Very frequently, aquarium owners who have been caring for and maintaining their aquariums are confronted with an unpleasant phenomenon: a difficult-to-clean brown film appears on the insides of the walls, on stones, and on objects that have been decorated with underwater decor. The slimy coating has a repulsive effect on the viewer, detracting from the overall appeal of the aquarium.
Gradually, the rusty layer becomes denser and darker, and the brown color fades away to become a dark chocolate brown that is almost black in appearance. In this case, the mineral balance of the water composition has been disturbed, and there is an excess of toxins, aggressive acids, and nitrogenous compounds in the water.
If you allow the situation to develop naturally and do not take prompt action to eliminate the brown plaque, it will quickly take over the entire aquarium, preventing photosynthetic reactions from occurring and resulting in the death of higher plants.
The factors that contributed to the problem
It is diatoms that are responsible for the brown plaque in the aquarium, which are the earliest unicellular colonial microorganisms capable of processing all organic substances. Because of the limited space available in an aquarium, diatomaceous plankton plays a significant role, but its presence in the aquarium has a pronounced negative effect.
It is possible that the following factors are contributing to their excessive activity:
- An increase in biochemical processes and an increase in the reproduction of diatoms can be caused by improper lighting, which can include both a lack of and an excess of light, the use of lamps that are not intended for aquarium use, lamps that have reached the end of their shelf life, and an incorrect combination of the red and blue spectra.
- A clogged aquarium filter or the absence of an aquarium filter – a device that cleans the water of leftover feed, fertilizers, and organic waste from the fish, in other words, everything that can become an excellent breeding ground for brown diatoms, can cause the diatoms to flourish.
- Excess fertilizers, the presence of iodine or table salt-almost all top dressing contains nitrogenous compounds, a popular delicacy of the “brown plague,” and if you pour them into the aquarium uncontrollably, useful algae will simply not have enough time to absorb their remnants. This increases the likelihood of becoming infected with diatoms.
- Irregular and inadequate cleaning of the aquarium — the cleanliness of the house is extremely important for the health of the fish and algae. If you do not clean regularly, the accumulated deposits of organic substances will become a delicious treat for unwanted guests-parasites, if you do not clean regularly.
- Ordinary algae can be stressed to the point of being unable to function properly if the aquarium’s maintenance regime is drastically altered, as is the case when the aquarium’s owner changes. We can almost predict with absolute certainty that the nefarious Brown Brothers will take advantage of this situation and will exploit the temporary weakness of their adversary in order to retake control of the territory.
- Non-compliance with the temperature regime – the water temperature in the aquarium should not be allowed to fall below the mark of 18-20°C under any circumstances.
If less than three months have elapsed since the aquarium was built, the appearance of a brown plaque is a normal physiological process that occurs in aquariums. In such a short period of time, useful aquarium plants are only just beginning to adapt and do not yet possess sufficient strength to withstand the aggressor.
At this time, the chemical composition of water does not have a stable nitrogen balance or an alkaline environment that is favorable for diatom microorganisms: rather than ammonium absorbed by plants, ammonia consumed by algae predominates.
Soon after the aquarium plants take root and grow in size and strength, the brown algae are defeated, and the brown film disappears – provided, of course, that proper care is given to the aquarium.
Methods for removing brown stratification from the environment
To combat brown plaque, a variety of methods are employed:
- Using chemicals, such as algaecide to suppress the growth of algae and potassium fertilizer to restore the balance of the water’s composition, can help to restore the water’s balance.
- Snails, otocinclus, plecostomus, sponges, mollusks, and other algae-eating creatures that feed on diatoms are examples of biological methods.
- The following procedures are recommended: mechanically cleaning contaminated objects with scrapers and a weak solution of potassium permanganate, replacing infected aquarium plants with new ones, extracting and disinfecting the soil, cleaning filters, and replacing at least one-third of the water on a regular basis.
All of these methods, when combined with professional aquarium maintenance by trained professionals, ensure excellent results in a relatively short period of time.
Always remember that prevention is preferable to cure: in order to avoid escalating the situation to a critical level, you should spend a little time learning about aquarium processes even before bringing fish into your home.
Here is a list of specialists who have been recommended to me and who will also assist you in avoiding the problem of brown plaque:
- Excessive fish should be separated into separate tanks rather than crammed into a single aquarium.
- Always keep an eye on the temperature regime of the surrounding water environment.
- Maintain the filters and replace the lamps on a regular basis.
- Observe and control the chemical composition of the water, as well as its acidity and the amount of nitrogen compounds it contains; periodically update the water to ensure that it contains the recommended amounts of nitrogen compounds.
- Give the fish as much food as they can consume in 5-6 minutes to prevent the rotting of the leftovers on the bottom.
- Replace dry food with live food on a regular basis (bloodworms, daphnia, etc.).
- Melania the snail should be exterminated because its shell is a favorite of brown algae.
- Make sure you have a sufficient number of aquarium plants; with normal care, they will be able to cope with parasitic plankton.
- Antibacterial powders that inhibit the growth of diatoms should be utilized.
- Diatom eaters, such as horned and tiger snails, mollusks, sponges, Otocinclus, and other “nurses,” should be introduced into aquariums.
Identification of parasite sources in good time, rapid leveling and elimination of parasites, and enjoyment of the magical spectacle — the beauty of the underwater aquarium — are all possible.