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RE: Dirty Brown "Snot Stuff"

Normally, brown algae is actually diatom skeletons, not algae and
which feed off of silicates. The diatoms appear as a dusting powder, never
actually noticed if it resembles "Snot". Hopefully somebody else will
comment on this as well. If it is diatoms, then once you begin to see them,
are actually beginning to die off. This will continue for another 10 days or
so, just continue to vacuum the areas. 
I will also comment on your Tetra Nitrate test kit. This is a high range
kit and will register on the low end of the scale if your nitrates are
>0 and <25ppm. You may want to invest in a low range test kit to determine
a more accurate measure of your tap water. 

Dave in Dallas