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Old 05-29-2010, 04:13 PM   #1
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Silicates from my Sand?

Hello all,
I was at my LFS and mentioned I am having an issue with brown whispy/filmy algae on the sides of my tank and on some corals (YIKES I HAVE Acroporas!). The guy immediately suggested silicates. Now I am wondering where the silicates are coming from. I just thought about it and realized my sand is not aragonite sand (or at least looks nothing like it). It was sold as live reef sand. It looks like quartz sand. Very white/clear. This is no doubt silica based. Could it be leaching silicates?

Now, how do I go about controlling it? There are NO other types of algae except coralline. Not even cyano or hair algae. I have a large clump of chaeto that is growing wild, so I guess its using up the nitrates and phosphates. So I am left convinced I have silicates and that it could be from my sand. (Almost a year old now). Could also be rocks I guess, some fiji rock in there.

Should I replace my sand bed? Or should I run a huge amount of GFO? My fluval 305 has three baskets with two slots each for media. I can buy their Clearmax which is supposed to have some impact on silicates (or so they claim). Each bag says it treats 150g and my tank is only 20g, but I am running two right now and see only a mild impact on the film algae. Would It be a good idea to max out the fluval with clearmax (or some other cheaper brand of GFO)?

Thanks guys!
Matt
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Old 05-29-2010, 07:56 PM   #2
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DO NOT replace the sand bed. Diatoms (if that's what you have) are normal and come and go.

GFO is used to reduce PO4 (phosphates) and has no effect on silicates.

Check out Silica SAND article by Rob Toonen
and
Beaches - Products of Waves and Sand from the USGS

Partial water changes are the best thing you can do whenever you have a problem. Try doing a few this weekend (20%/day) to see how things go.
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Old 05-29-2010, 09:50 PM   #3
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Hello,
I truly dont know what I have, but doesnt look like diatoms. None if this stuff forms on the sand, but does form on the sides of the tank, some of the rocks, and some of the coral bases. It forms where there is high flow. It remains in place despite some VERY turbulent conditions! I have nearly 50 times turnover in my tank and the stuff forms where the water is the craziest.

ANy ideas what this crazy stuff is?
Matt
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Old 05-29-2010, 11:33 PM   #4
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Matt.

Can you post a pic or 2?
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Old 05-29-2010, 11:40 PM   #5
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Hello here are some pictures of the stuff...

Good to see that my sand isnt a problem...I was really not looking forward to replacing the sand!
Thanks!
Matt
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Old 05-30-2010, 02:18 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmor1701d View Post
GFO is used to reduce PO4 (phosphates) and has no effect on silicates.
I thought GFO bound up silicates also.
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Old 05-30-2010, 02:33 AM   #7
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I also thought that GFO fixed silicates. Anyways, any ideas what that algae is I am dealing with? It doesnt seem to follow the rules.

My chaeto is growing crazy, yet this stuff lives on. It EVEN grows ON the chaeto!? It loves the high flow areas.
No other algae survives (none of the bad ones anyways).
What a turd it is...

Matt
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Old 05-30-2010, 03:52 AM   #8
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tagging along!
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Happy Reefing,
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Old 05-30-2010, 03:57 AM   #9
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Maybe the silicate removal is minimal at best, but enough that the manufacturer adds that to its description to get us to buy it?

Aside from GFO, how else does one remove silicates on a more permanent basis? I guess I need to figure out where it is coming from. Could a RO/DI water TDS of 1 indicate my filters need changing? It used to be zero, but recently went to 1.

Matt
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Old 05-30-2010, 11:58 AM   #10
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GFO to the best of my knowledge removes phosphates, arsenic and heavy metals. Now silicates bind to a metal, so GFO may help remove it.

The DI generally gets repleced when your TDS gets to 2-5. I'm at 2 now so I will be replacing it today.

Dont forget:
Rule # 2. Don't add anything (supplements/chemicals/minerals)you don't test for first.
Have you tested for silicates in the water?

You might want to read SILICA IN REEF AQUARIUMS by RANDY HOLMES-FARLEY, Ph.D.

I'm not sure what is growing. Scrape the glass as you would normally (magnet or scraper). Your glass looks like what mine does after a week of not scraping it. The magnet takes care of that. Then I scrape the glass when I do a PWC.
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