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Diatom Algae On Plants

alexge

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Hello,
 
I know that new tanks have diatom breakouts.
That those are mostly due to the maturing tank, and to the silicates leeching in the tank.
Most advice I've read online, simply says to wait it out. In my last tank, the diatom breakout lasted only 2 weeks, but it was a pico 5 gallon tank.
 
This time, in my 40 gallon tank its already been going on for two weeks, and it seems to be getting worse.
At first it was only covering my Christmas moss, but now it has completely covered my rotala walichii, mirophyllum scrabatum and other fine leaved plants.
Even my ferns have some of their leaves turned brown from all the diatoms covering them.
If I rub their leaves, they turn green again!
 
Is this healthy? So far I have meticulously cleaned up as much as I could using a toothbrush, but now its starting to become too much. I've upped my Excel regime to slightly overdosed, but I doubt its doing anything to the diatoms (no other type of algae seen though!).
 
Are my plants in any kind of risk? Should I simply wait it out, or try to lower phosphates (I dose KH2PO4) and keep cleaning up as much as I can with the toothbrush until the diatoms run their cycle?
 
 

cupofjoel

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I'm not an expert, but I have had issues with brown algae. Cleaning it manually is only a temporary solution. You need to find out what is causing it. Brown algae/diatoms are usually caused by high phosphate or silicate levels. They thrive on that stuff. You should test your water to make sure you don't have high levels of those things. Seachem phosguard is a good media I sometimes use. In a nutshell you want to balance your tank so that diatoms won't be too present in your tank. But you're not alone, algae is always going to be present no matter who's tank it is.
 

Byron

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Diatoms is usually confined to new tanks, and that seems the case here. Two weeks is not anywhere near the time to establish a stable biological system, it takes weeks and more likely a few months. During the initial few weeks the system is fluctuating, and the more additives/substances you put in the tank the longer this will take.

Excel was mentioned...this should never be used in a fish tank. It will kill some plants outright, and if overdosed can kill plants, bacteria and (if present) fish. Glutaraldehyde (the ingredient along with water in Excel) is a highly toxic disinfectant.

I have rarely seen diatoms in new set-ups, maybe because my water is very soft (0 GH) and on the acidic side, and I always have floating plants which take up ammonia and other nutrients very rapidly. Try some floating plants if not already present.
 

cupofjoel

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Diatoms is usually confined to new tanks, and that seems the case here. Two weeks is not anywhere near the time to establish a stable biological system, it takes weeks and more likely a few months. During the initial few weeks the system is fluctuating, and the more additives/substances you put in the tank the longer this will take.

Excel was mentioned...this should never be used in a fish tank. It will kill some plants outright, and if overdosed can kill plants, bacteria and (if present) fish. Glutaraldehyde (the ingredient along with water in Excel) is a highly toxic disinfectant.

I have rarely seen diatoms in new set-ups, maybe because my water is very soft (0 GH) and on the acidic side, and I always have floating plants which take up ammonia and other nutrients very rapidly. Try some floating plants if not already present.
I respectfully disagree. Diatoms can be in any tank regardless of the maturity of the tank. If you have the right conditions you will see diatoms. Floating plants are a solution, but again it comes to balance and water parameters.

Regarding Excel, you are the first person to ever say it should never be in the tank. I've used it and have never had issues with my plants. Again, it's about following the dosage on the bottle. Overdosing with anything can be bad.
 

Byron

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I respectfully disagree. Diatoms can be in any tank regardless of the maturity of the tank. If you have the right conditions you will see diatoms. Floating plants are a solution, but again it comes to balance and water parameters.

Regarding Excel, you are the first person to ever say it should never be in the tank. I've used it and have never had issues with my plants. Again, it's about following the dosage on the bottle. Overdosing with anything can be bad.
I did not say diatoms could not appear in an established tank, I said (and repeat) they are usually seen in new set-ups, and the OP's tank is certainly a new set-up being 2 weeks old.

As for Excel, this is a dangerous toxic substance that has no place in a fish tank. Glutaraldehyde is used in hospitals to kill bacteria and disinfect surgical instruments, it is used in embalming fluid, in anti-freeze, in ship's ballasts to kill bacteria when the ship is traversing multiple oceans. It will frequently kill plants like Vallisneria at recommended doses. The fact that it may kill algae should warn everyone not to use it. Other members have reported skin burns when splashed with Excel.

Knowing fish physiology will tell us that any substance added to the aquarium water gets inside the fish, into the bloodstream and is carried to internal organs. I really cannot think that anyone knowing this would use such a dangerous substance. Clearly fish will be harmed from such a substance.
 

cupofjoel

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I did not say diatoms could not appear in an established tank, I said (and repeat) they are usually seen in new set-ups, and the OP's tank is certainly a new set-up being 2 weeks old.

As for Excel, this is a dangerous toxic substance that has no place in a fish tank. Glutaraldehyde is used in hospitals to kill bacteria and disinfect surgical instruments, it is used in embalming fluid, in anti-freeze, in ship's ballasts to kill bacteria when the ship is traversing multiple oceans. It will frequently kill plants like Vallisneria at recommended doses. The fact that it may kill algae should warn everyone not to use it. Other members have reported skin burns when splashed with Excel.

Knowing fish physiology will tell us that any substance added to the aquarium water gets inside the fish, into the bloodstream and is carried to internal organs. I really cannot think that anyone knowing this would use such a dangerous substance. Clearly fish will be harmed from such a substance.
It only contains a trace amount, I think 1.5%. Follow the dosing and you'll be fine. I agree, overdosing is a no no and can kill fish and plants like algae, ferns, and moss.
 

Retired Viking

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Since there is no arguments about floating plants by the above members may I suggest the following floating plants - hornwort, anacharis and water sprite which are good fast growing floating plants that you can let float or "plant" in your sand or gravel if you wish. They are inexpensive and absorb what they need from the water. Good luck:good:
 

Byron

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It only contains a trace amount, I think 1.5%. Follow the dosing and you'll be fine. I agree, overdosing is a no no and can kill fish and plants like algae, ferns, and moss.
This is not to be argumentative, but others reading this thread may get the wrong impression. I am always amazed when aquarists do not consider how these things affect fish. Just because the fish do not turn belly-up when you add a poisonous additive like Excel does nto mean it is not detrimentally affecting them. As one who has researched fish physiology I can assure you it is harming them. These products have no place in a fish aquarium.

As for those who say they have been using it with no "harm," that isd like saying they have been smoking cigarettes with no harm. Eventually the on-going problems will show up, by which time it will be too late. I do not agree that aquarists should take this approach with fish, they deserve better.

Or perhaps a better analogy would be to lock your children in a sealed room and slowly let carbon monoxide in. Same thing.
 
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cupofjoel

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This is not to be argumentative, but others reading this thread may get the wrong impression. I am always amazed when aquarists do not consider how these things affect fish. Just because the fish do not turn belly-up when you add a poisonous additive like Excel does nto mean it is not detrimentally affecting them. As one who has researched fish physiology I can assure you it is harming them. These products have no place in a fish aquarium.

As for those who say they have been using it with no "harm," that isd like saying they have been smoking cigarettes with no harm. Eventually the on-going problems will show up, by which time it will be too late. I do not agree that aquarists should take this approach with fish, they deserve better.

Or perhaps a better analogy would be to lock your children in a sealed room and slowly let carbon monoxide in. Same thing.
When you say you don't want to be argumentative you add the part about locking my children in a room and kill them with carbon monoxide. You have zero maturity and I have no respect for you.
 

Byron

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When you say you don't want to be argumentative you add the part about locking my children in a room and kill them with carbon monoxide. You have zero maturity and I have no respect for you.
I was trying to run an analogy that would be understood. I never said you were mistreating your children. Mistreating fish is the issue.
 
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