brown dust - diatoms? what to do! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-25-2013, 08:04 PM Thread Starter
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brown dust - diatoms? what to do!

Hi all -

I suddenly have an issue in a tank that's been incredibly stable for about a year. I am seeing an accumulation of a browish dust, mainly on the anubia leaves toward the upper middle of the tank. The rest of the tank looks ok, although it doesn't have that crystal clear look it usually does.

When first noticed this, I assumed diatoms, but the buildup of the brown stuff is considerable so now I'm not sure. I made sure there was good water flow, did a few extra water changes this month, reduced feeding quite a lot, and brought the lighting cycle down around 20%, just to try and slow things down.

More brown stuff is piling up on the leaves, though. Diatoms? What to do!!

- Dave



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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-26-2013, 04:50 PM
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Add some oto's
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-26-2013, 07:55 PM Thread Starter
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There are 4 oto's in there, and they don't seem interested it all!



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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-26-2013, 09:23 PM
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will it rub off the leaves when you touch it?
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-26-2013, 09:52 PM
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I noticed something like that on my Anubias leaves and when I looked closer it seemed to be more of a mulm build up. Is it in any area of low flow? Diatoms usually can be wiped off pretty easily if you apply some force but wont necessarily get brushed away by some passing water..
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-28-2013, 06:04 AM Thread Starter
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I can very easily brush it off, even just by waving my hand around and pushing water. The brown stuff is very soft, I can barely feel it. It feels like I would expect mulm to feel! The thing is, it's only in a few spots - on those leaves, and some wood nearby. And, that is an area of pretty good water flow.

I am really stumped! What would make the mulm fly around like that, if it even if mulm??



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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-28-2013, 06:15 AM
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I'm not quite so sure yet either, been noticing my similar stuff on a few more plants now...all I know is that mine doesn't seem to be accumulating on areas where the filter output directly hits the plants. Very easy to brush off. Nothing in my tank except plants and snails, wondering if it's a mixture of snail waste, some new algae and maybe other organics possibly...just doesn't seem like the diatoms I'm used to, usually a more rusty color and not as dusty looking.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-28-2013, 02:44 PM
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It just looks like the dust/crud has settled on the leafs after you did a water change or something. As you mentioned, waving your hand over it moves that stuff, so it cant be algae.

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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-28-2013, 02:48 PM
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What is the substrate?
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-28-2013, 02:59 PM Thread Starter
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Substrate is safe-t-sorb, and I really never vacuum it because there are a lot of plants/wood so I'm certain there is a lot of mulm in there. When I wave the brown stuff off the leaves, it seems to come back, though, and I haven't done a w/c in weeks!



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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-28-2013, 03:30 PM
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I am not really sure what it is but I see similar stuff in my tanks. I think it is just time to clean it all up. That seems to work for a while at least.
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-29-2013, 01:33 AM Thread Starter
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I can clean it up, but I'm not really sure how. I can suction some of it off the leaves while doing a w/c, and maybe vaccum the substrate just a bit. But, beyond that I'm not sure what it means to 'clean up'.

I guess I'll do a big w/c, service the filter, and try to suck up as much crap as I can in there!



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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-29-2013, 01:39 AM
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It is dust from the safe t sorb. Had the same problem when I setup my 125g. Better circulation will help to keep it to a minimum, maybe add a powerhead. When I do trims and replants I sometimes still get a bit.


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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-29-2013, 01:42 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sadchevy View Post
It is dust from the safe t sorb. Had the same problem when I setup my 125g. Better circulation will help to keep it to a minimum, maybe add a powerhead. When I do trims and replants I sometimes still get a bit.
I really think it's not dust from the safe-t-sorb. It was really well rinsed, has been in the tank for a very long time, and nothing has unsettled it recently. Also, it's very soft - not sandy or dusty even - more like a little mushy although I can barely feel it.

I have lots of circulation and this never happened before!



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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-29-2013, 01:49 AM
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I had the same problem on my anubias in my Fluval Spec III betta tank. You couldn't even see that the leaves were green as they were coated with the brown stuff. I bought two nerite snails at my LFS, and in 4 days, ALL of it was gone! The snails hoovered it up on the anubias and on the driftwood. It was pretty awesome! And nerites need brackish water to breed so there's no worry about them taking over.
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