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Algae on rock


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After 4 days of my new tank im getting brown algae on my rock. ive heard this is natural. will it go away? what should i do? i leave the light on about 10 hours a day. i currently have 9.25 punds of rock and two percula clowns in it. thanks a lot

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Ok. Just relised that you posted this in the beginner section.

First off, before you start a tank you should do some research before you go throwing 2 fish that are probably going to die since your new tank has not fully cycled yet.

Brown algea is caused from many differnt things. Mainly phosphates and nitrates. I would do a little more research and maybe buy a good book or read some more of the forums before you go and kill off your tank. Be respectfull of the creatures you keep.

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My first guess is diatoms or cyano bacteria, but we could use a little more info.


1. Tank size?

2. Lights? (Type, wattage, age)

3. Water parameters? (SG, Temp, Ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, pH, Alk, etc...)

4. Water source? (RO, RO/DI, tap, distilled, ect...)

5. What else is in the tank? (Heater, power filter, power heads, sump, refugium, skimmer, etc...)


Just to throw a few ideas out there....


1. The fish should come out. At 4 days old, your tank isn't ready for them yet. It needs to cycle and mature before you can add any fish. You can take them out now and try returning them to the LFS or get a friend to hold them in their tank, or possibly take them out dead, which would be a waste of life.


2. Keep the live rock in the tank and the lights off for a few months. You don't need lights yet. Keep doing water changes until the ammonia and nitrites tests say 0. Make sure the pH is around 8.2 and the salinity around 1.023.


3. AFTER the ammonia and nitrites are 0, and your pH, salinity and alk are at the correct levels, slowly increase the photo period. Try 2 hours a day for a week or two. Then bump it up to 4 for a week or two, etc... Keep monitoring your pH and salinity, adjust as needed. If algae or cyano return, you need to look at your water quality and movement again. Find the source of the problem and fix it before moving on.


4. Plan your stocking carefuly. Ask lots of questions before you buy. Find out the needs of the animal and plan accordingly.


5. Sit and wait. Read, read, read.


Hope that helps,



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hey dude dont listen to them they told me the same thing i started my tank 10 days ago with 10lbs of lr and my two percula clowns are fine. Just maintain a specific gravity between 1.019-1.025 . temp between 74 and 79 degrees, and a ph of 8.1-8.4

good luck , Nemolover

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there are many ways to start and maintain a reef tank. although, nemolover hasn't had fish die on him, his tank is not optimal. xurifle, it would be best to list more of your tank specs as requested above. but in most cases, algae can be banished eventually, with quality water changes and a decent clean up crew. it is also dependent on the quality of lr and light. the more info you give; the more nr can help.

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Becareful dude, asking the wrong question can cause a flame here. The tittle is beginners discussion right? Well Format32 is correct. You shouldn't cycle a tank with any fish. Now I did the same thing as you did, but with less expensive fish. Damsels to be exact. I do regret it to some point because once your tank has cycled then you have sharks (damsels) in your tank that are waiting for other fish so they can rip em a new one, if you know what I mean. There are some exeptions to the rule, like nemolover. You might be able to cycle a tank with percs but for what. All you need is the water, LR and in my situation bacteria. My tank cycled quite nice in just 3 weeks. Now that brown algae is normal in the cycle process. It will go away by itself. What I did was place 2 turbo snails and they ate the whole brown algae in a matter of 2 or 3 days. I myself am a beginner but you'll learn with the flamers here. Hahahaha LOL.

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Thanks for all the info. i was told adding fish( not true but false clowns) to the tank after two days was fine. I have a nano cube, 12 gallon and 24 watts of light. The water tested amonia .3, nitrite 0, nitrate 0, ph 8.2, and salinity 1.024. this is my second tank i did the same with my other and it was fine. this is going to be a reef while my other was fish only. ive had that over a year

thanks a lot for the help.

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cycling rock with fish is never a good idea. ammonia at the pH we keep our tanks (8.3) is toxic. subjecting even ammonia-tolerant inhabitants to the process is cruel. cycling rock can be kick started with a healthy amount of live sand (either bought or begged from a fellow reefer). the bacteria necessary for cycling is introduced from aerobic bacteria from the ls and lr and will settle out to the amount of media placed in the tank.


it's never safe to add livestock until fully cycled (0 ammo, 0 trites, low trates). at that time, add the janitors that will help with your-soon-to-arrive green algae. depending on where you purchased your lr (lfs?), how long they held them in their tank, travel time to your house, etc. you may have a very short cycle time. the brown algae mentioned *may* be diatom. if so, do nothing and it will soon be a distant memory.


imho, it's best to at least wait out the blooms (diatom, hair, cyano) before adding fish. reading, researching, fighting algae and slowly adding coral during this period instead.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Here is a question for everyone.


I undestand why if the LR uncured not to add fish right away, but once the rock is cured and all the die off has occured and you ammonia/nitrite/nitrate levels decline you need to add something to the tank. If you don't the bacteria will have nothing to break eat and if you wait to long many will die and you tank will cycle all over again.

Adding inverts seems like a good choice but if you add ones that feed on detritus, where is the detritus comming from?

Like others have said before adding a single fish, a blue damsel, would be the best couse of action. These fish a very hardy and can withstand the mistakes a beginner can make.

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sorry dude but when your tank starts to cycle your nitrates will go up(but this is a good thing) and your percs will die.

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