the gravel bed vaccuum once a week
is usually sufficient to keep diatoms in check, but if they occur,
its recommend to up your schedule to 35% twice a week,
to combat the excess nutrients in the water column.
As I said in my other response to you, no you dont have
any room for any other fish, least of all an algae eater, which,
on average, will produce 5x more waste than another fish of similar
Good luck!

August 17th, 2006, 06:58 PM
So...right now we feed three times daily (but no more than the fish can eat in 2 mins) and clean once weekly (~25% water change with prime added as well).
So if I decrease the feedings to twice daily and do 35% water change twice weekly these things will go away on their own?

Edit - we have a gravel vacuume that we use to clean the tank, forgot to mention that.

August 17th, 2006, 10:02 PM
I have a magnetic scraper that makes short work of the brown stuff. Half is outside the glass, and it attracts the other piece on the wet side of the glass and you can scrub.

August 18th, 2006, 01:41 AM
Hi there,
you can even do 30-35% water changes twice a week
until the diatoms disappear.
Your tank is relatively new isnt it? Diatoms are common
in newer tanks....and decrease in likelihood after one year,
as the tank ages.
Adding more live plants can also reduce diatoms.
Basically, when there is an excess of nutrients in the water column,
and nothing to use them up, Diatom life forms grow and breed to
use up the nutrients. Mainly, they are harmless to fish, except in large
quantities they can absorb excess oxygen from the tank and cause your fish to starve for oxygen.
Things that will reduce Diatoms are:
Reducing feedings.
Increasing water change schedules.
Adding live plants that rapidly use up nutrients, some of which include Hornwort, Anachris, Ambulia (limnophilia), Cabomba, Java Fern and Java Moss, Water Wisteria and Duckweed. All these plants are easy to keep and grow water roots which absorb excess nutrients from the water column.
Adding a couple filter feeding shrimp may also help, as they filter nutrients out of the water column....Bamboo/Wood shrimp are the best suited for this, allow 5 gallons of water per shrimp.
Smaller shrimp like Ghost shrimp, Amano Shrimp, Cherry Shrimp, and Rudolph shrimp, also can help diatoms by scavenging uneaten food off the bottom effectively - for smaller shrimps such as these allow 1.5 gallons per shrimp. (Shrimp alter your bioload relatively little - example, 10 ghost shrimp is approximately the same bioload as 1 neon tetra). Apple snails are also excellent at this - allow 5 gallons per apple/mystery snail. Avoid "Cana Snails".

Sorry for the abrupt post yesterday, which wasnt as informative as I had hoped, I was running out the door as I typed it. Hopefully, this will serve more useful to you!