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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is my first post on this site. I have read through a bunch of the posts on this site about algae and they have been helpful.

Everybody always asks, so here are the details. 55 Gal mbuna tank, pH 8.0, temp 77 deg, ammonia and nitrite 0, KH 8 GH 10, nitrates average 8 ppm to 10 ppm before water change.

Have been changing about 50% weekly, I am on a well and have acidic soft water (like pH about 6 and 1 KH 1GH, maybe I should switch to discuss) so I add the homemade buffer I found on this site at a lower concentration, since I read Malawi's don't need quite as hard of water. I also have Nitrates about 5 ppm from the well water :? I have a HOB with 50 gal capacity, and 1 canister filter under cabinet.

I have had multiple tanks before, a 29 and an 80 at my current location and had the same issue of brown algae growing on the glass, rocks, substrate, etc... It's not out of control and it's better since I reduced the time on the light, but everything has to be cleaned every 2 weeks or so to keep it "pretty". I have my lights on a timer and reduced the time which has helped quite a bit, but am still running a single fluorescent about 10 1/2 hours. Is this still too long?

I also have not tested for phosphates. Oh, I feed lightly twice a day, fish are doing great. I am also considering not cleaning the rocks anymore.
 

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but am still running a single fluorescent about 10 1/2 hours. Is this still too long?
No,it's not too long. The idea is to be able to view the aquarium, so I don't advocate reducing the lighting duration to solve algae issues. Instead, consider either ancistrus plecos (bushy nose) or nerite snails. They tend to keep things nice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I was hoping the amount of time wasn't too long, because they are fun to watch. I could set the light to turn off in the middle of the day for a while?

I hadn't thought of a Nertite snail, I guess I thought they were salt only, but I see that some can be in fresh as well. The Malawi's won't just kill it? I tried a mystery snail a while ago and they just enjoyed the tentacles and killed it.

I am trying to understand the algae issue a little better because I have been considering upgrading to a larger tank again, but dont want to increase the maintenance too much.
 

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I have nerites in with many different tanganyikans and haven't found any that kill them yet, but I've heard of others who have. Same with the plecos. Nerites will live in freshwater, but the eggs will only hatch in saltwater, so they won't overrun the tank.
 

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millsb40

If you really want to understand algae better start researching nitrate to phosphate ratio and redfield ratio as relating to aquaria. There are charts such as the one I'm going to post below that help you predict what type of algea will grow if any. I want green algea all over my rocks so I'm not necessarily too worried about it unless I start getting blue-green algae.

Just keep in mind the numbers across the top and down the left side are values of nitrate and phosphate, but the numbers in the middle are the corresponding ratio of nitrogen to phosphorus, not nitrate to phosphate.

 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Rhinox-
Thanks for the reply. Looks like I should pick up a phosphate test kit and see what kind of levels I have from my well and in the tank, I am sure that would be helpful information. I don't see brown algae on the chart :)
 

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I had the dreaded Diatoms in my tank for a year and a half, most here will say they will go away on there own and I am sure that's true for some. Mine showed no signs of going away. That being said I started to hit the tank with doses of flourish and the green algae started to show up just in time for me to set up my new tank and let that one go :lol:

So in my new tank I started using the same HOB's I had in the previous tank, within a week I had diatoms starting to show, I removed the HOB's cleaned off the rocks and they went away and have not shown up again. Tanks been up and running for a month. I also changed from pool filter sand to a crushed coral type stuff. Long story short you might try dosing with a bit of flourish and see what happens.
 
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