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RE: Brown Diatom Algae

Daniel Boyer is fighting Diatoms in his tank:

>I have finally conquered BBA (through the introduction of 5 SAEs and heavy
>initial water changes)...  I then decided to try to increase my plant
>by giving them more light (it dawned on me two weeks ago that I only had
>over 50gallons), so I added another 4' shoplight w/ another chroma 50 and
>another plant&aquarium bulb.  So my current set up is: a 29 gallon (long)
>tank end to end with a 20 gallon (high) tank (together they are 54" long,
>perfect for 4' lights), both are open topped (ie: no covers), with 2 4' 40W
>chroma 50's, and 2 4' 40W Sylvania Plant and Aquarium bulbs,  both tanks
>have DIY CO2 injection...

>My problem is: the past week or so, I have suddenly started getting that
>brown diatom algae stuff  all over the place in both tanks (on the glass,

Diatoms are quite common in the early, relatively unstable stage of new
aquariums. They don't need much light and they love silicates. Your new
fluorescent fixture will probably help by encouraging the growth of your
other plants, which hopefully will suck up some of the excess nutrients in
the water, depriving the diatoms of what they need. But why use "Plant and
Aquarium" bulbs? Chroma 50's are fine (and cheaper to boot!) You don't need
an exotic spectrum to grow aquatic plants, you just need light of sufficient
intensity and duration. How high above the water surface are the tubes? Does
no good to have lots of tubes if they are a foot above the water.

Is there any possible source of silicates in your water supply or tank?
Diatoms are the only things in the tank which will use it to any great
extent, so if your water supply has more than trace amounts, this could be
encouraging the bloom of the diatoms. You could try a bag of No-Silicate
from Albert Thiel (http://www.athiel.com/infobase.htm), although I'd try to
outlive the diatoms before adding something to the system. Make sure that
you know that there is an excess of silicates before you try this - there
are cheap test kits (Seachem makes one) for Silicates.

You could also try adding a few Ottos, they will eat diatoms (at least I've
seen them eat them in my own tanks in the past). Or you could just wait it
out - it should go away by itself in a few weeks, once the system stabilizes

James Purchase