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Brown Diatoms

Discussion in 'Algae Control' started by dielectric, Aug 15, 2009.

  1. dielectric

    dielectric Guest

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    what is causing my brown diatoms. ive been battling these off and on for a LONG time. theyve been there through 2 different substrates, 2 different fert methods, a tank tear down and bleaching of everything. what gives? id rather have some sort of green algae... cuz well atleast its green.

    10 NO3
    2 PO4
    0 ammonia 0 nitrites
    ph 6.0

    ive read on other sites that high silicates and low light trigger these. well its definately not low light. where would the silicates be coming from? could they be coming from the black lava rocks i have? i hope not, because i have a 5 gallon bucket full of different sized pieces that i want to use.

    i have another question about black lava rock. could it be causing my KH to rise? i gave it the acid test and its hard to tell if it was fizzing becasue its so porous. i tested my kh last week and it was 7, now its 10. everytime i add wood or rocks to my tank things turn sour, i get all kinds of algae and my plants start to take a turn for the worse. it sucks because i want it to look like more then a bunch of scraggly weeds. i'm about ready to give up on plants.

    anyways i have a few pieces sitting in a bucket of water and i will test the kh tomorrow to see if it went up.
     
  2. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Diatoms In Any Light

    I can trigger diatoms in just about any light!!

    I do not know for sure but I have heard and this site Untitled Document, seems to confirm that black lava may be a serious problem in a number of ways.

    Best of luck.

    Biollante
     
  3. dielectric

    dielectric Guest

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    well that just sucks. i knew there was a correlation between the black lava rock and brown diatoms. because everytime i try to use them i get diatom outbreaks.

    what is a good dark colored rock to use that wont effect water chemistry? and where can i get it?
     
  4. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Black Onyx

    Beyond the Florite and such available pretty much any LFS or Web retailer, there are things such as black onyx, available as rock, gravel or sand; landscaping and big box home improvement stores carry it.

    I got a bunch at a Lowes a while back. It does raise the GH a bit, nothing major, looks great.

    I know there is another popular black substrate, this is where not having a brain really gets in the way.:eek:

    Biollante
     
  5. dielectric

    dielectric Guest

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    im not looking for substrate, but actual rock pieces to aquascape with. i have black SMS for substrate.

    also, does this mean the red lava rock i have in my biofilter is leeching silicates?
     
  6. dielectric

    dielectric Guest

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    7:21 AM
    exactly how are you triggering them?
     
  7. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Actually, I think the red lava rock; in fact, anything except the black rock is okay.

    The onyx is available as rock, a lot of landscapers use the stuff.

    Diatoms are easy, light, water of just about any condition or type a few nutrients and silica.

    In my case, if I don't filter the tap water. I have demonstration I do in a small Rubbermaid type container, three gallons I think, a couple gallons of water from the nearest tank, a cup of my unfiltered water from the tap, a quick mix and within the hour the first of the brown gook is visible. People with ponds here wonder why they have problems.:rolleyes:

    I intentionally cause them to amuse others, or myself, actually for demonstration purposes.

    Also there is a play sand they sell here that if it is not thoroughly rinsed it can be thrown into any tank and create a bloom within hours that can last a week to ten days. A bloom that doesn't end by itself is indicative of a source of silicates that can reach or interact with the water column.

    Biollante
     
  8. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Hi,
    There is no correlation between the silicate level and the appearance of diatomic algae. While it is true that diatoms are capable of polymerizing silicic acid to strengthen their cell walls there is no evidence that adding silicates to the water column induces a diatom outbreak. If this were true we would be able to induce a diatoms bloom simply by adding sand, which is composed of Silicon Dioxide (SiO2) to the aquarium.

    Since this does not happen, and since aquaria with sand/clay substrates have not shown any higher susceptibility to diatom algae than tanks with non-silicate substrates, then it's a reasonable conclusion that the two are not correlated.

    A major factor affecting diatomic blooms is the level of lighting. Immature tanks also seem to suffer more than mature tanks, which points to poor levels of bacterial colonies and poor nitrification. CO2 levels are always a suspect as well.

    Step number 1 is to lower the lighting intensity by 50% or so, and to add more CO2 if this is a CO2 enriched tank. Step 2 is to increase the frequency of water changes to 2 or 3 times per week and to manually remove as much as possible by hand or by syphoning. After a few weeks the diatoms should peter out.

    Cheers,
     
  9. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Okay.

    I have managed this "demonstration" under high light, ambient light, low light and aquariums established more than five years.:confused:

    Apparently I am not understanding what I am observing.:(

    I have been wrong before.:eek:

    Any hints on how I can better understand what I am doing wrong with my 'demonstration' and what is actually occurring would be greatly appreciated.:)

    I have read Tom Barr's http://www.barrreport.com/barr-report-newsletter/3121-barr-report-newsletter-diatoms-aquatic-plants.html and I have a number of other papers on the subject, but I confess I haven't given it much thought, since I can do what I can do.

    Thank you,
    Biollante
     
  10. Dave Spencer

    Dave Spencer Prolific Poster

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    I always tended to get diatoms in a new set up.

    Ever since I have started using Zeolite from the outset of a new tank, I have only ever seen the most minimal amount of diatoms. My very latest tank had to do without any Zeolite, and I noticed a considerable increase in diatomic levels.

    I suspect it could be the levels of ammonia in an immature tank that is one factor.

    Dave.
     
  11. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    I am waiting for the ever-eloquent ceg4048 to explain why I am wrong.

    Though I think, we get into some issue of basic unit of nutrient issue. Nevertheless, I will wait to hear.

    Biollante
     
  12. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Many months ago when there was an argument on a forum about silica causing diatom algae I did a random search for water company reports on the internet, and noted that about half of the water reports showed significant amounts of silica in the water. I don't recall the details, but what I saw convinced me that most tap water has silica dissolved in it, so I concluded that if dissolved silica caused diatom outbreaks most people would always have them, instead of just having minor outbreaks in new tanks. But, I'm not at all sure what does cause it.
     
  13. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Settled Science Then

    Settled science.:)

    I withdraw my comments. Silicates really aren’t a big deal to me, I was actually just answering the original question based on my experience and reading.;)

    I know it may not seem like it, but I really am not trying to upset folks.:(

    Biollante
     
  14. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Yes, but this would mean that tanks using RO/DI water should have a lower silicate content and therefore a lower susceptibility to diatom algae, which has never been the case.

    As noted by Dave Spencer they almost always occur in new setups and hardly ever recur. Since zeolite is a very good ammonia remover and since Dave observes a lower incidence in new setups when using zeolite, and since it has never been demonstrated that adding tap water or silicates to the tank can induce a bloom at any other time (except in excessive light), then it's a reasonable conclusion that silicates are not a valid causal factor.

    Cheers,
     
  15. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Settled Science

    Given that it is "settled science" here, with no need for folks to do anything but make blanket statements, in absolute terms, without support or explanation, makes it hard to have a discussion.

    Can't possibly have anything to do with those pesky little variables, basic units of nutrient energy and such like. Of course fish and plants live so well in RO/DO water that no silicates could possibly be present.

    It must be, because it is! And since it is, we must not speak of it.:)

    Biollante
     
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