Brown diatoms

Brown algae in the aquarium, which form a brown coating on its walls, decorations, stones, and leaves of aquarium plants, are representatives of the diatoms department (Bacillariophyta).

Diatoms characteristics

A characteristic feature of brown diatoms is the formation of a dusty, brown coating. Brown coating appears everywhere: on the ground, stones, snags, glass, and on the surface of plant leaves. At first it is almost invisible, but every day it gets darker and darker.
In the early stages, brown algae in the aquarium is easily erased from glass, decorations. They can be shed from the leaves of aquarium plants. Moreover, they are dusty – if you drag your fingers along such a brown coating, then a cloud of dust rises.

In a neglected state, plaque becomes black. There is an increase in layers. The upper layer is also dusting, but the lower ones are already erased only with difficulty. Visually it looks as if the leaves of plants and decorations are sprinkled with earth or black sand. The front glass has very poor visibility.
Brown algae does not affect the condition of fish in the aquarium, but for plants they carry a certain danger. The formed brown coating on the leaves of aquarium plants does not allow them to fully photosynthesize. And this is a vital process. If measures are not taken in time, then the plants will soon die.
The speed of the distribution of diatoms is so great that only a new leaf that appears is immediately struck by them. In addition, such a plaque in the aquarium becomes a good substrate for more difficult to remove algae, such as black beard.

Causes of brown algae

Considering the causes of the appearance of brown algae in the aquarium, it is necessary to pay attention to the age of the aquarium from the moment of start / restart.
In a young aquarium (up to 3 months), diatoms appear because the nitrogen cycle has not yet been established, and the aquarium plants have not yet taken root.
At this time, an excess of organic matter associated with the inevitable rotting processes in the aquarium will be an incentive for the growth of brown algae. Microorganisms and plants can not yet absorb it. In addition, freshwater has a neutral or slightly alkaline pH. And with such indicators, many compounds for plants are not available. For example, at pH <7, most ammonia will be in the form of ammonium (NH4), which is used by aquarium plants. But at pH> 7 it will be in the form of ammonia (NH3), which is the algae’s food.
A common mistake in the startup phase is too long daylight hours. You can not immediately turn on the light for 12 hours a day. This will inevitably lead to a brown coating in the aquarium. Using bacterial powders and proper starting will help to avoid such problems.

If you hurry with the introduction of fertilizers – the result will also be a brown coating. In addition to potassium in the first 1.5-2 months, nothing can be poured into the aquarium.
If brown algae appeared in a long-running, balanced aquarium, the cause was most likely the accumulation of organic matter. This happens if you overfeed the fish, accidentally introduce an excessive dose of fertilizer, do not change the water for a long time or do it irregularly, the aquarium filter is very clogged.

Other causes

The cause of the appearance of brown plaque may be the end of the lamp life. They need to be changed on time. In turn, a sharp replacement of lamps can also trigger the appearance of diatoms. Lamps need to be changed gradually, with a gap of 3-4 weeks, so that the plants have time to adapt.
It should be noted that diatoms prefer cold water and appear more often in aquariums with water temperatures below 22 degrees.
Brown plaque can be observed after the treatment of fish in a common aquarium. Preparations containing toxic substances (such as copper or iodine) can seriously damage the microflora and inhibit the growth of aquarium plants. As a result, the appearance of brown algae in the aquarium until the system is completely restored. The use of salt will give the same effect.

When the owner of the aquarium (or the person who is engaged in its maintenance) changes – the regime of the aquarium changes. For example, the aquarium was extremely rarely cleaned, fertilizers were not applied, lamps for 2-3 years were not changed. He looked quite normal in that state. And the new owner begins to clean it regularly, to fertilize. It seems that the life of the aquarium should improve, but after a while everything is covered with a brown coating. In this case, you just need to replace the lamps. The maintenance mode depends on the lighting mode of the aquarium.

How to get rid of brown algae in the aquarium? Conclusion

If a brown coating appears at the launch stage and does not have mass distribution, it is enough to maintain the correct maintenance mode and it will disappear in a couple of weeks. To do this, you need to regularly clean the aquarium and change 20-30% of the water weekly. As soon as the active growth of aquarium plants begins, the diatoms will be crowded out.

If an outbreak of diatoms occurred in a stabilized aquarium, it is necessary to increase the frequency of substitutions up to 2 times a week, changing 20-30% of the water. Substitutions must be accompanied by a thorough cleaning of the contents of the aquarium.

It is necessary to clean the scenery, glass, plant leaves as much as possible. To do this, you can use a toothbrush, sponge, scraper, etc.
Then you need to check the filter and, if necessary, clean it. Perhaps the filtration rate has decreased (the filter is airy or the water intake is clogged).
– It is better to reduce the duration of daylight hours to 6 hours a day for a couple of days, and then gradually (over 2 weeks) bring it to 10 hours a day. If the lamps are more than 1 year old, then it is better to replace them with new ones. It is better to make a replacement one by one.

Natural inhabitants of the aquarium help in the fight against brown algae. Otocinclus ordinary and snails theodoxus cope best with them. They are also fed by plecostomus, Siamese algae eaters, gyrinocheilus, various mollusks. But they will need much more.

Chemicals in most cases do not affect diatoms, but rather inhibit the growth of microorganisms, thereby worsening the situation. A prophylactic dose of algaecides can only be used to enhance the growth of aquarium plants.

It should be noted that brown algae can completely hit the aquarium in just 7-10 days, and getting rid of them will take 3-4 weeks.