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Old 08-27-2014, 12:57 AM   #1
StrangeDejavu
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Brown diatoms?


My 55 gallon has been set up for 2 months now and i'm starting to lose a grip on the brown diatoms. Just before each water change, I go in and rub my fingers on all the surfaces with the algae so that it will exit the aquarium through the pump. After only a few days they always come back worse than before. The build up is beginning to get so thick my Rams are now taking bites out of it to see if it's something to eat (see first picture). Tank is cycled and I don't allow nitrate to rise above 10ppm. PH is 7.6, KH 12. Water changes are every two weeks as stock is very light until I find some Rummys & Harlequins locally. Uneaten food isn't a problem as every last morsel of leftovers are gone in 10 minutes time thanks to the corys. I'm using Current Satellite LEDs, full spectrum 8 hrs each day followed by the preset moon lighting at night.

What can I do to get a handle on this unsightly algae?






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Old 08-27-2014, 01:20 AM   #2
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Diatoms are cause by high Silicate in the water. You could test your tap water to see what the Silicate content is. To reduce it you can use RO water, or try one of the silicate/phosphate removers. It might dissipate on its own in time. Its happened before!!
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Old 08-27-2014, 01:24 AM   #3
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I had something very similar to this. I purchased 8 Otocincluses and they love this stuff. They did a great job with it. I know you are not supposed to buy fish to remedy your algae problem, but sometimes you try everything and nothing works. Otocincluses need to be adapted to your water conditions slowly and usually half of them die...all 8 of mine lived and have been with me for about 7 months now. They do a real good job keeping the tank clean and LOVE planted tanks.
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Old 08-27-2014, 01:27 AM   #4
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New aquariums often leech silicates, which is what the diatoms feed on. Most often when the silicates run out the diatoms go away. Sometimes you can have a permanent diatom problem if your water source has a high silicate level. My tap water has somewhere between 8-15 ppm silicates in it, so in my low light tanks I always get diatoms. I switched to RO so I don't have that problem anymore. What I would do is just wait them out, let the diatoms consume the silicates in the aquarium and they should go away. You can check your water source for silicates there are test you can buy or contact your water company to see what their readings are. Nerite snails are excellent algae cleaners imo the best.
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Old 08-27-2014, 02:12 AM   #5
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I'm using the Petco black sand, i'm not sure how high it is in silicates. Also, how do I check the silicate content of my water? I checked my cities water report and don't see it listed.

Also, this tank is primarily fake plants, though I have some wisteria and plan to add more. How well would an Oto do with silk and plastic plants? And finally, I have Seachem PhosGuard and API PhosZorb on hand. Would this help at all in keeping diatom levels down?

Last edited by StrangeDejavu; 08-27-2014 at 02:24 AM.. Reason: Adding to post.
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Old 08-27-2014, 03:10 AM   #6
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I don't think it's caused by silicates as I can get it even with very soft water. Something else is at play.

Are you adding fertilizers? Such as phosphates?
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Old 08-27-2014, 03:26 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solcielo lawrencia View Post
I don't think it's caused by silicates as I can get it even with very soft water. Something else is at play.

Are you adding fertilizers? Such as phosphates?
Nope. I have wisteria, but i'm not dosing ferts or adding root tabs. It gets nitrate and 8 hours of 6500k @ 0.5 WPG only. Even when I was dosing liquid fert and adding root tabs in my last planted tank, I was only sitting at 0.25 ppm phosphates... and that was during a hair algae bloom! It's gotta be the silicates as suggested, either from the water or from the new sand. I'm leaning more toward sand as my Dad's got 4 tanks of his own and he's not dealing with this in any of them. For what it's worth, he uses pool filter sand in his tanks and i'm using Petco brand.
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Old 08-27-2014, 04:28 AM   #8
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So it's really doubtful it's the silicates. Since it's a new tank, two months, the microbial community hasn't stabilized yet. Wait some more and it should balance out.
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Old 08-27-2014, 04:42 AM   #9
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I've had this issue before and it was the water that was causing it. Very hard to trust my tap. One solution is either amano shrimp or otto's. The tank looks a little bare for shrimp so ottos might be the best choice. For a 55G you might need 6 or more. I would suggest keeping a good number to maintain the tank but you still need to find the source.
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Old 08-27-2014, 07:21 AM   #10
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I have dealt with brown diatoms, and it is really annoying. The easiest solution to fix this is to buy some Otocinclus catfish. They feed off the diatoms like if it's ice cream. They clean the glass and plants really fast.
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Old 08-27-2014, 12:38 PM   #11
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these guys are NOT kidding!! get the ottos ...
this same exact concern was in my very first post when i joined the forums. i've usually always kept ottos but sold the ones i had when i sold my last tank set-up. so the new one went up without them. i got a bunch of suggestions to go and get the ottos and so i picked them up. I SWEAR in two days / three days tops, all that brown muck was GONE and i haven't seen it come back.
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Old 08-27-2014, 02:11 PM   #12
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Very common with new tanks fresh or saltwater. It'll more then likely go away on its own like with so many others. 2 months old is still a new tank, and hardly established yet. I'd have a little patience, and wait another month to see if it goes away before adding more livestock out of just being inpatient.
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Old 08-27-2014, 04:11 PM   #13
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Thanks guys, i'll keep up with maintenance and wait it out a while longer. If after 3 months it's still progressing then i'll pick up a few Otos.
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Old 08-28-2014, 01:58 AM   #14
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I was considering adding a root tab to the base of the wisteria, but would that make my problems worse? Last thing I want to do is have nutrients leak into the water column and feed this problem.
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Old 08-28-2014, 07:38 AM   #15
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A user on this forum said that brown diatoms go away on its own. However, for me this has never been the case. If I got brown diatoms, and kept cleaning the glass and did no water changes, the diatoms wouldn't come back, unless I did a water change. I suspected that the brown diatoms would happen because of silicates in the water.

Regardless if the diatoms go away or come back, the easiest way to get rid of it instead of having to do a lot of cleaning is to get Otocinclus catfish. They are inexpensive and really easy to take care of. A lot of people report that those fishes die fast when introduced to the tank, but that's because a lot of people don't know how to take care of them or how to feed them. You gotta make sure to keep them a little fast. You can feed them algae wafers; however, I feed my otocinclus catfish mostly zuchini, but once in a while spinach. Simply, heat up the zuchini in the microwave for about 35 seconds until it is blended, let it cool down, and then stick it in the tank somewhere between the leaves. I promise you man that these babies will make sure diatoms don't annoy you!
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