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Old 02-02-2006, 12:49 PM   #1
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Cyano or Diatoms?

I just finished my cycle just over two weeks ago, and now have a bit of an algae problem. Green hair algae is proving to be a bit of a nuisance, but other than scraping it off the glass weekly it's not that big a deal. My other algae problem, however, has really got my attention.

It started in the corners, a golden brown colour that did little more than turn spots of my sand a darker colour. At first I wasn't sure if it was anything to worry about but over the span of a couple days it quickly grew to covering the entire front of the sandbed. I had my MH lights running, and turning them off during the day (nothing in the tank needed them) really seemed to curb the problem. Being aware that cyano is a common problem with new tanks, I underwent a treatment for that using Poly-Ox and therefore oxidizing the tank. Everything went well and within two weeks the sandbed was clear. Once the lights were turned back on, however, the problem came back strongly, as if the algae didn't seem to fade or deminish at all. It wasn't thick nor slimey, just little more than a darker shade of sand.

The fact that the algae came back so strongly suggested to the resident pro at the LFS that the problem was maybe not cyano but diatoms - not apparently not as common when using RO/DI yet still possible. He also told me that diatoms (sorry if I butchered the spelling) will turn the sand a darker shade, but after feeding on whatever nitrates and silicates that are there it should all fade away and I'll have a nice, healthy tank. Can anyone share any ideas or thoughts on this? I would like to know exactly what the problem may be. And what the heck are diatoms anyway? Is this what is known as "new tank syndrome"?

Thank you in advance.

ps - water parameters are great, everything reading 0, and my circulation is keeping everything flowing nicely.
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Old 02-02-2006, 12:54 PM   #2
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yes your correct it will burn itself out within time all new tanks usually go threw the brown algae stage
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Old 02-02-2006, 10:31 PM   #3
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Get a good sand sifter and he will keep it turned over for you. I still after 8 yrs have my sand turn brown till stirred by my goby.
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Old 02-02-2006, 11:29 PM   #4
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good sign your cycle is really over. If it gets bad leave the lights out for a day or two.. that might help.
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Old 02-03-2006, 12:32 PM   #5
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Thanks all for replying

Sand sifters...is this only limited to fish? I have my eye on a reef safe starfish in the store and may pick that up. What kind of goby do you have?

I had the lights out and it really cuts it back, yet it still starts up again. If it's this common then I won't lose any more sleep over it, I was worried I had a cyano outbreak.

One more thing...my powerheads have a thick coat of the same green hair algae that I have previously removed from the glass. Is it wise to keep it or should I scrap that off as well? I didn't know whether to remove it or just let the crabs pick away at it.
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Old 02-03-2006, 12:46 PM   #6
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A sand sifting starfish is not the best answer. It will consume beneficial critters in your sand bed and then quite often starve to death. Nass snails are a good option for sand sifting purposes.

You might want to click the link in my signature and do a search in the dbase for sand sifting creature options...
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Old 02-03-2006, 02:59 PM   #7
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It`s not my thread but I`m going to look at that link. Thanks Mrs Hara
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Old 02-03-2006, 04:29 PM   #8
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cyano forms a thin slimy sheet which can be peeled off. diatoms are nothing to worry about.
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Old 02-03-2006, 05:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hara
You might want to click the link in my signature
Any idea when the signatures will come back? Also this link to your site lists “sand stirring” inverts.

I just love how your site breaks things down into categories
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Old 02-03-2006, 07:05 PM   #10
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thanks for the compliments folks...if think of something that might be useful to add, be sure to message me. It is hard to think of it all when it is a work in progress, I still find myself thinking I missed something.

(sorry to hijack the thread)
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