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post #1 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-11-2011, 10:50 PM Thread Starter
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Question Diatoms

I have recently replanted a 150 gallon tank and currently I am having a problem with diatoms, I have made some mistakes but my cash supply is limited and I am doing all I can to get set up, my goal is a high tech tank.
Right now I have:

150 gallon tank 48w x 24d x 30tall
5.5 incheches of Flourite Red that is very old
4 x 65w = 260 watts of 6,700 CF = 1.73 wpg
4 x 96w = 384 watts that are off and need new bulbs
5lbs CO2 bottle empty with old Dupla 400 regulator and no reactor
2 x 2215 Eheim canisters with 2217 impellers

So for the time being I have a low tech tank with 1.73 wpg on 11 hrs per day

Fish load is low at 0.39 inches per gallon

Plant load is weak and this is one of my mistakes

1 Aponogeton crispus
12 Cryptocoryne wendtii green
20 Vallisneria asiatica var. biwaensis
9 Cabomba caroliniana
1 Crinum calamistratum
1 Echinodorus Angustifolia "Vesuvius"
15 Dwarf Hairgrass 1 x 1 squares
6 Ludwigia peruensis

link to photos https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/pl...nts-today.html

I've been doing a lot of reading here and at the Barr Report and anywhere else posts may lead me and have found that Diatoms are a symptom of "low lighting" I thought my light was ok but correct me if I'm wrong. Bad flow is another cause and I think the root of my problem is flow but what can I add to my tank for flow that won't look terrible and doesn't cost too much. The other cause is doing a lot of water changes in a low tech tank, I've read today that water changes add kH and a burst of CO2 and then the plants have to readjust to the low CO2 and this creates the problem and I should be doing only every other month changes.

I have also been dosing PPS Pro weekly but thought it might help to go ahead and dose the PPS rate but every other day alternating macro's and micro's, whats your opinion here.

I have no real way of testing and only have Mardel 5 in 1 strips that are about like guessing, but I can get a feel for nitrites and nitrates, gh & kh seem ok but the ph readings are a waste.

ph I think is 7.0 to 7.6
kh 10
gh 5
NO2 0
NO3 0 to 5 and was 20, 30, or 40 before planting

Oh, something I left out is the plants are new (20 days) except the Crypts and Aponogeton which are both putting out new leaves like crazy but after 4 days start to get Diatoms, along with the glass, rocks, wood, and any other slow growing plants. Help with solid opinions.


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post #2 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-11-2011, 11:08 PM Thread Starter
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Partial water change is very important and should be performed weekly in Hi-tech and “Excel Only” aquariums. Like this we reduce excess nutrients which might have built up via extra fertilisation.
Hi-tech systems require frequent nutrient dosing (3x a week) and for that reason it is beneficial to do weekly water changes (50%) to re-set the system.
Low-tech aquariums require less water changes to prevent CO2 fluctuations. These systems need steady CO2 levels in accordance to avoid algae issues. Tap water is rich in CO2 and with each WC we add a fair amount of CO2 which plants will consume in just a day or two leaving them with low CO2 levels for the rest of the week. Fluctuating CO2 levels will very likely cause algae issues (stressed plants). For Low-tech tanks it is enough to do a 50% water change every 2 month. For that reason we rather under-stock with fish to minimize the organic build up.

A link to the site that made the above quote http://www.aquariumalgae.blogspot.com/

Being that my tank is old I did a lot of cleaning but made sure not to disturb my benificial bacteria to a harmful point. That being said I vacuumed the substrate to rid it of old root systems and sometimes root balls, I gently rinsed both filters only replacing pads, but I did a lot of water changes to get fresh water into the tank and didn't realize this could be a problem, but I can stop them for now.


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post #3 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-11-2011, 11:39 PM
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I disturbed my substrate when I switched some plants out and I'm now also dealing with some diatoms. Diatoms feed on silicates, which was released into the water column by my stirring up the substrate. From what I have read it is just a waiting game until the silicates are at a normal level again.



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Last edited by Moody636; 05-12-2011 at 11:45 AM.
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post #4 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-11-2011, 11:49 PM Thread Starter
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Well I did that early in the game when I decieded to redo the tank and there was a ton of roots and material that would be decomposing and maybe I should have left it there. But the tank was fine when the nitrates were high and there was no diatoms, I had cleaned the glass, substrate, filters, tubing on one side, and cut algea filled leaves off of my old crypts and all was fine for around 2 weeks after the planting. But a couple of things happened in that period, a filter impeller went bad and was producing a bacterial film on the water surface and in my ignorance I did 3 water changes in the course of two weeks, and when the nitrates got to zero the diatoms came on. That's why I am starting to dose more to see if it helps and I want more flow and I am thinking of a Koralia pump in the tank but I don't want to look at it.


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post #5 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-12-2011, 01:45 AM
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Diatoms cannot, I repeat cannot, grow without silicates, the soluble form of silica. If you can reduce silicate influx diatoms will go away. They are dependant on silicates to form their body, without available silicates they can't form a body and will not grow.

some tap waters are loaded with silicates at certain times of the year, and not at others. Depending on the source water. Not sure about your situation but maybe your tap water now has more silicates than before and is prompting growth.
also
your burst of water changes may have added an unusually high amount of silicates.
just a thought.

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post #6 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-12-2011, 02:45 AM Thread Starter
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Yes that was another thing I had read about someone in Florida where silicates are very high in the tap water. I live very near the Chesapeake Bay and may have the same problem and is another reason I will not be doing any wc's in the near future, thanks for the input. This may also solve some problems that occured in the past, is there any way to remove it from the water besides RO.


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post #7 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-12-2011, 10:26 AM
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Reverse osmosis alone wont remove all silicates, silicate is fine enough to pass through your RO membrane, they need to be removed with the secondary De-ionization cartridge (DI). so an RO/DI is required. (you may remove silica particles with RO but DI is needed to get all the silicates) unfortunatly ion exchange resin (anion and cation) is the only effective, easy to use at home method that I know of, short of finding a new home with a lower silicate water supply. Which probably isn't a viable option.

I have heard of water treatments using lime to drive out the silicate but I don't know how to do it so I can't advise you weather its feasible or safe. maybe google-fu it?

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post #8 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-12-2011, 10:50 AM
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I had that problem in my little 20 gallon. I only had 0.75 wpg and thought that was the problem as well, then within 2 two day period they all disapearred. Everything I read is it's a new tank thing and you just gotta wait it out
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post #9 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-12-2011, 10:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazydeweycat View Post
I had that problem in my little 20 gallon. I only had 0.75 wpg and thought that was the problem as well, then within 2 two day period they all disapearred. Everything I read is it's a new tank thing and you just gotta wait it out
waiting it out works if your not adding more silicates through water changes. sinfce the diatoms utilize the silicates and change it to non-soluble silica, when the diatom dies the silica is inert and simply sinks and becomes part of the substrate.

"[Wabi-sabi] nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect." -original author unknown-

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post #10 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-12-2011, 06:41 PM Thread Starter
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I think for now I will just hold off on water changes. Does dosing phosphates add to the problem, Mono Potassium Phosphate (KH2PO4).


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post #11 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-15-2011, 04:27 PM Thread Starter
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It's been a week with almost no changes, the water look dark and just a little of the algea is gone from the top of one rock and one small breeding cave.


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post #12 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-15-2011, 04:34 PM
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it can take several weeks you need to let the diatoms grow live out their lifecycle then die off, more will grow, and so on untill they have consumed all the available silicates. depending on how much is in the water column it could easily take 5-6 weeks to clear off. that time range isn't set in stone at all but settle in for a wait. it may go quick or it may take a while.

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post #13 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-15-2011, 04:43 PM
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You can always add a few Bristlenose Pleco to clean off the diatoms.


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post #14 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-15-2011, 06:34 PM
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It's otocinclus' favorite food. Just throw a few otos in your tank and everyone's happy.
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post #15 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-16-2011, 01:22 PM Thread Starter
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I did call my lfs for Oto's but they only had a large species, but I have read many articles about their favorite food being diatoms so they will love my tank. It seems as if this is taking forever, it's so hard to sit here when your tank looks like sh............


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