Brown (and sometimes green) diatom algae looks like a dusty, flour-like substance covering your aquarium walls, substrate, and other surfaces. Because it’s so soft, it easily rubs off, and many animals (like otocinclus catfish, snails, and shrimp) like to eat it. Diatom algae is most commonly seen in newly planted tanks and is often caused by high levels of phosphates and silicates. It’s one of the simplest algae to get rid of because if you just give it some time, the plants will naturally consume the excess phosphates and silicates, and clean-up crews love to feed on it.
For more information, read our full article on how to fight algae in your fish tank.
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