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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

For the past few weeks I have been having a bit of an issue with diatomic algae taking its place on leaves of plants and its starting to become a bit of a nuisance.

I have read all over the web about diatomic algae and that they are popular when a new planted tank is set up. My tank has been set up since early March - so its a 3 month old planted tank. Although, diatomic algae has only been present for about 5 or 6 weeks.

As well as this, people have been saying that high levels of silicate is the main reason for diatomic algae. I thought, OK then, let's test the tank and tap water. The silicate level in both the tank and tap water is less than 0.5ppm (it could as well be possibly 0ppm as the test kit shows a off-white colour in the 0-0.5 range).

While I was at it, I thought I'd test the phosphate levels as well and these are within the range 1-2ppm which is said to be ideal for planted tanks. Although higher concentrations can also be ideal.

SILICATE: <0.5ppm
PHOSPHATE: 1-2ppm

I am dosing the tank with a liquid fertiliser which contains all the essential micro and macro nutrients (its called Neutro+ available in the UK) as well as dosing liquid CO2 (also I have pressurised CO2).

Now, what I have noticed is that the diatomic algae has slowly started to subside a bit and there is very little of it on newly added plants. Fingers crossed it doesn't get any worse! As well as this, I'm not sure of the name of the plant but it has bright green elongated leaves which does not have any algae - maybe the odd speck.

What do you recommend that I should do?

Should I continue to dose the tank as normal and keep up with the weekly 30% water changes? I have recently added a product called JBL BIOFERM which apparenly is a great algaecide made from barley - no chemicals involved!

Thank-you in advance,
Daniel




TANK DETAILS>>>>
180L/48 US Gal planted tank; twin Eheim Biopower 240 filters containing a range of filter media (mainly biological); hydor koralia; dosing with Neutro+ and NeutroCO2; pressurised CO2; substrate is JBL Manado containing ADA Multi Bottom and Multi Iron; ADA Phyton-Git; ADA Green-Bacter; ADA ECA and ADA Tourmaline F; Twin T5 lights on 7 hours daily, one with reflector.
 

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Wait it out and continue what yo are doing. Continue with water changes, possibly use otos and amano's to clean it up. If all the above fails over the next 2 months, do a 3 day blackout. If that fails, then I will have run out of ideas. I get small blooms anytime I mess up the substrate but it goes away in 2 weeks.
 

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Hi,

I heard that silicate thing often about diatomae. I am far from convinced this is the real reason.

Algae shows for different reasons, diatomae are often saw in newly established tanks, but are far from being the sole algae that can appear. Often other will show at the same time.

You should continue to dose, do water changes, remove the algae manually regularly. Let the plants establish, that is help the plants and they will, in time, if they have all they need, outcompete the algae.

I once had diatomae during 4 months.

Michel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Wait it out and continue what yo are doing. Continue with water changes, possibly use otos and amano's to clean it up. If all the above fails over the next 2 months, do a 3 day blackout. If that fails, then I will have run out of ideas. I get small blooms anytime I mess up the substrate but it goes away in 2 weeks.
Thank-you for your reply,

I have only two Otocinclus vestitus in the tank at the moment. I have heard that the Otocinclus affinis is better for consuming diatomic algae - perhaps someone could elaborate on this?

I tried adding amano shrimps a few weeks back, but over a course of several days, they have all disappeared although all my water parameters have been perfectly fine? I hear they are sensitive to CO2 so maybe its that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi,

I heard that silicate thing often about diatomae. I am far from convinced this is the real reason.

Algae shows for different reasons, diatomae are often saw in newly established tanks, but are far from being the sole algae that can appear. Often other will show at the same time.

You should continue to dose, do water changes, remove the algae manually regularly. Let the plants establish, that is help the plants and they will, in time, if they have all they need, outcompete the algae.

I once had diatomae during 4 months.

Michel.

Thanks for your advice!

Do you think that I should completely cut off entire leaves that are caked on with algae or have started to die off, or leave them attached to the plant? Because I have heard that the more leaves that are cut off (unhealthy ones) newer ones grow in their place and so readily take up nutrients to compete with algae.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
add another reflector
More light!? I always thought diatom algae, well any algae, thrived on high light? I have a spare reflector waiting to be installed but too skeptical to add it.

I have twin T5 lights, one with a reflector that gives 100% more light which is visibly noticeable! The other has no reflector yet because I thought more light = more algae?
 

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Well, obviously, there are many factors to be considered, like how high is the light above the tank?

Also, if they're just t5no then you might not have as much light as you think

A t5no with no reflector just doesn't seem like much light to me.

A had diatoms 4 months in, I found a t5ho (high output) light with reflector, a week later no more diatoms

Just a suggestion though really

I would try it before buying a silicate test, but thats just my .02
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well, obviously, there are many factors to be considered, like how high is the light above the tank?

Also, if they're just t5no then you might not have as much light as you think

A t5no with no reflector just doesn't seem like much light to me.

A had diatoms 4 months in, I found a t5ho (high output) light with reflector, a week later no more diatoms

Just a suggestion though really

I would try it before buying a silicate test, but thats just my .02
The lighting is approximately 45cm higher than the carpetting plants in the substrate.

The T5 are high-output. I have one reflector installed already, I've just this second added the other one to the other tube - wow, the tank is bright! Let's hope this helps eradicate the diatoms

Thanks for your help :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Please don't follow my advice blindly, I don't want to steer you in the wrong direction, I assume you've been here:http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=184368

Above all, listen to the plants, if you think it may be too much light you might be right
Oh yeah I've seen that thread. And regarding the installation of the additional reflector - I will monitor plant activity and algae growth over the days ahead. At the moment, the diatomic algae is only light (not heavily covering plants and rocks) and if it increases, then I will remove the reflector, because there has been hardly any change in growth of the algae over the past week.

I will also continue to dose my ferts, probably slightly overdose by 10% this week to see if that favours the plants, or whether it favours the algae.

It seems to be all about experimentation so only time will tell I suppose!
 

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What about nitrates? Low nitrates might also be a cause. I hear a million reasons as to why diatoms might appear. Its hard to pin point, but you have to rule out every reason by trying/solving it out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
What about nitrates? Low nitrates might also be a cause. I hear a million reasons as to why diatoms might appear. Its hard to pin point, but you have to rule out every reason by trying/solving it out.
I see! What is the ideal ppm value for nitrate because its around 20ppm at the moment. I shall increase dose for fertiliser and see if this helps.
 
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