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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello! I recently had a brown algae issue in my 80 gallon, mainly on the plants. I reduced the ferts and such, but to no avail. Getting it off the glass was easy enough, but the plants looked absolutely horrible. So, I purchased 6 oto cats to take care of the problem. And take care of it they did. Within 3 days, the plants were back to their vibrant green and I could actually see the true colors of the rocks I put in. I watched the little suckers go to town and it was really cool to watch. They were especially industrious at night. I'd wake up the next morning and saw the fruits of their nocturnal labors. But now, they are slacking! They've been in for about 2 months. All 6 are still alive but I don't see them eat any algae at all now. They either attach themselves to the airlines of the bubble wands or the intakes of the filters. And there they sit, every day. They look healthy enough. Their dorsal fins are all upright and not clamped to their body and they all have the healthy oto cat pot belly. From what I've read, otos are consistent and reliable algae eaters and don't get lazy like flying foxes are known to do. So what's the deal? Has anybody else had the same experience? The plants are covered in brown algae again so there's no lack of food for them.
 

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service cart captain
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Those guys are probably stuffed. Six ottos may not be enough for a tank that size.
You may try adding 10 more or putting a pleco in the mix. More light could help too. I know that sounds nuts but brown algae thrives in lower light.
 

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The brown algea is cuasr by the silca in the gravel (resaon why you need to really rinse it) that you have in the tank, in time with water changes it will disappear. SO addinf 10 more otto will fis the problem now but then when the silca is gone from the water colom it won't be there and then you will have 15 hungry Otto's that you will need to buy aglea waffers for. Most likely you the are full....
 

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service cart captain
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Silicates will continue to leach from the gravel if thats the source. The most common source (in a high silica tank) is the water supply.
I am growing plants over some tanks and the substrate is perlit in one, lava rock in another, and diatomaceous earth in the last. All three of these contain some silica (according to the bag) in fact, thats what they're made of. All three of these tanks have brown algae now :(
Silica is very important for plants (soluble silica), but makes for a tough time in an aquarium.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks so much for the replies. For lighting, I'm running two T-5's. I'm unsure if that's considered high or low light. For substrate, the lower layer is fluorite and the top layer is gravel purchased at Petsmart. I rinsed all of it out very thoroughly, as far as I know. I've had the tank up and running since September and religiously do weekly 20% water changes. For plant ferts, I've got Seachem underground fert tabs and I put a capful of Florin-K and Flourish Excel about every 3-5 days. I was doing 2 capfuls of each every other day. Is there a test kit for silica? I've never looked. I'm still a beginner so there's a lot of stuff I'm still learning.

I ordered a UV sterilizer finally (Turbo Twist). I was having a hard time ensuring that one would be compatible with the hose diameter of the Eheims I'm running. I heard this kills all free-floating algae. Along with the brown algae, I've started getting this bright green algae that's a bugger to get off the glass. I have an algae scrubber and that's not very effective on the green stuff. I need to get a scraper. So the otos are stuffed, eh? Well, there was a LOT of algae on the plants. But I haven't seen them go to town for a month and a half. Will they ever get, er, unstuffed?
 
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