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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-01-2014, 03:47 PM Thread Starter
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Plants growing algae?

I'm having a problem with my tank. It is a 12g Fluval Edge that has been up and running for about 3 years. The only inhabitant is a Betta named Finley. I'm using the stock Fluval LED light supplemented with a MarineLand LED light.

My plants have always just "existed". They never grew much but didn't really die either. I read a good bit here about the Ecocomplete substrate, so I thought I would give that a try. I removed all the sand and replaced it with EcoComplete as per the directions.

Within a week, all the plants started turning unusual colors and are growing algae. I'm also getting algae on the glass, which has never happened before. Can someone offer some advice on how to resolve the problem? My wife keeps making fun of me because I can grow coral in my reef tank, but can't grow plants in my Betta tank.

Thanks!





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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-01-2014, 05:27 PM
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The pics look like diatom algae. This algae is related to silicates in the water. Silicates are themselves often related to sand, though all water has some level of silicates present. To my knowledge the Eco Complete does not have silicates in it but it is very possible that when you replaced the sand you released a lot of silicates that were either in the water you used (assuming you didn't do a 100% change) or in the filter etc. The good news is this type of algae normally settles down and disappears in couple of weeks on its own.
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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-03-2014, 02:14 AM Thread Starter
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Will it kill the existing plants?

It seems like a nasty algae bloom, which surprises me because I did almost 100% water change and transferred the rock and filter components to retain the biological filter.
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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-03-2014, 07:59 AM
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Diatoms do not grow because of excess silicates in the water. Something else is the problem. I can grow diatoms when I don't dose phosphates. The moment I dose, it will go away. My guess is that you don't add fertilizers into the tank.
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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-03-2014, 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Solcielo lawrencia View Post
Diatoms do not grow because of excess silicates in the water.
Your the ONLY one I've ever seen make this claim...

Everyone else attributes diatoms to new tank setups or digging around in the substrate and stirring up silicates from said substrate in older tanks. Also people with known levels of high silicates in their tap water constantly deal with diatom blooms.
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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-03-2014, 08:52 AM
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Everyone says so without having substantiated evidence of it. They just pass along info they've read and assume it's true. Then others read it and believe it without evidence. Thus, the cycle of misinformation perpetuates.

My water is very low in silicates, 5ppm. Explain why I have diatoms in a relatively new tank but not in an established one without any algae eaters. Why do diatoms go away after it's been established? And how can I grow them in a bucket if I just let the water sit? Something more is going on than just silicates.

Further, do these people with diatom blooms have plants and add fertilizers like phosphates? These are essential variables that aren't even mentioned most of the time.

I stand by my suggestion to add phosphate fertilizers to see if it goes away.
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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-03-2014, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Solcielo lawrencia View Post
Everyone says so without having substantiated evidence of it.
Well you got me there...

I guess those here who are published, looked to for their guidance, respected for their opinion are ALL ignorant to this fact. Though they have never found grounds to refute the status quo through out their own extensive research and experance. What with their tendancy to track and document the various things they've done....

Not one of them has ever chimmed in on this subject to dismiss the popular claim, even though this one of the more popular types of threads on this forum.

But yea your right
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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-03-2014, 10:46 AM
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Case in point.

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Still, we know PO4 alone cannot account for algae blooms for all systems and we know we can consistently incduce algae independent of nutrient and light with CO2. We cannot consistently induce algae with varying just the PO4 when other nutrients and CO2, light are independent.
http://www.barrreport.com/showthread...growing-plants
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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-03-2014, 12:00 PM
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Surprised no one has mentioned this yet but you have lace fern and anubias in your pics. both of them appear to have their rhizomes berried in the substrate. Both of these plants will die if you don't uncover the rhizomes.

These type of plants are best fastened to a rock or piece of driftwood.

It seems to me you have nutrient deficiencies. I would look into some sort of dosing regime. Plants need NPK and micro nutrients to live like all living things. fish food / poop can only provide so much of this.

Oh and don't worry about algae but rather focus on plant deficiencies and healthy growth. Algae will lose the battle when you have happy healthy plants!

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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-03-2014, 03:15 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by philipraposo1982 View Post
Surprised no one has mentioned this yet but you have lace fern and anubias in your pics. both of them appear to have their rhizomes berried in the substrate. Both of these plants will die if you don't uncover the rhizomes.

These type of plants are best fastened to a rock or piece of driftwood.
I'm plant dumb and was wondering if you could indicate which are which? Perhaps I should take a FTS and make sure I don't have any other plants that can't be buried.

Quote:
Originally Posted by philipraposo1982 View Post
It seems to me you have nutrient deficiencies. I would look into some sort of dosing regime. Plants need NPK and micro nutrients to live like all living things. fish food / poop can only provide so much of this.
Is there something you would recommend? I have some FlorinAxis which was sold to me as a replacement for a CO2 tank. What would your recommendation be?

Quote:
Originally Posted by philipraposo1982 View Post
Oh and don't worry about algae but rather focus on plant deficiencies and healthy growth. Algae will lose the battle when you have happy healthy plants!
That's what I figured, but things seemed to be going in the wrong directions. Plants are dying and the algae is growing.
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post #11 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-03-2014, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by FatherLandDescendant View Post
I guess those here who are published, looked to for their guidance, respected for their opinion are ALL ignorant to this fact. Though they have never found grounds to refute the status quo through out their own extensive research and experance. What with their tendancy to track and document the various things they've done....

Not one of them has ever chimmed in on this subject to dismiss the popular claim, even though this one of the more popular types of threads on this forum.

But yea your right
Case in point.

http://www.barrreport.com/showthread...growing-plants
The quote from Barr is taken completely out of context and doesn't address diatoms. Further, diatoms do not survive off of, nor grow, with silica alone. Nothing grows with just one available nutrient. Thus, high silicates do not explain diatom growth. You also still haven't provided any evidence that excess silicates cause diatom blooms. So-and-so said is not evidence.

Further evidence that silicates alone do not cause diatom growth:
I once had a tank with a large fancy goldfish. Diatoms were extremely thick, so thick that you couldn't see through it. This persisted for months. The next morning after I removed the goldfish, nearly all of the diatoms shed off the walls. In less than two days, all of the diatoms had shed off. How can this be explained? The only thing that changed was the removal of the goldfish.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spyderturbo007 View Post
Is there something you would recommend? I have some FlorinAxis which was sold to me as a replacement for a CO2 tank. What would your recommendation be?.
FlorinAxis sounds like glutaraldehyde, a carbon source for plants. You need NPK and micronutrients. From the looks of the plants - yellow and dying tips, diatom growth - they are severely nutrient deficient.
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post #12 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-04-2014, 01:08 AM
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I would test for ammonia too.


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post #13 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-04-2014, 08:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solcielo lawrencia View Post
The quote from Barr is taken completely out of context and doesn't address diatoms. Further, diatoms do not survive off of, nor grow, with silica alone. Nothing grows with just one available nutrient. Thus, high silicates do not explain diatom growth. You also still haven't provided any evidence that excess silicates cause diatom blooms. So-and-so said is not evidence.

Further evidence that silicates alone do not cause diatom growth:
I once had a tank with a large fancy goldfish. Diatoms were extremely thick, so thick that you couldn't see through it. This persisted for months. The next morning after I removed the goldfish, nearly all of the diatoms shed off the walls. In less than two days, all of the diatoms had shed off. How can this be explained? The only thing that changed was the removal of the goldfish.
The point was your go to on this subject is phosphates. To which at the end of all this I will conciede something to your point of view.

Silicates have nothing to do with it??? What is the cellular structure of diatoms? That's right silicates.

Quote:
In the open ocean, the condition that typically causes diatom (spring) blooms to end is a lack of silicon. Unlike other nutrients, this is a major requirement solely of diatoms, so it is not regenerated in the plankton ecosystem as efficiently as, for instance, nitrogen or phosphorus nutrients. This can be seen in maps of surface nutrient concentrations – as nutrients decline along gradients, silicon is usually the first to be exhausted (followed normally by nitrogen then phosphorus).
Because of this bloom-and-bust cycle, diatoms are believed to play a disproportionately important role in the export of carbon from oceanic surface waters[17][18] (see also the biological pump). Significantly, they also play a key role in the regulation of the biogeochemical cycle of silicon in the modern ocean.[6][15]

Egge & Aksnes (1992)[19] figure.


The use of silicon by diatoms is believed by many researchers to be the key to their ecological success. In a now classic study, Egge and Aksnes (1992)[19] found that diatom dominance of mesocosm communities was directly related to the availability of silicic acid — when concentrations were greater than 2 mmol m−3, they found that diatoms typically represented more than 70% of the phytoplankton community. Raven (1983)[20] noted that, relative to organic cell walls, silica frustules require less energy to synthesize (approximately 8% of a comparable organic wall), potentially a significant saving on the overall cell energy budget. Other researchers[21] have suggested that the biogenic silica in diatom cell walls acts as an effective pH buffering agent, facilitating the conversion of bicarbonate to dissolved CO2 (which is more readily assimilated). Notwithstanding the possible advantages conferred by silicon, diatoms typically have higher growth rates than other algae of a corresponding size.[16]
Diatoms occur in virtually every environment that contains water. This includes not only oceans, seas, lakes and streams, but also soil.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diatom
Lots of research that have addressed diatoms, be they in the ocean or our tanks diatoms are dependant on silicates. A quick Google search will confirm my posistion.

Quote:
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  54. Jump up ^ Drum, R.W.; Gordon, R. (2003). "Star Trek replicators and diatom nanotechnology". Trends Biotechnology 21 (8): 325–328. doi:10.1016/S0167-7799(03)00169-0.
  55. Jump up ^ Johnson, R.C. (9 April 2009). "Diatoms could triple solar cell efficiency". EE Times. Retrieved 13 April 2009.
  56. Jump up ^ Kay D. Bidle; Farooq Azam (1999). "Accelerated dissolution of diatom silica by marine bacterial assemblages". Nature 397: 508–512.
  57. Jump up ^ "The Structure of Microbial Community and Degradation of Diatoms in the Deep Near-Bottom Layer of Lake Baikal". 2013.
Independant web site and according to them excess phosphates can contribute to diatom growth... Huh

Quote:
Brown Diatoms usually appear when an newly setup aquarium has finished the nitrogen cycle process, low amounts of light, excess silica/silicates from tap water sources, excess nitrates, and/or poor aquarium maintenance. Diatoms appear especially when there are excess silicates and excess phosphates in the aquarium, which favors diatoms over other types of “lower” alga such as blue-green/slime algae or cyanobacteria. If conditions are left unresolved, other types of algae may begin to develop.
http://www.aquascapingworld.com/alga...php?item_id=79
Your gold fish... Stay with me here I'll put it all together at the end I promise.

Now I'm speculating here, but given what has been published, by scientist mind you, according to them diatom blooms happen a couple of times a year when the ocean floor is basically stirred up and the silicates are reintroduced into the water colum. We don't get rid of silicates they just settle into the substrate as in the ocean.

Gold fish are one of the dirtiest fish we keep in our tanks, they like to root around in the substrate, which stirs up silicates, not leting them remain setteled in the lower substrate layers. Add to this stirring a feeding regimiate that includes foods high in phosphates, also add to this the bio-secreations from the fish that amonia/ammomium, nitrates/nitrites come from and it's no wonder a goldfish tank has a constant diatom event.

Now your OPINION on phosphate increase creating conditions that help eliminate diatoms isn't compleatly wrong, but not for the reasons you've stated, that the diatoms are there as the result of phosphate definceny, the scientific proof weighs against that arguement.

The introduction of excess phosphates, coupled with high consontrations of silicates and nitrates resulting from the end of the nitrogen cycle being established, excelerates the growth of diatoms. Note I said excelerates their growth, as diatoms grow (reproduce cellular structures) each subsequently reproduced cell structure is smaller, the next after that even smaller so on and so forth. This process exausts the available supply of silicates needed for reproduction until availability of said silicates is non existant, unable to continue to reproduce the diatom dies, the cell structure bursts and the now dead diatom clusters fall to the substrate, decompose, and as with food and fish waste this decomposion becomes part of the mulm we suck out at water change.

At decomposision the silicates no longer free floating in the water coloum stay in the substrate. As it is with a planted tank most of us don't disturb the substrate to much at waterchanges not wanting to disturb root structures and such, but when one roots around in the substrate (such as I've been doing) planting, replanting, up-rooting what have you, and a subsequent diatom bloom is experanced it is the result of stirring up the substrate and reintroducing the silicates that were released when the original diatom bloom decomposed back into the water coloum.

But you introduce silicates when you do water changes one may argue...

Certinaly, HOWEVER, does the reintroduction of silicates into the water colum meet the one requirement needed for diatom growth? That requirement being an EXCESS of silicates free floating in the water colum? Granted the level of over all silicates in the enclosed ecosystem of our tanks should maintain at a given ppm level provided the source water doesn't change, and it does. But AFTER the initial diatom bloom the biggest majority of the available silicates in an aquarium is in the substrate not free floating, just as in the ocean, they fall to the ocean floor until a yearly or bi-yearly stiring takes place. Where as in our tanks they stay there until we stir the substrate. Which is why you'll hear of people with established tanks having subsequent diatom events.

A little research and reading on this subject will reveal a plethora of scientificaly backed information on this subject that does indeed substantiate the claim that diatoms result from excessive silicates in the water colum, among other things

Now if one doses only phosphates and nothing else there are still going to be deficiencies that will promote other types of algae to developement. So suggesting an increase in phosphates alone is misleading, as it is not a lack of phosphates that cause a diatom bloom, but excess phosphates will speed up the blooms life cycle leading to the false conclusion that the introduction of phosphates cures diatom blooms in the aquarium when it doesn't, it only leads to an imbalance of nutriants available for the plants, add to this phosphate introduction from fish food and you end up with even more phosphates in the water colum. From what I've been reading phosphate reduction is one of the most common nutriants being adjusted down in the EI dosing regime. Why is that?

So Solcielo lawrencia where does that leave us and this little debate. You want to take a crack at refuting substantiated scientific claims with the presentation of researchable source material, or should I just take your word for it

As to the OP, yes increasing phosphates can help, BUT only because it will speed up the life cycle of a diatom bloom, but be mindful that unless your also dosing other ferts this can in turn lead to out breaks of other types of algae in the future from the deficiencies of other nutriants plants need. The biggest thing is time, replacing your substrate is your causing factor, in time the diatoms will abate, weather on their own or with accelerated help from increases of phosphate bringing it to the end of it's life cycle.
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post #14 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-04-2014, 09:54 AM
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Silica levels definitely effect the growth rates of diatoms

http://www.avto.aslo.info/lo/toc/vol...sue_1/0010.pdf


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post #15 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-04-2014, 01:12 PM Thread Starter
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Would you guys/gals mind arguing about Diatoms in another thread? No offense, but it's really distracting from the problem I'm trying to solve with my tank.

Does anyone have any recommendation on what to dose the tank with to bring the plants back? I also don't know which ones I should pull out from the substrate.

Thanks!
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