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Can Diatom Algae Be Prevented?

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by Homer_Simpson, Mar 30, 2008.

  1. Homer_Simpson

    Homer_Simpson Prolific Poster

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    Okay, I just have to ask about other peoples' experiences based on what I have seen.

    I set up two tanks with all other things being equal, they were both low light. the only difference was that one made use of Tahitian Moon Sand to cap Leonardite/mulm/peat and the other made use of Seachem Onyx Sand to cap Leonardite/mulm/peat. Both tanks got a pinch of nitrates, phosphates, potassium and seachem Equilibrium with 50% weekly water changes. The one with the TMS cap developed diatom algae and the one with the Seachem Onyx Sand never did. It is said that insufficient light intensity and excess silicates in the water causes diatom algae. Lighting in both tanks was the same. As far as silicates, I guess it is possible that the TMS could have been higher in silicate content.

    I set up a 15 gallon ADA AS II experimental tank that never developed diatom algae several months after setup.

    I set up a 5 gallon hex tank with Leonardite/peat capped with Seachem Onyx sand and a thin layer of pool filter sand as the plan was to provide a soft cushioning for catfish which I would be adding later., That tank is now showing signs of a diatom algae bloom(towards the end of the cyle). Again, it makes be wonder if the bloom may be related to the pool filter sand being high in silicate content.

    Right now, this has me pretty confused. I would love to hear about other peoples' experiences - those that have and have not had diatom algae blooms.
     
  2. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    I have...in every tank pretty much more or less. Plain gravel substrate, soil substrate, and sand substrate. The worst one was the tank with the sand substrate but I had it in all of them on startup. I've heard arguments both ways on the silicates issue. Some people say that sand or substrate or possibly even new aquarium glass leaches silica at the beginning and therefore since diatoms are made of silica, they thrive until the silicates drop. But then I've heard others that say that silicates are in most tap water anyway so you are always adding them, so if it were just silica it should continue to be a problem. Personally I have no idea, but I am leaning towards something like maybe a competitor of some type developing and beating out the diatoms for whatever it is they use at the beginning. But I have no idea.
     
  3. Homer_Simpson

    Homer_Simpson Prolific Poster

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    Thanks Carissa. The good thing about diatom algae is that it is not as stubborn and difficult to get rid of as other algae. I could wait it out, but don't have the patience. When this started in the TMS based tank, I threw in one Amano Shrimp and s/he cleaned up the algae within 3 days. I believe the new tank may be at the final stage of cycling when diatom algae usually rears its ugly head, so I will test ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates. If they are within acceptable parameters, I will chuck in a otocat or Amano Shrimp(if I can find a LFS that sells them - they are usually hard to find where I am).
     
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