What's new

Brown diatoms

BarrierReef

Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2012
Messages
15
Reaction score
0
Good evening.
Help required please.
Getting rather fed up of this now.
Set my 3rd tank up 6 months ago.
Used a large filter from my big tank as I run 2 filters on my big one.
New one is 200 ltr and after tests it was ready to go.
Introduced fish. No losses.
After 1 week - brown diatoms. Haven't been able to get rid. I've been doing 50 % water changes every 2 days. I've been cleaning the filter once a month. I brush everything off as best I can into clean water before putting cleaning equipment back into tank to do each sweep.
Remove all the plants and bleach & rinse and then replace. Slowly losing them all due to the bleaching I imagine?
I've recently introduced JBL Silkatek with absolutely no effect at all. A waste of money.
I've never had a problem with this in any other tanks. I ran a hospital tank up a couple of months ago and had no diatoms.
The only thing that I can now think is that it could be my substrate. It's eco complete and Its second hand from my son's tank who has given up the hobby. He never had diatoms while using it.
I've had the gravel cleaner in there constantly sucking up dirt whenever I change 100 litres.
I cleaned it thoroughly before I moved it from my son's tank into mine.
Could it possibly be this?
I'm fully stocked in the tank and I'm hating the thought of having to take them all out to remove all the substrate, to replace with new.
All the water parameters are fine. I don't have a silica test kit, but I'm thinking with the Silicate remover being in, that won't be my problem? As said, I never got it in any other tank.
I run Juwel LED lighting 2 x 1047 MM - 1 is daylight, 1 is Nature, for 7 hours per day.
I also have an inline UV on my 1200 filter running for 12 hours per day - 7am to 7 pm.
The only thing it could be is the substrate? Can't be the lighting surely?
Thoughts?
Thanks ☺
 

Deanasue

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Global Moderator
Tank of the Month!
Joined
Oct 29, 2018
Messages
4,561
Reaction score
888
Location
USA
This is very common in new tanks. I fought brown algae from diatoms for months. In new tanks it takes awhile for the tank to really get established and the nutrients get out of control. The diatoms appear to eat the excess nutrients, which is really a good thing. Just be patient and keep cleaning it. It really will eventually go away. I feel your frustration, I hated it. Out of 8 tanks, I’ve only experienced it in one. Patience, patience!
 
Last edited:
OP
B

BarrierReef

Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2012
Messages
15
Reaction score
0
This is very common in new tanks. I fought brown algae from diatoms for months. In new tanks it takes awhile for the tank to really get established and the nutrients get out of control. The diatoms appear to eat the excess nutrients, which is really a good thing. Just be patient and keep cleaning it. It really will eventually go away. I feel your frustration, I hated it. Out of 8 tanks, I’ve only experienced it in one. Patience, patience!
 
OP
B

BarrierReef

Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2012
Messages
15
Reaction score
0
Thanks for the response. It's very frustrating after so long. Obviously ive done my research on the subject and Its mostly along the lines of *It'll go eventually* but 6 months is an eternity.
Plus I feel for the fish as I plant quite heavily, but I'm losing them all due to bleaching and Its not good that the tank is almost empty. I took out the big rocks and the big piece of bogwood as I just got sick of scrubbing them.
Would you advise cleaning the filter fortnightly instead of monthly?
It's pretty brown and horrible after a month, but I could do without the extra work to be honest. With 2 bigger tanks as well, it's soul destroying
Cheers
 

Byron

Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2009
Messages
10,953
Reaction score
1,617
Location
CA
First I always like to confirm the algae is actually diatoms. Very often members have talked about brown algae, even calling it diatoms, and the photos have shown it to be black beard/brush algae which has several forms and is often dark brown, or grey, or very dark green...never red though it is technically a red algae. If the algae easily comes off with your fingertips it is diatoms, but if it does not, it is more likely the other.

Light and nutrients cause all "problem" algae, so once we are sure what this is, we may bee able to sort out the problem in this balance.

Never bleach plants. This is not going to help anyway. You/we need to find the cause and fix that.
 

seangee

Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2008
Messages
2,330
Reaction score
532
Location
Berks
Bleaching plants won't help. There now you have the time back to do the filter every 2 weeks ;)

Are you sure its diatoms? They should just wipe of relatively easily. In one of my tanks I had brown looking algae on the leaves of my slow growing plants. That was caused by too much light (too intense not too long). I threw some floating plants in the top to diffuse the light and the problem is gone. Of course the fast growing plants also use more nutrients so it may not just be the light in isolation. However the anubias are thriving with less light and less nutrients.
 

howard_hopkinson

Member
Tank of the Month!
Joined
Sep 3, 2009
Messages
256
Reaction score
56
Location
Padiham, Burnley
My tank, decorations and plants were pretty much covered with diatoms, so I introduced 6 Zebra Nerite snails and after around 3 weeks they were more or less gone.
 

Deanasue

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Global Moderator
Tank of the Month!
Joined
Oct 29, 2018
Messages
4,561
Reaction score
888
Location
USA
Mine never got so bad that it took over. I wiped it all down once a week when cleaning and cleaned the filter every 2 weeks. Mine broke out in my goldfish tank so mostly plastic plants which I just scrubbed after sitting in hot water. I did add 4 Japanese Trapdoor snails and they may have contributed to it getting under control. I love these little guys. They work had and barely breed.
 

vanalisa

Fish Fanatic
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
169
Reaction score
56
Location
Dallas, TX
Mine never got so bad that it took over. I wiped it all down once a week when cleaning and cleaned the filter every 2 weeks. Mine broke out in my goldfish tank so mostly plastic plants which I just scrubbed after sitting in hot water. I did add 4 Japanese Trapdoor snails and they may have contributed to it getting under control. I love these little guys. They work had and barely breed.
Diatoms eat? I thought they were just to look pretty, under a microscope? Seriously, though, I thought they were fossils.

I did a report in grade school a looong time ago. Didn't do much research, 6th grade a bit too early to get into too much!
 

Deanasue

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Global Moderator
Tank of the Month!
Joined
Oct 29, 2018
Messages
4,561
Reaction score
888
Location
USA
Diatoms eat? I thought they were just to look pretty, under a microscope? Seriously, though, I thought they were fossils.

I did a report in grade school a looong time ago. Didn't do much research, 6th grade a bit too early to get into too much!
Diatoms cause the brown algae.
 

Byron

Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2009
Messages
10,953
Reaction score
1,617
Location
CA
I still don't understand how diatoms cause the brown algae.? Are they alive? Help.
Diatoms are a live species of algae. Here is how Wiki describes them:

Diatoms (diá-tom-os 'cut in half', from diá, 'through' or 'apart'; and the root of tém-n-ō, 'I cut'.)[10] are a major group of algae,[11] specifically microalgae, found in the oceans, waterways and soils of the world. Living diatoms makeup a significant portion of the Earth's biomass: they generate about 20 - 50 percent of the oxygen produced on the planet each year,[12][13] take in over 6.7 billion metric tons of silicon each year from the waters in which they live,[14] and contribute nearly half of the organic material found in the oceans. The shells of dead diatoms can reach as much as a half-mile (800m) deep on the ocean floor, and the entire Amazon basin is fertilized annually by 27 million tons of diatom shell dust transported by transatlantic winds from the African Sahara, much of it from the Bodélé Depression, which was once made up a system of fresh-water lakes.[
 

vanalisa

Fish Fanatic
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
169
Reaction score
56
Location
Dallas, TX
Diatoms are a live species of algae. Here is how Wiki describes them:

Diatoms (diá-tom-os 'cut in half', from diá, 'through' or 'apart'; and the root of tém-n-ō, 'I cut'.)[10] are a major group of algae,[11] specifically microalgae, found in the oceans, waterways and soils of the world. Living diatoms makeup a significant portion of the Earth's biomass: they generate about 20 - 50 percent of the oxygen produced on the planet each year,[12][13] take in over 6.7 billion metric tons of silicon each year from the waters in which they live,[14] and contribute nearly half of the organic material found in the oceans. The shells of dead diatoms can reach as much as a half-mile (800m) deep on the ocean floor, and the entire Amazon basin is fertilized annually by 27 million tons of diatom shell dust transported by transatlantic winds from the African Sahara, much of it from the Bodélé Depression, which was once made up a system of fresh-water lakes.[
So they live and are way useful for oxygen production.
They die and there remains are useful for fertilizer.
Is it good to absorb silicon?
How do they cause the algae, when they are dying?
I'm as fascinated by them as I was in 6th grade! All the shapes, I think. And now for aquarium reasons.
I have more questions, I think I should do more outside research as you all have contributed so much already.
Thank you !
 

seangee

Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2008
Messages
2,330
Reaction score
532
Location
Berks
An interesting aside I can confirm the silicone link. We always associate diatoms with new tanks but recently I added some clear air tube and suction caps to one of my taps (all silicone). Within a few days these were covered in brown algae which has subsequently settled.
 
Top